The Hate Industry

Ashley Herzog, Townhall.com, Dec. 15, 2010

This column will probably land me on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “hate groups.”

After all, the left-wing group has a very broad definition of “hate.” Last week, it added the Family Research Council to its list for being “anti-gay”–alongside genuine hate groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis.

I’m not a member of the Christian right, but I do have enough sense to realize that the FRC is a mainstream evangelical group. Its yearly event is the Values Voters Summit, which features exhibits from Christian and pro-family organizations, as well as speeches from people like Mike Huckabee and former Miss California Carrie Prejean. It’s not exactly a Klan rally. The SPLC’s classification of the FRC as a “hate group” would be laughable if it weren’t so devious.

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So they pad their list with mainstream conservative groups like the FRC so it can claim in fundraising letters that there’s been a 54 percent increase in the number of hate groups since 2000. And, despite the SPLC’s definition of hate as vilifying an entire group for their “immutable traits,” they’ve added immigration-control groups to the list. Apparently, the desire to cross the border illegally is now genetic.

Profit, not tolerance, has been the goal all along. The SPLC’s founder, Morris Dees, started out defending Klan members before he realized he could make more money suing them. As the Social Contract Press discovered, “Dees won a judgment for a black woman whose son was killed by Klansmen. She received $51,875 as settlement. Mr. Dees, according to an investigation by the Montgomery Advertiser, pulled in $9 million from fund-raising solicitation letters that featured a particularly gruesome photograph of the grieving mother’s son. Mr. Dees offered the grieving mother none of the $9 million her son’s death made for him.” He probably bought a new vacation home with it. It’s hard to say where else the money goes, since in 2007, the SPLC raised twice as much money as it spent on its anti-hate programs.

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The only thing remarkable about the FRC’s classification as a “hate group” is the fact that anyone still takes these shysters seriously.


The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.

The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

How does the SPLC attack? By labeling its opponents “hate groups.” No discussion. No consideration of the issues. No engagement. No debate!

Slanderous tactics have been used against voters who signed petitions and voted for marriage amendments in all thirty states that have considered them, as well as against the millions of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement. Some on the Left have even impugned the Manhattan Declaration–which upholds the sanctity of life, the value of traditional marriage and the fundamental right of religious freedom–as an “anti-gay” document and have forced its removal from general communications networks.

This is intolerance pure and simple. Elements of the radical Left are trying to shut down informed discussion of policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts.

Tell the radical Left it is time to stop spreading hateful rhetoric attacking individuals and organizations merely for expressing ideas with which they disagree. Our debates can and must remain civil–but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character.

You can take action by adding your name to the following statement:

“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family. We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

Sign the petition against the SPLC here.

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