The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published yesterday a multi-faceted report entitled, “The Year in Hate and Extremism 2020,” which critics say is just one more manifestation of how stilted and ideologically driven the organization has become over the years.
As noted by Catholic News Agency (CNA), the report, among other things, includes an update to SPLC’s infamous “Hate Map,” which CNA notes originally “list[ed] organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis,” but “[m]ore recently, however, it has also included pro-life and pro-traditional marriage Christian organizations as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups.” For 2020, the 838 organizations SPLC says were tracked as “hate groups” included the Ruth Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Family Research Council, many small Christian churches, and the International Organization for the Family (IOF), which publishes iFamNews.
It is really the SPLC themselves who are motivated by prejudice and bigotry. There is nothing ‘hateful’ about believing that children deserve a mom and a dad, but it is entirely hateful to persecute organizations and individuals who support this idea. The SPLC should be held accountable for the provocative and inflammatory rhetoric that has already led to at least one shooting and called to account for the lives and livelihoods they’ve destroyed with their lies.
Brown’s sentiments were echoed by others quoted in the piece, including Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute, and William Boykin, executive vice president of Family Research Council. Boykin also made reference to the same shooting to which Brown referred, namely the 2012 attack on the headquarters of FRC by Floyd Lee Corkins II. CNA describes the event in the article:
Consequences of the “hate group” designation have also been more serious. In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II, wielding a 9mm pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition, entered the lobby of the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. He shot an unarmed security guard, who survived the attack and wrestled Corkins to the ground. Authorities said the security guard’s actions may have prevented a mass shooting.
Corkins, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, confessed being motivated by the “anti-gay” label given to FRC by the SPLC.
SPLC’s report is blatantly and transparently political, and thoroughly one-sided. This is as apparent in what the report does not say as in what it does. It accuses the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for fueling anti-Muslim racism with its Countering Violent Extremism/Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention programs, for example; however, it does not mention that 2020 saw a significant uptick of anti-Christian violence throughout the world committed by Islamist extremists, everywhere from France to Nigeria. In the latter case, some observers have even suggested that the scale and scope of Boko Haram’s violence last year amounts to a slow-burning genocide targeting Nigerian Christians.
As the CNA article notes, SPLC’s disrepute has been growing for many years, and recently groups like the FBI and the Pentagon have distanced themselves from the ideological hate-mongering of the organization. In 2019, in fact, the SPLC was embroiled in scandal which led to the resignation of its own President following allegations of the organization fostering a climate of racism and sexual harassment within its own walls. These events do not seem to have humbled the group, however.
Now in 2021, with the publication of this new report, there are worrying signs that the SPLC is poised to reassert itself by means of an imputed and politically-motivated, rather than genuinely earned, veneer of credibility. And with President Biden’s administration in power, it is feared among many that the influence of the SPLC’s specious claims may regain a foothold within the halls of power—an ominous prospect for Christians and all pro-family conservatives in America and indeed throughout the world.