Washington Post Columnist Dana Milbank Calls SPLC’s ‘Hate Group’ Labeling of Family Research Council ‘Absurd, Reckless’

The following is excerpted from Dana Milbank’s August 16 column in the Washington Post. Naturally, as a Post columnist, Milmank is careful to affirm his pro-homosexuality pedigree. But at least he recognizes the ludicrousness of putting the Family Research Council — and by extension other pro-family groups  like AFTAH and AFA smeard by Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “hate group” charge — in with racist fringe groups. — Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH

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Hateful speech on hate groups

By Dana Milbank, Published in the Washington Post [full column HERE], August 16, 2012

Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, posted an alert on its blog Tuesday: “Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group’s Annual Conference.”

The “hate group” that the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate would be addressing? The Family Research Council, a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer.

Human Rights Campaign isn’t responsible for the [FRC] shooting. Neither should the organization that deemed the FRC a “hate group,” the Southern Poverty Law Center, be blamed for a madman’s act. But both are reckless in labeling as a “hate group” a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.

I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”

Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?

Gays and lesbians are winning the fight for equality by example and persuasion. Those who support gay rights will gain nothing by sticking inflammatory labels on their opponents, many of whom are driven by deeply held religious beliefs.

The Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins, said Thursday that “Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.” This goes too far. Nobody gave Corkins a license to kill. But at the same time, “hate,” a strong word, has been used too loosely — whether it’s Mitt Romney telling President Obama to take his “campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” or the Southern Poverty Law Center lumping a Christian policy group in with hooded bigots.

Late Thursday, the law center fired back at Perkins, defending its categorization of the FRC as a hate group because it “has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people.” The center said that Perkins should stop putting out “claims that are provably false” about gay people.

Yes, Perkins should stop doing that. But even if he doesn’t, the Southern Poverty Law Center should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen. [Go HERE to read the full column by Milbank.]

danamilbank@washpost.com

This article was posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 1:36 pm and is filed under Christian, D - GLBTQ Pressure Within Churches, FRC Shooting, News, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality, Washington Post. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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