SPLC Fritters Away Last Traces of Credibility
By: Matt Barber
LYNCHBURG, Va â€“ The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) â€“ a far-left organization famous for promoting a panoply of extreme liberal causes â€“ has launched yet another politically motivated attack against a well-respected conservative organization. The SPLC has arbitrarily tagged as a â€œhate groupâ€ Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH). Most recently, the SPLC came under fire for comparing the â€œTea Partyâ€ movement and other grassroots conservatives to â€œterrorists.â€
AFTAH is a Christian organization that promotes biblical morality and publicly decries both violence and hatred against homosexuals. Although it has been in operation for a number of years, the SPLC only recently labeled AFTAH a â€œhate groupâ€ after being pressured by the Chicago-based â€œGay Liberation Network.â€ (GLN is a fringe group of self-described Marxists and sexual anarchists best known for disrupting peaceful Christian gatherings with raucous, bullhorn laden protests.)
Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, commented: â€œYou can only cry wolf so many times before people begin to ignore you. Newsflash: Moveon.org wants Bush tried as a â€˜war criminal,â€™ Charlie Sheen thinks the U.S. government is behind 9/11 and, yes, the SPLC has once again awarded its now meaningless â€˜hate groupâ€™ distinction to another conservative organization with which it is admittedly â€“ in every way â€“ both politically and ideologically opposed. Who wouldâ€™ve thunk it?
â€œIn the past, the SPLC has actually done some good,â€ continued Barber. â€œBy identifying and monitoring real hate groups such as the KKK, neo-Nazis and Skin Heads, the SPLC once provided information to local law enforcement which was sometimes useful in preventing and investigating subversive and violent activity.
â€œUnfortunately, in recent years the SPLC has traded in its limited usefulness for radical left-wing activism. It has become much like that which it previously sought to expose. It now uses the very tactics employed by white nationalists and other bona-fide hate groups to malign large groups of people whom the SPLC most decidedly â€˜hates.â€™
â€œItâ€™s nauseatingly transparent,â€ said Barber. â€œWith empty, ad hominem attacks and pejorative â€˜hate groupâ€™ smears, the SPLC strives to politically marginalize its ideological opponents. Itâ€™s a cynical â€˜guilt-by-false-associationâ€™ scheme, through which the SPLC hopes â€“ in the public mindâ€™s eye â€“ to equate Christians, â€˜Tea Partyâ€™ conservatives and other traditionalists to the KKK and neo-Nazis.
â€œAmazingly, in going after Americans for Truth, the GLN betrayed its SPLC ally by publicly acknowledging SPLCâ€™s nefarious tactics. GLN boasted that this was the strategy all along. The Gay Liberation Networkâ€™s stated goal in goading the SPLC to label AFTAH a â€˜hate groupâ€™ was to â€˜help assistâ€™ in AFTAHâ€™s â€˜political marginalization.â€™ Of course, by kowtowing to an already deeply marginalized GLN; by so obviously abusing its once-respectable reputation; and by spending its last remaining political capital on such folly, the SPLC has only succeeded in further marginalizing itself.
â€œItâ€™s a â€˜hate group,â€™ mudslinging good time!â€ joked Barber. â€œLetâ€™s try it on for size. In exercise of the SPLCâ€™s trademark â€˜I-know-you-are-but-what-am-Iâ€™ criteria for determining â€˜hate groupâ€™ status, I hereby declare the Southern Poverty Law Center an official â€˜anti-Christian, anti-conservative hate group.â€™ Try it. Itâ€™s fun.
â€œBut seriously,â€ continued Barber, â€œIf AFTAH is a â€˜hate group,â€™ then so is Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church. Any group that observes and defends traditional sexual morality would have to be labeled such. Heck, for that matter, so would the U.S. Armed Forces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA. These groups publically expose the undeniable medical and societal pitfalls associated with the homosexual lifestyle and, therefore, must be â€˜hate groups,â€™ right?
â€œOf course, like any bully, the SPLC only goes after those it believes it can push around. But really, it confers an honor upon every legitimate Christian and conservative group that it so disingenuously labels as a â€˜hate group.â€™ This is a tacit admission by the SPLC that these groups represent a threat; that their activities undermine the SPLCâ€™s not-so-thinly-veiled, left-wing agenda.
â€œI canâ€™t speak for the organizations with which Iâ€™m affiliated and, of course, I hate absolutely no one,â€ concluded Barber. â€œNonetheless, Iâ€™d like to officially request that the SPLC add my name to its spurious â€˜anti-gay hate list.â€™ Itâ€™s good for oneâ€™s biblical bona-fides.â€
(Matt Barber currently, and proudly, sits on the board of Americans for Truth.)
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)