If We Don’t Call it “Hate,” What Shall We Call It?
August 17th, 2012
One of the best lessons I ever got in professionalism came from a boss who said, Don’t just bring me a problem. Bring a solution, too. Great advice. Suggesting a solution — even if it’s unworkable, a mere starting point for discussion — shows you’ve thought seriously about the problem, and you’re not just an alarmist hack or concern troll.
That advice comes to mind now that some pundits, both conservative and liberal, want the SPLC to drop its “hate group” terminology. Go ahead and make that case, but if you want to us to take you seriously, you have to answer this: What term should we use?
I agree no one should be accused of hate merely for opposing same-sex marriage. Fortunately, neither I nor the SPLC has ever called labeled anyone a hate group on those meager grounds. For instance, here’s why SPLC named the Family Research Council a hate group:
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Also at that link, you’ll find a damning list of quotes from FRC leadership, especially the blood libel that gays are after your kids.
More generally, the hate groups identified by the SPLC are guilty of one or more of the following:
- Distorting scientific research to demonize gays, even over the researchers’ objections. (FRC has done this)
- Calling for the criminalization of homosexuality. (FRC has done this)
- Accusing gay men of recruiting children and being more likely to molest them than straights. (FRC has done this)
- Advocating the death penalty for gays.
- Holding gays responsible for Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
If we are not to call these groups hate groups, then what are we to call them?
That’s not a rhetorical question. These organizations fall in the same genre. Their work belongs in the same oeuvre. They are a collection of groups who employ aggressive dishonesty in open pursuit of an overriding goal: denying basic civil liberties to LGBT folk. What shall we call that genre?
Christian? No, their fundamental strategy of bearing false witness disqualifies them; so does their violation of Christ’s dictum to love your neighbor; besides, too many Christians abhor these groups.
Anti-gay? No, that doesn’t go far enough.
How about Groups that distort scientific research to demonize gays, callforthecrimininalizationofhomosexuality-accusegaymenofrecruitingchildren-andbeingmorelikelytomolestthemthanstraights-advocatethedeathpenaltyforgays-andholdgaysresponsibleforNaziGermanyandtheHolocaust?
But we do need a term. It’s not enough to call out these transgressions one by one. They are not isolated misdeeds. They represent a pattern of behavior, and we need a name for that pattern.
If you don’t want that term to be “hate,” then what do you prefer? I’m open to suggestion. Just show me you’re serious by doing more than bemoaning a problem. Tell me your solution.