BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) named the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC) a hate group, the FRC began a concerted effort to delegitimize the organization. Now, it contends, the time is ripe to raise money for its anti-SPLC campaign.
For the FRC, it's not only about ending abortion, appointing radical right wing justices to the Supreme Court, re-banning same-sex marriage, or continuing to demonize transgender people. According to Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, one of the organization's highest priorities in 2018 is "exposing" the "radical agenda" of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Montgomery, Alabama-based right-wing monitoring group.
Perkins has been down this road before, but now, in a fundraising email to supporters, he stated that "Part of the resources we raise are dedicated to continue our tracking and researching the ins and outs of the SPLC's radical agenda, exposing it online at sites like SPLCexposed.com, monitoring their activities, and alerting families, Christians, and other concerned citizens about their destructive activities."
Specifically mentioned in Perkins' missive are: the SPLC's "Teaching tolerance" campaign, which "is dead set on putting a militant LGBT curriculum in every single public school classroom in America [his bold and underlines]. Those that oppose their effort are branded a 'hate group,' including parents who are concerned about their children's education"; and, focusing on the SPLC's "Best Practices" handbook, in which the organization "directs teachers and administrators to create an LGBT-inclusive 'school climate' by using gender inclusive language and encouraging students to attend events with same-sex dates."
According to People for the American Way's Eight Wing Watch, Perkins' FRC is seeking $200,000 for its campaign against the SPLC: "Readers who click through to the donation page are told, 'The SPLC's agenda to destroy as many Catholic, Baptist, and Pentecostal organizations as possible, and to push a pro-LGBT agenda in K-12 education, must be halted.'"
Perkins, a welcome figure at the White House, called on President Donald Trump to "forcefully direct all federal agencies to eliminate the SPLC as a reliable and credible source for information and data."
As the blog The Slowly Boiled Frog pointed out, the FRC "is not a hate group because SPLC says it is. Rather, FRC is a hate group because it routinely lies about, and disparages, LGBT people and Muslims. If Tony Perkins doesn't want to be called a hate group leader he has the power to stop FRC from behaving as a hate group. SPLC did not make FRC a hate group. Perkins did that with a little help from some questionable hires."
Interestingly, in an SPLC story titled "Family Research Council's anti-SPLC campaign is promoting an anti-Semitic publication," Alex Amend reported that "On the campaign site, SPLCexposed.com, the FRC and others have compiled articles criticizing the SPLC from right-wing publications like AFA's One News Now, Breitbart and the white nationalist friendly Daily Caller. Incredibly, they've added an article from the anti-Semitic weekly American Free Press (AFP) to their evidence against the SPLC."
Amend notes that "Before it was the AFP it was The Spotlight, the publication of Willis Carto's anti-Semitic hate group Liberty Lobby. Carto, who died in 2015, was one of the most consequential 20th century figures on the American radical right."
In September of last year, the FRC and more than 40 other conservative organizations released a letter "calling on the media to stop using data from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)," an FRC Press Release stated.
"The SPLC has recklessly labeled dozens of mainstream conservative organizations as 'hate groups.' SPLC's labeling of FRC as a 'hate group' was connected in federal court to an act of domestic terrorism committed five years ago at FRC's Washington headquarters by Floyd Corkins. Corkins confessed to the FBI that he used SPLC's 'hate map' to choose FRC as a target for violence. More recently, James Hodgkinson, the attempted political assassin of House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise and many other Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate, was discovered to have 'liked' the SPLC on Facebook."
The letter reads in part:
"We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media's use of data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a 'hate group' label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it."
In one fell swoop, in a recent broad-ranging essay, Peter Sprigg, the FRC's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, hit the "culture war" trifecta, by lashing out at "the modern feminist movement," the "homosexual movement," and the "transgender movement," and arguing that those movements have "been an assault on the sexes."
Sprigg has prepared a pamphlet titled "How To Respond To The LGBT Movement," in which he claims that Christians are being attacked by LGBT activists. Sprigg complains about "the forced public affirmation and celebration of LGBT identity and conduct," and attempts to lay out a methodology to turn back the clock on LGBT rights. If this doesn't substantiate the FRC's designation as a "hate group," I'm not sure what does!