Southern Poverty Law Center overuses 'extremism’
The Arizona Republic
8:07 a.m. ET March 14, 2017
The SPLC is a non-profit heralded for its noble history defending civil rights. Founded in 1971, the Montgomery, Ala. legal advocacy organization sued the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups in the South on behalf of victims. Big settlements and harsh sanctions were levied against the racist organizations, successfully shuttering some and scaring off many others.
But by 1986, these groups had rapidly declined. The SPLC could have declared “mission accomplished.” But since funds were still coming in, they declared a new mission statement. No longer would they fight Grand Wizards and Jim Crow, but turned instead to an endlessly expanding target of “extremism.” The change in goals was so stark, the entire legal staff resigned.
The group’s website now hosts a Hatewatch vertical, a Hate Map, and offers a glossy magazine titled The Year in Hate and Extremism. The publication’s most recent cover features a yelling Donald Trump with a confederate flag in the background.
The fact that the presidential choice of 63 million Americans is equated with a lynch mob skulking around Dixie shows how far the SPLC has strayed from its roots. Half the country can now be declared hate-filled extremists if this group is allowed to define the terms.
And those targeted by the SPLC face dangerous consequences.
Another religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, works “to preserve and defend our most cherished birthright – religious freedom.” In February, a suspicious powder was mailed to their Scottsdale headquarters. Fire crews evacuated the mail room while two people who had been exposed were evaluated and released. Two weeks after the incident, SPLC listed Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group.
The near-deadly Corkins incident and the Murray riot are, deservedly, notorious, but I had not heard of the ADF incident. The ADF is a legal defense and advocacy organization, one of many mirror-image counterparts to the ACLU. Evidently some Christian-hater or Pro-Abortion activist doesn’t appreciate the ADF’s successes.
More generally, this is what happens when activists with a messianic complex run or take over a worthwhile group.