The leftists at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which started out fighting the evil of the KKK and its kin, in recent years have transformed their organization into an arbiter on issues such as homosexuality, marriage and immigration.
Groups and public figures who disagree with the SPLC’s agenda are put on its “hate” map, which once prominently included former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson before the group was skewered on social media, prompting an abrupt retreat.
While featuring organizations such as the KKK, the “hate map” – which is cited by many media outlets – also includes mainstream groups such as the Family Research Council.
But SPLC’s “hate” map designations have been linked to two mass shooting attempts in Washington, including on members of Congress, and many groups on the list are fighting back. Suddenly, it’s the SPLC that’s being called a “hate” organization, retractions are being demanded from newspapers that cite its propaganda and lawsuits are being filed.
On Tuesday, it was talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh, who had had enough, saying SPLC “is treated as the Vatican” by many in the national media.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps one of the biggest hate groups on the left. They tar and feather and slander right-wing groups and call them hate groups,” he said. “They’ve got a map on their website, and whenever a right-wing group that says or does anything that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a bunch of leftist freaks, all you have to do is disagree with them and you are called a hater.”
Criticizing support from companies such as Apple and JPMorgan Chase, he described SPLC’s agenda.
Get the Whistleblower Magazine’s revelations about SPLC in “The Hate Racket,” the story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.
“For example, if they support gay marriage and LGBT and all these other things and you happen to disagree with it, you are the hater. You hate. You are a hate-filled person that is bordering on the use of violence. And that’s how they characterize these groups, and it led to a deranged leftist walking into the office of the Family Research Council and actually shooting at somebody. It’s what contributes to this deranged guy shooting up Republicans at a baseball practice in Virginia,” he said.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center and other left-wing groups actually inspire their dope members to violence while claiming that the right-wing groups that they’re identifying – and they point ’em out on a map. They identify where these groups’ headquarters are on a map, and their deranged supporters end up there, protesting and so forth,” Limbaugh went on.
He warned the CEOs of companies such as Apple not to treat the SPLC “as one of the most worthwhile, fair, enduring organizations devoted to equality and fairness.”
“That’s the last thing they’re devoted to,” he said. “These are the people that want to shut you up if you say something they disagree with. You don’t even have to be saying it about them.
“Basically all you have to do is be a prominent conservative or run a prominent conservative 501(c)(3) fundraising organization. If your conservative group raises money, then the Southern Poverty Law Center is out to destroy you. So I asked the question: Do these CEOs not know this? And it was a legitimate question because if all they do, if their total source of information happens to be CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and maybe the Washington Post, it is entirely possibly they don’t know the truth about the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
Citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the suit charges religious discrimination by “trafficking in false or misleading descriptions of the services offered under the ministry’s trademarked name; and for defamation pursuant to Alabama common law arising from the publication and distribution of information that libels the ministry’s reputation and subjects the ministry to disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public.”
It was filed in federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, scene of some of the nation’s most ferocious civil rights battles.
The case alleges that the defendants – online retailer Amazon, online charity reporting company GuideStar and SPLC – damaged the ministries by creating, publishing and promoting SPLC’s infamous “hate” designations.
The hate designations already had prompted a lawsuit by Liberty Counsel against Guidestar. And several organizations, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, have demanded broadcasters retract reports quoting SPLC’s hate designations.
The newest case seeks an award for “special harms from the SPLC” over the groups’ rejection by the AmazonSmile program due to the hate designations.
Related column: What is ‘hate’ and who defines it? The SPLC? by Jerry Newcombe
It was only a few weeks back that Liberty Counsel accused Gatehouse Media in Florida of publishing a defamatory article for quoting SPLC’s description of Florida “hate” groups. Liberty Counsel was listed, and explained that the publication “uses the discredited Southern Poverty … a reckless organization that falsely labels nonviolent people and organizations as ‘hates’ or ‘hate groups’ as a source.”
“This Gatehouse Media article is not only defamatory but dangerous, especially after the recent Charlottesville tragedy. The article includes a picture of a recent white supremacy rally in Charlottesville along with the following: ‘James Alex Fields, the man charged with second-degree murder after driving into a crowd of anti-protesters at the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist event Unite the Right Saturday, was seen with the Vanguard America group at the rally. Vanguard America has since issued a statement claiming Fields was not an official member.’
“The SPLC’s caustic and false rhetoric is dangerous because it creates a ‘Hate Map’ listing so-called ‘hate groups’ that includes nonviolent, pro-family, Christian, or conservative organizations,” Liberty Counsel explained.
“Mark Potock with the SPLC admitted in an interview: ‘Our criteria for a ‘hate group,’ first of all, have nothing to do with criminality, or violence, or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological.’ Mark Potok is on video in a public meeting stating: ‘Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them …,” Liberty Counsel explained.
This week, a commentary at PJMedia noted Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim British politician and founder of the anti-Islamist group Quilliam, announced a lawsuit against SPLC for defamation.
“They have named me, alongside Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on a list of ‘Anti-Muslim Extremists,'” Nawaz told the publication.
In June, SPLC supporter James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise., R-La.; Zach Barth, a staff member for Congressman Roger Williams; former congressional staff member Matt Mika; and two U.S. Capitol Police officers at a Republican congressional members practice for a charity baseball game just months ago.
SPLC had demonized Scalise for promoting white supremacy and clearly tried to infer “that Rep. Scalise is a so-called ‘hater.'”
Hodgkinson had “liked” SPLC’s Facebook page.
SPLC also was linked to domestic terror through Floyd Lee Corkins, who cited SPLC as his inspiration for his going to the Washington offices of the Family Research Council, armed with a gun, intending to kill as many people as he could. He was stopped by a security guard, who was injured.
WND reported a video showed Corkins entering the FRC offices and confronting Leo Johnson.
FRC repeatedly has explained it adheres to a biblical perspective on homosexuality but is not “anti-gay.”
Liberty Counsel noted that the Philanthropy Roundtable recently published an article pointing out the false labeling.
WND also reported when the Internet payment company PayPal banned the website of Islam expert Robert Spencer from using its service after a far-left news service accused Jihad Watch of “extreme hostility toward Muslims.”
Spencer told WND he was contacted by a reporter with ProPublica, a nonprofit that conducts investigative journalism, and asked about the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of Jihad Watch as a “hate group.”
Asked by reporter Lauren Kirchner if he disagreed with the designation, Spencer replied, “Yes, I certainly do,” noting that for years, “leftists and Muslim groups with numerous ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood have smeared as ‘hate’ all attempts to speak honestly about the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism.”
Alliance Defending Freedom called out 12 News and The Arizona Republic for repeating SPLC’s designation of ADF as a “hate” group.
Liberty Counsel noted that in 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Disciplinary Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review “sharply rebuked and reprimanded attorneys representing the SPLC and its allies for employing the SPLC’s ‘hate group’ label to denigrate a conservative advocacy group.”
“It concluded that employing the label against groups with which it disagrees ‘overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional.’ It continued that such behavior is ‘uncivil’ and ‘constitutes frivolous behavior and does not aid the administration of justice,'” Liberty Counsel said.
WND reported last month when SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen, defended his group’s attacks on Christians.
He wrote in a Huffington Post commentary that Christians deserve the designation because they “sow the seeds of hate” for, among other things, adhering to a biblical perspective on homosexuality.
But the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability warned GuideStar its use of false SPLC claims to undermine Christian organizations was damaging its credibility.
Paul Bedard documented in his Washington Secrets column that some of the groups targeted by SPLC now are unleashing a public counteroffensive, accusing the organization of “fueling hate, killing free speech and even encouraging terrorist-style attacks on those it doesn’t agree with.”
Get Whistleblower Magazine’s revelations about SPLC in “The Hate Racket,” the complete story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions in the process.