The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

SPLC Responds to Attack by FRC, Conservative Republicans

By Mark Potok on December 15, 2010 - 1:05 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

This morning, 22 members of Congress and a large number of other conservatives signed on to a public statement attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for listing several anti-gay religious right organizations as hate groups.  Published in two Washington, D.C., newspapers as a full-page ad, the statement was organized by the powerful Family Research Council (FRC) and other “pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and the family.”

The statement, whose signatories included House Speaker-Designate John Boehner and the governors of Louisiana, Minnesota and Virginia, ran under the headline, “Start Debating/Stop Hating.” It accused “elements of the radical Left” of trying to “shut down informed discussion of policy issues” and decried those who attempt to suppress debate “through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character.” The SPLC, it said, was engaging in “character assassination.”

It was a remarkable performance, given that it was precisely the maligning of entire groups of people — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people — that caused the SPLC to list groups like the FRC. Remarkable, too, was the accusation that the SPLC was avoiding debate — in fact, the very first public discussion of the issues raised by the SPLC came in a Nov. 29 debate between the FRC’s Tony Perkins and myself on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.”

Consider a few of the comments about gays and lesbians that have come from some of the groups now denouncing character assassination. The FRC, in a booklet entitled Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys, has claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer wrote this year that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, which was not listed by the SPLC but helped organize today’s newspaper ad, describes relationships between gay men as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Officials of several, including the FRC, have called for criminalizing gay sex.

Almost all the religious-right groups named by the SPLC also have engaged in a particularly toxic and widespread defamation of gay men: The claim that they are essentially pedophiles who molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

In fact, this became the crux of my “debate” with the FRC’s Perkins — the claim, as he put it in the very last moments of the show, that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.” To prove this, Perkins cited an outfit called the American College of Pediatricians, which certainly sounded authoritative. But he was being less than honest, to say the least. In fact, the American College of Pediatricians is a tiny group that broke away from the real professional association — the similarly named American Academy of Pediatrics — specifically because that 60,000-member organization had endorsed gay and lesbian parenting. Perkins’ move was enough to cause Chris Matthews to run a special segment two days later that explained the difference between the academy and the so-called college.

The reality is that virtually all real researchers in the field have concluded, as did the American Psychological Association in an official statement, that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”

Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

Several thoughtful Christian commentators understood that clearly. Warren Throckmorton, a respected professor and past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, put it like this the day after my debate with Perkins: “For the most part, the reaction of defenders of the newly labeled hate groups is to avoid addressing the issues the SPLC raised, instead preferring to attack the credibility of the SPLC. Reviewing the charges leveled against the Christian groups, I think their responses are mostly unfortunate and unhelpful. The SPLC has identified some issues which are legitimate and have damaged the credibility of the groups on the list. Going forward, I hope Christians don’t rally around these groups but rather call them to accountability.” After reviewing the SPLC’s list of “10 Myths” about gays and lesbians, he wrote that “much of what is said by Christians about homosexuality is provably false and rooted in ignorance and fear.”

Another Christian website, Canyonwalker Connections, wrote: “Lies are evil.  Lies breed fear. … If we repeat the myth enough, maybe it will gain muddy traction and stick. This is what FRC and other Hate Groups do so well. They demonize the gay community. … If the church cannot police our own, perhaps God is using secular organizations to slap His children upside the head? Would not be the first time. I will stand with, beside and in front of my GLBT fellow humans to ensure that they gain equality with me. Family Research Council, you should be more concerned about where you are on God’s list of naughty or nice, sheep or goats. And Southern Poverty Law Center, I applaud you, thank you, really … thank you.”

At the end of the day, it’s hard to know if the politicians and other leaders who signed today’s anti-SPLC statement really know some of things the groups they are throwing in with support. What’s a fact is that, despite their claims, the groups have so far, without exception, failed to confront the facts of SPLC’s report.

  • jwd

    The CCC, FRC,KKK their motivation and ambition is all the same. To create dissention and separation which strengthens their orginizations by playing on peoples fear and ignorance.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/YYZSkinhead YYZ Skinhead

    I like how they included the entire state of Louisiana because the current governor signed their petition. I’m Christian. I don’t hate gay people more than other people (I don’t really like anyone). In fact, I think it’s none of my business to whom somebody else is attracted. That, and the fact that God says in Acts 10:34 that He is no respecter of persons (He doesn’t esteem one group of people above another), that being prejudiced is therefore a sin, and that ALL people are sinners.

    WDJS (What Did Jesus Say)?

    John 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    The “christian” Right needs to clean its own nose before it starts throwing rocks.

  • Gary Williams

    “Eternal law or natural law|” would be the principals upon which nature has determined life should be ordered by. Homosexuality is a commonplace phenomenon in the natural world. Thus it is also a part of the natuiral order of life. That is, unless your going to suggest even the homosexual preferences displayed by other mammals also is something they “chose to do” . ?

    No. As a biologist I can say that the `natural order`deciding sexual preference is determined by a separate organic mechanism or function than the one that determines ones genitalia thereby resulting in the relatively high frequency of psychological.attractions to what appears to be a physical mismatch. It has NOTHING to do with the ethical or sexual choices that are made for us by nature-God.

    As for biblical passages against homosexuality….you must then approve of slavery since that was accepted .If a passage displaying disapproval of homosexuality is something you must observe, then a chapter in Numbers describes the Lords command to the Israelites that they should commit genocide on the Midians by killing every man, woman and child EXCEPT for “female children too young to have lain with a man“Child virgins IOW.`These you are to keep for yourself“
    Now, based on the principle that we must oppose homosexuality (or anything else for that matter) because that’s what the OT says on the matter, you must then approve of genocide, paedophilia, and child sexual slavery. No. Why not?

    And what about `It is easier tor a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than A WEALTHY MAN ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”…… and the promotion of affluence among Evangelical pastors?

    Clearly you pick and choose which evils you’ll bemoan despite your insistence it a matter beyond your own mortal capacity to decide. The proof is the way you ignore the clear disapproval Jesus Christ himself has for riches, money-lending, usury and general greed.. Which also means that capitalism is a ticket to Hell based on the same logic you used to demean homosexuals as a biblically directed act.. That rather than simply admitting to the exaggerated fears that overtake you whenever you’re presented with behaviors that deviate from a traditional way that you and other conservatives see as the “normal” way of doing things.

    Because THAT is what is most important to you for deciding what is acceptable or not. In-group conformity. Tacit approval given by a conservative leader whom you (and other RWAs) are compelled to please. Your compartmentalized cognitive processes allows you to keep related thoughts separated so you never have to address the conflict that would come of a belief in both His disdain for the rich, and your own desire for seek out and gain the approval of the wealthy.. ..the very people whom the Bible seems quite clear in judging to be lower on an ethics totem-pole than either Ru Paul or Pussy Tourette, ( I`ll (leave you with that as a visual!).

  • mark

    Perkins cited an outfit called the American College of Pediatricians, which certainly sounded authoritative. But he was being less than honest, to say the least. In fact, the American College of Pediatricians is a tiny group that broke away from the real professional association — the similarly named American Academy of Pediatrics — specifically because that 60,000-member organization had endorsed gay and lesbian parenting. Perkins’ move was enough to cause Chris Matthews to run a special segment two days later that explained the difference between the academy and the so-called college.

    Do I understand correctly? An organization that agrees with YOUR point of view is legitimate. But one that does not is illegitimate. Further, that individuals cannot leave an organization if they disagree with its policy and view points? And if they do then they are somehow are not as “real”. I don’t think so. History also disagrees with you. But then history would be wrong by your definition …right…

    Officials of several, including the FRC, have called for criminalizing gay sex.

    Ohh you mean legitimate sodomy laws??
    Since that what it comes down to.

    Almost all the religious-right groups named by the SPLC also have engaged in a particularly toxic and widespread defamation of gay men: The claim that they are essentially pedophiles who molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

    I can’t say that everyone articulates their points
    100% perfect every time.Can you guarantee that you do?? Willing to bet your life on it? Doubt it. No one is that perfect. Not even you.
    As for children being molested?? I have one acronym
    N.A.M.B.L.A. Nuff said.

    The issue here is whether there is a ABSOLUTE standard for behavior. In a culture where this is constantly denied, its no wonder we have a free for all.
    As i said before, no one is perfect. That said what standard do we use to decide an issue

    I believe the BiBle has something to say about it. But I doubt it will be welcome here since it specifically denounces homosexuality.

    The undermining God’s design of marriage just as Satan undermined the first marriage.
    Martin Luther King Jr. – Excerpts from his Letter from the Birmingham Jail April 16, 1963 “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”
    Note: Slavery or racial discrimination, and marriage are two totally different issues. Allowing same-sex unions and marriage would violate “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” where the abolition of slavery DID NOT, and therefore, to have these “Rights” of freedom “entitled” was justified.
    What new and improved wisdom do secular humanists use to justify violating “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” which was the foundation laid out in America’s Founding Document on how “unalienable Rights” were to be “entitled?” What is his foundation? How do secular humanists determine the rules and boundaries if not by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God?” What is basis of secular humanists for determining laws and “Rights?“ So, how do secular humanists justify “entitling” a “Right” for same-sex relationships?

    The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

    So, to outlaw gay marriages as illegitimate is well with in biblical law

    But since that view point is one you dis agree with , it has to be wrong.. right…

  • John

    I am surprised the writer did not mention that Hitler sent gay people into the gas chambers as well. Hitler was not gay and gay people did not “give us” Hitler. Hitler had an intense hatred of gay people and sent them to their deaths. Gypsies, the disabled, and the elderly met the same fate; anybody that Hitler perceived as weak. While Jewish people were the main target of Hitler, others that Hitler saw as weak met the same fate.

  • jgt2598

    @Mandie – Bashing: attempting to demonize something using slander, fallacies, and lies. This is exactly what the Family Research Council does, you are right that we all have the right to free speach, we indeed have the right to lie and whether or not the FRC believes their own lies is not the question. The Southern Poverty Law Center simply pointed out that the FRC spreads mallicious lies with the intent to demonize the homosexual community and has even called for the criminalization of homosexuality. The SPLC is in no way impeding their right to free speech (in fact, free speech means that they have just as much right to criticize the FRC as the FRC has to lie about homosexuality), they are mearly alerting the rest of the world to the fact that the FRC spreads easily disprovable lies.

  • Mandie

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this…..God created man and woman for each other. Not man for man or woman for woman. It’s unbiblical yes but it doesn’t give anyone a right to bash or slander homosexuals. What the FRC is doing is standing up for what they believe. WE ALL have a right to do that. Attacking the FRC is the same as attacking the homosexuals. If we truly believed the way we say we do then no hatred would exist. Call it what you want but if you are slandering or bashing the FRC, then you are doing exactually what you are fighting against.

  • Richard Nieto

    Nothing new here, the “usual suspects” (Conservative Republicans) continue carrying on their EVIL propaganda of lying, half-truth, intimidation, etc., etc. Thank you for standing up against ALL hate individuals & groups who use religion as their choice of weapon to silence any & all forms of free speech.

  • Katie Murphy

    quote:It does not surprise me that McConnell of Virginia is in on this; I have to live with the mentality of this degenerate racist every day as a Virginian. ”

    dont know him specifically, but it reminds me of the gay friend whose father is a small town southern cop in VA. As his described him, he has a two word vocabulary. (the n-word and the 3 letter f word. And of course they are southern baptists. The the gay son, who is probablly one of the nicest human beings one could ever meet, said that his mom, his stepfather, his stepmother are fine with him as a gay man.

    And when the son came out , the bigot father’s brother came out – admitted he was gay. The father wont even speak to his brother. BTW the father is a southern Baptist, even though the last name suggests catholic.

    As for the republicans – I;’m not surprised, they are just using racial hatred against Obama.. Because their base is the southern evangelicals who never stopped hating blacks (and now gays), whose worst nightmare has come true, the election of a black president

  • Katie Murphy

    Its so interesting that Peter Spriggs, Perkins #2 man in the FRC is, but doesn’t admit he is an ordained baptist minister. the church that in the 1800s was the bullwark of slaverty and gave us the KKK and segregation.

    And obviously has another group to hate. = the gays. BTW he was also an actor in some christian plays in college. While not definitive, its worth noting that a large percentage of actors are gay. I’ve seen Spriggs testify at hearings. the hatred and emotion just boils from his body language as well as his words.

    As for Perkins, I showed his pix to a number of gay people who didn’t recognise him. All but one said “he’s gay”, The wierd smile etc.

    What I think these creeps really are is “fixed gays”, or gays in denial. Terrified by their church into believing they will go to hell, they become the worst of the worst of the Homophobic horror show.

    I know someone who is a fixed gay. Ultra Ro. Catholic. the perfect parrot for the church line. And when you challenge his beliefs, and break through the veneer of civility, you get comments like “Matthew Shepards parents should have fixed him” – this nut case is blaming Matthew’s parents for their sons murder. And also “gays are supporting the (madness of the) westboro baptist church because it brings them sympathy.

    I’ve long suspected these people -absolute fundamentalists – are victims of a mental disorder. Turns out it is Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder – people who know no gray areas, are absolutists etc, no comporomist, just extremists.

    BTW Besides the splinter group re the pediatricians, there is a false front – I think its called the American association of Psychologists – cooked up by EXodus or the FRC. Sounds like the legit American Psychological Association.

    As someone said long ago – if you tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough it will be seen as truth” Goebbels.

    And that is the mantra of these people.

  • Norman

    The FRC and it’s supporters in the GOP are just an ugly group of citizens that preach bigotry and hate.

    The RIGHT has infiltrated the GOP and I am not shocked but outraged they they are not censored.

    Keep up your great work to out these really UGLY Americans.

  • Michael

    Has there ever been a scientific study showing (or falsifying) the proposition that those most violently opposed to homosexuality are, in fact, acting against their own homosexual urges?

  • Robert

    Family Research Council (FRC) is squealing because they have been exposed. They can no longer sit smugly by spouting their lies, distortions, and hate under the banner of “decency” and “defense of the faith.” It’s their right to do so, but we have the right to shine the light of truth on their darkness. Good job SPLC!

  • MarkInEugene

    It is simply unconscionable that in 21st century America we still have hate groups like The Family Research Council. Moreover, to think that Representatives and Senators cannot see the comments and effort on the part of the FRC to malign and debase a select group of people based solely on their sexual preference as blatant prejudice is just astonishing. After all these men serve the people they are hating and they are the upholders of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
    To the FRC it doesn’t matter that many of the 20 million US citizens that identify themselves as gay are professionals from every field of study. They are contributing, productive, tax-paying citizens who the FRC and their congressional comrades believe can be stripped of their equality.
    The behavior of the FRC and its congressional supporters is appalling, disgusting, and shameful to witness in a Democracy that has always prided itself on freedom and a careful consideration of human rights.

  • Tim Pitts

    To all you right wring hate groups You will have to account for sins. Stop the lying. Gays, lesbians and transgender are not evil like you say. Repent of your sins in the Name of Jesus