The Southern Poverty Law Center has added several “mainstream” religious right groups to their list of hate groups for their zealous opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians, including the American Family Association and the Family Research Council. And the theocons are throwing quite a fit over it.
I’ve said many times that I think the SPLC sometimes paints with too broad a brush so it’s always a good idea to examine the evidence on which they base such conclusions. You can see their report on these anti-gay groups here and judge for yourself. I think they make a stronger case against some than against others.
“No organization better defines what a hate group is all about than the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Robert Knight, Washington correspondent for Coral Ridge Ministries. “Smearing legitimate groups merely for disagreeing about homosexuality is a very hateful act.”
But the evidence is pretty good in some cases. The American Family Association, for example, has hired Bryan Fischer as one of their chief spokesmen and he has repeatedly offered views that are bigoted and hateful beyond any legitimate doubt. For example, he has argued for forcing gays and lesbians into “reparative therapy” to “cure” them. He has called gays “domestic terrorists.”
Most bizarrely, he has claimed that Adolf Hitler and all the leading Nazis were militant homosexuals, declaring, “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” He claims that only homosexuals could be as savage as the Nazis were.
Is this bigotry and hatred? Of course it is. No reasonable person could conclude otherwise.