In the winter issue of Intelligence Report, the quarterly magazine of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Evelyn Schlatter takes a look at 18 advocacy groups that speak out against homosexuality. The report says that the groups, which include the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, are responsible for "demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities." Schlatter notes that 13 of the 18 groups will make SPLC's list of "hate groups" next year. Here's how the blogosphere is reacting to SPLC's conclusions:
What This List Means In a foreword, Schlatter explains: "These groups' influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the 'facts' they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups ... Generally, the SPLC's listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups."
Religion Has Nothing to Do With It, agrees Alvin McEwen at AlterNet. "Unfortunately when the inaccuracies of various religious right groups are pointed out, the conversation tends to go on a religious direction and this is a mistake," McEwen writes. "When we go to the religious direction, we give these groups a chance to cover themselves. 'These are merely our personal religious beliefs,' they say. Religion is immaterial. The bad acts that theses groups commit in the name of religion is the point we should focus on and hammer consistently."
Look at These Names, marvels Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs: "The Orwellian names are striking, invoking America, Truth, Faith, Morality, and of course, Family, as they spread hatred, bigotry, and dishonest propaganda."
Focus on the Family Conspicuously Absent At Truth Wins Out, Evan Hurst writes that "it is notable that Focus on the Family is not on the list. Though we at Truth Wins Out still stand in solid opposition to Focus's mission, they have indeed made baby steps in the past year to moderate their message, which is in stark contrast with the growing extremism at FRC and AFA." Hurst notes that the groups that did make the list "all deserve to be designated as having gone beyond mere advocacy, and into full-blown hatred against the LGBT community."
This Is Just a Hatchet Job, declares William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. Jacobson takes particular exception with SPLC's listing of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group that opposes gay marriage. Jacobson writes:
There is nothing in SPLC's description to distinguish NOM's position on gay marriage from the vast majority of Americans, including many legal scholars and judges, and of course, the current President of the United States. NOM's inclusion on this list surely will be used to try to keep NOM speakers off campuses and out of the media, and to demonize the attorneys who work for or with NOM on gay marriage issues around the country ... SPLC's current management has done extensive damage to the real fight against hate groups by conflating political opponents with violent extremists.