Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ignoring your hate group status won't make it go away

For now, the groups (i.e. the American Family Association, the Family Research Council) just added by Southern Poverty Law Center to the list of anti-gay hate organizations seem to be silent on their new status.

But other folks aren't.

Lgbt activist and author Dan Savage is making sure that this designation isn't being ignored.

Savage (who came up with the idea of the "It Gets Better Project" to combat the problem of gay teen suicides) took CNN to task yesterday during an interview for how the network gives a platform to these groups:

The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on networks like CNN and then that really -- we really have to start there. We have to start with that type of cultural reckoning.

Meanwhile, a person whose presence was noted several times on SPLC's profile of these groups, Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries, has come out with a new book claiming to tackle the so-called "harmful effects of same-sex marriage."

One wonders if he cited the work of the discredited Paul Cameron in this book like he has done several times in the past, including as a Congressional witness in 1994 when he spoke against ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act).

One thing is certain. Even before SPLC's citation, he wasn't so eager to talk about Cameron. In June of this year,  Knight, through his representative, declined to have an interview with me about the subject.

This is a far cry from the conversation I had with him in 2004 when he came to the University of South Carolina to have a debate with former Human Rights Campaign head Elizabeth Birch.

During the conversation after the debate (a conversation I recounted in my 2007 book Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters), I was able to question Knight as to why he used Cameron's work even though it had been discredited several times.

His answer to me was:

“Yes we have used his research. So what?”

But Knight and others listed by SPLC do have their defenders.

William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School, didn't care for SPLC's list. He is especially angry that the National Organization for Marriage is on the list (Editor's note - SPLC does not consider NOM as an official anti-gay hate group, but did profile the organization):

The inclusion of NOM on this list really is outrageous, and typical of how SPLC seeks to demonize a mainstream conservative (and in this case, constitutional) view.  The explanation SPLC gives for including NOM is flimsy and filled with innuendo.  

Jacobson also said about SPLC's list in general:

Most of these groups are unknown to me,  although a couple are well-known Christian groups, such as American Family Association and Family Research Council (both of these entities will be on SPLC's upcoming Hate Group list).  I don't defend or not defend these groups because I don't know much about them, but based upon SPLC's past performance, the burden should be on SPLC to make the case for including a group on a hate list.

Unfortunately that leads one to think that Jacobson didn't read SPLC's breakdown of these groups at all. The organization gives very detailed reasonings as to why these groups are profiled as well as the inaccurate things they say about the lgbt community.

Jacobson - and many responders to his blog post - were conveniently silent about these inaccurate claims, instead choosing to play the victim and complain about "liberal conspiracies" against Christians.

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Richard Keefe said...

For what it's worth, there's no legal definition for "hate group," which is why even the FBI doesn't "track hate groups."

"Hate group" is a deliberately meaningless term the SPLC uses in its fund raising materials to attack its perceived enemies without accusing them of any actual crimes and certainly not hate crimes.

"Hate group" is nothing more than a public relations term.

The SPLC is a private fund-raising group. It has no mandate, no authority, legal or moral to designate anyone as anything.

In short, the SPLC has no more power to designate "hate groups" than does the SPCA.

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.

If these are your "experts" on race and diversity, there are better ones out there.

BlackTsunami said...

Splc has an excellent reputation so they don't need me defending them. But by your sad and evasive attempt at character assasination, u r saying you cannot refute their information on these groups. Please come back when and if you can.