Folks, Wednesday’s sad, misguided and evil shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters has sadly brought out attacks against an American icon of equality and civil rights, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Frankly, I remember as a young man in my 20′s and 30′s seeing their mailings in my father’s home, and remember him explaining to me that, (despite their odd name,) they were an important group that did amazing work. Little did I know that years later, the SPLC and I would be tied in a battle to help the American people understand what hate looks like.
For those unaware, the Southern Poverty Law Center watches and reports on people and groups that pose a threat to this country in the form of hate.
From taking down the KKK (yes, they did that) to monitoring the actions of the man who became the Sikh temple shooter a few weeks ago, the SPLC has a long history of fighting for civil rights. Noted civil rights activist Julian Bond was president of the SPLC in the 1970′s. Bond later went to the NAACP where today he is their Chairman Emeritus.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public,” the SPLC website states. “We’ve crippled some of the country’s most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members.”
They add they are “dedicated to defending the rights of the LGBT community. Our current work has a national reach but is primarily focused on the Southeast where relatively few organizations advocate for this community.”
As you no doubt know, the SPLC today is under attack because hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and groups and individuals who support hate groups, like Maggie Gallagher and NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, don’t like the “hate group” label being applied to “Christian” organizations.
Well, in case anyone forgot, the KKK was a “Christian” organization too.
The SPLC doesn’t place anti-gay groups on its list just because they feel like it. They are slow to act, waiting sometimes years as they monitor and write about the actions of groups that are concerning.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,018 active hate groups in the United States in 2011. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2011 are included” in the SPLC’s hate map:
All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.
This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.
Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.
It’s time hate groups stop attacking those who expose their hate, and just put and end to their hate.
Of course, that will never happen, at least, not in my lifetime.
Yesterday I turned 50 years old. Today, I made a donation of $100 (I wish it could be more) to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in honor of my father, a man who hated inequality and, after years of being a conservative, and a libertarian, grew increasingly displeased with the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan pushed him over the edge and my father ultimately became a Democrat. He died after a long battle with cancer in 2004. I think this would make him happy.
And so, in honor of my dad, and of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 41 years of fighting hate and inequality, starting Monday we will begin a new series, the “Hate Group QOTD,” or, quote of the day.
Each day, Monday through Friday, we’ll share with you a quote from a hate group leader that symbolizes why their organization is listed among the SPLC’s active anti-gay hate groups.
It’s my hope that you’ll share these quotes, which, no doubt, you’ll find offensive, with as many folks as you can, so we can expose the anti-gay hate and lies that these hate groups spread.
Remember, groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and others, like Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries and Mission: America, are hate groups not because of the hate they spread, but because of the lies they spread.
Now, it’s time to end the lies, and hopefully, the hate.
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