The SPLC hate list and the Nazi card

Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center published several articles devoted to identifying groups who perpetuate stereotypes and falsehoods about gays. In one of the articles, the SPLC articulated a list of ten myths about gays which they claimed the groups identified as hate groups willfully promote. Elsewhere, the SPLC updated the list of what they term anti-gay hate groups, adding several groups, some of which are well known social conservative organizations.

The reaction was slow but has started to emerge from the groups identified by the SPLC.  One such reaction comes from Matt Barber, Liberty University adminstrator and board member at AFTAH, who wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times, titled “SPLC: The wolf who cried ‘hate.

The SPLC criteria for inclusion as a hate group were at one time somewhat vague.  Now, with the ten-myth criteria, it becomes easier to identify the types of public statements which the SPLC views as promoting bias toward gays. One myth I have written about is the Scott Lively inspired claim that gays animated the Nazi party. In fact, the SPLC referred to a couple of posts on this blog by my friend and colleague, JonDavid Wyneken, history professor at GCC (part 1 & part 2). Referring to claims made in Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, SPLC’s Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback wrote:

The Pink Swastika has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and other scholars. Christine Mueller, professor of history at Reed College, did a line-by-line refutation of an earlier (1994) Abrams article on the topic and of the broader claim that the Nazi Party was “entirely controlled” by gay men. Historian Jon David Wynecken at Grove City College also refuted the book, pointing out that Lively and Abrams did no primary research of their own, instead using out-of-context citations of some legitimate sources while ignoring information from those same sources that ran counter to their thesis.

More recently Bryan Fischer, speaking for another newly added hate group the American Family Association, said

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.

These are false claims which have been addressed multiple times by experts and primary sources. These are the kinds of claims which led the SPLC to place the AFA on their list.

And so it is stunning to see one of Matt Barber’s arguments in defense of the groups recently named to the hate group list. In fact, the argument is the big finish to the Washington Times column I referred to above. He says:

So, center-right America: If you happen to believe in the sanctity of natural marriage and that, as a culture, we’re best served by honoring the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic of our forefathers, you’re now an official “hater.”

Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind’s eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I’m rubber, you’re glue and all that).

Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC – and by extension the greater “progressive” movement – has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.

It’s often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument.

Congratulations, conservative America: They’re calling you a Nazi. Carry on.

Exactly. By Barber’s reasoning, then, the AFA and Scott Lively have lost the argument since the Nazi card has been played repeatedly by members of the SPLC’s hate list.

There is another strange twist in Barber’s op-ed. He says this:

The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I’m rubber, you’re glue and all that).

The groups which now populate the SPLC list specialize in ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks. Claims that gays die 20+ years early, that they are child abusers, that they are inherently diseased, and responsible for the Holocaust are the kinds of ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks which lead thoughful people, liberal and conservative, to question the credibility of those making the claims.

Christian groups should care about nuance and bearing honest witness. They should avoid misleading stereotypes and strive for accuracy in fact claims. When they don’t, they hurt the church and the good work that others are doing. Being designated a hate group is a serious matter and one which should cause reflection about the charges and not reckless defensiveness.

For more posts debunking the thesis advanced by the American Family Association and The Pink Swastika, click here…

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  • Richard Willmer

    Care does need to be taken when assigning the term ‘hate group’ to an organisation. This term should be reserved for those groups that INTEND to incite/promote hatred. I would certainly include groups that tried to pin the Holocaust on gay people. Such accusations seem to me to be clearly intended to incite/promote hatred.

  • @Richard

    The SPLC has some 900+ racist groups listed, and 18 anti-gay groups. I think they have been painfully restrained in their selection. As for what these groups “intend,” I’m sure they would not claim to want to incite hatred, but their actions betray that claim. One must go by their actions.

    In short, it appears that great care has been taken by the SPLC in assigning the “hate group” label.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David

    I’m sure you’re right about that. The groups cited do seem to INTEND to promote hatred, whatever they may claim (and, of course, they would claim otherwise).

  • It’s all about the Benjamins.

    I can fight honest opponents, those who genuinely believe even the most awful and completely false things about GLBT people, and still respect them. They’re not evil, merely misguided, though they may do terrible harm.

    My scorn is reserved for those who are in it to “activate the base” and bring in the money to “fight the evil Gay Agenda”. And believe me, the religion game is very, very lucrative.

  • Richard Willmer

    I rather agree, Zoe. A number of the former group have actually changed their views as a result of respectful (albeit ‘energetic’) dialogue.

  • Lynn David

    As had been pointed out to me in the past on this blog, the FRI, not the FRC, was on the SPLC list. For the last year or so, I have thought the FRC was sure acting like they belonged on the list. I guess now I don’t have to descriminate between an ‘I’ and a ‘C.’

  • David Blakeslee

    Ian Fleming did more damage to erode Western Civilization’s values for traditional marriage and sexual morality…

    And he did it under the rubric of protecting democracy…

    From Goldfinger, Blofeld, Dr. No and Largo.

    No double-entendres, please.

    Heterosexuals “gleefully” (I couldn’t resist) opened up the door.

  • Jayhuck

    I find it amusing that the groups listed by the SPLC don’t address the charges, they only cry foul!

  • Richard Willmer

    This is to be expected, Jayhuck.

    Truth means little to those who make hatred their stock-in-trade.

  • Julie

    Just curious… Does the SPLC list gay rights groups who repeatedly refer to Christian conservatives as “uneducated morons” and “nazis,” etc… Or, is their hate designation reserved for those who disagree with their moral approval of homosexuality?

    • I think Julie raises a valid concern. My guess is if there was a gay group or any other group that called for Christians to be put in prison, said they were inherently diseased and deficient, molested children at dangerously high rates, were inherently dangerous to children, and responsible for the Holocaust (there were a lot of Christians in the Nazi party), then I bet the SPLC would place that group on the list.

  • stephen

    Julie, gay Americans are under a constant and unrelenting attack by the groups listed by the SPLC who call for us to be jailed and worse. The fact that we are slandered and vilified by these groups does not earn them a place on the hate groups list. It is their constant use of lies and threats of violence against us that earns them that place. You might want to read the SPLC’s own reasons for including these groups. Warren has, in his usual careful way, provided a link above.

  • ken


    Can you name any of these gay rights groups you think deserve to be on a SPLC hate-groups list? Can you give any specific examples (and cite some references) of what these groups have done that you think makes them eligible to be on such a list? If you can give some reasonable, verifiable specifics I think Warren would be willing to create a discussion thread on whether such groups should or should not be on an SPLC hate-groups list. If you do provide those specifics I would certainly be willing to petition Warren to do so.

    However, until then, if you don’t feel that some of the groups the SPLC has recently added should be on the list, then perhaps you should stick to discussing what you disagree with in the SPLCs rational for adding them.

  • Michael Bussee

    Julie: Moral disapproval and name-calling were not enough to make the list. Warren explained this well. Please review the criteria for inclusion. Exodus and NARTH were not named as hate groups, for example, even though they do disapprove of homosexuality and have repeatedly used terms like “broken, disordered, sinful, sick, counterfeit, etc.” to defame us.

  • Regan DuCasse

    Julie, I am a volunteer for the Simon Weisenthal Holocaust Center and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

    They are an archive for Holocaust political history and an anti hate educational center. They interact with the SPLC and ADL and other anti hate orgs. to track these groups, their activity and it’s RESULTS.

    They do not go about their work lightly, nor come to their criteria that way. As stated, they have a very specific criteria by which to make their conclusions.

    As for the gay community and their speech and name calling and so on.

    Know the difference between and ACTION and a REACTION.

    Gays and lesbians are REACTING to political attacks that result in a major compromise to their ability to fully function as citizens. And there are tangible results in every aspect of life.

    Even school children are not safe from being tormented to death with anti gay sentiment.

    However strongly gay people respond, it’s not been in kind. Considering the gravity and results of what they are called and the stereotypes and maligning of their intentions, I’d say that over all, gay men and women have responded much more admirably than they are given credit for.

    After all, the bulk of the political action by gays and lesbians is to PREVENT tragedies like school bullying and street violence, but also the loss of careers and families that do occur.

    No one gay wants the dominant culture to suffer this in kind, but to leave gay people in peace enough to participate in what everyone else does without restriction.

    However in anger, indignation, pain and outrage in the form of name calling and so on, in what way is a person NOT to express this, given the violations that occur against gay people?

    What WOULD you have gay people do INSTEAD that YOU’D do under the SAME circumstances?

    What do you think you’d REALLY do, if it were YOU?

    And it HAPPENED to you?

    Let me tell you an experience I had recently with Brian Brown, the now president of NOM. He and I exchanged many emails. I told him of my background in law enforcement and that the money and outreach he engaged in reached millions, but the same expenses that gay people have incurred in SELF DEFENSE seems a waste when all the bans against gay people marrying are really inert.

    I asked him if everyone were better served in fighting domestic violence. Which caused much suffering, wiped out whole families and in our economic times, was more urgent.

    I had just processed the pictures of a 10 month old baby girl the day before who had a black eye and a horribly burned left hand incurred from her heterosexual biological parents.

    She may never be able to use her hand. It’s a wonder amputation didn’t happen.

    And that’s when Brian Brown decided to never speak to me again, and he didn’t even MENTION or try to discuss the horrors of domestic violence just in our country alone.

    Yet, MILLIONS of dollars have been poured into the anti gay campaign of NOM, commercials, bus tours and all manner of telling on the mountain that not only are gay people after everything wonderful about marriage, but any judge that recognizes the importance of Constitutional protections for ALL citizens, must be punished.

    Julie, at best, groups like NOM are an expensive folly. And gay people are confronted with the constant movement of the goal lines.

    At worst, their activity has ALL the similarities of exactly what the most historically bad human rights abusers went about their work.

    There is no defense for it. And getting angry, upset and not always civilized about it, is the only way it’s going to get noticed and hopefully STOPPED.

    Remember the saying that evil prevails because good people DO NOTHING.

    Even so, a majority of gay people do not respond this way.

  • stephen

    Fine comment Regan DuCasse.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Anti-semites will tell you that they hate Jews. Racists will tell you, using the most vile slurs, that they hate African Americans. Virtually every hate group wears the badge of hate with – if not pride – than at least acknowledgment.

    Except for anti-gays. Those who practice demonization against gays chaff at being called “haters.” They will angrily denounce “The Left” or anyone who dares suggest that they are anything less that full of love.

    Because most of those who truly hate gay people – or who behave in a manner that they would recognize as hateful were it directed towards ANYONE else – have a little problem: Jesus.

    Ya see, that very annoying Jesus character (they’d be MUCH happier if Paul was the son of God) described his followers in terms of love. His commandment was to love God and your neighbor – and he (how dare he!!) defined “your neighbor” as the social outcast who doesn’t share your interpretation of Scripture.

    And then he had the gall to say that his disciples would be recognized by “they” – that is the non-believers – because they were the people with love.

    So when the SPLC – aka “they” – say that Tony Perkins is a hater, they are saying that he’s not really a Christian, or not by Jesus’ definition.

    And that’s an honesty that Perkins doesn’t want to face. It’s a harsh harsh truth and it is no wonder that he – and the rest who really do NOT want to be measured by whether they have love – are screaming so loudly.

  • stephen

    I don’t think anything is different, Timothy. I think the mechanism of prejudice is always the same. Many anti-semites will claim that some of their best friends are Jews. The same is true for racists. They will honestly not understand when one points out their racism to them. They will back up their claims with Bible quotes and exhibit the same indignation as when one points out a homophobe’s bigotry. What is often different is that in both instances of prejudice blacks and jews have strong family and religious support groups. So when my husband was being attacked on his way home from school in Manchester by Christian kids calling him ‘Christ-killer’ he knew when he got home he would find comfort. The same is not true for many gay kids. When they get home they are told that they are not really gay, that they better get over it, that they mustn’t tell anyone, that their father will die of shame, they’d better get themselves to church, etc.

    As I understand it, Jesus gave as the reason for his mission the need to temper the Mosaic law with love. He states that on more than one occasion. Which, if one follows Him, puts the whole of Leviticus out of bounds. If His most important statement of His beliefs is the Sermon on the Mount then we should look at how He framed it. He knew that the religious authorities were after Him. That they had already accused Him of blasphemy – a capital offense under Mosaic law. He couldn’t challenge them openly or they would send in the soldiers to silence Him. So He told His followers to listen carefully: what He spoke of was important, what He left out wasn’t. In that way He could preach against the Mosaic law without challenging it directly. Which makes me think it is the DUTY of Christians to go beyond the limits of temporal prejudice to embrace those who have been excluded. Apart from adulterers, He was very against adulterers. And since He was indeed put to death for the crime of blasphemy we should also be following His way and ignoring Leviticus and all the rest of the harsh moralizing of the Old Testament.

  • Regan DuCasse

    That directive (regarding how to feel about your neighbor), which is almost universal in many cultures, is that way because of the very universal condition of EMPATHY.

    Empathy isn’t always easy, but the most ethical behavior stems from it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have charity, or justice, or love or any other form of human connection that has the most meaning. Not only to individuals and between them, but also how whole nations will exist.

    Empathy has yet to destroy a nation, dominance certainly has. We can be our most just, and efficient in our command of morality, when we are our most empathetic.

    It is a thoughtful and civilized response to something difficult, but it’s most important when confronted by those who are DIFFERENT from ourselves.

    We give ourselves and that other, the ability to take stock and opportunity to learn what we must.

    One of the things that is the most persistent violation of that directive from Christ, is even listening and not contradicting it when a gay person says they can’t change their orientation.

    And the next violation is once that is said, to expect that they should be FORCED into changing it.

    And all this, without caring to determine if that change is possible or NECESSARY.

    When I want to learn about childbirth, I wouldn’t go to a man. Nor would I care to hear about gay people, from someone who isn’t.

    Just as even women who have experience childbirth aren’t doing another woman much good by saying how traumatic, painful, negative and bad their childbirth experience was….it does no good for a gay person to repeat to another how awful, bad and dangerous being gay is.

    No amount of negative reporting on one’s respective experience, has been an effective and necessary deterrent, has it?

    And why should it be?

    A lot of other things don’t get done, when people are generally frightened out of the process.

    The less that people of faith practice what they preach, the less they can be credited with making any real sacrifices but expect others to, they will have a harder time convincing anyone paying attention they are sincere, or even right.

    You can’t defend what you’re unwilling to do yourself.

    We’ve all come to a point where being more literate and well aware of each other is broad and intense. It’s an opportunity, more than ever for people of faith to put up or shut up.

    And it’s also an opportunity for gay people to bring more honesty and truth to what is essentially effecting their lives the most profoundly.

    It’s time gay people had the floor, and the chance to offer everyone the wisdom of their experience and people of faith to live up to their own moral creed.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    The less that people of faith practice what they preach, the less they can be credited with making any real sacrifices but expect others to, they will have a harder time convincing anyone paying attention they are sincere, or even right.

    Regan, well said.

    Christianity only has one real selling point. And, though many Christians may not realize, it isn’t avoiding hell or getting to heaven. No, Christianity’s only real selling point is that it makes you a better person. Who cares about Heaven if you have to spend eternity with jerks.

    Ultimately, the heaven/hell promise/threat is only effective if people think there is truth to the religion. And truth is evidenced by what we see.

    And if Christianity is, indeed, making you a worse person, well that may well explain the recent surge in American Buddhism.

  • David Blakeslee

    Checking in…

    The dilemma for the current consumer of “meaning products” such as Christianity or Buddhism is that any faith requires adherence to the whole belief system.

    Many of the products in the meaning system bring serenity, inspire personal growth and improve interpersonal behavior.

    Inevitably, items in the meaning system create tension, distress and suffering in the practitioner. The temptation is to pick and choose “which items” to practice so that we obtain maximum benefits with minimal distress…

    Sometimes that distress surrounds talking about what is right and wrong in a public arena. If it is done with truth, it can be a painful, but worthy growth activity for the practicing Christian.

    A consumer culture is trained to reward “sellers” of meaning systems to modify their systems to bring the greatest temporal reward at the lowest personal cost.

    Psychology is currently marketing a pleasant Buddhist model with good effect.

    I don’t really care who is with me in Heaven, we will all be unworthy.

  • Timothy Kincaid


    You seem to be arguing for a “take the whole product, flaws and all.” All that “distress” is made up for by the serenity. The growth is worth the pain.

    But considering that the flaws that are on display are horrendous, it’s not a very compelling product. If the world has to pick all or nothing, well right the “all” isn’t worth it.

    Here’s some painful truth, David:

    If I honestly believed that the vileness that we see on display daily from NOM and Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer were inherent to Christianity, I’d run from the faith as fast as I could. If I believed that Christianity required me to be a bigoted hater who seeks to destroy others’ lives, I’d dump that faith system in a New York minute.

    At some point we have to ask ourselves whether our faith is the product solely of our upbringing. Do we believe because there’s value to believing, or only because our parents and their parents did?

    In other words, if I were raised in Saudi Arabia, would I support the extinction of the Jews? If I were brought up to believe in the Crocodile God of the Nile, would I throw my child as a sacrifice?

    We have to ask ourselves whether Christianity is good and right and true. Faith is not a matter of blind adherence, but rather faith requires that we question.

    Sadly, the answers that many Christians give tend to be glib and focus on how the Holy Spirit would lead those who ‘really wanted it’ to the truth. But very very seldom do they ever consider that if they ‘really wanted it’, the Holy Spirit may well be trying to lead them away from heinous doctrine and to the truth.

    Jesus was correct in that the measure of whether we are heading towards God is not evidenced in our adherence to orthodoxy but rather in the way we treat others. If our Christianity becomes objectively cruel, then it doesn’t matter how “doctrinally correct” it may be, it’s evil.

    If we don’t look at ourselves to see if we really are doing good rather than doing religion, eventually we find ourselves at the bank of the river ready to feed the hungry crocodiles.

  • Jayhuck


    Ultimately, the heaven/hell promise/threat is only effective if people think there is truth to the religion.

    Absolutely! And almost every religion claims to have the “Truth”

  • Michael Bussee

    Jesus was correct in that the measure of whether we are heading towards God is not evidenced in our adherence to orthodoxy but rather in the way we treat others.

    Bears repeating.

  • I don’t want to reach the evil f*ckers and give them more information, to teach them how to con more Lesbians. I want them gone permanently. – Bev Jo

    There are no words to describe them. There are tiny parasitic wasps who paralyse small animals (spiders, caterpillars, etc.) and lay their eggs on them, so the animal is alive while being slowing eaten by the growing baby. But the wasps aren’t deliberately cruel. These men remind me of a deliberately female-hating version of that. They’ve prove what I’ve been saying for decades — they are more female-hating than even many het men. The character in Silence of the Lambs who skinned women to wear really seems more accurate all the time.

    …they’re the ones who kept taking about violence and murder. But really, they should be careful about giving some angry women those ideas.

    They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.

    That’s Nazism.

    It’s also Radical Feminist Lesbian Separatists talking about Trans and Intersexed people.

    Mary Daly’s book “Gyn/Ecology” is still a standard text taught in Gender Studies classes around the world.

    Some quotes of hers about Trans people:

    “Dionysus sometimes assumed a girl-like form. The phenomenon of the drag queen dramatically demonstrates such boundary violation. Like whites playing “black face,” he incorporates the oppressed role without being incorporated in it. In the phenomenon of transsexualism, the incorporation/confusion is deeper. As ethicist Janice Raymond has pointed out, the majority of transsexuals are “male to female,” while transsexed females basically function as tokens, and are used by the rulers of the transsexual empire to hide the real nature of the game. In transsexualism, males put on “female” bodies (which are in fact pseudofemale)….

    The Dionysian solution for women, which is violation of our own Hag-ocratic boundaries, is The Final Solution.”

    She’s not talking metaphorically. She means extermination “disinfection” as she put it elsewhere.

    Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent not only in religious myth, but in its offspring, phallocratic technology. The insane desire for power, the madness of boundary violation, is the mark of necrophiliacs who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses. This necrophilic invasion/elimination takes a variety of forms. Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes.”

    Hence their extermination is not just justified, but a positive virtue.

    The transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist feeds off woman’s true energy source, i.e. her woman-identified self. It is he who recognises that if female spirit, mind, creativity and sexuality exist anywhere in a powerful way it is here, among lesbian-feminists.

    I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.

    – Janice Raymond “The Transsexual Empire”

    They don’t make it easy for me to fight for Human Rights for all GLB people, do they?

    Substitute a few tokens, so it talks about Jews leeching the healthy Life-Spirit of Aryans, and it’s straight out of Die Stuermer.

  • David Blakeslee


    You seem to be arguing

    I read the rest and think you make a very cogent argument that is not in keeping with my point.

    There is some likelihood you and Bryan Fischer will be hugging in heaven. Martin Luther was anti-Semitic.

    The power of grace is not in forgiving tolerable, small sins.

    There is some hope for your position however in the words of Jesus in the parable of the wheat and the tares

    Matthew 13:24-30 (King James Version)

    24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

    25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

    26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

    27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

    28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

    29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

    30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    We all have something to fear here…

    I have used this passage often with clients who have been hurt in the name of Christianity. It gives them great comfort to know that their abusers may dress like Christians, but they may not be.

    It may be well suited to Fischer and Bahati…God only knows.

    Back to my point, the power of practicing faith is dealing with its demands, which feel unnatural and impossible: such as “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    If you are so inclined I would welcome your comments on the global demands of faith practice.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    There is some likelihood you and Bryan Fischer will be hugging in heaven.

    I involuntarily shivered… but I understand your point.

    I just wish that the tares were not the spokesmen for the wheat. Fewer will wish to be wheat if they think that it will make them tares.

    I think Christians have an obligation – a duty to the faith, I guess – not to be raging Aholes all the time. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t have Christian symbols on my car… I’m just not courteous enough that I want my bad driving habits to reflect on the faith. I don’t really want folks to look at me and think that this is what a Christian looks like.

    I really wish that others – especially those who truly are just vile people motivated by hatred and self-righteousness – would do the same. It’s getting to the point where gay folk and other “sinners” may need to speak out and self-identify as Christians just to save the image of the faith.

  • David Blakeslee

    I just wish that the tares were not the spokesmen for the wheat.


  • I think Christians have an obligation – a duty to the faith, I guess – not to be raging Aholes all the time.

    Why confine that to Christians? I think everyone has that obligation. It’s part of being Human.

    Don’t be too hard on yourselves.