The Southern Poverty Law Center makes very clear on their website that “viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
What does qualify them for that designation?
Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.
That response, however, hardly indicated that the IFI was backing down on its hard-line position. This year, Focus on the Family — for years, the powerhouse of anti-gay religious organizations in America — moderated its position markedly after founder James Dobson retired and pastor Jim Daly took over. In April, Daly told an interviewer: “I will continue to defend traditional marriage, but I’m not going to demean human beings in the process. It’s not about being highly confrontational.” The response of Laurie Higgins, IFI’s belligerent director of school advocacy, was that Daly was showing “surprising naïveté,” using the same language as pro-gay “homosexualists,” and failing to confront “the pro-homosexual juggernaut.”
In 2009, Higgins compared homosexuality to Nazism, likening the German Evangelical Church’s weak response to fascism to the “American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.” Elsewhere, Higgins has pined for the days when gays were in the closet. “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice… . [W]hen homosexuals were ‘in the closet,’ (along with fornicators, polyamorists, cross-dressers, and ‘transexuals’), they weren’t acquiring and raising children.” She’s also said that McDonald’s, because it ran a gay-friendly TV ad, is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.”
Two things you may not read elsewhere:
1) The SPLC has put IFI on it’s “Hate Group” list before. This was primarily based on IFI’s support (and website mentions) of Paul Cameron, a psychologist who peddled junk science. After getting the “Hate Group” label, IFI removed the articles by Cameron… and SPLC took IFI off the list.
2) I hate to defend IFI at all, after everything they’ve done to me, but I do want to make one clarification to what the SPLC said about IFI that’s not very apparent above.
I’ve met Laurie Higgins and she’s genuinely not a hateful person.
Her views on homosexuality (and so many other things) are abhorrent and completely misguided, she doesn’t believe tolerance is a virtue, and she thinks there’s some sort of gay agenda beyond seeking equal rights.
She’s wrong. Very wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. But that’s about the extent of it. I don’t see her as a hateful person.
Now, does her organization deserve to be labeled a hate group? Yep.
The things they say about gay people are designed to make readers fear and loathe homosexuality as if there’s something wrong, immoral, or unnatural about it. Those qualities alone, though, would make damn near every evangelical church come under the “hate” designation, and I don’t think that’d be accurate either.
So why should IFI be singled out? One major reason is that they promoted that Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality “Truth Academy” I mentioned above. Laurie spoke there. Go to those links above and read about what she and the other speakers said.
(I’ll give you the short version: Lies, lies, and more lies.)
You want hate? There was plenty of it present there.
Laurie and IFI also can’t stand the thought of gay people getting married or children being taught that “Heather has two mommies.”
It’s paranoia for no good reason. And bad logic coupled with ridiculous analogies.
For example, look at this recent email IFI sent members about the “threat” of civil unions:
Homosexuals are correct in their assertion that the marriage of any particular homosexual couple is unlikely to affect the marriage of any particular heterosexual couple. But that’s a silly non-argument. If Bob and Jim were to marry, their marriage would not affect mine. If Bob were to marry his sister, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. If Bob were to marry five women, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. If Bob were to marry even five children of assorted genders, it wouldn’t affect my marriage. Does the absence of impact on my particular marriage in these cases provide justification for legalizing incestuous, polygamous, or pedophilic marriages?
The truth is that eventually the redefinition of marriage will affect the public’s conception of marriage, the public’s investment in marriage, children, public education, and the future health of America. Severing marriage from gender and marriage from procreation renders marriage irrelevant as a public institution.
In addition, there will be significant financial costs to taxpayers if civil unions or same-sex “marriages” are legalized.
So gay marriage = incest, polygamy, and pedophilia.
(Yeah, I know, I said Laurie wasn’t a hateful person, yet she’s the person who wrote the piece above. Again, she really doesn’t strike me as hateful in person. Just horribly misguided…)
I think what we ought to take from this is that there really are no valid arguments to challenge equal rights for gay people. in order to find some, you have to resort to lies (including the Bible). Gay people have every right to get married and fight in the military, and groups like IFI aren’t doing themselves any favors by constantly spouting the bullshit they do.
At least young people have good bullshit detectors. And they’re very suspect of any group that would fight against anti-bullying laws, condemn gay people, and go after super-hot brown blogging math teachers.
As I write this, IFI has yet to respond to the SPLC Hate Group label. I can’t wait to see how they defend themselves.
For the record, here’s the current SPLC Hate Group list, just a little big longer than before…:
1. Abiding Truth Ministries [Scott Lively]
2. American Family Association
3. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality [Peter LaBarbera]
4. American Vision
5. Chalcedon Foundation
6. Dove World Outreach Center [Terry Jones]
7. Faithful Word Baptist Church [Steven Anderson]
8. Family Research Council
9. Family Research Institute [Paul Cameron]
10. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
11. Illinois Family Institute
13. Traditional Values Coalition
(via Truth Wins Out)