Metro Weekly

Liberty Counsel head: Anti-gay groups being treated like Jews in Nazi Germany

Mat Staver takes issue with Southern Poverty Law Center's characterization of his organization as a "hate group"

Mat Staver – Photo: Liberty Counsel, via Wikimedia.

“[L]et’s have civil discourse, and let’s not label, to the point of ‘hate groups,’ like the SPLC is doing, people with whom you simply disagree.”

Mat Staver, the head of the anti-LGBTQ legal group Liberty Counsel, speaking with host Jim Schneider on VCY America’s Crosstalk program about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling of Liberty Counsel and other anti-LGBTQ groups as “hate groups.”

Echoing an argument frequently made by other social conservatives, Staver claims that the groups on SPLC’s hate group list are not violent (something SPLC has never claimed), and that the organization is simply slandering groups with whom it disagrees on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“They know [these groups] are not violent organizations, they know that they are Christian organizations, and they know that they oppose any kind of hatred or violence,” Staver said. “They just don’t agree with us on the issue of marriage.”

The SPLC insists that it only adds groups to its hate group list if the organizations are known to “propagate known falsehoods” about LGBTQ people. It says it does not list groups just because they oppose same-sex marriage.

Staver also compared the SPLC’s labeling of anti-gay groups to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, saying that Americans needed to push back against the SPLC’s accusations.

“You know, if you go back into the 1930s, what ultimately happened back then with the Jews — and history, you know, there’s other histories you can point to — but they began to ultimately ban Jews from public employment, then ban Jews from their private employment, then put a Star of David on their ID and a Star of David on their passport, restrict their travel, restrict their income opportunity, and eventually you know what happened, we had to fight a World War II over that issue,” he said.

Staver continued to lambaste the SPLC, lamenting the “coarsening of discourse and a lack of morals and integrity” in American political debates, which he attributes to “the erosion of our Judeo-Christian values” and intolerance of dissenting views.

“That is so much different than anything we’ve ever had before,” he said, “and continuing on this way, I think it’s almost, it’s like a civil war against our values, it’s a war against the very essence of who we are.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com