Anti-Gay Organizations Classified as ’Hate Groups’ by Prominent Civil Rights Advocate
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors extremists, is poised to add five organizations to its existing list of anti-gay hate groups. The additions reflect "further research into [the] views" of the groups being added to the list, according to SPLC publication the Intelligence Reporter.
"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," the SPLC article explains. "Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups."
Among the organizations appearing on the updated hate groups list are the American Family Association, anti-gay blog Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and the Family Research Council.
"These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the ’facts’ they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations," the SPLC article notes.
Other groups appearing on the list include Gainesville, Fla.-based Dove World Outreach Center, which is run by pastor Terry Jones, the religious leader who made headlines earlier this year by threatening to make a bonfire from copies of the sacred Muslim text the Qu’ran. Jones had scheduled the book burning for Sept. 11, but was convinced to cancel the event.
Another group slated to appear on the list is Abiding Truth Ministries, based in Springfield, Mass. The leader of Abiding Truth ministries, Scott Lively, is the co-author of The Pink Swastika, a book that claims that the Nazis were a largely gay organization. The book also claims that Hitler was gay. The SPLC notes that "virtually no serious historian agrees with" the book’s assertions.
The SPLC also notes that Lively was one of a group of anti-gay American evangelicals who traveled to Uganda last year to spread a message of intolerance. "In 2009, [Lively] went to Uganda to speak at a major conference on the evils of homosexuality, saying, among other things: ’The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.’ He also met with Ugandan lawmakers. A month after Lively left the country, a bill was introduced that called for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts and prison for those who fail to disclose gays’ identities."
Of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, SPLC reported, "AFTAH is notable for its posting of the utterly discredited work of Paul Cameron... who has claimed that gays and lesbians live vastly shorter lives than heterosexuals. Among the Cameron propaganda published by AFTAH are 2007 claims that gays and lesbians in Norway and Denmark live 24 fewer years than heterosexuals. Reviewing that claim, Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch found that it had no scientific basis," the SPLC article added.
"In 2007, LaBarbera claimed there was ’a disproportionate incidence of pedophilia’ among gay men--yet another false assertion," the article went on. "The same year, he posted an open letter to the Lithuanian people from long-time gay-basher Scott Lively... [who] said homosexuals are trying to take away free speech from all opponents of gays and to silence all religious opinions on the matter."
Another group that has relied on the work of Paul Cameron is mega-church Coral Ridge Ministries, which the SPLC article profiled, but which will not appear on the updated list. The SPLC article noted that last year the mega-church "hired anti-gay activist Robert Knight as a senior writer and Washington, D.C., correspondent." The SPLC article noted that, "In one recent essay on the CRM website, [Knight] argued against allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, saying that ’Bible-believing Christians would quickly find themselves unwelcome in Barney Frank’s new pansexual, cross-dressing military.’ In 2002, before joining CRM, Knight wrote that gay marriage ’entices children to experiment with homosexuality’ and that accepting homosexuality leads to ’a loss of stability in communities, with a rise in crime, sexually transmitted diseases and other social pathologies. Still another is a shortage of employable, stable people.’ "
The Paul Cameron-founded Family Research Institute also made the list. The SPLC reported that "Cameron’s colleagues have condemned him repeatedly. In 1983, he was thrown out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations. In 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association disassociated itself from Cameron’s statements about sexuality. In 1985, the American Sociological Association adopted a resolution saying Cameron ’has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality’ and ’repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men’; the following year, the same group formally condemned Cameron for that misrepresentation of research.
"Despite all this--and [in spite of] the fact that Cameron’s propaganda is widely known to be false or misleading--many groups have continued to use his claims, though often without citing their source," the SPLC said, noting that among those groups were several listed on the hate groups list.
The Family Research Council also made the updated list of anti-gay hate groups. The FRC made headlines earlier this year when news broke of its co-founder, anti-gay activist George Rekers, having hired a male escort as a paid companion on a European vacation. Rekers claimed that he needed a porter to haul his luggage, but the young man, whom Rekers hired through the website RentBoy.com, told the media that he did not carry luggage for Rekers. Rather, the 20-year-old escort said, he administered erotic massage to Rekers on a daily basis.
The National Organization for Marriage, which has attacked marriage equality legislation in some states and worked to prevent the advent of marriage rights for gay and lesbian families in other states, is not slated to appear on the updated list, but the SPLC article profiled the anti-gay group. "NOM’s first public campaign was in 2008, supporting California’s Proposition 8, which sought to invalidate same-sex marriage in that state," noted the SPLC. "It was widely mocked, including in a parody by satirist Stephen Colbert, for the ’Gathering Storm’ video ad it produced at the time. Set to somber music and a dark and stormy background, the ad had actors expressing fears that gay activism would ’take away’ their rights, change their lifestyle, and force homosexuality on their kids."
The SPLC describes itself as a "nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society," a Wikipedia article on the group notes. "The SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists, and its tracking of hate groups, militias, and extremist organizations," the article adds, going on to clarify that "The SPLC classifies as hate groups those organizations that it has determined ’have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.’ "
A recently-released FBI report shows that 18% of hate crimes in 2009 were directed at gays, the Associated Press reported on Nov. 22. The AP also noted that according to a SPLC report, bias crimes motivated by the sexual orientation or gender identity--real or perceived--of the victim were more likely to be violent in nature.