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An organization that for 30 years has promoted religious liberty, championed the nation’s foundational Judeo-Christian values, worked to protect marriage and defended human life is challenging Duke University to keep its reputation unsullied by avoiding an entanglement with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was linked to domestic terrorism through a recent court case in Washington.
Officials with Traditional Values Coalition wrote a letter to Duke President Richard H. Brodhead and Provost Peter Lange after it was revealed the school agreed to take the archives of the SPLC and store them.
“You might not be aware of the fact that SPLC is a left-leaning political activist organization – not a non-ideological research organization. They have targeted a wide swath of Americans for standing up for traditional values,” wrote TVC President Andrea Lafferty to the school chiefs.
“SPLC uses the reckless term ‘hate’ to label anyone with whom they disagree on biblical morality. Catholics, evangelicals, and ‘patriot groups’ (Tea Party members) are among the ‘hate groups’ SPLC targets,” she continued. “If you are pro-life, if you oppose gay marriage, if you stand up for religious freedom … you’re counted among the hate groups. If Mother Teresa was still on this earth, her pro-life views would have earned her the SPLC’s ‘hate group’ stamp of disapproval.”
The earlier announcement said the SPLC’s Intelligence Project was donating its materials and research documenting “extremists and hate groups” to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke.
But the TVC noted the very real threat to people’s lives that resulted from the SPLC’s work.
“On August 15th, Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Family Research Council with the intent of ‘killing as many as possible and smearing his 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in the victims’ faces,” Lafferty told the school.
“I was informed by federal law enforcement that Traditional Values Coalition was his next target that day had he not been apprehended. As a result of the trial and conviction of Mr. Corkins, SPLC has been directly linked in federal court to domestic terrorism.
“This domestic terrorist admitted to investigators that he was inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center and selected his targets from their website’s ‘hate map’.”
Lafferty told the school, “Corkins’ targets were not someone in the abstract that you might read about in the paper. Corkins planned to execute me, my father and my staff – ranging from a young lady just graduated from high school to a father of seven and all others (including children) in the building that day. These are human beings with lives, families, and futures, and the SPLC enabled one man to target us all.”
She said Duke has a duty to academia and the school’s own reputation “to set a higher standard in America’s public square.”
“Junk political posturing posing as research and thought should not be given one iota of credibility,” she said. “They are nothing more than self-appointed arbiters of hate in America and vigilantes who go after those who support biblical morality.”
Lafferty suggested the university simply return the materials to SPLC, because refusing to do so “legitimizes the SPLC’s targeting of Christians.”
According to the announcement, the collection included “nearly 90 boxes of periodicals, pamphlets, flyers and other documents intended for distribution to group members and recruits over the past 30 years.”
School officials did not respond to a WND request for comment, but in the Duke Today university publication, the school boasted that “the SPLC Intelligence Project has been called ‘one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world’ by National Review.”
“It monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. The project posts its investigative findings online, on the Hatewatch blog and in the Intelligence Report, an award-winning quality journal. The Project has crippled some of the country’s most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members.”
But there was no mention of the confirmation that came last month in a Washington, D.C., court case tying the SPLC itself to domestic terrorism.
Corkins pleaded guilty to terror charges and told investigators he got his information about which group to attack from the SPLC.
Corkins also told the FBI he went to FRC headquarters intending to killing as many people as possible because SPLC identified FRC as a “hate” group, based on the organization’s biblical stance on homosexuality.
The video shows the attack and Corkins’ confession of help from SPLC:
Retired Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, a veteran Special Forces commander, the executive vice president of Family Research Council, the conservative pro-family organization targeted by Corkins in his shooting rampage, and also a member of the board of WND.com, said he wants the U.S. government and its agencies to stop working with SPLC and citing its work.
It was in an interview with FBI officers that Corkins fingered SPLC for his inspiration.
Asked by the FBI how he picked FRC to attack, Corkins stated, "It was a, uh, Southern Poverty Law, lists, uh, anti-gay groups. I found them online. I did a little bit of research, went to the website, stuff like that."
FRC said that when Corkins later pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic terrorism, SPLC "was connected in federal court in this first domestic terrorism conviction in Washington, D.C., under the post 9/11 law."
"Floyd Corkins admitted his intention to 'kill the people in the building and then smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in their face," FRC explained. "The Southern Poverty Law Center has thus far refused to remove Family Research Council as a 'hate group' from its target map."
According to the government's sentencing memorandum in the case against Corkins, who is now expected to be sentenced sometime in June, the "mass killing of innocent civilians" was averted narrowly by "the heroic intervening actions of Leonardo Johnson, a building manager/security guard who was seriously injured as a result."