Religious Right Attack-Dog Fans Fears That Government Will Prosecute SPLC-listed “Hate Groups”

Brad O’Leary has been an emerging voice in the Religious Right thanks to books such as “The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values,” “God and America’s Leaders,” and “America’s War on Christianity.” Today he received a platform in the Washington Examiner to spew his factually incorrect and conspiratorial views over the Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest hate group designations. He suggests that the SPLC’s descriptions of eighteen anti-gay organizations may lead to their future criminalization under recently-passed hate crimes law:

Their crime? These groups represent millions of Americans and speak for tens of millions more who support traditional marriage and believe that homosexuality is biblically wrong.

I don’t use the word “crime” lightly. Calling an organization a “hate group” used to be nothing more than a slur. But in today’s America, such a pejorative may have serious legal connotations.

SPLC knows this, because in 2009 the group was instrumental in getting the Democrat-led Congress to pass, and President Obama to sign, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

As I detail in my recently released book, America’s War on Christianity, this new law adds homosexuals and transsexuals to the list of uber-protected citizens under existing federal hate crimes law.

The measure effectively criminalizes any speech that may be “proven” to incite hatred that leads to violence against any of the special classes of citizens (homosexuals, transsexuals, etc.) who are protected under the law.

But regardless of what O’Leary might say, you can’t be prosecuted under hate crimes laws unless you actually commit a crime. The suggestion that the law “criminalizes” speech is a typical and unfounded claim by Religious Right activists like O’Learly, who dismiss the law’s clear stipulation that it cannot be “construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities.” Of course, O’Leary’s assertion that the SPLC may try to push the government into prosecuting or dismantling anti-gay groups ends with a plug for O’Leary’s own organization:

If you think this blatant attempt to criminalize Christianity is outrageous, you’re not alone. In fact, you should go to to take a quick, 10-question, true-or-false quiz that reveals other shocking ways Christianity is under attack in America.

Attacking Christians during the holy season of Christmas is nothing new, and the SPLC has long been at the forefront of this bigoted tradition. But Christians and Christian groups need to be on guard, and understand that what was once nothing more than vile slander, may now be greasing the skids toward legal prosecution.