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CHRISTINE FLOWERS: Southern Poverty Law Center has lost its way

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Christine Flowers

This article was first published September 19, 2017, at The Mercury and September
as "My problem with the SPLC," and Daily Local as "Once Champions, Now Demons" on September 12, 2017.

The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees to combat the rise in violence perpetrated by the KKK. he organization won significant legal victories against the hate group, including civil judgments which virtually crippled the group. Their motives were noble, their methods effective, their morals unimpeachable.

That organization no longer exists. Today, the SPLC has become a weaponized arm of the progressive movement, seeking out groups and individuals who violate their standards of tolerance, virtue, justice and enlightenment. They need to be called out for what they truly are: Charlatans.

The SPLC was formed four years after my father went to Mississippi to register black voters during a long, hot summer. Daddy had his own run-in with the KKK, as I’ve mentioned many times in these pages because I cannot hide my pride in sharing his blood and his name, and he was a strong supporter of any organization that could bring the Klan to heel. But if he were alive today, and in this one narrow sense I’m glad he’s not, he would be repelled by the mutation of that avenging angel into a demon that preys upon the apostates to progressive ideals.

For example, if you are not on board with same-sex marriage, gender-neutral bathrooms, the Stalinist straight jacket of gender-sensitive pronouns and allowing toddlers to choose their sexual identities, you are a member of a hate group. If you are not aware that you belong to such a group, the SPLC will help you. They will put you on its “Hate Watch.”

If that sounds a bit Big Brotherish, it is. The SPLC publishes a list of organizations that deviate from its unique and unsurprisingly narrow view of what is virtuous in this evolved society. It is called the Hate Map, and it includes such organizations and individuals as the Family Research Council (because, among other things, it supported Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military); the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group that has represented students, free of charge, who have argued that their right to free exercise has been threatened by government encroachment; Charles Murray, who believes that the welfare state is harmful and the Ruth Institute, a religious-based, ecumenical organization that actively combats the victimization of children and opposes the more strident advocacy of some LGBT groups. Last week, the Ruth Institutes online donation system was shut down by Vanco, the organization which handled that service because it learned of Ruth’s inclusion on the SPLC hate map.

I interviewed Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the institute, and she told me that she was given absolutely no warning before the service was discontinued. A review of Ruth’s website reveals numerous articles and podcasts discussing the importance of keeping the family intact, avoiding the problems created by divorce, nurturing children and promoting an environment of safety for them. Only the most radical pro-LGBT activist could find anything vaguely “hateful” about their philosophy. But the SPLC has decided that Christian organizations are, by definition, hateful, and there is in fact a whole separate section on their website devoted to groups that advance a “Christian Identity.” Other threatening groups are “Racist Skinheads,” “Neo Nazis,” “White Nationalist,” “Black Separatist” (well at least there’s that …) “Ku Klux Klan,” “Anti Muslim,” “Anti Immigrant” and when all else fails, “General Hate.”

It’s hard to quibble with most of the groups listed. But the idea that people who have a Christian identity that might lead them to oppose homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gender-reassignment surgery, same-sex adoptions or even baking cakes for people who commit sodomy (which is now legal, in case you were wondering) is more than a bit troubling. Sure, you can disagree with certain Christian principles that do not align well with those espoused by the LGBT advocates, and you have every right to lobby your legislators to make sure those Christian principles are not codified in the civil law, but to defame people of faith as members of a “hate group” simply because you find their beliefs abhorrent is, well, abhorrent.

And when that “hate” label causes a commercial enterprise to sever its ties with you, we have entered a whole new dimension of groupthink, Big Brother and the reordering of society a la Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

It is particularly troubling that the organization that is raising its ideological torches against those with whom it disagrees is the same group that stared down the Klan, and brought them to heel with the power of their moral coherence. Now, the SPLC has become a pale shadow of its former self, and has sold whatever is left of its soul to the nihilists of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (ironically not listed as a “hate group” by our Klan-hating friends) and Planned Parenthood and all the other progressive darlings who pull its strings.

The “Poverty” in the “Southern Poverty Law Center” must now refer to the content of its character.

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