Religious Right Tries to Marginalize SPLC

The Religious Right continues to react to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s updated list of anti-gay hate groups and it is becoming clear that we’ve gotten to the point where people are speaking out against it without even having read it, which is why we have Ed Meese calling the list “despicable” and insisting that he knows the groups well, so they could not possibly be considered hate groups:

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese says it is “despicable” for the Southern Poverty Law Center to classify the Family Research Council and a dozen other top conservative organizations as “hate groups” similar to the Ku Klux Klan.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Meese told about the list published by the SPLC. “I know about seven or eight of those groups. I know the people very well. I know the groups very well, I’ve worked with them over the years, and I think it actually undermines the credibility of the Southern Poverty Law Center to make such a statement.”

Last week, the Southern Policy Law Center announced that it was going to classify the Family Research Council and 12 other organizations as “hate groups” because of their positions on homosexuality.

Among the groups being designated by the SPLC are the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Coral Ridge Ministries, Family Research Institute, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Counsel, MassResistance, National Organization for Marriage and the Traditional Values Coalition.

The SPLC said these organizations will be named to its “hate group” watch list.

But Meese said the Southern Poverty Law Center had cited no evidence whatsoever to show that the FRC or the other major pro-family conservative organizations were hate groups.

First of all, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage were not designated hate groups – they were simply listed among active anti-gay groups.

Secondly, the SPLC laid out the statements and agenda of all the groups included on the list in its report, so the only way Meese could claim they “cited no evidence whatsoever” is if he hadn’t bothered to read it.

And then, in one final bit of irony, Maggie Gallagher complained that the goal of the SPLC was to marginalize conservative groups so that no elected or government officials would associate with them … while Messe demanded that the government have nothing to do with the SPLC:

The liberal law firm informs the media and law enforcement of its “surveillance,” and has close ties to both the media and the Justice Department.

“The question is, can they get away with it? Is it going to become the case that a politician can’t have anything to do with the Family Research Council or they’ll be associating with a ‘hate’ group. Will the media now say ‘We can’t talk to the Family Research Council because they are an extremist hate group?’” Gallagher asked.

Meese, meanwhile, called on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize and remove the FRC and the other groups from the list. He also said no one in law enforcement should take these latest deisgnations seriously.

“What should happen is, they should rescind their statement and apologize,” Meese said. “If in fact, in any way, they are in collusion with the Justice Department or any other department of the federal government on this, I think it is a serious problem for the government.”