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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Its So-Called 'Hate Groups'

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:24 PM
  • 141 Replies

By Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies  

What is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)?

  • The SPLC calls itself "a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry."[1] It developed its reputation by monitoring the activities of racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.[2]
  • It was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees, who had made a fortune in direct mail marketing. He used the same skills at SPLC, turning it into a powerful fundraising machine.[3] It has an annual budget of about $30 million,[4] but also a massive "endowment" of $223 million as of 2010,[5] including funds in bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.[6] The American Institute of Philanthropy has given SPLC a grade of "F" for continuing to fundraise while sitting on such a massive pile of money.[7]
  • Journalist Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper's magazine in 2000, "Today, the SPLC spends most of its time-and money-on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate."[8]

What does the SPLC consider a "hate group?"

  • Logically, a "hate group" should be defined as one whose members 1) actually say that they hate a particular group of people; and/or 2) engage in or condone violence or other illegal activity toward such a group.
  • The SPLC, however, uses much broader criteria for defining "hate groups," and criteria which can vary depending on which of fourteen categories of "hate groups" you are looking at-ranging from "Neo-Nazi" to "Black Separatist" to "Radical Traditional Catholicism." These criteria are entirely subjective and largely ideological.[9]
  • While their rhetoric ties "hate groups" with actual "hate crimes,"[10] the SPLC acknowledges alleged "hate group" activities include constitutionally protected activities such as "marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing," and that the "hate group" designation "does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity."[11] However, they do not distinguish between racist or violent groups and legitimate organizations that participate peacefully in the political process-tarring all with the same label.
  • As genuine "hate groups" such as the Ku Klux Klan have dwindled, the SPLC has broadened its target list in order to justify its continued existence. In recent years, whole categories and new groups have been added not because of actual "hate" activities, but because they hold conservative positions on controversial political issues such as immigration[12] and homosexuality.[13]
  • The SPLC claims that the number of "hate groups" in America increased by a staggering 66% from 2000 to 2010.[14] Yet this is only as a result of their own expanding definition of what constitutes a "hate group." Actual hate crimes, as measured by the FBI, fell nearly 25% between 1996[15] and 2009.[16]
  • The SPLC's Mark Potok has publicy confessed that there is "an element of hypocrisy" in the SPLC attacking conservative groups while remaining silent about liberal groups that use "exactly the same kind of tactics."[17]
  • A liberal writer in The Humanist said, "The SPLC campaigns for laws that will effectively deny free speech and freedom of association to certain groups of Americans on the basis of their beliefs. . . . [T]hen, with no discernible irony, it goes on to justify its Big Brother methods in the name of tolerance."[18]


[3] Dan Morse and Greg Jaffe, "Critics Question $52 Million Reserve, Tactics of Wealthiest Civil Rights Group,"Montgomery Advertiser (Feb. 13, 1994): 14A; "Highlights of the Southern Poverty Law Center," Montgomery Advertiser(Feb. 13, 1994): 15A.

[4] Southern Poverty Law Center, 2007 Form 990, Part 1, Page 1, Line 1e; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2008 Form 990, Part I, Page 1, Line 8; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2009 Form 990, Part I, Page 1, Line 8.

[5] Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010 Form 990, Schedule D, Part V, Page 2, Line 1g.

[6] Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010 Form 990 Part V, #4b ("Cayman Islands, Bermuda").

[7] American Institute of Philanthropy. Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. December 2008.http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Southern_Poverty_Law_Center

[8] Ken Silverstein, "The Church of Morris Dees," Harper's Magazine Vol. 301, No. 1806 (November 1, 2000), pp. 54ff. Nexis. (Also reprinted online at: http://www.americanpatrol.com/SPLC/ChurchofMorrisDees001100.html)

[10] E.g., the SPLC boasts, "We've crippled some of the country's most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members."

http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/hate-and-extremism

[12] Jerry Kammer, "Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors," Backgrounder (Washington: Center for Immigration Studies, March 2010). Online at: http://www.cis.org/immigration-splc

[13] See pro-family response at: http://www.startdebatingstophating.com/

[14] Southern Poverty Law Center, "U.S. Hate Groups Top 1,000" (02/23/2011) (Last accessed 06/30/11 athttp://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/us-hate-groups-top-1000).

[15] "Hate Crime Statistics 1996" Uniform Crime Reports, Table 1, Page 7 (Last accessed 06/30/11 athttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/1996).

[16] "Hate Crime Statistics 2009" Uniform Crime Reports, Table 1 (Last accessed 06/20/11 athttp://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/data/table_01.html).

[17] David Schimke, "Why Words Can Hurt You: The editor of Intelligence Report on racists, militants, and their favorite pundits," Utne Reader, December 2009 (web exclusive); online at: http://www.utne.com/Politics/How-Hate-Speech-Can-Hurt-You-Intelligence-Report.aspx

[18] Barbara Dority, "Is the extremist right entirely wrong?" The Humanist, Vol. 55, No. N6 (November 1, 1995), p. 12ff. Nexis. Online at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1374/is_n6_v55/ai_17529288/pg_3/

by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:24 PM
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Replies (1-10):
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM
2 moms liked this

popcorn

tanyainmizzou
by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM
8 moms liked this


mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:45 PM
4 moms liked this

Yes, Sally we understand that shining a light onto hate groups bothers you.

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:51 PM
2 moms liked this

No, we know that shining a light onto lib/prog hate groups that say they are actually fighting hate groups - rather than being one of the worst - bothers you.

Why are you so opposed to freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

Why do you think freedom is a zero-sum game? Conservatives and libertarians don't freedom is zero-sum any more than they think financial success is.

Why are you so backwards in these strange theories of yours?

Quoting mikiemom:

Yes, Sally we understand that shining a light onto hate groups bothers you.


mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:02 PM
3 moms liked this

 wrapping your hate in the bible and or constitution doesn't negate that it is disgusting hate sally - Not surprised you had a problem with this.

Quoting SallyMJ:

No, we know that shining a light onto lib/prog hate groups that say they are actually fighting hate groups - rather than being one of the worst - bothers you.

Why are you so opposed to freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

Why do you think freedom is a zero-sum game? Conservatives and libertarians don't freedom is zero-sum any more than they think financial success is.

Why are you so backwards in these strange theories of yours?

Quoting mikiemom:

Yes, Sally we understand that shining a light onto hate groups bothers you.

 

jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:04 PM
6 moms liked this

LOL it must suck hard to know you got lumped in with the KLAN!

*and all the dudes in the white hoods sang, 'nuh-uh, YOU are!*

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:06 PM

I know - super confusing for you that Constitutional rights are protected for people you disagree with, as well as those you like.

You too can grow a libertarian backbone, learn and grow, and become more tolerant of Constitutional freedoms for people you don't like and agree with, as well as for those you do.

Quoting mikiemom:

 wrapping your hate in the bible and or constitution doesn't negate that it is disgusting hate sally - Not surprised you had a problem with this.

Quoting SallyMJ:

No, we know that shining a light onto lib/prog hate groups that say they are actually fighting hate groups - rather than being one of the worst - bothers you.

Why are you so opposed to freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

Why do you think freedom is a zero-sum game? Conservatives and libertarians don't freedom is zero-sum any more than they think financial success is.

Why are you so backwards in these strange theories of yours?

Quoting mikiemom:

Yes, Sally we understand that shining a light onto hate groups bothers you.



jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:08 PM
6 moms liked this

Let's review a few of the gems from the FRC that got them designated as a hate group:

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/family-research-council

This isn't disagreement - this is hate speach.

“The reality is, homosexuals have entered the Scouts in the past for predatory purposes.”
– FRC vice president Rob Schwarzwalder, on radio’s “The Janet Mefferd Show,” Feb. 1, 2013.

“[H]omosexual activists vehemently reject the evidencewhich suggests that homosexual men … are … relative to their numbers, more likely to engage in such actions [childhood sexual abuse] than are heterosexual men.”
– Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at FRC, on why the Boy Scouts should not allow LGBT Scouts or leaders, FRC blog, February 1, 2013.

“The videos are titled 'It Gets Better.' They are aimed at persuading kids that although they'll face struggles and perhaps bullying for 'coming out' as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better. …It's disgusting. And it's part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle." 
— Tony Perkins, FRC fundraising letter, August 2011

"Those who understand the homosexual community—the activists—they're very aggressive, they're—everything they accuse us of they are in triplicate. They're intolerant, they're hateful, vile, they're spiteful. .... To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation."
— Tony Perkins, Speaking to the Oak Initiative Summit, April 2011

 "We believe the evidence shows … that relative to the size of their population, homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men."
— Peter Sprigg, "Debating Homosexuality: Understanding Two Views." 2011.

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

“[W]elcoming open homosexuality in the military would clearly damage the readiness and effectiveness of the force – in part because it would increase the already serious problem of homosexual assault in the military.”
— Peter Sprigg, “Homosexual Assault in the Military," 2010

"A little-reported fact is that homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households."
-- Timothy Dailey, FRC publication, "Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk," 2002

“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

“[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion.”
— Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in “Desecrating Corpus Christi,” 1999

"One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order." 
—1999 FRC publication, "Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia," Robert Knight and Frank York

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM
3 moms liked this

It must suck to be so bigoted as to align yourself with a group who thinks the Klan and religious faith are the same thing.

And that pointing out Islamic terror is the same things as racism.

I didn't see Mosques on that list. I didn't see the environmental terrorist groups. I didn't see you on that list.

Why do you think that is correct?

Why is your brand of hatred considered good, and simple disagreement is called hate (sic s/b 'hatred').

Quoting jaxTheMomm:

LOL it must suck hard to know you got lumped in with the KLAN!

*and all the dudes in the white hoods sang, 'nuh-uh, YOU are!*


SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM
2 moms liked this

I like how you know how to copy and paste from the SPLC website. Good for you.

People can have ideas some may or may not agree with without being a hate group like the KKK.

You are so brainwashed.

Why are you so intolerant and afraid of other ideas? Good Lord.

Quoting jaxTheMomm:

Let's review a few of the gems from the FRC that got them designated as a hate group:

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/family-research-council

This isn't disagreement - this is hate speach.

“The reality is, homosexuals have entered the Scouts in the past for predatory purposes.”
– FRC vice president Rob Schwarzwalder, on radio’s “The Janet Mefferd Show,” Feb. 1, 2013.

“[H]omosexual activists vehemently reject the evidencewhich suggests that homosexual men … are … relative to their numbers, more likely to engage in such actions [childhood sexual abuse] than are heterosexual men.”
– Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at FRC, on why the Boy Scouts should not allow LGBT Scouts or leaders, FRC blog, February 1, 2013.

“The videos are titled 'It Gets Better.' They are aimed at persuading kids that although they'll face struggles and perhaps bullying for 'coming out' as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better. …It's disgusting. And it's part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle." 
— Tony Perkins, FRC fundraising letter, August 2011

"Those who understand the homosexual community—the activists—they're very aggressive, they're—everything they accuse us of they are in triplicate. They're intolerant, they're hateful, vile, they're spiteful. .... To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation."
— Tony Perkins, Speaking to the Oak Initiative Summit, April 2011

 "We believe the evidence shows … that relative to the size of their population, homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men."
— Peter Sprigg, "Debating Homosexuality: Understanding Two Views." 2011.

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”
— FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC website, 2010

“[W]elcoming open homosexuality in the military would clearly damage the readiness and effectiveness of the force – in part because it would increase the already serious problem of homosexual assault in the military.”
— Peter Sprigg, “Homosexual Assault in the Military," 2010

"A little-reported fact is that homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than are traditional married households."
-- Timothy Dailey, FRC publication, "Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk," 2002

“Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
— Robert Knight, FRC director of cultural studies, and Frank York, 1999

“[Homosexuality] … embodies a deep-seated hatred against true religion.”
— Steven Schwalm, FRC senior writer and analyst, in “Desecrating Corpus Christi,” 1999

"One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order." 
—1999 FRC publication, "Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia," Robert Knight and Frank York


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