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: Family Research Council License-to-Kill Claim ‘Outrageous’

By Mark Potok on August 16, 2012 - 4:03 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda

Editor’s Note: The following statement may be attributed to Mark Potok, Senior Fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center and editor of its Intelligence Report and Hatewatch blog.

Yesterday’s attack on the Family Research Council and the shooting of a security guard there was a tragedy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack.

For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence. We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.

But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a “hate group.” The attacker, Floyd Corkins, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins said. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”

Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.

As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.

Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.

  • shankar

    really sad thing is when you pick out groups like FRC you trivialize actual groups like the Aryan nations, Nazis Klan etc

  • Reynardine

    Now, in my part of the state, only some women who reach a certain age become old ladies. The others become terrible old ladies.

  • Reynardine

    You’re right, Aadila: that mind wasn’t big enough to power a rutabaga. Now, did absinthe make the heart grow fonder? (I know how to make the real enchilada, by the way, but won’t try, because it might blow up) (If you infer I have some strange ancestral skills, you could be right, but I’m not about to make my living shining)

  • aadila

    Aron it’s another one of those “you are trying to stop me from hating so you must be a hater” comments. I must admit it gets tedious. Good on you for at least trying to talk sense to a turnip mind.

  • Aron


    Why does the SPLC foster hatred of Christian minorities? I sincerely believe that the SPLC does not foster hatred of Christian minorities — or anyone for that matter.

    I hope you eventually take the time to sit down and let the dizziness subside. It appears to be clouding your mind.

  • Tiffany Jefferson

    Why does the SPLC foster hatred of Christian minorities?

  • Erika

    Aadila, obviously with Jack T. Chick it would be the young woman who gets cast into the Lake of Fire when Hurricane Eeeww hits – in part its because of the mysogny which is often present in Chick Tracts. But mainly its because Jimmy Swaggart always repented following being caught committing “sins of the flesh” so obviously his name would be in the Book of Life. According to Jack T. Chick you can pretty much do anything if you ask Jesus into your heart and repent before dying.

  • Aron


    Everyone gets thrown into the lake of flames!

  • aadila

    If that was the case we’d could call it Hurricane Eeeewww. They could write a Chick Track about it, the only question is, who gets thrown into the flames at the end…?

  • Erika

    Aadila, as long as it did not involve Jimmy Swaggart you’re probably fine. If it did, eeeewww!

    CoralSea, apparently the World Meterological Association heard you and granted your wish because Enrique is on the list for Pacific hurricanes – also for for 2015. Of course, no one other than meterologists really pays too much attention to Pacific hurricanes since they tend to head west where there is nothing much to hit.

    So one year could have both a Hurricane Erika and a Hurricane Enrique – its even possible that the same storm could be both.

    According to the always fun Social Security Administration baby name popularity index (the over time search is what I find to be the most interesting) –

    you can see that there actually was a slight increase in ranking for the name Katrina in 2005 and 2006 but it fell off the cliff afterwards not even making the top 1000 in 2011.

    Weird that the year of the hurricane and the year afterwards it actually went up in popularity.

  • aadila

    There’s a slim chance New Orleans may have been just too much for one little aadila.

    About which more I shall not say.

  • CoralSea

    To all in regard to TS (or is it a hurricane now? haven’t checked lately) Isaac — I, too, sincerely hope that it doesn’t cause damage or hurt or kill anyone (it already did in Haiti, I understand, which is very sad). However, the irony is just too much not to comment on.

    Even my mother, who is a very strong Christian, but who detests Pat Robertson, but also is a life-long Republican, was chuckling evilly about the irony of Isaac menacing the RNC.

    I so hope that it doesn’t hit New Orleans (although we now know that if it does, it is aadila’s fault — what DID you do, my dear?) I also hope that Aron’s cigar places and favorite brewery are spared — and that they get a commercial boost from the infusion of people visiting Tampa for the RNC.

    As for Erika — I understand that the name Katrina has fallen into disuse a bit since, well, Katrina. I know that I had a friend that was going to be having a daughter around that time (though up here, in Illinois), and prior to the storm, was thinking of calling her “Katrina.” After the hurricane, they opted for “Ophelia.” Happily, she is an agile child, so no one calls her “Oaf” for short! (That was her husband’s — the baby’s father’s — initial reaction. He was still pushing for “Katrina” until his mother told him that the name “Katrina” would just burden the poor little thing.)

    Yes — it is always embarrassing to have your name associated with some sort of serious disaster. Actually, I think in terms of the “E” storms, something called “Enrique” would be a better name than Erika for a really ferocious storm. Not that you aren’t ferocious, but “Hurricane Enrique” sounds a lot more terrifying.

  • CoralSea

    Stan — sorry to have ignored you with all of the commentary about the weather. Apparently you neither read, nor understood, the previous posts about how the FRC came to be labeled a “hate” group. It wasn’t because they were Christian or anti-gay. The SPLC doesn’t label groups because of their beliefs. FRC was labeled a “hate” group because of their willful spreading of lies about gay people (like that pedophilia is mostly a gay problem, which it most decidedly is not). These types of lies help fan the fires of attacks against LGBT persons.

    The FRC was called out numerous times before they were ever listed as a “hate” group for spreading vicious falsehoods that basically demonized LGBT persons, who are already a risk of being physically attacked or otherwise discriminated against. Numerous groups have debunked the fake data they peddle — but they still do it. That is why SPLC considers them a “hate” group. They can believe anything they want, but willfully spreading falsehoods that stir up passions against another class of people is anything but Christian.

  • aadila

    Oh dear. It’s because of what I was doing last time I was in New Orleans. I knew that would catch up with me eventually.


  • aadila

    If Haiti was visited with destruction for making a voodoo pact (as Pat Robertson claimed), what is the sin of the clean-skirted Republicans who can’t even seem to get in the same room together without bringing down upon themselves a hurricane?

  • Erika

    According to the National Hurricane Center, Issac is turning west and making a beeline for New Orleans :(

    Expect Pat Robertson – and the Pat Robertson lites of Fox News to say that the combined power of the Republicans prayers turned the Hurricane to the Godless City of New Orleans because of Voodoo or Mardi Gras or Jazz or Lil Wayne or whatever (Unspoken but understood to the racists – blacks. Unspoken but understood to the Jack T. Chick crowd – Catholics!)

    CoralSea, it is most definitely a dubious honor to have a hurricane with your name. In any case, a future Hurricane Erika could cause suffiicient death and destructiveness to be retired and still not be close to being the worst namesake hurricane in my family – I have a cousin named

  • Aron


    I believe one of my Youtube commenter friends put it best, regarding Isaac:

    ‘God hate the GOP.’

    Hee hee!

    (That being said, I really, really, REALLY hope that the hurricane doesn’t destroy Tampa. I’m a cigar collector, and Tampa is known as Cigar City, due to that city historically being the center of the American cigar industry. Also, I have a whole bunch of friends who live down there. And don’t even get me started on Cigar City Brewery. YUMMM!!!)

    Uhm… Sorry for the long parenthetical comment there. My coffee just kicked in. Wheee!