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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096
March 31, 2014
FBI Removes Link to Southern Law Poverty Center Page as Source for ‘Hate Group’ Info
American Family Association Says Severing of SPLC Ties by Federal Agencies Is Long Overdue

 The Federal Bureau of Investigation is no longer linking to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) web site from parts of the hate crimes section of FBI.gov. The controversial group was formerly linked as a resource and partner. 

SPLC lists American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) on its “Hate Map” and as “Anti-LGBT.” AFA President Tim Wildmon said the SPLC has targeted individuals and organizations that support family values and traditional marriage, adding that the time has come for the FBI and other federal agencies to completely sever ties with the harmful SPLC. 

“While it is a positive development that the FBI is no longer linking to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s web site,” Wildmon said, “we hope that the next step is to completely remove all references to the SPLC on the FBI web site, especially in referring to this group as a ‘partner,’ and no longer rely on the SPLC as a resource of any kind. SPLC is a harmful entity that purposefully shines a negative light on groups who have differing political, social and religious views on hot-button societal issue.” 

Although the direct link to SPLC is no longer featured on the FBI “Hate Crimes” page, the group is still referred to as a partner in public outreach as of noon on March 27 on the “Hate Crimes Overview” page, which states under a “Public Outreach” bullet: “The FBI has forged partnerships nationally and locally with many civil rights organizations to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems. These groups include such organizations as the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Disability Rights Network.” 

FBI.gov also still links to SPLC on the “Outreach Partners” page of the government site.   

The SPLC has labeled several Washington, D.C.-based family organizations as “hate groups” for favoring traditional marriage, including Family Research Council (FRC), which sent a letter last month to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey, calling for the removal of references to the SPLC as a source or partner from the “Hate Crimes” portion of the FBI’s web site. The letter was also signed by 14 other conservative and Christian leaders, including AFA. 

“We commend the FBI for removing website links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that not only dispenses erroneous data but has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court. We hope this means the FBI leadership will avoid any kind of partnership with the SPLC,” said FRC President Tony Perkins. 

In recent years, Christian groups have been concerned about their inclusion on SPLC’s hate lists, as well as the use of the list by FBI as a resource—a practice that is unfair and even dangerous to the civil liberties of the groups’ members, employees and leaders. 

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, drafted the letter to Holder and Comey, stating that the FBI’s association with the SPLC is “completely unacceptable.” The letter also called SPLC “a heavily politicized organization producing inaccurate and biased data on ‘hate groups’—not hate crimes” and accused the SPLC of “providing findings that are not consistent with trends found in the FBI statistics.” 

For example, where the FBI has found hate crimes and hate groups declining significantly in the past 10 years, SPLC claims hate groups have increased 67.3 percent since 2000. Where once SPLC’s hate list was reserved for groups like the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan, in 2010 SPLC started citing as hate groups Christian organizations that oppose same-sex marriage, believe homosexuality is not inborn or are otherwise critical of homosexuality. 

The letter concluded that “it is completely inappropriate for the Department of Justice to recommend public reliance on the SPLC hate group lists and data” and demanded that all ties between the FBI and SPLC be severed. 

A critical analysis published by Professor George Yancey of North Texas University concluded that SPLC targets only those groups its leaders disagree with politically while leaving liberal groups who use extreme language alone. A 2013 article in Foreign Policy also concluded that SPLC exaggerates the hate crimes threat, saying SPLC is not an “objective purveyor of data,” instead calling the group “anti-hate activists” and suggesting that their reports need to be “weighed more carefully by news outlets that cover their pronouncements.” 

For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net. 

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To interview a representative from American Family Association, contact Deborah Hamilton at dhamilton@hamiltonstrategies.com, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096. 

American Family Association (AFA) a non-profit 501(c3) organization was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon, who was pastoring First United Methodist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, at the time. Since 1977, AFA has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war. The original name of the ministry was National Federation for Decency but was changed to American Family Association in 1988. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with more than one million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio banner. 

Other divisions of AFA include American Family Radio, the AFA Foundation and OneNewsNow.com, an online news provider that is syndicated around the world. AFA maintains activist web sites such as OneMillionMoms.com that rally Christian activists to contact companies asking them to drop their advertising from objectionable TV shows. AFA websites average over 6 million unique visitors and 44 million hits per year. AFA uses all these means to communicate an outspoken, resolute, Christian voice throughout America.   

 


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