Southern Poverty Law Center calls conservative Christian groups ‘hate groups’

Everybody knows the Southern Poverty Law Center as a venerable promoter and defender of civil rights, taking on the bad guys like white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

But the SPLC has expanded its definition of hate groups to include mainstream Christian groups that the center has deemed “anti-gay.”

In a press release, the center explains: “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.”

Groups deemed “hate groups” include the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, conservative evangelical groups that take an aggressive stance against not only calls for gay marriage but the increasingly mainstream acceptance of gays and lesbians.

I found out about the SPLC’s stance when I got a press release from Coral Ridge Ministries, another evangelical group that didn’t make the hate list but has been labeled anti-gay by the center. Coral Ridge says, in part: “The SPLC released a report  that misrepresents Christian groups’ positions, ignores inconvenient science and repeats claims based on junk science and adopted by professional guilds that long ago, bullied by homosexual activists, abandoned any pretense of objectivity.”

The Family Research Council responded with this: “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing.”

The Council also published ads in two Washington newspapers attacking the SPLC and the ad was signed by about two dozen members of Congress.

Now the SPLC is on the defensive. It came out with an even stronger statement against the Christian groups and the newspapers ads, which ended with this: “At the end of the day, it’s hard to know if the politicians and other leaders who signed today’s anti-SPLC statement really know some of things the groups they are throwing in with support. What’s a fact is that, despite their claims, the groups have so far, without exception, failed to confront the facts of SPLC’s report.”

And the Culture Wars grow…

Is the Tea Party a Christian party?

So 81% of Tea Partiers say they’re Christian.

Nearly half say they are part of the “Christian conservative” movement.

According to a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute, most Tea Partiers are socially conservative (as opposed to libertarian) and identity with the GOP.

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is hailing the link.

The study is getting a lot of media attention. But can anyone be that surprised by the results?

Did anyone really think that the Tea Party was made up of secular humanist Democrats? There probably are 5-10 secular humanist Democrats out there, between the various Tea Party groups.

Anyway, the Jerusalem Post looks at whether the Tea Party/conservative Christian link will alienate Jews from the Tea Party movement.