C-Fam Response to Southern Poverty Law Center Regarding Classification as a Hate Group

By C-Fam Staff | March 11, 2014
Image from SPLC

Active Hate Groups

In response to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), C-Fam and other targeted Christian groups point out that SPLC’s criteria and the application of the criteria is biased against SPLC’s conservative opponents.  For instance, sociology professor George Yancey criticized the SPLC for “neglect” and “social bias” for its exclusive focus on conservative groups, commenting that “SPLC has become a useful organization for progressives to legitimate their battle against conservatives.” (1,2) Author and researcher Laird Wilcox described SPLC as “obviously a bogus fundraising scheme that was into demonizing and blacklisting.” (3) Writing for Harpers, Ken Silverstein referred to the SPLC as “essentially a fraud” with “a habit of casually labeling organizations as ‘hate groups.’” (4) James Simpson of the Capital Research Center describes the SPLC a “threat to free speech and civil debate” and points out that it received millions in funding from the Picower Foundation, a beneficiary of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. (5) Charlotte Allen called the SPLC the “king of fearmongers” in a Weekly Standard article, taking the anti-hate group to task for fueling the same type of hate crime it exists to oppose when Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the headquarters of the Family Research Council after seeing their name on SPLC’s list (6).  Based on Corkins’ shooting, Judicial Watch and other groups petitioned Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to stop using SPLC materials for training. (7)

SPLC has been accused of inflating its list of hate groups by various methods.  In Foreign Policy, J.M. Berger points out that the SPLC inflates the number of groups included in its reports by treating local chapters of the same organization as separate groups, nearly tripling the number of entries on the list. (8) In the 1990s, when Wilcox was unable to locate some of the listed “hate groups,” he “concluded that a lot of them were vanishingly small or didn’t exist, or could even be an invention of the SPLC.” (3)

C-Fam President Austin Ruse has said, “C-Fam is a research institute focusing on international social and legal policy. We are well respected at the UN and globally. SPLC, on the other hand, specializes in smearing groups it disagrees with, and its credibility has been widely called into question – not just by conservatives, but by the left also. Here is but one example from their supposed expose about my group. They say, ‘In 2012, its president, Austin Ruse, attacked a UN global study of anti-LGBT violence, saying it was a ‘dishonest’ ploy to legitimate homosexuality.’ This is an absolute falsehood. I never said that. And they could have known that if they had carried out simple research protocol and called to fact check their baseless assertions. They are smear merchants plain and simple.”

Cited Sources:

(1) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12129-014-9411-x

(2) http://www.christianpost.com/news/southern-poverty-law-center-biased-in-labeling-family-research-council-a-hate-group-academic-study-argues-115612/

(3) http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_20_3/tsc_20_3_wilcox_interview.shtml

(4) http://harpers.org/blog/2010/03/hate-immigration-and-the-southern-poverty-law-center

(5) http://capitalresearch.org/2012/10/southern-poverty-law-center-wellspring-of-manufactured-hate/

(6) http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/king-fearmongers_714573.html?page=1

(7) http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2013/12/dod-asked-to-stop-using-hate-groups-anti-christian-training-materials/

(8) http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/12/the_hate_list