Monday, October 16, 2017

Robert Knight tries to advance the anti-SPLC smear campaign

Robert Knight
Robert Knight knows a thing or two about hate groups. After all, he has been employed by at least three of them: Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries and Family Research Council. It is therefore no surprise that Knight has authored a piece attacking Southern Poverty Law Center for The Washington Times. Knight's piece is titled: “The uses and abuses of hate.” The meta-title (what you see in your browser's info bar) is “Anti-Christian hatred leads to false accusations.” According to the subtitle of this polemic: “Falsely accusing opponents with hate is a devilish tool of the anti-Christian crew.”

There are many moving parts but Knight is asserting that SPLC is anti-Christian. SPLC's founder and chief trial counsel, Morris Dees, is Baptist. Many of the executives appear to be gentiles. I will get into more detail but what Knight is claiming is the equivalent of saying that someone who opposes ISIS is anti-Muslim. Then Knight is claiming that SPLC makes false accusations. That is, well … entertaining because SPLC depends upon and quotes the words and statements of hate groups. Does Knight believe that SPLC makes this stuff up out of thin air?

Knight furthers the thought by claiming that SPLC falsely accuses “opponents.” In point of fact it is the other way around. Hate groups cast SPLC as their opponent. Those groups, in turn, make many false allegations about SPLC because they do not like being designated a hate group. Thus their mission is to convince the public that the designation is illegitimate and that the group behind the designation is illegitimate.

According to Mr. Knight:
One large organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has made hundreds of millions of dollars trafficking in hate. That is, they hatefully and falsely accuse others of hatred, even those whose only crime is to advocate traditional moral values.
SPLC is a nonprofit organization. Based upon a comparison of tax returns they seem to pay people a bit less than the similar but Christian legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom. The assets and revenues of SPLC are irrelevant to the credibility of the organization. Were it financially struggling would it be more credible somehow? “Hateful” only means that Knight does not like the fact that three of the organizations he has worked for have been designated hate groups. Presumably he shares some responsibility for those designations. “Falsely” means that you take a statement made by SPLC and offer evidence that it is untrue. Knight doesn't do that. Hate groups are far more pernicious than just advocating “traditional moral values.”
In a full-page ad in The Washington Post this past week, the SPLC explained why it continues to label the Family Research Council (FRC) a “hate group” on its online “hate map.” The organization quoted from FRC statements that warn that homosexuality is “unnatural,” has “negative physical and psychological health effects,” and is being peddled to children. It doesn’t bother trying to refute any of this, because it can’t. And the group doesn’t mention that a would-be assassin, inspired by SPLC’s hate map, tried to commit mass murder at FRC’s headquarters in 2012, thwarted only by heroic building manager Leo Johnson, who took a bullet.
I believe that the advertisement that Knight is referring to is this. “Refute” what exactly? The absurd statements made by a hate group? Do they really have to? Every mainstream medical and counseling professional organization has said that homosexuality is a natural variant of human sexuality. Being gay is not unhealthy. Prejudice and discrimination are unhealthy to gay people.

Knight claims that FRC has stated that homosexuality “is being peddled to kids” which means that children are being persuaded to be gay which then means that gay people pose a threat to children. As I said, Mr. Knight knows a thing or two about hate. Perkins was actually more direct (and offensive). Regarding the It Gets Better Campaign:
It’s disgusting. And it’s part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle.
That is what is quoted in the aforementioned advertisement in the Washington Post. Does Perkins deny the statement. The notion that gays recruit should have gone out of style with Anita Bryant. It is untrue. Medical science is quite clear that people cannot be persuaded to be gay (or straight for that matter) and a sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle.” Smears are not traditional moral values. These are lies which defy “bearing false witness.”

Then to suggest that SPLC is somehow to blame for the shooting at FRC is spectacularly stupid and dishonest. I am a survivor of gun violence. There are no excuses. However, if we are to indulge in blame then is makes much more sense to blame FRC due to its irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric. The simpler fact is that the shooter is deranged and gives testament to our intellectually impoverished mental health system.

Knight goes off the deep end:
While the SPLC spins out of control in its hateful obsession to criminalize Christian morality, it has plenty of ideological company that also plays the “hate” card. Name the cause, and if you’re not on the progressive side, you’re — what else? — a “hater.”
SPLC is in perfect control of its organization and mission. “Criminalize Christian morality?” We do not have hate speech laws in this country. Tony Perkins is at liberty to say all of the stupid and untrue things that he says and our current president is free to pretend that he embraces every moronic syllable. There are no criminal repercussions.

From there Knight indulges in a diatribe on everything from Al Gore (seriously) to the Boy Scouts. It all mercifully concludes:
In recent years, radical groups have charged the Scouts with “hate” for maintaining their policies even as the culture slid into decadence. Despite consistent court rulings favoring the Scouts, the pounding obviously took its toll on the weaker sisters at the top of the Scout food chain. So they caved. And caved. And caved.

All this to say, if you hate America, you must love the moral chaos swirling around us.
Accepting LGBT people for who they are is apparently “decadent.” What would this schmuck do if he had a gay child? Maybe he does. The only “moral chaos swirling around us” that I can see is produced by religious fundamentalists who seek to substitute superstition for reason. If all those literalists disappeared our collective IQ as a country would increase by 20 points, or more. We waste far too much time, energy and money trying to appease them. That would be better invested in climate technology. Of course those same people are determined to convince the public that climate change is a hoax. Perhaps it is a 30 point improvement.

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