Leading up to this week’s Republican National Convention, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has passed several resolutions, one of which directly addresses the oversized and negative influence of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on government agencies. The RNC’s criticism could also be extended to the SPLC’s influence on social media and shopping sites.
Originally formed as a watchdog group to track the Ku Klux Klan and other violent extremist groups, the group these days has become a money-making giant which uses its mailing list prowess to rake in millions of dollars, much of which it stashes in offshore bank accounts. It accomplishes this by labeling any conservative group it doesn’t like as a “hate group,” effectively lumping organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC) in with skinheads, Nazis and the Klan simply because ADF and FRC, along with millions of Americans, believe that marriage should be reserved to one man and one woman.
The SPLC publishes an annual report that includes a “hate map” which includes the locations of the groups it targets. That’s proven to have dangerous consequences. In 2012, an LGBT activist by the name of Floyd Lee Corkins decided to invade FRC’s premises in Washington, D.C. with a gun, in an attempt to murder as many employees as possible, while cramming Chick-fil-A sandwiches into the mouths of his victims. Only the heroic actions of the building manager/security guard, who was injured by a gunshot from the attacker in the lobby of FRC’s building, prevented untold deaths at the hands of the perpetrator, who later admitted that he was motivated to target FRC because of the SPLC’s “hate map.”
In 2017, Congressman Steve Scalise and four others were shot and injured by James T. Hodgkinson, a deranged Facebook fan of the SPLC at a softball practice outside Washington, D.C. While no one was killed due to the quick response of security in the area, Scalise nearly died from his wounds and spent many months recovering. The SPLC, which had criticized and labeled Scalise for several years over his conservative views, denounced the shooting.
In the past, the SPLC’s materials have even shown up in Department of Defense training materials before an outcry from conservatives ended the practice.
In 2018, 47 groups signed an open letter calling upon federal agencies, news media, corporations and social media sites to stop relying on SPLC’s data, stating that the group “amounts to little more than a leftist instrument of political warfare against those with whom it disagrees…”
The SPLC’s radical agenda also plays out on social media and even shopping sites, where entities like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon censor messages or blackball charities based on the group’s “hate” designations.
The group benefits from the loose legal rules involving slander and libel. In one case involving Coral Ridge Ministries, another Christian target of the SPLC, a federal judge dismissed such a case against the SPLC by ruling that the term “hate group” is an opinion, not a fact, and therefore not a defamatory statement.
On the other hand, the SPLC settled a defamation claim filed against it by Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in 2018 for labelling them as “anti-Muslim extremists.” The SPLC paid out $3.375 million to the plaintiffs in that case.
The new 2020 RNC resolution reads:
“RESOLUTION REFUTING THE LEGITIMACY OF THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER TO IDENTIFY HATE GROUPS
“WHEREAS, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a far-left organization with an obvious bias;
“WHEREAS, The SPLC makes a practice of incorrectly labeling persons and organizations as ‘hate groups’;
“WHEREAS, The actions of the SPLC have served to mobilize persons to act in hate and violence towards those on its ‘hate group’ list;
“WHEREAS, The Family Research Council suffered a violent attack due to its support of the traditional family, which the SPLC has deemed as hateful;
“WHEREAS, The Obama Administration legitimized the SPLC and acted upon their request that the federal government formally identify individuals and organizations as ‘hate groups’;
“WHEREAS, The SPLC was further legitimized when the Obama-Biden Administration gave them the ability to provide input to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
“and WHEREAS, Legitimizing the SPLC puts conservative groups or voices at risk of attack; therefore, be it
“RESOLVED, That the SPLC is a radical organization, and that the federal government should not view this organization as a legitimate foundation equipped to provide actionable information to DHS or any other government agency.”
The SPLC responded to the RNC resolution by hitting back in a post from its current president, Margaret Huang, who said in part, “This attack on our work is an attempt to excuse the Trump administration’s pattern and practice of working with individuals and organizations that malign entire groups of people — immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community — while promoting policies that undermine their very existence.”
The SPLC has, over the years, morphed into the very “hate group” that it was organized to expose. Only now it has targeted traditional religious values as “hate” and, by doing so, insidiously provides cover for government agencies, the mainstream news media and other organizations to oppose and discriminate against religion in the name of fighting “hate.” The RNC resolution is a necessary pushback against such tactics.
Photo from SPLC
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