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SPLC: Number of Hate Groups Rise in 2011

Jim Burroway

March 8th, 2012

[NOTE: In the post below, I mistakenly identified Sharon Slater with being affiliated with United Families International. I’ve been informed that she was “booted out” in 2006 and is no longer with the group. She is currently with Family Watch International, which is a UN accredited organization, as is UFI. While Sharon Slater does support countries which seek to impose the death penalty for LGBT people, I am not aware that UFI has such a position. My apologies for the misidentification.]

The Southern Poverty Law Center issued an update to their listing of hate groups being tracked across the U.S. According to their report:

The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.

The number of anti-gay hate groups has also risen from 17 to 27 26 in the last year. The SPLC doesn’t say which new ones were added, but as I look through the list, I’m seeing names that I don’t recall seeing before. For example, Arizona-based United Families International, headed by Sharon Slater, has made the cut. UFI, which is an accredited lobbying group for the United Nations, is on record as opposing the removal of the death penalty for homosexuality, a position that I have heard Slater defend in person as well as in her book. Another one is Bradlee Dean’s You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. You will recall that Dean, who has had close ties to Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), spoke favorably of Muslims because Muslims call for the execution of gay people. Also making the list is Brooklyn-based Jewish Political Action Committee, which posted signs claiming that cases of child molestation “surged” immediately following New York’s enactment of marriage equality.

In 2010, the Family Research Council, American Family Association, and Peter LaBarbera were among those who were added to the SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups.

It takes a particular set of behaviors to land on the SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups. As the SPLC explained:

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.

Comments

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Bryan
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

I chuckled when I saw Eugene Delgaudio’s Public Advocate group on there.

Tony P
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

Wow, the number of hate groups seems to be on a positive slope. That the anti-LGBT went from 17 to 27 doesn’t surprise me.

You can lay a lot of that on NOM, FRC, and AFA.

But I think we’re reaching the plateau on hate groups. From what I’ve been able to gather, the membership of such groups accounts for about 20% of the U.S. population. And that population is getting smaller all the time.

A lot of it is education. It’s not just the schools but the net connection that have a massive liberalizing effect.

And as a rule, those over 55 are not as connected as the younger folks.

And the more connected you are, the more likely you are to actually know LGBT people which changes opinions immensely.

Larry
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

No fair blaming Michele Bachmann on Michigan, as you did here. She is from Minnesota, which is MN, not MI.

StraightGrandmother
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

I am happy that the parents group that was trying to run the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Parents Action League, made the Hate List.

This will provide media with a reason for not giving them any news coverage at all. Plus it is GREAT for the kids!!! The kids and their families are 100% vindicated!!!

Petrockmi
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

It is interesting that the total number of hate groups grew by 16 from last year and the number of anti-gay was 10 of those. Kind of goes to show that the strongest growing area of concentration is in the anti-gay sector. When are we going to no longer be the center of attention?

Richard Rush
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

There are those among us who seem inclined to refrain from using the word “bigot” to describe our adversaries. (I assume that’s because we think our adversaries might not like us anymore if we call them bigots.)

But I think we can find some common ground: If an anti-gay group becomes a SPLC-certified hate group, aren’t they bigots by definition? How would it be possible for a certified hate group to NOT be bigots? If it is possible, the word should probably be removed from the English language.

Timothy Kincaid
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

Richard, there are two reasons to avoid the word bigot.

One is when it is isn’t true:

If I’m speaking to, say, a parent concerned about whether the boys sleepover chaperon should be a gay man, it serves no purpose to start off with “oh, that’s just bigotry”.

It’s like me telling you that you are a “Christ-hater” for not supporting the Salvation Army. It isn’t accurate, it’s not the way you see yourself, it isn’t the issue at hand, and it paints me as an idiot in your mind. And the conversation is over. Done.

So to allow for conversation with the parent, it pointless to scream an epithet at someone who is simply reacting to what they’ve heard or feared. Approach them with facts and you may discover that not only are they not a bigot but having gotten accurate info they become an ally.

Some people with anti-gay positions may just be future allies. Who would ever have thought that Louis Marinelli just needed to see – with his eyes – that what he “knew” about gay people and what he “knew” about NOM were the opposite of the truth. He wasn’t a bigot, just misinformed.

That ain’t these guys. These guys are bigots.

But the other reason for not calling them bigots is two fold: they really really want you to so they can be martyrs and oh so attacked by the intollerant marxist homosexual blah blah blah.

And also there are people out there who don’t know that they are bigots. So when we use the word we sound like name-callers. We are the bad guys and they are just believing their faith, you know.

And here’s the clincher – as much as it may gall us to appeal to those folks who just can’t tell good guys from hate mongers, they are our target market.

They are the 20% or so that went from not supporting us in polls to agreeing that gay people should have marriage rights. And a lot of that change in attitude has been the result of our community biting its tongue while raging loons closed adoption centers and called us horrible names.

So yeah, hate groups are bigots. But as good as it feels, it’s probably smarter not to say so loudly in public.

Timothy Kincaid
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

ugh… bad analogy..

I equated you with the uninformed parent.

That wasn’t the point…. i meant that you have to use words that seem real to the person you are talking to. And if they don’t think they are bigots, it’s pointless to call them one.

Jim Burroway
March 8th, 2012 | LINK

Larry,

Sorry about that. I was thinking MInnesota, not MiNnesota early this morning

Regan DuCasse
March 9th, 2012 | LINK

bigot:
(n.) One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

bigoted:
(adj.) Being or characteristic of a bigot.

bigotry (n.)The attitude, state of mind, or behavior characteristic of a bigot. Intolerance.

Now, it’s a descriptive word, however distasteful, it’s got essential meaning. Of course, there are people who throw it around as a means of offense or insult, but there is a big difference between systemic bigotry that is a matter of public and civil policy, and individual bigotry that’s contained to one’s own opinion.

And most of all, personal bigotry can change, and evolve with education and experience.
An individual might remain rigid in their partiality, but civil law cannot.

Most of us who have actually been on the receiving end of both civil AND individual bigotry, recognize it better than those who have not. Naming it, as it’s being expressed isn’t unfair, and to not do so, sometimes is dishonest, depending on the necessary context.

Now, some people can be stung by such description and care about changing their ways.
And others might become more resistant to it.

This issue is extremely difficult to navigate without hurt feelings and offense.
It’s reasonable to point out the liability of bigoted social and civil policy, perhaps rather than the personal bigotry of an individual.
But it is, intellectually dishonest for said individuals to behave as if they are not part of a collective who are willing to throw the weight of their mob rule at us when convenient to that purpose.

It’s not bigoted to point out that homosexuality is strictly about same sex attraction, and that gay people have been discriminated against for centuries.

It IS however, very bigoted to say that homosexuality is an indicator of dangerous behavior and immoral character and gay people are deserving of discrimination.

There are times, it’s very difficult to have a conversation where you’re stating a fact like the former, but the overly sensitive person won’t even allow you to make that statement without taking offense for no reason.

This happens with matters of race too often, and frustratingly so.

A person can be bigoted without realizing it, and maybe we have to realize it for them.
There are gentler, more articulate ways to engage them, of course.

But sometimes, it’s too frustrating to deal with people too dumb to have the appropriate conversation with, no matter the approach or how civil.
Stupid bigots are impossible, and I wish, very few.

Timothy Kincaid
March 9th, 2012 | LINK

It IS however, very bigoted to say that homosexuality is an indicator of dangerous behavior and immoral character and gay people are deserving of discrimination.

Sometimes it is just ignorance. Let us not forget that for many this is the only message that they have ever heard from any source that they thought credible. To believe otherwise would be astonishing.

But when they are presented with evidence to the contrary – and in a way that does not make it impossible for them to accept – if they continue to believe and say such things it is, indeed, bigoted.

A person can be bigoted without realizing it, and maybe we have to realize it for them.

I don’t think I agree. They may be believing bigoted things but I think that being bigoted requires some intent, some desire to have a position regardless of the facts.

Those who hold discriminatory beliefs without any conscious will or awareness are probably better described as prejudiced.

Eric in Oakland
March 13th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I believe you are confusing bigotry with hatred or animosity when it has usually meant only irrational prejudice with no other implication. This confusion is propagated by those like NOM who like to argue that a majority belief cannot be bigoted or that people without hate cannot be bigoted. They are attempting to redefine the word into uselessness and are apparently enjoying some success judging from your comments. I understand people being offended by the word. I also sympathise with your reluctance to shut down dialogue. However, I am reluctant to allow the haters to define bigotry out of sight while it continues to flourish.

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