But during the past two years, the SPLC made a critical course change. In the quest for continued self-perpetuation, and to keep the donation spigot cranked wide open, the SPLC began to cast their net much wider. They began targeting right-wing "extremists" in general. First, they went after immigration-control advocates like ALIPAC and FAIR. Then they went after patriots such as Chuck Baldwin. But more recently, they've launched an all-out assault upon the pro-family lobby. In their Winter 2010 Intelligence Report, the SPLC targeted 18 different pro-family groups, and designated 13 of them to be official "hate" groups.
Including the Family Research Council.
But when the SPLC targeted the Family Research Council (FRC), they grabbed a tiger by the tail. And that tiger has turned its head and snapped back at the SPLC -- with the help of some Congressional allies. On December 15th, 2010, the Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the SPLC's recent attacks on FRC and other pro-family groups (a copy of the letter is also posted HERE). Among the signatories are 23 members of Congress and three governors:
-- House Speaker-designate John Boehner
-- Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor
-- Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)
-- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
-- Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
-- Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
-- Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
-- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
-- Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
-- Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
-- Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
-- Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
-- Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL)
-- Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
-- Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
-- Rep. Peter Roskam (R-LA)
-- Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
-- Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
-- Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
-- Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)
-- Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
-- Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
-- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Also co-signing the letter was Kansas Republican Governor-elect Sam Brownback, Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, and Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. Unfortunately, no Alaska elected officials signed the list. One would not expect either Senators Mark Begich or Lisa Murkowski to sign the list, but there's no reason why Congressman Don Young or Governor Sean Parnell could not have added their names. I'm also disappointed that Sarah Palin has not signed this letter. However, Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council has signed the letter.
Here's the text of the open letter (after the jump):
"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! These types of slanderous tactics have been used against voters who signed petitions and voted for marriage amendments in all thirty states that have considered them, as well as against the millions of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement. Some on the Left have even impugned the Manhattan Declaration – which upholds the sanctity of life, the value of traditional marriage and the fundamental right of religious freedom – as an anti-gay document and have forced its removal from general communications networks.
"This is intolerance pure and simple. Elements of the radical Left are trying to shut down informed discussion of policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts. Tell the radical Left it is time to stop spreading hateful rhetoric attacking individuals and organizations merely for expressing ideas with which they disagree. Our debates can and must remain civil – but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent's character.
"We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family. We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans."
A grand total of 150 prominent people have signed this letter so far.
The SPLC has published a response to this development on their Hatewatch blog. Mark Potok, who is the "Joseph Goebbels" of the SPLC, defends their designation of these pro-family groups as "hate groups" by claiming that the groups malign homosexuals as a group. This, of course, is a lie; the pro-family groups merely condemn pro-gay activism and the elevation of homosexuals into a "protected class" simply because of their sexual orientation.
Townhall points out that the SPLC has little to do with assisting poor people and much to do with enriching its already well-heeled directors. The SPLC has been rated ‘poor’ by Charity Navigator, stating that their net assets were $152 million. Townhall also claims the SPLC deliberately pads its list with mainstream conservative groups like the FRC so they can claim in fundraising letters that there’s been a 54 percent increase in the number of hate groups since 2000. In the final analysis, Townhall characterizes the SPLC as "a band of sleazy, greedy lawyers who have gotten rich by declaring organizations hate groups and suing them".