From the editorial page of today's Tribune-Review:
The Obama Justice Department's pattern of partnering with leftist groups that share its perverted agenda reached reprehensible new depths last summer with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which cynically brands political opponents as “hate groups.”Here's the press release from Judicial Watch regarding these emails.
Among conservative groups thus smeared by the SPLC is the Family Research Council, whose Washington headquarters were the site of an August 2012 shooting. Its president said the SPLC's outrageous “hate group” designation provided the perpetrator with “a license to shoot.”
That incident and comment prompted Judicial Watch to investigate the influence of such SPLC rhetoric on government agencies. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says “fawning emails” obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show Justice treating SPLC co-founder Morris Dees as if “a head of state was visiting” as it arranged his speech at a July 31 “Diversity Training Event.”
In the emails, Justice staffers wonder if Mr. Dees is OK with his speech being shown on all Justice computers, the car that will pick him up from the airport and lunch and dinner plans.
We're not surprised. Justice cozied up to the NAACP to dismiss a New Black Panthers voter-intimidation case. And it cozied up to ACORN affiliate Project Vote to boost registration of welfare recipients.
It all begs this question about the Obama administration: Has the SPLC become an arm of government or has government become an arm of the SPLC?
There are a number of different ways of approaching this - but we first have to point out (yet again) the financial connections between Richard Mellon Scaife and Judicial Watch, the prompter of the FOIA request. Full and fair disclosure would dictate that the braintrust mention the fact that their boss has funneled millions of dollars in support to the same organization they're currently defending.
They never do mention that, of course.
According to the BridgeProject (formerly the Media Matters Media Transparency site), the foundations Scaife controls (Sarah Scaife, Carthage and Allegheny) granted Judicial Watch slightly more than $9 million over the past 15 years. Considering how closely they're connected, I gotta snarkily wonder if Judicial Watch is an arm of the Scaife media empire.
But I digress.
Let's look at why the SPLC designated the Family Research Council as a hate group. It's not simply a matter, as the braintrust writes, that the two organizations are mere "political opponents." The SPLC has a page devoted to the FRC where they write:
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.I realize that it's one thing to assert - what's their evidence?
Luckily, the SPLC has a few choice quotes for your perusal:
- "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
- “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
- "Since homosexual conduct is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence, it too qualifies as a behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large." — Tony Perkins, “Christian compassion requires the truth about the harms of homosexuality,” Washington Post, 10/25/2010
- “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
Part of the FRC’s recent strategy is to pound home the false claim that gays and lesbians are more likely to sexually abuse children. This is false. The American Psychological Association, among others, has concluded that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” That doesn’t matter to the FRC, though. Perkins defended the “gay men as pedophiles” claim yet again in a debate on the Nov. 30, 2010, edition of MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews” with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok. As the show ended, Perkins stated, “If you look at the American College of Pediatricians, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children. So Mark is wrong. He needs to go back and do his own research.”And about that shooting, the SPLC had this to say:
In fact, the SPLC did. The college, despite its professional-sounding name, is a tiny, explicitly religious-right breakaway group from the similarly named American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the 60,000-member association of the profession. The American College of Pediatrics (ACP) splintered from the AAP because of the AAP’s support of gay and lesbian parents. Publications of the ACP, which has some 200 members, have been roundly attacked by leading scientific authorities who say they are baseless and who also accuse the college of distorting and misrepresenting their work. (Chris Matthews offered a clarification on a follow-up show to describe what the American College of Pediatricians is and separate it from the AAP.)
But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a “hate group.” The attacker, Floyd Corkins, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins said. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”So you can see why the SPLC designated the FRC as a hate group.
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Now about that "Diversity Training Event" at the DOJ where Dees spoke. It was late July 2012. From the context of the piece, you can easily imagine that the braintrust has a rather low opinion of the co-founder of the SPLC.
Perhaps they should tell that to another radical un-American organization, the American Bar Association.
8 days after Dees spoke on Diversity at the DOJ, this is what happened:
Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, received the ABA Medal at the House of Delegates meeting during the association’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Dees received the ABA’s highest honor for his efforts to ensure access to justice for society’s most vulnerable members.Yea, the braintrust's on the wrong side of this story - as is the FRC and Judicial Watch and RMC himself.