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Southern Poverty Law's Shameful Hate-List

Following up on Gloria Steinem's accusation that Republicans are universally sexist, Southern Poverty Law Center quickly labeled conservative organizations as "hate-groups." SPLC, like Steinem's feminist movement, once served at least a partially noble cause. Now, all Republicans are misogynous oppressors and conservatives are the equivalent of neo-NAZI's and the KKK.

Tea Partiers were attacked as racist, sexist and hateful prior to the election - but November proved the movement resistant to such smears, no doubt to the chagrin of the progressive left. So, along with broad brush smears, the left has also adopted a narrower, targeted form of character assassination: SPLC's list of hate-groups includes Family Research Council and American Family Association. Virtual skinheads.

I doubt the good work of sexual, ethnic and gender tolerance is quite finished, so it's a shame that the self-described champions of such causes have decided to waste their time, efforts and credibility on ridiculous, partisan smears. These people defile themselves by accusing decent people of abhorrent intentions, and injure the greater cause of justice by wielding such weighty accusations with ideological frivolity.

Categories > Race

Discussions - 14 Comments

Harper's of all publications ran an expose of the Southern Poverty Law Center some years ago. The gist of it was that the place was a seedy direct mail mill that filed suits which won contextually unimportant sums of money for its clients while buckraking big time.

I spoke with a very liberal psychiatrist or psychologist or whatever at a book-signing and he was comparing historical events from the Founding with the "neuroses of our own politics." I surmised that he was probably talking about conservatives of various stripes that didn't fit in with his NY Times world-view. Obviously, conservatives have mental illness problems that make them hold their views; if they were normal and reasonable, they would be liberals. I tried to be diplomatic and non-partisan while doing a book-signing, so I settled for a stifled chuckle and head-shaking after he departed. I wonder what he'll think of "America's Beginnings" with its talk of Founding principles, courage, perseverance, and virtue.

The problems with both The Washington Times as a news source and SPLC as an organization that appears to cynically profit from intolerance (at least to some extent) aside, what are the specific things that SPLC has cited that have led to their designating FRC and AFA "hate groups"? No links to anything were provided by you or the Washington Times.

It would be good to get into some of the specifics, or at least take a look at some report. Here it is:

What claims are being made by SPLC about these groups (you conveniently leave out the "Dove" center that wanted to burn the Korans) that are false?

Even the Moonie/WashTimes article you linked to mentions that guy Sprigg suggesting that gays should be "export[ed]" and criminal penalties for gay behaviors.
Export the gays sounds hateful to me. And I highly suspect that's not the worst of it (but I haven't had time to read the whole report yet).

There's a lot of indignation and bluster - did you mention that the left is trying to victimize and shut them down, take away their rights, blah, blah, blah??? - in your post, but not a lot of light.

(Thanks to ArtDeco for the heads-up on the Harper's piece - it's interesting; still, I don't think it makes any of these groups (in the SPLC's report) any less problematic, or hateful)

The most ironic (read: "hypocritical") thing about the Southern Poverty Law Center is that NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority.


In fact, according to the SPLC's hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King's home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power.

Some "experts"

Some interesting information on Morris Dees and SPLC - they have a PILE Of money and are one of the richest non-profits in the U.S.

In 1975 Dees was arrested and removed from court for attempting to suborn perjury (by means of a bribe) on behalf of the defendant in a North Carolina murder trial. Though the felony charge against Dees was subsequently dropped, the presiding judge refused to re-admit him to the case; that refusal was upheld on appeal.

Dees is known to be the architect of one of SPLC's most effective—and most controversial—tactics: exaggerating the prevalence and capabilities of racist and extremist rightwing groups operating in the United States in order to frighten supporters into donating money to SPLC.

Many critics charge that this fundraising revenue, instead of bankrolling SPLC's civil rights work, is funneled disproportionately into the coffers of SPLC officers like Dees. Several studies conducted in the 1990s indicated that the Dees and other top SPLC figures earned significantly higher salaries than the leaders of most non-profit organizations.

In 1986, SPLC’s entire legal staff quit in an act of defiance against Dees for his pursuit of lucrative, high-profile cases against the KKK, in preference to working to secure civil liberties for the poor. Speaking to reporters, SPLC attorney Gloria Browne candidly admitted that the Center's programs were devised to cash in on “black pain and white guilt.”

As of 2000, SPLC’s assets exceeded $120 million; that same year, the organization spent twice as much on fundraising efforts as on legal services for victims of civil rights abuses. Accordingly, the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog group, gave SPLC one of the worst ratings of all of the organizations it monitored.

"They're drowning in their own affluence," former SPLC legal fellow Pamela Summers told The Montgomery Advertiser. "What they are doing in the legal department is not done for the best interest of everybody [but] is done as though the sole, overriding goal is to make money." "I think people associate the SPLC with going to court," added Summers. "And that's why they get the money. And they don't go to court."

Dees was again in the spotlight in the fall of 2000, when he narrated an HBO documentary, titled, about extremism in America. But critics noted that while Dees and SPLC regularly condemned rightwing extremist and nationalist groups, they consistently failed to apply similar scrutiny to leftwing hate groups.

In the early 1960s, Morris Dees sat on the sidelines honing his direct-marketing skills and practicing law while the civil rights movement engulfed the South. "Morris and I...shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money," recalls Dees's business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller (not to be confused with Millard Farmer). "We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich." They were so unparticular, in fact, that in 1961 they defended a man, guilty of beating up a journalist covering the Freedom Riders, whose legal fees were paid by the Klan. ("I felt the anger of a black person for the first time," Dees later wrote of the case. "I vowed then and there that nobody would ever again doubt where I stood.") In 1965, Fuller sold out to Dees, donated the money to charity, and later started Habitat for Humanity. Dees bought a 200-acre estate appointed with tennis courts, a pool, and stables, and, in 1971, founded the SPLC, where his compensation has risen in proportion to fund-raising revenues, from nothing in the early seventies to $273,000 last year. A National Journal survey of salaries paid to the top officers of advocacy groups shows that Dees earned more in 1998 than nearly all of the seventy-eight listed, tens of thousands more than the heads of such groups as the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Children's Defense Fund. The more money the SPLC receives, the less that goes to other civil rights organizations, many of which, including the NAACP, have struggled to stay out of bankruptcy. Dees's compensation alone amounts to one quarter the annual budget of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights, which handles several dozen death-penalty cases a year. "You are a fraud and a conman," the Southern Center's director, Stephen Bright, wrote in a 1996 letter to Dees, and proceeded to list his many reasons for thinking so, which included "your failure to respond to the most desperate needs of the poor and powerless despite your millions upon millions, your fund-raising techniques, the fact that you spend so much, accomplish so little, and promote yourself so shamelessly." Soon the SPLC win move into a new six-story headquarters in downtown Montgomery, just across the street from its current headquarters, a building known locally as the Poverty Palace.

what are the specific things that SPLC has cited that have led to their designating FRC and AFA "hate groups"?

Hesh up.

A working political society has its orthodoxies and certain boundary conditions which define those sectors which are not welcome participants in political discussion and are in certain circumstances subject to legal harrassment. The Communist Party in this country was successfully ejected from its redoubts in the trade unions and the entertainment and publishing businesses (not to mention public bureaucracies) during the period running from 1947 to 1957 or therabouts. The thing is, that organization promoted things completely inconsistent with the institutional and cultural norms of any constitutional republic, acted as an agent of a hostile foreign power, and with its allies represented

...with its allies represented

Bloody spam filters keep excising two of my sentances. Nothing I can do about it.

"Hesh up" ??

(It's kind of interesting that while Kate (and some others here) imagine how I'm perpetually wanting and trying to shut them up, Art actually tells me to shut up; that fact will surely be ignored, but there it is, nonetheless)

Well, Art, that just gives me all the more reason to ignore your posts wholesale, even more than I have up to this point.

"You are talking about the frigging Family Research Council, an organization as transparent and civil as any in our political world, one whose political programme is in tune with the views of tens of millions, and one which seeks nothing particularly novel. You cannot define the Family Research Council out of the circle of respectable discourse..."

Again, since you continue to dodge the specifics, let me cite some from the SPLC's report, the section on the FRC (which has half a million members, max, which is pretty far from "tens of millions"):

"More recently, in March 2008, Sprigg, responding to a question about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.” He later apologized, but then went on, last February, to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied. At around the same time, Sprigg claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

Perkins has his own unusual history. In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican State Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins of Louisiana, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 (reduced from $82,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide the link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation. In 1999, in fact, GOP chairman Jim Nicholson urged Republicans to quit the group over its “racist views.” A short time later, after an Intelligence Report exposé but before Perkins’ 2001 speech, Republican House Speaker Trent Lott was embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group."

Yep, sounds pretty "transparent and civil" to me. So, what is untrue there?

And Cowgirl - When you snag someone else's work, the least you can do is say who wrote it and where it came from. Paragraphs 2-8 of your comment above were cherry-picked straight from David Horowitz's DiscoverTheNetworks site:

[Since Art brought up the Commies, David Horowitz is himself a (supposedly) former Communist and fundraiser for the Black Panther Party, and his ridiculous DiscoverTheNetworks site is every bit and more the pot to SPLC's kettle, being little more than an extended enemies list for David Horowitz. Just how seriously should one take a list that lumps Cher, Steven Spielberg, Garrison Keillor, Jay Leno, E.J. Dionne, and Eleanor Clift together with... Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong Il? Think I'm exaggerating? See here: ]

Cowgirl's last paragraph was lifted from Ken Silverstein's article on SPLC in the Nov. 2000 Harper's.

I never claimed it was my information. I stated here is some information about Morris Dees. I have known about Morris "MoneyBag" Dees for a long time - he is a crook and a liar. Whether the information comes from Horowitz's or Harper's it makes no difference. You are obviously trying to take information that is true and undisputable and make it false and untrue because David Horowitz is a supposedly former Commie. Unfortunately for you the information is correct - just google - it is all over the internet. The guy is another Al Gore... You need to get your panties in a wad about Dees, not where my information is coming from.....

Just an FYI - Horowitz is truly a former commie. He grew up living just a few blocks from the Rosenbergs and knew them well. His parents and the Rosenbergs - like Howard Zinn, belong to the same chapter of the ACPA . Horowitz has claimed for years that the Rosenbergs - mainly Julius, was a spy for Communist Russia. Unfortunately for the left in this country, Horowitz was right. The left hates Horowitz's because he knows them, better than they know themselves as well as their motives. Horowitz lumps all those people together simply because they all think alike. They are left-winged nutballs and have said and supported some of the stupidest causes.

Also, please note that the various quotes from ex-workers of SPLC can be validated on sites other than Horowitz's and the Harper's article.

Have a great day!

Cowgirl, what exactly makes this so difficult for you to understand? It doesn't matter if you explicitly claimed it as your own or not. You copied it without crediting the sources - therein lies the problem.

I 'dodge the specifics' because I do not care about whatever pretext Morris Dees is peddling. A large fraction of the liberal establishment thinks it beneath them to have to answer and argue with the political opposition. He plays on that in his direct mail buckraking. As for you:

"More recently, in March 2008, Sprigg, responding to a question about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.”

The gay lobby wants the family preferences incorporated into immigration law to include bugger buddies. Mr. Sprigg disagrees and finds no equivalency between that sort of association and family relations. He also thinks that societies do not benefit from a net increase in the number of people addled by sexual perversions. He also suggests (facetiously or not) that the homosexual population follow James Baldwin and Alice B. Toklas to a flat in the 7th arrondissement. Nothing particularly uncivil about this by any standard of discourse that has prevailed in the last 35 years, nor anything particularly malicious.

He later apologized, but then went on, last February, to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied.

Sexual conduct is regulated by penal codes, sorry to break it to you. Seducing a 16 year old girl is illegal; hiring a prostitute is illegal; possession of child pornography is illegal. In New York, consensual sodomy was a class b misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. This law remained on the books the last time I checked and was sporadically enforced up until the provision was arbitrarily annulled by the state Court of Appeals in 1980. Laws such as this are statements of community mores, reflecting a collective sense that prohibition is not oppressive because decent people with well ordered sensibilities do not abuse the sexual act in this way. They are useful in certain circumstances, but do not result in punishments unless the aspirant buggerer is foolish enough to recreate in parked cars and such.

At around the same time, Sprigg claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

Your ilk may find the homosexual man the ideal citizen, but in reality he is subject to many of the same inner demons as everyone else. Sorry to break it to you, but homosexual men do commit violent crimes now and again, and an increase in the population of homosexual men in a given circumstance (all male, close quarters) will of necessity lead to an increase in the sort of crimes which are the signatures of homosexual men. The serious question here is not whether such assaults will be more common, but whether the costs exceed benefits (assuming some irreducible principle of justice is not at stake that would trump utilitarian considerations). I will wager that Mr. Sprigg thinks that advancing the self-actualization of homosexual men is not part of the military's institutional mission. Nothing opaque or uncivil about that either.

See, that just totally blows my mind. Why would anyone think that the way of man is to be controlled? I guess I'm becoming more and more libertarian (little "l") every day. Tell the govmint to leave me alone. I know how to take care of myself! Long live John Galt!

I guess that to receive the loans from banks you ought to have a great reason. However, once I have received a auto loan, just because I wanted to buy a house.

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Family Research Council has released their latest edition of The Social Conservative Review, which includes three articles of mine and two articles from No Left Turns writers Michael Schwarz and John Moser. Among the many luminaries, I'd also like... Read More

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