Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hate groups continue to assert that they are victims of SPLC

Guidestar's listing for Liberty Counsel is headed by this image
While hate group leaders maintain that the Southern Poverty Law Center is irrelevant, they seem to be considerably dismayed by the listing of their group.

Guidestar is now indicating nonprofit organizations designated as hate groups by SPLC. To put it mildly, this has upset some folks who love to embrace victimhood. Victims? These are the organizations that oppress LGBT people, Muslims, immigrants and others yet lack the introspection on the part of their leaders to cease the activities that invite the SPLC listing in the first place. Guidestar is providing information that might be important to people investigating nonprofit organizations.

Wednesday at Heritage Foundation's blog, Rachel del Guidice, writes: “Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups.”

A “smear” is a false allegation intended to damage the reputation of someone or some organization. Del Guidice is using a form of cognitive dissonance — accusing SPLC of doing what these hate groups do. Many of these hate groups routinely smear gay men as pedophiles, all Muslims as terrorists and immigrants as felons.
The nation’s leading source of information on U.S. charities faces mounting criticism for using a controversial “hate group” designation in listings for some well-known and broadly supported conservative nonprofits.
“Mounting criticism?” Hate group leaders complaining about being designated a hate group?
GuideStar’s use of the “hate group” designation for certain organizations, many of them Christian, unfairly and inaccurately adopts the “aggressive political agenda” of Southern Poverty Law Center, the leaders write.
Ms. del Guidice (a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville) seems to think that Christian groups get a special pass. Every Klansman will proudly proclaim that they are members of a Christian organization. The fact that an organization is well known or broadly supported is equally irrelevant.

One thing that is noticeably missing from the complaints about SPLC's hate map is a narrative constructed in the form: The SPLC claims that we wrote <this> when, in reality, we wrote <that>. The absence of the corrective form is telling. That is because SPLC staff are extremely accurate in documenting the words and deeds of these groups. When those run counter to SPLC's guidelines a group risks being labeled a hate group.

Indeed, as the Heritage piece points out a group of folks wrote a letter to Guidestar which includes:
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to express our strong disagreement with GuideStar’s newly implemented policy that labels 46 American organizations as ‘hate groups.’ Your designations are based on determinations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a hard-left activist organization. As such, SPLC’s aggressive political agenda pervades the construction of its ‘hate group’ listings.
The letter goes on to state:
The “hate group ” list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven. The SPLC doesn’t even pretend to identify groups on the political left that engage in “hate.” Mosques or Islamist groups that promote radical speech inciting anti-Semitism and actual violence are not listed by the SPLC even though many have been publicly identified after terrorist attacks . Radical, violent leftist environmentalists or speech suppressing thugs – like the rioting “antifa” movement – receive no mention from the SPLC.
Antifa is an anti-fascist ideology in contrast to a group. Nowhere in this harangue is there an example of a group being unfairly listed or inaccurately portrayed. Furthermore (just as an example), the SPLC identifies 193 black separatist groups. Many are Muslim and most would be considered left-leaning.

It's all really pretty simple. According to the SPLC: “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” What is “unfair” is not the listing but the defamatory pejorative employed by these groups.

From there the Heritage piece goes on to attack the head of Guidestar which is pretty idiotic since they are appealing to his judgment. In both the Heritage piece and the letter there are accusations that SPLC is somehow responsible for the attack at Family Research Council and the shooting of Steve Scalise. It is all rather odd to accuse an organization that so vigorously opposes violence for so many decades of engendering it.

As for the attack at FRC one would think that Tony Perkins might consider the factors that would so anger someone. As a victim of gun violence myself I am the last person to excuse the conduct of the shooter who wounded a security guard. However, they are assigning motive. Which is the more likely provoking factor; SPLC's listing of hate groups or the inflammatory statements of FRC about gay people?

Scalise? It is downright imbecilic to assign fault to the SPLC because the alleged shooter liked SPLC on Facebook. Yet that demonstrates the lack of a valid argument.

Guidestar has responded that they are changing the format of the information that they present. That is unfortunate because they have yielded to pressure from malevolent organizations.

The letter to Guidestar concludes with:
Please send your reply within one week of receipt of this letter to: Mathew Staver, Post Office Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854
Is that some sort of implied threat? What if they choose not to reply? Based upon Staver's track record even if it is a threat Guidestar doesn't have much to worry about.

Speaking of Mr. Staver, as I was writing this, email came in from the leader of the hate group Liberty Counsel. The majority of his email attacks the president of Guidestar which is irrelevant. About a third of Staver's diatribe reads:
Jacob Harold, GuideStar's president and chief executive officer, also appears to follow a liberal activist ideology like the SPLC. According to his bio, Harold has written extensively on climate change and has further training from Green Corps in grassroots organizing. He has also worked for Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace USA and Citizen Works …
Mr. Harold is obviously a conservationist. What on earth (I'm trying to clean it up a bit) does that have to do with anything remotely associated with this issue?

Meanwhile I also have a missive from hate group leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council. It begins with:
"Does it not concern you that within the past five years, the SPLC has been linked to gunmen who carried out two terrorist shootings in the DC area?" asks letter
Except that SPLC isn't “linked” to anything. For people who claim to have been smeared this is absurd. I guess that they cannot help themselves.

Perkins goes on to quote portions of the letter, none of which really identifies any specific problem with SPLC's listing. The bottom line is that these are hate groups. Instead of attacking the organization which lists them as such they should consider what steps are required to be removed from the listing that seems to be of such great concern.

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