Metro Weekly

RNC adopts resolution condemning Southern Poverty Law Center as a “radical organization”

Resolution claims SPLC has a "left-wing bias" that prevents it from being able to legitimately identify hate groups

Right-wing demonstrators at the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally – Photo: Anthony Crider, via Wikimedia

The Republican National Convention passed a resolution condemning the Southern Poverty Law Center for left-wing bias and questioning its ability to track and identify “hate groups” in America without slandering social conservatives.

The resolution condemns the SPLC, claiming it “makes a practice of incorrectly labeling persons and organizations as ‘hate groups,'” and criticizes the Obama administration for having relied on SPLC designations when identifying individuals or organizations as purveyors of hate.

The resolution is an appeal to socially conservative groups who argue that their positions on immigration or LGBTQ rights, among a host of other issues, are being distorted as “hateful.” As an example, the resolution cites the 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council by Floyd Lee Corkins II, a gay man who used the SPLC’s designation of FRC as a “hate group” to target the right-wing organization. 

For its part, the SPLC says its designation of the Family Research Council as a “hate group” is not due to its political beliefs or even its beliefs in traditional marriage, family structures, or sexual mores. Rather, SPLC contends, the organization engaged in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and used discredited research and “junk science” to make false, often defamatory claims about LGBTQ Americans in an effort to block expansions of LGBTQ rights, hate crime protections, or anti-bullying programs.

Yet despite FRC’s flawed research, they are still often called to testify before Congress and appear as “experts” on mainstream media outlets — giving them an air of legitimacy in their efforts to “transform the culture.”

But the RNC resolution claims that the SPLC’s designation of certain organizations as “hate groups” is politically motivated and targets people for simply believing in traditional values or holding sincere religious beliefs. The resolution claims that “legitimizing the SPLC puts conservative groups or voices at risk of attack,” and calls it a “radical organization.”

“The federal government should not view this organization as a legitimate foundation equipped to provide actionable information to DHS or any other government agency,” the resolution concludes.

SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang said in a statement that the resolution is intended to “excuse the Trump administration’s history of working with individuals and organizations that malign entire groups of people — immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community — while promoting policies that undermine their very existence.”

She said objections to SPLC’s list of known hate groups, which include white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic organizations, are simply “an audacious attempt by Trump and the GOP to paper over the bigotry and racism that has been allowed to infect their policies.”

“These extremists are seeking a license to continue spreading their bigotry and will do anything to undermine those — like the SPLC, which tracks and monitors hate groups — who expose their extremist views and oppose their attacks on communities,” Huang added. “With this resolution, Trump and members of the GOP have shown the extent to which they will carry their water.”

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

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