[Full disclosure: I write for the SPLC's blog, Hatewatch.]
When right-wingers got wind of the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center had designated a number of Religious Right organizations who specialize in rhetorically bashing gays and lesbians as hate groups, they and their allies on the Right came more or less unglued.
Now, rather than face up to the substance of the accusations, they're choosing to demonize the SPLC and their critics. Par for the course for this crowd.
What was especially noteworthy about the SPLC report was that it zeroed in on the fundamental falsity of the material attacking people in the LGBT community that these so-called "Christian" organizations distribute maliciously and knowingly. That is, they are lying baldfacedly, and they frankly seem not to care. Evidently, that 9th Commandment about bearing false witness and all that is now a disposable rule.
Jeremy Hooper noted that the Family Research Council -- one of the largest of the groups named -- launched a counteroffensive called "Stop Hating/Start Debating," with a press release that begins thus:
The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.
The hypocrisy, of course, is not just a laughable bug, but a definitive feature of these groups. Alvin McEwen at Pam's House Blend enumerates just how many ways the FRC's opening salvo is a farce.
Their political friends leapt into action too. Cliff Kincaid called the SPLC's hate-group designation a "racket" by conniving liberals. And Peter LaBarbera at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality -- also one of the designated groups -- complained that the SPLC never seems to pick on mean gay groups that fight back against the fundamentalist assault. Meanwhile, of course, he doubles down by claiming that all the lies against LGBT folks enumerated by the SPLC are in fact actually true. Uh-huh.
Perhaps the funniest attack came from Ed Meese at CNS News:
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese says it is “despicable” for the Southern Poverty Law Center to classify the Family Research Council and a dozen other top conservative organizations as “hate groups” similar to the Ku Klux Klan.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Meese told CNSNews.com about the list published by the SPLC. “I know about seven or eight of those groups. I know the people very well. I know the groups very well, I’ve worked with them over the years, and I think it actually undermines the credibility of the Southern Poverty Law Center to make such a statement.”
Last week, the Southern Policy Law Center announced that it was going to classify the Family Research Council and 12 other organizations as “hate groups” because of their positions on homosexuality.
Among the groups being designated by the SPLC are the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Coral Ridge Ministries, Family Research Institute, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Counsel, MassResistance, National Organization for Marriage and the Traditional Values Coalition.
The SPLC said these organizations will be named to its "hate group" watch list.
But Meese said the Southern Poverty Law Center had cited no evidence whatsoever to show that the FRC or the other major pro-family conservative organizations were hate groups.
Continue reading »