Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Instead of Bitching About "Hate Group" Status, Stop the Hate

American Family Association has complete control over whether it will be deemed a hate group.
American Family Association
via Twitter
American Family Association is terribly distressed that Vimeo whacked their account because the organization is deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Walker Wildmon, started griping about this a few days ago. I ignored it because if Walker had five points less IQ he would be school paste.

These hate groups always presume that the right way to handle this problem is to attack the SPLC. Think of it like a credit report. There are two things that people can do if TransUnion thinks that they are a high risk:
  1. Review the record and ask the credit reporting agency to correct any inaccuracies.
  2. Take steps to improve one's credit.
Attacking TransUnion is unproductive. The SPLC is very specific about why it deems an organization a hate group. The explanation is usually based in large measure on the words of its speakers. Have they been misquoted?

By now we have all memorized the anti-SPLC talking points. The organization has too much money. The SPLC is anti-Christian. The SPLC is a radical, left wing operation. And so on. None of that has a damned thing to do with the fact that AFA routinely smears LGBTQ people.

Religious conservatism does not necessitate promoting hate. Religion is an excuse, not a cause.

Wednesday, LifeSiteNews, no shrinking violet in the hate department, has jumped on the bandwagon:
Video platform Vimeo has deleted the account of the American Family Association (AFA), characterizing the pro-family organization as a hate group.

According to a report by OneNewsNow.com, which is affiliated with AFA, “Vimeo told the American Family Association (AFA) it will not host an account if the owner is a member of a terror or hate group.”
Companies are free to set their own acceptable use policy. Apparently Vimeo relies upon the SPLC to determine which organizations are hate groups.

I would not characterize AFA as a “pro-family organization.” There are many close-knit families comprised of honest, hard-working and devoted parents who have kind, studious children that American Family Association disapproves of for reasons which are unrelated to ethics and societal contributions.
“In recent weeks they’ve taken action against our account,” AFA president Walker Wildmon recounted. “They’ve officially shut down American Family Association’s video account with no in-depth explanation and no recourse, no way to defend our credibility.”

“Vimeo’s done great harm to American Family Association by limiting our free speech and basically targeting us based on our religious beliefs,” he added.
Walker goes on to contradict himself:
Vimeo’s actions, Wildmon explained, were “based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s reckless labeling of AFA.” The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center had categorized AFA as a hate group.
So they did provide an explanation which is that they rely on the SPLC. AFA does have recourse. They can stop behaving like a hate group. “Free speech” usually refers to rights afforded under the First Amendment. The First Amendment limits only government actors from curtailing expression.

What part of anyone's religious beliefs necessitates demonizing and boycotting businesses because they are not prejudicial towards LGBTQ people? What part of religious belief requires AFA to use Target Stores as a proxy for attacking gender-diverse people?

LGBTQ people are part of families, just like everyone else. When AFA attacks LGBTQ people they are attacking entire families. What part of religious belief requires AFA to be antagonistic to a good portion of society because of an LGBTQ family member?

The Southern Poverty Law Center is explicit about why AFA is deemed a hate group. What does the SPLC have wrong? Does Walker Wildmon think that is it fair, honest and honorable to claim that transgender women pose a threat to cisgender women? If so, where is the evidence?

AFA's village has more than one idiot:
Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president of AFA, said, “Vimeo has essentially characterized the Christian faith as ‘hateful’ because the Bible teaches that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful. Yes, that includes homosexual activity.”
Allow me to respond with a very un-Christian sentiment: Bullshit!

Religious beliefs are not at issue. Hateful conduct is at issue. Mr. Vitagliano probably thinks that I am going to Hell for not accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. Were that true it in no way affects Vitagliano. Yet, he is entitled to that opinion.

On the other hand, if he grabs a bullhorn and shouts on a busy street corner that Jews are evil along with the usual mythology associated with anti-Semitism then he has turned personal beliefs into hateful conduct. AFA has many bullhorns which run perpetually on batteries that never require charging.

AFA has transformed religious belief into direct efforts to marginalize and smear LGBTQ people with mythical stereotypes, deliberately false information, junk science and angry invective. AFA uses harmful and ineffective conversion therapy as a pretext to advance discrimination and to impose its will on public policy.

Vitagliano offers living proof that AFA is culturally dishonest. He is claiming that opprobrium over unnecessary hateful conduct is an attack on Christianity. The Ku Klux Klan makes the same claim as supposedly conservative Christians.

According to the Internal Revenue Service there are 1,744,367 federally tax exempt organizations in the United States. “Christ” is within the names of 51,389 of those which establishes a floor. I would bet that some 500,000 of those organizations are Christian.

The SPLC lists a mere 70 organizations as anti-LGBTQ. That is a statistically insignificant percentage of Christian organizations. By those numbers the SPLC (and Vimeo) are doing a terrible job of attacking Christianity.
“This has been Christian teaching for 2,000 years,” he [Vitagliano] pointed out. “Vimeo’s religious bigotry is appalling, and we reject the company’s heavy-handed censorship.”
Vitagliano hasn't made a cogent case that anyone is attacking Christianity. Most of the SPLC's and Vimeo's employees are probably Christian as well. Yet he is accusing people of bigotry. “Censorship” is a government action. Vimeo is not a government actor.
As reported by LifeSiteNews, one of the co-founders of the SPLC accused the group of merely “ripping off” its wealthy donors for decades.

Morris Dees asked, “Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused? Did we enable racial discrimination and sexual harassment by failing to speak out?”
That is a complete lie. Bob Moser, a writer and former SPLC staffer who happens to be openly gay, wrote a March, 2019 piece in the New Yorker in response to Morris Dee's termination. The piece was critical. Morris Dees never asked that question. Bob Moser did.

Now I happen to be a fan of Bob Moser who writes for a number of progressive outlets including Rolling Stone, The Nation and American Prospect. I would point out that he has not been employed by the SPLC for nearly 20 years and that he was in the position as a writer for a very short time. His criticism, in my opinion, is more of Dees than the organization he founded.

More importantly what does any of that have to do with whether or not American Family Association is properly designated as a hate group? Nothing. I am sure that Mr. Moser would agree that AFA is a rabid and vile hate group.

The piece goes on to criticize Twitter and Facebook for terrible crimes. It's the usual blather.

One thing is glaringly missing. Neither Walker Wildmon nor Ed Vitagliano made any effort to correct the record. Neither could say that anything the SPLC said about AFA was false. This was the usual argument ad hominem, attacking Vimeo and the SPLC rather than the arguments themselves.

Christianity does not require American Family Association to be despicable purveyors of bigotry. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices. American Family Association chooses to do those things that cause it to be deemed a hate group.

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