Family Research Council owes the Southern Poverty Law Center an apology
crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
Steve Anderson, the pastor of Arizona’s Faithful Word Baptist Church, has caused shock and revulsion for his recent claim that the AIDS crisis would end if gays were executed. However through it all, folks are missing a point that only us wonky individuals would bring up.
In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed Anderson’s church as an anti-gay hate group along with several other organizations. Of course much of the attention following this announcement had to do with the other groups SPLC listed, particularly the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.
In fact, it caused such a stir that FRC began a campaign entitled Start Debating, Stop Hating. Through this campaign, the group claimed that SPLC was trying to ‘silence’ Christian groups:
The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.
The group, which was once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. How does the SPLC attack? By labeling its opponents “hate groups.” No discussion. No consideration of the issues. No engagement. No debate!
FRC did not differentiate between itself and other organizations named as anti-gay hate groups. However the organization did run a full page ad in Politico. According to Talking Points Memo, several Republican leaders signed on to this ad:
The ad is undersigned by a number of leading Republican politicians, social conservative and mainstream alike: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Sen, Jim DeMint (R-SC), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), and even Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
I should also point out that SPLC received considerable criticism from many circles for supposedly attacking “Christian groups.”
So what’s the point with me bringing all of this up? Certainly not to imply that FRC believes that gays should be executed. However, it should be noted that FRC is tacitly silent about Anderson and his church right now, both of which the organization defended in 2010, as are the Republican leaders who supported FRC’s campaign back then.
And it should also be noted that Anderson’s recent homophobic spew only proves SPLC’s point about anti-gay hate groups who hide their vindictive nature behind “Judeo-Christian” beliefs. And also that SPLC was not trying to “silence Christians.”
I think certain parties owe SPLC a huge apology right now.