WASHINGTON – How politically extreme is the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-funded legal hate group known for its guilt-by-association tactics and whipping up hysteria over the ever-present threat of a second coming of the Ku Klux Klan?

The latest target to be placed on the group’s “extremist watch list” will give you a clue.

He’s a highly acclaimed brain surgeon, potential presidential candidate and, according to polls, one of America’s most admired celebrities.

That’s right. Dr. Ben Carson.

The reason? He’s against same-sex marriage.

From the SPLC website: “Ben Carson rapidly ascended as a far-right political star after publicly scolding President Obama, whom he sat a few feet away from, at a National Prayer Breakfast in February 2013. Carson’s reproach of Obama for his health care and tax policies went viral, unleashing a flood of adulation from right-wing media and hate groups.”

SPLC unfairly labels him “anti-gay.”

The evidence? His quotes about marriage: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality – it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”

Get all of Dr. Ben Carson’s inspiring books that celebrate the values that shaped America’s past and must shape her future in WND’s Superstore.

When interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News March 26, 2013, Carson also said:

“[I]f we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.”

The SPLC itself has been accused of being a hate group. It was one of several groups identified by a domestic terrorist as having inspired his attempt to murder Christians at the Family Research Council in a foiled armed attack.

In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkin is serving a 25-year prison sentence for the attack that resulted in the wounding of an FRC security guard. The judge determined that it was an act of domestic terrorism after the shooter admitted that he used SPLC’s hate map to identify FRC as a target. Corkins said his plan was to kill as many people at FRC as he could.

In 2012, a team of Christian activists, black pastors and Orthodox Jews called on the SPLC, which bills itself as an organization “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry,” to actually speak out against the hate that exists in society these days.

“The SPLC has moved from monitoring actual hate groups like the KKK and Neo Nazis to slandering mainstream Christian organizations with that very same ‘hate group’ label,” said Matt Barber, then vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, who attended a news conference held outside the group’s headquarters in Alabama. “By extension, the SPLC is smearing billions of Christians and Jews worldwide as ‘haters,’ simply because they embrace the traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.