Calling out the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “discredited, left-wing political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention,” a group of 47 prominent conservatives have signed an open letter warning the mainstream media to stop citing the organization in articles.
Founded in 1971, the SPLC claims that its mission is “fighting hate and bigotry and … seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society,” but they do this through questionable means… and produce questionable results.
Back in the day, the SPLC was known for its work successfully prosecuting legal cases against white supremacist organizations, including the Ku Klux Klan.
Today, the SPLC is best known for tracking what it calls “hate groups,” which the organization defines as having “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristic.” Currently, the SPLC claims that 917 “hate groups” are operating in the United States.
The SPLC’s “hate map” gained prominence in the media after last month’s deadly violence took over a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. However, critics say the organization has wrongly identified non-violent groups who hold traditional beliefs about hot-button issues such as gay marriage and abortion as “hate groups.”
Last month, a prominent evangelical ministry based in Florida filed a federal lawsuit accusing the SPLC of defamation after it was labeled an “active hate group.” In July, Fox News found that at least seven organizations are listed as hate groups by the SPLC, despite the fact that they specifically prohibit their members from committing acts of violence.
According to the letter, being labeled by the SPLC as a hate group “endangers the lives of those targeted with it.” The 2012 shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Council in Washington is a good example of this fact. The gunman, Floyd Lee Corkins, said he disagreed with the group’s opposition to gay marriage, and prosecutors said he selected the group as a target using the SPLC’s “hate map.”
“By recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website,” the letter stated, “we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information.”
Prominent signatories of the letter include Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
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