Franklin Graham, the chief of both Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministries, counselor to presidents and powerful advocate for Christian activism, has issued a verbal takedown of the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center's attacks on innocuous ministries as "hate" groups.
"A hate group? Can you believe this – the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., has labeled a number of Christian groups such as D. James Kennedy Ministries, and the Family Research Council run by my good friend Tony Perkins as ‘hate' groups. Why?" he wrote on a Facebook post.
"Simply because they hold to the teaching of God's Word on moral issues such as homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
"They even speak disparagingly against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who was born into a Muslim family in Somalia and bravely speaks out against the dangers and oppression of women in Islam," Graham marveled. "Because she dares to speak against what Islam has done to her and other women, she is being accused of hate speech! Incredible.
"As Kimberley Strassel said in the The Wall Street Journal, ‘If the SPLC doesn't agree with your views, it tags you as a hater.' The SPLC has the funding of Apple CEO Tim Cook and financial giant J.P. Morgan, and is a media favorite. Who is the real hate group here?" Graham asked.
The issue is the SPLC's open verbal and printed assaults against a lot of traditional Christian organizations in America – when it places them on its "hate" map.
Those actions appear already to have played a role in two attempts at mass murder in America:
In June, SPLC supporter James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise., R-La.; Zach Barth, a staff member for Congressman Roger Williams; former congressional staff member Matt Mika; and two U.S. Capitol Police officers at a Republican congressional members practice for a charity baseball game just months ago.
SPLC had demonized Scalise for promoting white supremacy and clearly tried to infer "that Rep. Scalise is a so-called ‘hater.'"
Hodgkinson had "liked" SPLC's Facebook page.
SPLC also was linked to domestic terror through Floyd Lee Corkins, who cited SPLC as his inspiration for his going to the Washington offices of the Family Research Council, armed with a gun, intending to kill as many people as he could. He was stopped by a security guard, who was injured.
WND reported a video showed Corkins entering the FRC offices and confronting Leo Johnson.
The SPLC has demonized many who decline to adopt its agenda of promoting homosexuality, open borders and same-sex "marriage."
It even slapped its "hater" label on former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, until a backlash on social media forced it to remove him, all because he supports traditional marriage.
It also backed down in another situation just this week. According to Liberty Counsel, the SPLC "admitted its fault and removed a town from its ‘Hate Map' ... That map irresponsibly mixes religious organizations with violent hate groups, and this time it included the town of Amana because an unknown source alleged some people who might have been associated with The Daily Stormer met one time in a restaurant for coffee. This is one of many inaccuracies and gross over-characterizations that can be found on SPLC's map.
"Amana, an innocent town, was then blacklisted by the SPLC. People living there were brought under a cloud a suspicion because of the improper, sweeping accusation of the SPLC. The SPLC makes wide generalizations and then seeks to harm those within its self-proclaimed classification of others. In a similar manner, the SPLC targets anyone who disagrees with them on issues related to the LGBT agenda. Then it claims civil disagreement as ‘evidence' for falsely classifying a peaceful organization as ‘hateful.' To do so is just as wrong and even more harmful than the SPLC's mischaracterization of the city of Amana."
Liberty Counsel also has been characterized as a "hater" by the SPLC.
"As a pastor, before becoming an attorney, my heart then and now is for hurting people," said Mat Staver, founder. "Liberty Counsel exists to help other people. Right now, we are focusing resources on helping victims of Harvey. We believe that every person is created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. We are putting those beliefs into action in Texas. This is hardly the action of a hate group! If the SPLC were intellectually honest, it should re-title its ‘Hate Map' into ‘Groups We Hate Map,'" said Staver.
The organization reported the SPLC also has gotten into trouble with the Disciplinary Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, under President Obama. Its lawyers were sharply rebuked and reprimanded for employing the SPLC's "hate group" label to dismiss a conservative advocacy group. It stated that using the SPLC's map "overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional." It continued that such behavior is "uncivil" and "constitutes frivolous behavior and does not aid the administration of justice."
Just a day earlier, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh pointed out the SPLC's failings.
He said, "The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps one of the biggest hate groups on the left. They tar and feather and slander right-wing groups and call them hate groups," he said. "They've got a map on their website, and whenever a right-wing group that says or does anything that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a bunch of leftist freaks, all you have to do is disagree with them and you are called a hater."
Criticizing support from companies such as Apple and JPMorgan Chase, he described SPLC's agenda.
Get the Whistleblower Magazine's revelations about SPLC in "The Hate Racket," the story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.
"For example, if they support gay marriage and LGBT and all these other things and you happen to disagree with it, you are the hater. You hate. You are a hate-filled person that is bordering on the use of violence. And that's how they characterize these groups, and it led to a deranged leftist walking into the office of the Family Research Council and actually shooting at somebody. It's what contributes to this deranged guy shooting up Republicans at a baseball practice in Virginia," he said.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center and other left-wing groups actually inspire their dope members to violence while claiming that the right-wing groups that they're identifying – and they point 'em out on a map. They identify where these groups' headquarters are on a map, and their deranged supporters end up there, protesting and so forth," Limbaugh went on.
He warned the CEOs of companies such as Apple not to treat the SPLC "as one of the most worthwhile, fair, enduring organizations devoted to equality and fairness."
"That's the last thing they're devoted to," he said. "These are the people that want to shut you up if you say something they disagree with. You don't even have to be saying it about them.
"Basically all you have to do is be a prominent conservative or run a prominent conservative 501(c)(3) fundraising organization. If your conservative group raises money, then the Southern Poverty Law Center is out to destroy you. So I asked the question: Do these CEOs not know this? And it was a legitimate question because if all they do, if their total source of information happens to be CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and maybe the Washington Post, it is entirely possibly they don't know the truth about the Southern Poverty Law Center."
Citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the suit charges religious discrimination by "trafficking in false or misleading descriptions of the services offered under the ministry's trademarked name; and for defamation pursuant to Alabama common law arising from the publication and distribution of information that libels the ministry's reputation and subjects the ministry to disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public."
It was filed in federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, scene of some of the nation's most ferocious civil rights battles.
The case alleges that the defendants – online retailer Amazon, online charity reporting company GuideStar and SPLC – damaged the ministries by creating, publishing and promoting SPLC's infamous "hate" designations.
The hate designations already had prompted a lawsuit by Liberty Counsel against Guidestar. And several organizations, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, have demanded broadcasters retract reports quoting SPLC's hate designations.
The newest case seeks an award for "special harms from the SPLC" over the groups' rejection by the AmazonSmile program due to the hate designations.
Related column: What is ‘hate' and who defines it? The SPLC? by Jerry Newcombe
WND reported last month when SPLC's president, Richard Cohen, defended his group's attacks on Christians.
He wrote in a Huffington Post commentary that Christians deserve the designation because they "sow the seeds of hate" for, among other things, adhering to a biblical perspective on homosexuality.
But the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability warned GuideStar its use of false SPLC claims to undermine Christian organizations was damaging its credibility.
Paul Bedard documented in his Washington Secrets column that some of the groups targeted by SPLC now are unleashing a public counteroffensive, accusing the organization of "fueling hate, killing free speech and even encouraging terrorist-style attacks on those it doesn't agree with."
Get Whistleblower Magazine's revelations about SPLC in "The Hate Racket," the complete story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions in the process.