Crystal Bonvillian, Montgomery Advertiser, October 23, 2004
Driving past the Southern Poverty Law Center, motorists honked, hooted and hollered Friday afternoon at a group of Southerners protesting the center’s perceived attitude toward the South.
About 30 protesters, in Montgomery for the National League of the South’s annual meeting, waved Confederate and state flags and held up signs calling center director Morris Dees a “scalawag.”
At the corner of Washington Avenue and South Hull Street sat a toilet with jeans-clad legs protruding from the bowl. A sign said “Flush the SPLC.”
Dees, whose mother died Friday, could not be reached for comment.
Robert B. Hayes, director of the South Carolina League of the South, said the group was there to protest the center, which he called a “hate institution.”
“They hate everything that has to do with the South and with Southern culture,” Hayes said. “They hate Christianity.”
Hayes and Ray McBerry, chairman of the group’s Georgia chapter, blasted the center for its attempts to keep a controversial Ten Commandments monument out of the Alabama Judicial Building.
“There is no constitutional requirement for states not to support religion,” Hayes said. “You will not find separation of church and state anywhere in the Constitution.”
McBerry said his group is in the process of having copies of the Commandments put in all Georgia county courthouses. He accused Dees and the center of “bypassing the will of the people” by going to the judiciary to stop the religious display.
McBerry said Dees also has misrepresented the League of the South by calling it a hate group.
“They said we are a racist organization, when in truth we have several black members and members of other races,” McBerry said. “They also portrayed us as a domestic terrorist group when we fully and wholeheartedly embrace the Constitution.”
“I think they’re a group of race hustlers,” said Jim Walters of Lewisville, Texas. “They are anti-Christian, anti-Southern and anti-American.”
Walters said all the Southern group wants is to give power back to the people of America.
“All we want is fairness,” he said. “We don’t want power. We want to devolve it.”