Religious Right Angry After U.S. Justice Dept. Partners with Hate Group Watchdog

Last week, the Department of Justice announced a new plan to combat domestic terrorism with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Most of us are probably familiar with the SPLC because of their tracking of “hate groups,” so the alliance makes sense here. The SPLC knows quite a bit about which groups have violent tendencies.

Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin also made very clear what the new program would be targeting:

We are here to talk about combating domestic terrorism, which the FBI has explained as “Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.”

… today is a good opportunity to focus the conversation broadly on violent extremism here in America. The threat ranges from individuals motivated by anti-government animus, to eco-radicalism, to racism, as it has for decades.

The full spectrum of violent extremism shares a number of common elements, and our approach to disrupting them must recognize these connections.

As far as enemies go, we’re talking specifically about people who want to invoke violence to achieve their goals. These are people who need to be stopped. No one’s saying they should be punished for being racist or criticizing the government, only for acting on their beliefs in the worst possible way.

And yet the usual members of the Religious Right are whining about this partnership because, in their mind, SPLC is itself a hate group that goes after Christians.

“Don’t look for justice to roll down like a river (Amos 5:24) at the DOJ here in Washington,” said [Family Research Council’s Tony] Perkins on Thursday. “Fueled by a radical agenda that heeds neither the law nor common sense, the Obama DOJ will stop at nothing to marginalise and silence the Americans it disagrees with — a goal it shares with the disgraced Southern Poverty Law Center.

That’s… really goddamn ignorant. If the SPLC hated Christians like Perkins, then every conservative church in the country would be on the hate group list. They’re not. The only groups on there are the ones who are truly vile, like groups that spread malicious lies about LGBT people (e.g. they’re pedophiles). And that’s why Perkins’ group is on SPLC’s list. Their stance on homosexuality goes far beyond opinion. The FRC says homosexuality confers “negative physical and psychological health effects” and is “harmful” to society at large. Both, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. FRC has also said it’s a goal of the “homosexual rights movement” to abolish age of consent laws.

Perkins has long claimed that the SPLC is somehow responsible for a mentally ill man who attempted to kill FRC employees in 2012 — fortunately, he was unsuccessful. But that accusation of SPLC somehow advocating or condoning the man’s actions makes no sense given the facts.

Even so, that’s all irrelevant right now. The Family Research Council isn’t the target of this “domestic terrorism” program. It won’t be unless the group begins calling for violence, which it’s not. So nothing to worry about.

Not that it’ll stop the Christian Right from complaining. They’re immune to the facts. Any group that criticizes them can’t possibly do anything useful. And if they’re working with the government, it just feeds into every Christian conspiracy theory about President Obama trying to persecute them.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)

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