Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center updated its list of anti-gay groups and added several new organizations to its list of anti-gay hate groups.
Many influential Religious Right groups found themselves placed upon the SPLC’s updated list, including the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for American, National Organization for Marriage, and Liberty Counsel. And to say that they are not happy about it would be a massive understatement.
NOM called it an “absurd distraction,” saying it stood by its work and that the report was really an attack “on the majority of Americans who believe that to make a marriage you need a husband and wife” while Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries and Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America both responded by accusing the SPLC of being the ones “who are actually filled with hate and bigotry.”
For it’s part, the Family Research Council called the designation part of a “smear campaign” designed to silence Christians and demanded an apology:
“The Left’s smear campaigns of conservatives is also being driven by the clear evidence that the American public is losing patience with their radical policy agenda as seen in the recent election and in the fact that every state, currently more than thirty, that has had the opportunity to defend the natural definition of marriage has done so. Earlier this month, voters in Iowa sent a powerful message when they removed three Supreme Court justices who imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Would the SPLC also smear the good people of Iowa?
“Family Research Council will continue to champion marriage and family as the foundation of our society and will not acquiesce to those seeking to silence the Judeo-Christian views held by millions of Americans. We call on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.”
Matt Barber, who is one of the most vehemently anti-gay Religious Right activists operating today, yet somehow he and Liberty Counsel managed to avoid being labeled a hate group … but that didn’t stop him from ripping the SPLC in an op-ed in the Washington Times accusing the SPLC of comparing conservatives to Nazis:
So, center-right America: If you happen to believe in the sanctity of natural marriage and that, as a culture, we’re best served by honoring the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic of our forefathers, you’re now an official “hater.”
Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind’s eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I’m rubber, you’re glue and all that).
Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC – and by extension the greater “progressive” movement – has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.
It’s often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument.
Congratulations, conservative America: They’re calling you a Nazi. Carry on.
Of course, that argument might carry more weight if, as Warren Throckmorton points out, groups like the American Family Association weren’t regularly saying that all the Nazis were literally gay.
But in terms of sheer absurdity, it is hard to beat the reaction from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center has utterly discredited themselves by this provocative attack on organizations that promote traditional family values,” said Rev. Gary L. Cass, of DefendChristians.Org, a ministry of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.
“Labeling mainstream conservative organizations as ‘Hate groups’ is defamatory and is simply an intimidation tactic. We call on Congress to cut off their funding.”
“Defend Christians.Org will work to form a coalition of organizations to lobby Congress to withhold funds from SPLC. We will also demand Congress restrict Federal law enforcement from relying on the biased SPLC reports, like the discredited ‘Report on Right-Wing Extremism’ SPLC wrote for the Department of Homeland Security,” said Cass.
This tatic could possibly be effective if the SPLC actually received federal funds … but it doesn’t. And for some reason Cass continues to insist that the SPLC wrote the DHS report despite having absolutely no evidence that that is the case.