The Southern Poverty Law Center continues to diminish its reputation by labeling faith-based organizations as “hate groups” for such organizations’ opposition to homosexuality. The Southern Poverty Law Center claims it adds these groups to its list for “propagating known falsehoods debunked by science,” but given that religious belief is not in fact grounded in science, many observers are incredulous about this explanation. The more likely explanation is the GLBT people tend to be liberal, and liberals donate money to the organization. Unfortunately, SPLC seems to be suffering from mission drift as it veers further away from its core issue of fighting white supremacy.
The rise of “hate crimes” and “hate speech” as tools used by GLBT activists began in earnest when Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998. Activists began a 11-year campaign to pass hate crimes legislation to add a sentencing enhancement for crime motivated by gay bias. Now, GLBT activists routinely accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a hate group, a tactic used unsuccessfully by Men’s Rights Activists against Gender Identity Watch because we reject that “gender” is innate, that acting out sex stereotypes turns a man into a woman and that human biology is just a social construct.
Importantly, academics have started noticing this trend towards labeling all non-GLBT Movement-approved speech as “hate speech,” including Professor George Yancey of the University of North Texas. Professor Yancey has written an interesting journal article, “Watching the Watchers: The Neglect of Academic Analysis of Progressive Groups” in which he describes SPLC’s “liberal” bias. From the Christian Post:
All the groups listed on Hatewatch, with the exception of black separatists, Yancey notes, are either political or religious conservatives. Yancey believes this is because SPLC is a liberal organization and it is using subjective criteria to choose which groups belong on the list.
“The subjective nature of the criteria for determining a hate group provides a conceptual structure more vulnerable to social bias than an objective criteria applying to groups across a wide political, cultural, and religious spectrum,” he wrote.
According to SPLC, a hate group has “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”
Using this standard, Yancey says, there should be some liberal and anti-Christian groups on the list as well. To illustrate, Yancey compares the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to FRC.
According to SPLC, Yancey explains, FRC is a hate group because it intentionally makes hateful and untrue statements about the LGBT community, which can lead to violence even though FRC does not engage in violent actions. (Yancey noted the irony that while SPLC does not cite any examples of FRC-inspired violence, SPLC’s Hatewatch actually did incite violence in the case of Floyd Corkins.) To support this contention, SPLC notes that FRC reports on studies showing that the child molestation rate is higher among gays and same-sex parenting harms children, and quotes FRC President Tony Perkins saying that LGBT activists seek to “persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle.”
If this is the standard for labeling an organization a hate group, Yancey says, then the anti-Christian MRFF should also be on the list.
In a Huffington Post blog, Michael Weinstein, founder of MRFF, claimed that Christians will be responsible for ushering in “a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, naturalistic militarism and superstitious theocracy.” And Weinstein has written books claiming that Christians are willing to use mass murder to bring about their goals.
“In these few comments Weinstein has violated some of the same norms SPLC used to designate FRC as a hate group. Weinstein is promoting a myth of Christian violence not substantiated by previous research and has attributed motives to conservative Christians that he cannot document,” Yancey contends.
Yancey does not argue that MRFF should be on Hatewatch, or that FRC should be off Hatewatch. Rather, he argues that if Hatewatch is to be an objective source for labeling hate groups, both groups should either be on the list or off the list.
Perhaps it might be more productive, however, to simply stop labeling people as promoting “hate speech” simply because we disagree with their ideas, or their ideas make us feel bad. Perhaps it might be more productive, in fact, to debate actual issues.
Perhaps we, as Gay and Lesbian people, might actually learn to understand that “diversity” means “diversity of opinion,” and that others were not placed on this earth to affirm our lives. Our movement should prevail because it is a movement for social justice, not because we bully our opponents into submission.