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Extremism Headlines: Anti-LGBTQ lobbying, far-right outlet to close

Every week, we highlight stories on extremism and the radical right from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Here are stories that caught our attention through March 8.

ADF ally accuses group of 'disingenuous' lobbying 

  • David Fowler, a former Tennessee state senator and current president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), raised concerns about the lobbying practices of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ hate group, Hatewatch reported on Monday. In a blog post, Fowler, who is considered an ADF ally, accused ADF of providing “inconsistent” information to state legislators regarding the legal authority of state governments to enshrine conservative "parental rights" into state law. Specifically, ADF’s lobbying efforts in Tennessee appear to conflict with their federal lobbying activities, according to the article. Fowler suggested that this inconsistency reveals a strategy to expand federal control over "parental rights," despite their claims to the contrary.

Antigovernment group's call for border vigilantes

  • The antigovernment group United Patriot Party of North Carolina (UPP NC) issued an invitation for Americans to join them as border vigilantes in Eagle Pass, Texas, Hatewatch wrote on Monday. "Such rhetoric has the potential" to incite violence against "migrants and border patrol agents," the article said. The UPP NC’s event, dubbed “Operation Hold the Line,” emerged from an anti-immigrant environment fueled by xenophobic hate groups and politicians. 
  • Hatewatch previously reported on xenophobic rhetoric from politicians that has "emboldened" anti-immigrant groups on the border.  

First hate crime conviction for misogynist incel

  • Tres Genco, the first misogynist incel to be charged under federal hate crime statutes, has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison followed by five years on post-prison supervision, Hatewatch wrote on March 1. Incel is a portmanteau of "involuntary celibate," which originally meant someone having trouble finding fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships. Genco hatched a 2020 plot to "slaughter" women at an Ohio university. His manifesto revealed his intent to kill women out of hatred, jealousy, and revenge. His guilty plea to attempting to commit a hate crime, which included an attempt to kill, set a precedent for gender-based hate crimes. 
  • Genco's ideology stems from male supremacy, or the belief men have the right to subjugate women, trans men and non-binary people. 

Church Militant to close after defamation lawsuit

  • The right-wing Catholic media outlet Church Militant is set to shut down in April after settling a defamation lawsuit, The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday. Rev. Georges de Laire, a canon lawyer and priest in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, filed the lawsuit after a Church Militant article described him as "unstable and vindictive" after "he decreed that St. Benedict Center, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, could not represent itself as a Catholic institution," the article said. Church Militant agreed to pay $500,000 and issue an apology to de Laire. The outlet faced financial troubles, layoffs, and the ousting of its founder prior to this resolution, The Daily Beast said.
  • Hatewatch previously reported on Church Militant's anti-LGBTQ screeds in 2018. 

View last week's edition here: Extremism Headlines: Attacks on LGBTQ+ churches, Border Convoy rhetoric

Above photo: A TV crew from the conservative Catholic Church Militant conducts an interview in Lansing, Michigan on October 12, 2021. Photo by Jim West/Alamy

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