The Southern Poverty Law Center has added several antigay
organizations to its list of hate groups, citing their "demonizing propaganda"
and "propagation of known falsehoods." SPLC Intelligence Project director Mark
Potok (whom Amy Frykholm interviewed for the Century a while back) and president Richard Cohen discussed their
decision on a web conference last week. Becky Garrison has the highlights.
The Family Research Council, one of the more prominent groups
named, is fighting back, aided by some high-profile
elected officials. An ad FRC placed in DC-area print publications accuses
"elements of the radical Left" of "trying to shut down informed discussion of
It's not worth quibbling over a pejorative word-bomb like
"radical." The bigger problem is with, well, most of the other words in the
isn't "trying to shut down" anything. It's not advocating legal action against
the antigay groups or a ban on their media appearances, nor is it accusing them
of illegal activity. The goal is to curb FRC and others' influence by calling them out for their commitment to an antigay
ideology that often trumps any commitment to facts.
discussion" is exactly the standard these antigay groups so often fall short
of. For example, SPLC cites FRC's ongoing claims that gay men are more likely
to molest children, a junk-science claim that's been debunked
repeatedly. Running with it anyway is uninformed at best and dishonest at
there's no doubt these groups are deeply engaged in
the serious "policy issues" facing the republic, SPLC isn't trying to silence
opponents of same-sex marriage or "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. SPLC's focus
is hate groups and hate crimes, and it's reported that gays and lesbians "are far more
likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in
the United States."
The organizations on SPLC's list don't beat up gay kids, but they
do spread falsehoods that fertilize seeds of hate and violence. Some of them
even do this in the name of Christ.