Morse said “the Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. If fighting sex abuse, pornography, and divorce makes us a hate group, so be it.”
Consequences of the “hate group” designation have also been more serious. In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II, wielding a 9mm pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition, entered the lobby of the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. He shot an unarmed security guard, who survived the attack and wrestled Corkins to the ground. Authorities said the security guard’s actions may have prevented a mass shooting.
Corkins, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, confessed being motivated by the “anti-gay” label given to FRC by the SPLC.
William Boykin, executive vice president of Family Research Council, said the SPLC “is a political defamation machine that has little respect for freedom of thought and expression.”
“The Southern Poverty Law Center organization was connected in federal court to domestic terrorism when the shooter who attacked the Family Research Council in 2012 pled guilty to the crime while confessing that he relied on the SPLC’s discredited ‘hate map’ to target FRC,” Boykin told CNA.
Boykin said the organization has become so extreme that it is losing credibility.
“Across the political spectrum, there is an awareness of what the SPLC has become: a thoroughly disgraced organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with false and defamatory smears that endangers the lives of those targeted with it,” he said.
“[W]e have seen corporations and even the news media grow increasingly skeptical of SPLC’s discredited data, map, and its various lists,” Boykin said. “The FBI has removed links to the SPLC from its ‘hate crimes resources’ page and the Pentagon has distanced themselves from SPLC’s materials.”
The SPLC has been forced to retract several of its hate group designations. In 2018, it apologized and paid Maajid Nawaz a $3.375 million settlement for including him in its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” The SPLC retracted the entire field guide, which also notoriously included respected human rights advocate and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Brian Brown, president of the International Organization for the Family also rejected the SPLC’s hate list classifications.
“It is really the SPLC themselves who are motivated by prejudice and bigotry,” he told CNA. “There is nothing 'hateful' about believing that children deserve a mom and a dad, but it is entirely hateful to persecute organizations and individuals who support this idea.”
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“The SPLC should be held accountable for the provocative and inflammatory rhetoric that has already led to at least one shooting and called to account for the lives and livelihoods they've destroyed with their lies,” Brown continued.