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12/08/2010

Laugh all you want, kids. If you weren't concerned about the SPLC list, you'd ignore it.

by Jeremy Hooper

Yet another "pro-family" figure is publicly making light of the Southern Poverty Law Center's latest additions to its anti-gay hate groups list so as to mask their private concern with the same. And this one, from Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel David French might just be the most misrepresentative one yet.

David-French-ADFThis is how French begins:

I’ve been offline for a few days, and I came back to find that the Southern Poverty Law Center has named pro-family organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and many others “hate groups.” When I saw this, I admit I was stumped. Why would the SPLC list NOM, FRC, and AFA alongside such domestic terrorist groups as the Klan? After all, the last time I saw Tony Perkins, he wasn’t exactly walking around with a noose. At the Values Voter Summit I attended, there was a serious lack of molotov cocktails. In fact, the worst thing I saw was an old lady crinkling her nose in consternation that Rudy Giuliani supported abortion rights.

So what’s the explanation? According to the SPLC, these pro-family groups are guilty of –

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

“Repeated, groundless name-calling.”

That’s it? They didn’t even take anyone’s milk money on the playground? Or trip them while they were walking with their lunch tray?
Who’s A Guy Gotta Sue to Be Named a Hate Group? [ADF]

Only problem for David's glib attempt? That his assessment of the SPLC's accusations are about as disingenuous as it could get. Because in truth, the SPLC said the following about their criteria for hate group listings:

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. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.
18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda [SPLC]

And of course SPLC followed this up with documented reasons for why certain groups made the cut. But French, like all of these other "pro-family" defendants, doesn't care about what SPLC actually said. They see no reason to take responsibility, much less apologize, for the documented slights. Instead, the strategy is to knock SPLC with the same code words, "liberal" labels, and deception that defines their anti-LGBT activism.

The weird thing: It would actually be in French's interest to make note of what SPLC actually said, since his Alliance Defense Fund was not included on the hate groups list. This shows that while ADF views homosexuality as unbiblical and fights against LGBT rights at every turn, they have not done the kinds of overheated things that earn SPLC's attention. But rather than realize/embrace this, French chooses to make lame references to schoolyard bullies (who historically attack LGBT students at higher proportions, btw) as a way of making SPLC sound childish. Odd strategy, if you ask us.

Odd strategy that continues throughout the rest of the piece, where French ups the flippant ante by feigning incredulity at his own work being overlooked:

My first thought was this is hysterical. What an absolute joke to put the FRC, NOM, and others on the same list as the Klan.

But then I thought about it a bit longer and got upset. Seriously upset. After all, what am I? A potted plant? Why can’t I get a hate group designation? NOM and FRC don’t actually sue people, I do! Heck, I sued that teacher who so bravely and tolerantly called his own student a “fascist bastard,” denied him a grade, and threatened him with expulsion after that student had the audacity to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I even sue those nice folks who try to stop “groundless name-calling” by putting speech codes in place in colleges across the land and making sure that nasty religious students know their place. Can I be called a hate group?

That’s not all! I actually admit that I burn with hate in my heart. I hate Jar-Jar Binks. There, I said it. I hate him for what he did to Star Wars. I hate the entire Gungan race. They say things like “meesa” instead of “me.” I mean, is that really supposed to be a separate language? Seriously, learn English or just leave the star system.

I sue those who are intolerant in the name of tolerance. I hate all Gungans. And, SPLC, if I met you guys in person, I might even move beyond groundless name-calling and give you a noogie.

Where’s my hate group designation?
Who’s A Guy Gotta Sue to Be Named a Hate Group? [ADF]

Well, if Mr. French wants to make claims about only gays were savage enough for Hitler or express belief that gays should be exported and/or criminalized, he might just help ADF find its way to the list. But ADF, and not Mr. French personally. Because while these "pro-fammers" have also been using a tactic of pretending that SPLC's work is personal and petty, the truth is that it's THE WORK that SPLC cares about, not the personality.

It's really pretty dumb for these groups to take this all as a joke. Sure, we on the pro-equality side joke around, since we, like so many others who have been targeted throughout history, sometimes need to laugh, so as not to cry. But these "values" folks on the far-right are the ones dedicating their careers to keeping LGBT people on lesser planes -- planes where civil discrimination, targeted bullying, unnecessary pain, and a whole host of other fallout muddy the world. SPLC called them out on it, putting further light on some of the crude and cruel operations that go largely unreported in mainstream media. Yes, within their echo chambers, the "values" crew loves to act like the victims, thus qualifying them for laugh-in-the-face-of-oppression status in the eyes of their own allies and supporters. Unknown-4But will opting to lash out against Jar-Jar Binks rather than reflect upon their own actual, fully-documented attacks play well with more objective members of the American public? Meesa think not.

***

*Other responses to the list that so clearly scares the shite out of them:

Matt Barber: Matt Barber called equality activists 'purveyors of evil'. But yea, it probably is the SPLC that deserves scorn. Uh huh. Sure.

Gary Cass: Apoplectic rather than apologetic: Another family 'defender' knocks SPLC

Tony Perkins: Dish it, can't take it: FRC pissed that people are calling them on their crap

Maggie Gallagher: No, no -- Maggie's not battling gay orientations. She just calls homosexuality 'unfortunate', 'controllable', and 'sinful' because she's bored.

Bryan Fischer: In fact we're so into stifling Bryan's speech that we'll now write our 47th post about him

Stephen L. Anderson: 'If hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that's what we are'; wants gays dead

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