Here is some good advice: be informed about the nature of an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) before you cite it as a source.
For over a year, the Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins has kept IFI readers informed about some of the ridiculousness going on in the northwest suburban school districts U-46 and 211. Grown men and women are actually debating whether it is a good thing to allow a biological male to share washrooms, locker rooms and showers with biological females.
Here is Higgins writing back in September about a recent U-46 school board meeting where school board member Jeanette Ward spoke against allowing boys to shower with girls:
Two speakers at Monday’s meeting alluded to Mrs. Ward’s support coming from a hate group. Rich Jacobs, ‘husband’ of homosexual activist and Kane County judge John Dalton, referred to ‘fringe political groups known for hate and divisiveness,’ and board member Veronica Noland referred to a group labeled a ‘hate group’ by the (ethically dubious) Southern Poverty Law Center. Because of my keen powers of deduction, I suspect the allusions were to the Illinois Family Institute, and, therefore, some context is warranted. And I know from assertions made by multiple board members that the board takes pride in listening and learning from diverse voices (after which some members hurl epithets).
It is clear that some of the U-46 board and faculty members, like the SPLC, have redefined ‘hate’ to include the expression of moral and ontological propositions with which they disagree. Perhaps these particular board and faculty members hate those with whom they disagree, but they ought not project their habits of mind onto others.
Most people are fully capable of deeply loving those who hold different beliefs and act in accordance with those beliefs. Most of us in this wildly diverse world do it every day. I wonder if these board and faculty members hurl the same ugly epithets at Muslim and Orthodox Jewish students and their parents who likely hold conservative views regarding co-ed restrooms and locker rooms?
Ignorance doesn’t only exist at the local level, of course, and Democratic state Senator Tom Cullerton showed his own in a recent reelection ad. Cullerton actually says during one of his ads that his opponent is “even aligned with a group that’s been officially been named a hate group — his values are extreme.”
As Laurie Higgins has made clear, we know who he’s talking about: the Illinois Family Institute. The organization that defends, for example, the unborn, is “hateful” and “extreme.” While Cullerton’s own party has in its platform support for partial birth abortion.
So what is this vaunted Southern Poverty Law Center? The Illinois Family Institute hasn’t been the only organization telling the truth about the SPLC — their infamy is nationwide. And it’s not new. Over ten years ago, Discover the Networks, an organization dedicated to describing “the networks and agendas of the political Left,” summarized the SPLC’s origins:
Founded in 1971 by a pair of Alabama lawyers…the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center quickly built a reputation as America’s leading “civil rights law firm,” suing Southern institutions resistant to desegregation, publicizing hate crimes, and using the media to denounce the perpetrators of those crimes.
Since then, the SPLC has been criticized for exaggerating things like “white supremacist activity” in their never-ending fundraising efforts. And they’ve been rewarded for their efforts — it has been reported that the group now has over $300 million dollars in its coffers.
Discover the Networks reported that according to the SPLC, “American society remains irredeemably rife with bigotry aimed at racial and ethnic minorities.”
Critics from across the political spectrum charge the Center with betraying its professed commitment to advancing civil rights. The SPLC levels accusations of racism unjustly, branding as ‘bigoted’ many groups and individuals whose only crime lies in their refusal to embrace the SPLC’s leftwing agenda.
Which brings us to today.
The Illinois Family Institute has compiled a modest library of links that could help people like state Senator Tom Cullerton and U-46 school board member Veronica Noland become informed about the SPLC. Here are just a few examples of what they’ll learn.
Just this month, the SPLC has garnered attention from both National Review and The Federalist, two respected sources for political commentary. Here’s the title of an article by the National Review editors: Everyone Who Disagrees with the SPLC Is Hitler. The focus was on the SPLC’s blacklisting of respected critics of radical Islam. M.G. Oprea also wrote about it at The Federalist: Leftist Group: Saying Islam Has Problems Makes You A Terrorist.
A year ago, Mark Krikorian wrote a piece for National Review titled The Southern Poverty Law Center: Part Karl, Part Groucho, and said:
The Southern Poverty Law Center is rightly seen as a pernicious and loathsome racket.
It warns that terrorists lurk among veterans and Tea Partiers; its labeling of the Family Research Council as a ‘hate group’ inspired a gay activist to attempt a murderous attack on the FRC’s Washington offices; and it beat Politico to the smear by putting Ben Carson on a list of “extremists,” on par with David Duke and Fred Phelps (for which it was forced to apologize).
Tom Cullteron and Veronica Noland should be sure to read Aaron Bandler’s article at The Daily Wire, 7 Things You Need To Know About The Southern Poverty Law Center. He explains:
The reality is that the SPLC is a leftist hack advocacy group which picks and chooses what standards to apply to its labels, consistently turning a blind eye to leftist and pro-Democrat groups and individuals while targeting, often unfairly, their enemies on the right.
Here is #7 on his list:
7. The actual hate group is the SPLC. As Human Events concluded in 2011:
All of which begs the question: Is the SPLC, by its own criteria, the real hate group? It still carries weight in plenty of circles here in America, and so when it categorizes an organization as a hate group, many people of good conscience are influenced by that designation, one which is quite stigmatizing and destructive, as evidenced by the recent events involving [Focus on the Family] and (the American Family Association] mentioned above. Yet it is the leaders of the SPLC who are either irresponsibly attacking other fine organizations, or worse still, knowingly defaming them.
Who then deserves the title of “hate group,” Focus on the Family or the Southern Poverty Law Center? Who has been guilty of demonizing others and spreading hurtful, inaccurate information? Whose actions and words have been hateful? The record speaks for itself.
A few years ago, Alec Torres penned an article titled The SPLC and ‘Hate Groups’ — here’s the subtitle: “To the Southern Poverty Law Center, believing homosexual activity sinful is ‘hate’ and ‘bigotry.’”
That’s a pretty good summary.
Torres also explains why the SPLC lumps “together truly hateful groups with groups it finds offensive,” — they are attempting to vilify “the latter in an attempt to curtail free debate.”
Tom and Veronica should read everything IFI’s Laurie Higgins writes — her articles can be found both at IFI’s website and its sister organization, Illinois Family Action. Here is a good example of the kind of things they’ll learn:
No longer is hate defined as, well, hatred. Anyone who finds the SPLC’s analogies faulty; their research selective; their concealing of inconvenient facts troubling; or their unproven, non-factual moral beliefs wrong, is now guilty of hatred.
The SPLC holds the unproven, non-factual belief that homosexuality is moral and arrogantly demands that all of society agree, or be silent, or be labeled a “hate group.” That strikes me as a strange manifestation of tolerance or respect for speech rights and diversity. Ironically, the SPLC has become the oppressor.
The SPLC hopes that their smear campaign will silence conservatives so that only the SPLC’s moral views will be heard in the public square. No one should allow the unprincipled bullying tactics and specious reasoning of the SPLC to intimidate them into silence. The SPLC’s ontological and moral beliefs about homosexuality are not facts, and dissent from the ethically impoverished SPLC’s beliefs does not constitute hatred.