Oops! Southern Poverty Law Center Mistakes Peter LaBarbera for Paul Cameron

Update: leftist group fixes error but retains inaccurate claim about LaBarbera

Southern Poverty Law Center director Mark Potok sent AFTAH a snide message to point out a small factual error, yet for years the SPLC has confused AFTAH's Peter LaBarbera with Family Research Institute founder Paul Cameron on its website.

EDTIORS NOTE: After the publication of our article, the SPLC fixed the major error described below of (twice) confusing AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera for Family Research Institute founder Paul Cameron. However, the leftist group’s website retains one error, claiming that LaBarbera called for closing down all homosexual “establishments.” In actuality, LaBarbera called for closing down all “gay” sex clubs and bathhouses (where men go to have anonymous sexual encounters with other men) in the interest of protecting the public’s health.

By AFTAH Staff

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing organization under fire for expanding its “hate” designations beyond racist fringe groups to pro-family organizations like Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and the conservative Tea Party movement — has mistaken AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera for Family Research Institute researcher Paul Cameron in two longstanding “Intelligence Report” posts on its website.

The sophomoric error first appeared in a Spring 2005 SPLC “Intelligence Report,” “A Mighty Army,” about pro-family organizations opposed to homosexuality (see the section on Page 3 of Concerned Women for America). It was repeated in a Summer 2006 SPLC “Intelligence Report” article, “Passive Aggressive,” by Heidi Beirich. Both fallacious reports have been posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center website for years and have been repeated by sympathetic liberal activists on the web. The SPLC, which raises and spends millions of dollars annually for its “anti-hate” political and research activities, works with government and law enforcement authorities to provide research on alleged “hate” groups.


The above excerpt from the 2005 Southern Poverty Law Center report "A Mighty Army" mistakes Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans For Truth, with Paul Cameron, founder of Family Research Institute. The typo in the first sentence (should be "In") appears in the original report.

Ironically, after the Southern Poverty Law Center outrageously designated Americans For Truth as a “hate” website — urged on by the pro-communist “Gay Liberation Network” — SPLC director Mark Potok sent Americans For Truth the following snide e-mail message to correct an inadvertent error in a column by (AFTAH Board Member) Matt Barber:

I know you all value accuracy above all things — I can tell that from the fine and incisive quality of your writing and research. Therefore, I\’m sure you\’ll want to let Matt know that we\’re based in Montgomery, Ala., not Atlanta, Ga. I know these places all seem the same to you — kind of like the unspeakable horrors of homosexuality — but hey, they\’re not. Of course, Matt does appear incapable of doing any actual reporting — his little attack piece is a compendium of ancient quotes he dredges from a 10-year-old Harper\’s magazine article.

Said AFTAH’s LaBarbera: “Perhaps Mr. Potok should redirect his derision toward his own staffers and writers, who appear to ‘value’ smearing Christian conservatives above accuracy. The SPLC’s credibility as a research organization is rapidly diminishing. Obviously, it is so consumed with its own animus toward religious conservatives that it cannot be trusted as an objective arbiter of ‘hate.’”

The above excerpt is reprinted from a 2006 SPLC "Intelligence Report" "Passive Aggressive," which repeats the confusion of LaBarbera with Cameron found in the 2005 SPLC report.

It should be noted that the confusion of two conservative, pro-family advocates is only the most blatant error found in the SPLC documents. We will let Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute provide a full correction of the SPLC’s misinformation about him (see this FRI post on the APA expulsion claim). As to the descriptions about LaBarbera in the two reprinted SPLC excerpts above, here are the mischaracterizations:

  • The Lambda Report on Homosexual Activism, the precursor and flagship print publication of Americans For Truth, was not “inflammatory” but reported using firsthand information gathered from homosexual activist groups and “gay” events. Besides, the SPLC, with its reckless and preposterous linkage of demented, racist fringe groups like the KKK to mainstream pro-family conservative groups such as AFTAH and pro-Constitution Tea Partiers — all under the rubric of alleged “hate” — is in no place to lecture anyone about being “inflammatory”;
  • LaBarbera was never a member of the American Psychological Association and is not a scientist, hence he was never expelled; here the SPLC mistakes him with Cameron [Editor's Note: for years the Left has distorted the facts surrounding Cameron's association with the APA; see this PhD dissertation apology to Cameron];
  • LaBarbera’s work has not been “denounced by the American Psychological Association”; again, here the SPLC writer, relying on the 2005 erroneous SPLC report, mistakes LaBarbera for Cameron.
  • At the 2006 Vision America conference in question, “The War on Christians,” LaBarbera did not call homosexuality “disgusting” but referred to specific homosexual acts and their unhealthy consequences as such. He continues to believe that shame, not pride, should be associated with all homosexual conduct because it is immoral.
  • At the same Vision America conference, LaBarbera did not call for the closing of all homosexual “establishments,” but for shutting down homosexual sex clubs and bathhouses as public health hazards. These sex businesses — which helped AIDS explode nationally in the eighties — facilitate anonymous homosexual sexual encounters and hyper-promiscuity, which spreads disease and harms both men who have sex with men and and the women who are in relationships with these men. (The latter often are unaware of their partners’ secret promiscuity.)

AFTAH repeats its challenge to Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center’s director, to a public “Debate on Hate” regarding the SPLC’s politically-motivated “hate” designations.

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Two SPLC reports with errors (unfixed as of May 6, 2010):

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Related AFTAH articles:

This article was posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2010 at 2:02 pm and is filed under "Sexual Orientation"/"Gender Identity" and the Law, American Psychological Ass'n, Gay Lies about AFTAH, Gay Sex Health Risks, Left-wing activism, Liberal Groups' Misinformation, News, Politics of "Hate", Sodomy, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Tolerance?. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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