GuideStar USA, one of the leading watchdogs of nonprofit organizations, recently attached hate group labels to 46 organizational profiles. Many of the groups are conservative, Christian, and advocate for natural marriage. Among them are organizations like the Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, the American College of Pediatricians, and American Family Association.
Conservative groups and many concerned individuals have come to the defense of the defamed groups and have worked to inform GuideStar leadership concerning the rationale of Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left, disreputable, activist group.
Last Wednesday, forty-one conservative leaders signed a letter directed to Jacob Harold, GuideStar President and CEO. The letter stated that SPLC is merely using the hate group list as a weapon to target those it considers its political enemies. In doing so, it makes no attempt to identify groups on the political left that actually do engage in “hate.” It is not a scientific or government organization using a set of rigorous criteria to create its list of so-called haters. The list is prejudiced and agenda driven.
After just two days, Harold released a statement concerning a change in SPLC’S policy:
…we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address—and identify—hate groups.
He went on to say that much of the recent feedback was harassing and threatening in nature. And on this claim, Harold landed his motive for removing the hate group designations “for the time being.”
So, “for the time being,” this is a victory.
In his statement, Harold described the SPLC as “a long-standing civil rights advocacy organization.” It is true that SPLC once had a reputation as a reasonably objective civil rights group. It was founded in 1971 and made some praiseworthy contributions to the civil rights movement.
But unfortunately, the goodness of its early beginnings has continually faded as increases in power, wealth, and corruption have pervaded. Their principal hate group, the Ku Klux Klan, shriveled down to a nearly nonexistent entity, and the SPLC had to find other “hate groups.” And as SPLC moved further and further to the left, the so-called “hate groups” were increasingly located on the right of the spectrum.
SPLC presents itself as an objective monitor of hate groups. It provides regular "intelligence files" and an annual "Year in Hate" report to local, state and federal law enforcement which it claims contains information helpful for the prevention of violent criminal activity.
Tea Party participants and other grassroots conservatives are marginalized and labeled as right wing extremists. The SPLC launched attacks against Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, a well-respected Christian organization that promotes biblical morality, opposes the radical homosexual activist lobby and publicly denounces hatred and violence against homosexuals.
SPLC has labeled Common Core opponents as extremists. It went so far as to place Dr. Ben Carson on their “Extremist Watch List” because of his beliefs about marriage. But according to SPLC, the promotion of a biblical worldview is hateful, violence-inciting rhetoric. Ironically, if anyone has fanned the flames of anger, hatred, and violence, it has been the SPLC.
“SPLC’s labeling is so irresponsible,” said Abraham Hamilton III AFA General Counsel, “they inspired an armed gay-rights activist to enter the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council to, in his own words, “shoot and kill ‘as many as possible’ in 2012. Frankly, SPLC’s zealous quest to impose ideological conformity blinds them and has driven them to smear AFA because we don’t share their views.”
According to Hamilton, even President Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Justice issued a disciplinary opinion against SPLC, officially reprimanding their attorneys for unprofessional, shameful conduct in immigration court proceedings, describing their attacks as “frivolous behavior,” along with “derogatory name-calling.”
Those SPLC inspired “hate group” labels have come down from the profiles of dozens of profiles this week, including that of AFA. This was a victory with a bit of a twist. In Harold’s statement, his bottom line message was something like this:
Those hate groups threatened us, and we are so scared of those hate groups that we are removing their hate group designations until we can figure something else out.
In light of the temporary nature of GuideStar’s commitment, their stated willingness to provide the slanderous information upon request, as well as their consideration of additional ways to disseminate it, Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against GuideStar.
Thank you Liberty Counsel, and thank you Christian America for rising to the task, coming to the defense of God-fearing organizations, and simply telling the truth.