More than a dozen organizations, from family values advocates to supporters of the U.S. military, are asking Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to disassociate the military from the domestic terror-linked Southern Poverty Law Center.
“As your department considers a review of current DOD training resources, it is imperative that the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) ensure future materials do not rely on information from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) or any others that engage in groundless and highly pejorative mischaracterizations of long-standing ministries and organizations for their own political purpose,” the letter said.
According to a statement by FRC, which was the gunman’s target in a domestic terror case linked to SPLC, the request was made after “several training incidents” in which Army instructors “may have relied on anti-Christian materials” from SPLC.
WND also recently reported that the FBI listed SPLC as a “resource.”
The group was identified by confessed domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II as the source of his information when he planned to murder staffers at the Family Research Council because of their faith.
Corkins, a homosexual activist, had obtained information from SPLC calling FRC a “hate group” because of the organization’s biblical position on homosexuality.
He shot and wounded a staff member at FRC before he was subdued. After his confession, he was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts to 25 years in prison.
It was Aug. 15, 2012, when a heavily armed Corkins walked into FRC headquarters in Washington and began shooting with the intention of killing “as many people as I could.” He managed to shoot and injure just one person, facilities manager Leo Johnson, who is credited with heroically stopping the attack.
Corkins admitted he picked FRC because the organization was listed as an “anti-gay” hate group by the SPLC on its website.
FRC promotes traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs about the family and homosexuality, but SPLC claims the organization’s “real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians.”
Corkins, a former volunteer at an LGBT community center, pleaded guilty to terrorism.
A video shows Corkins entered the building and approached Johnson, then leaned over to place his backpack on the floor. When he straightened up, Corkins pointed a semi-automatic handgun directly at Johnson and fired. Despite being wounded in the arm, Johnson was able to subdue Corkins after a brief struggle.
Prosecutors said Johnson saved his own life, and probably many others, only because he immediately sensed something was wrong with Corkins. That hunch caused Johnson to get up from behind his desk, putting him in position to tackle the shooter soon after he drew his gun.
Prosecutors said Johnson has endured a long and slow recovery, including surgery on his arm, which will never be fully functioning again, and treatment for blood clots.
Johnson also told his shooter in court papers, “If you believe in God you should pray to him everyday because not only did God save my life that day, he saved yours too.”
Johnson was armed with a gun the day of the attack but told the court God told him not to shoot.
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."
The letter to Hagel noted that while Army Secretary John McHugh ordered a halt to "all briefings … on the subject of extremist organizations or activities," the military still linked to SPLC on a "hate crimes" Web page.
Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, retired, now the executive vice president for Family Research Council, said that in recent months, Army instructors have begun relying on SPLC as a source for its briefings.
"While we are encouraged that the Army secretary has issued an order ceasing such briefings, we remain concerned that individual installation briefings may continue to draw upon SPLC materials.
"We are asking Secretary Hagel to issue clear guidance to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute and instructing installations to stop relying on SPLC and other non-governmental sources as approved resources for equal opportunity training or other purposes," Boykin said.
"We will continue to monitor this situation and remain in contact with the Department of Defense to ensure that instructors carry out their role to train our troops to defend our freedom, and not push the Southern Poverty Law Center's anti-Christian agenda."
The letter said government materials "should not endorse the work of the SPLC, since it was linked to domestic terrorism in federal court in February 2013."
"Despite this damning tie between the Southern Poverty Law Center and actual extremists, it is well documented that individual installation EO briefings continue to draw upon SPLC data and talking points. That would likely encourage other trainers to use their materials," the letter said.
Therefore, clear guidance is needed "instructing installations to stop relying on SPLC and other non-government sources as approved resources for equal opportunity training or other purposes – especially, those dealing with such topics as hate crimes and other politically charged activities."
"Rest assured," said the letter to Hagel, "that our coalition members will not allow our organizations to be demonized by DOD agencies."
Signers included Gary L. Bauer of American Values, Paul Caprio of Patriotic Veterans, William J. Becker Jr. of Freedom X, Ronald A. Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, Boykin, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, L. Brent Bozell III of the Media Research Center, Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jeff Mateer of Liberty Institute, Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, Gary McCaleb of Alliance Defending Freedom, John B. Wells of Military-Veterans Advocacy Inc., James F. Poe of ICECE and Tim Wildmon of American Family Association.