Earlier this week it was reported that Peter LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth About Homosexuality was included on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay web sites.
So far, LaBarbera hasn’t had anything to say about it, but now Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber has come rushing to AFT’s defense, accusing the SPLC of picking on poor little Peter:
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel tells OneNewsNow the SPLC had done a fair job during the civil rights thrust in America in identifying and labeling neo-Nazi hate groups, ones that truly fall within the definition of hate.
“They have instead turned into what amounts to a leftist, extremist, partisan, Democrat organization, and they use the credibility that they’ve built up over the years as a weapon against people who have an opposing worldview, particularly to oppose biblical Christianity,” Barber explains.
One question is why SPLC would pick on a small ministry like AFTAH.
“They started with them and have not yet gone after groups like Focus on the Family for instance, or the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel — other groups that adhere to biblical Christianity in terms of sexual morality,” the attorney notes. “They haven’t started targeting them yet because that’s what bullies do. They pick on people that they perceive as smaller and weaker.”
Of course, while its entirely understandable that Barber would come to LaBarbera’s defense given their close ties, it’s a little ironic considering that Barber’s own rabidly anti-gay views will probably get his Liberty Counsel eventually added to the SPLC’s list as well.
UPDATE: It turns out that this OneNewsNow article was based on a press release issued by Barber:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – a far-left organization famous for promoting a panoply of extreme liberal causes – has launched yet another politically motivated attack against a well-respected conservative organization. The SPLC has arbitrarily tagged as a “hate group” Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH). Most recently, the SPLC came under fire for comparing the “Tea Party” movement and other grassroots conservatives to “terrorists.”
AFTAH is a Christian organization that promotes biblical morality and publicly decries both violence and hatred against homosexuals. Although it has been in operation for a number of years, the SPLC only recently labeled AFTAH a “hate group” after being pressured by the Chicago-based “Gay Liberation Network.” (GLN is a fringe group of self-described Marxists and sexual anarchists best known for disrupting peaceful Christian gatherings with raucous, bullhorn laden protests.)
Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, commented: “You can only cry wolf so many times before people begin to ignore you. Newsflash: Moveon.org wants Bush tried as a ‘war criminal,’ Charlie Sheen thinks the U.S. government is behind 9/11 and, yes, the SPLC has once again awarded its now meaningless ‘hate group’ distinction to another conservative organization with which it is admittedly – in every way – both politically and ideologically opposed. Who would’ve thunk it?
“In the past, the SPLC has actually done some good,” continued Barber. “By identifying and monitoring real hate groups such as the KKK, neo-Nazis and Skin Heads, the SPLC once provided information to local law enforcement which was sometimes useful in preventing and investigating subversive and violent activity.
“Unfortunately, in recent years the SPLC has traded in its limited usefulness for radical left-wing activism. It has become much like that which it previously sought to expose. It now uses the very tactics employed by white nationalists and other bona-fide hate groups to malign large groups of people whom the SPLC most decidedly ‘hates.’
“It’s nauseatingly transparent,” said Barber. “With empty, ad hominem attacks and pejorative ‘hate group’ smears, the SPLC strives to politically marginalize its ideological opponents. It’s a cynical ‘guilt-by-false-association’ scheme, through which the SPLC hopes – in the public mind’s eye – to equate Christians, ‘Tea Party’ conservatives and other traditionalists to the KKK and neo-Nazis.
“Amazingly, in going after Americans for Truth, the GLN betrayed its SPLC ally by publicly acknowledging SPLC’s nefarious tactics. GLN boasted that this was the strategy all along. The Gay Liberation Network’s stated goal in goading the SPLC to label AFTAH a ‘hate group’ was to ‘help assist’ in AFTAH’s ‘political marginalization.’ Of course, by kowtowing to an already deeply marginalized GLN; by so obviously abusing its once-respectable reputation; and by spending its last remaining political capital on such folly, the SPLC has only succeeded in further marginalizing itself.
“It’s a ‘hate group,’ mudslinging good time!” joked Barber. “Let’s try it on for size. In exercise of the SPLC’s trademark ‘I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’ criteria for determining ‘hate group’ status, I hereby declare the Southern Poverty Law Center an official ‘anti-Christian, anti-conservative hate group.’ Try it. It’s fun.
“But seriously,” continued Barber, “If AFTAH is a ‘hate group,’ then so is Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church. Any group that observes and defends traditional sexual morality would have to be labeled such. Heck, for that matter, so would the U.S. Armed Forces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA. These groups publically expose the undeniable medical and societal pitfalls associated with the homosexual lifestyle and, therefore, must be ‘hate groups,’ right?
“Of course, like any bully, the SPLC only goes after those it believes it can push around. But really, it confers an honor upon every legitimate Christian and conservative group that it so disingenuously labels as a ‘hate group.’ This is a tacit admission by the SPLC that these groups represent a threat; that their activities undermine the SPLC’s not-so-thinly-veiled, left-wing agenda.
“I can’t speak for the organizations with which I’m affiliated and, of course, I hate absolutely no one,” concluded Barber. “Nonetheless, I’d like to officially request that the SPLC add my name to its spurious ‘anti-gay hate list.’ It’s good for one’s biblical bona-fides.”
(Matt Barber currently, and proudly, sits on the board of Americans for Truth.)