Recently, it was reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center came out with a briefing manual for the U.S. Army Reserves in Pennsylvania. The manual claimed in part, “Extremists are advocates of racial, gender, religious or ethnic hatred…these individuals believe that they are superior to others based on any of these categories…. Extremist Organizations follow ideologies which are considered extreme by societal norms….and we are talking about this today because individuals who hold extremist views that conflict with Army Values are sometimes inadvertently recruited.”
The statements above are controversial because they are included with a list of extremist organizations on page 24. The top group listed is Evangelical Christians. Now, to be fair, SPLC was pretty generous in their list of hate groups, including Muslim brotherhood in the number 2 spot, Al Qaeda in number 5, Hamas number 6, Catholics 10 and Jewish Defense League in 15. They do have Nation of Islam on their list, right above JDL in the number 14 spot. It’s interesting, however, that they didn’t include the Black Panthers.
Directly under the list, the SPLC goes on, saying, “Extremism is a complex phenomenon; it is defined as beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, or strategies of a character far removed from the ‘ordinary.’ Because ‘ordinary’ is subjective, no religious group would label itself extreme or its doctrine ‘extremism.’ However, religious extremism is not limited to any single religion, ethnic group, or region of the world; every religion has some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only ‘right way’ and that all others are practicing their faith the ‘wrong way,’ seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others.”
They are right, at least in the fact that there are some followers in different religions that believe that their religion is the only right way. I’m one of them. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” To me, that clearly demonstrates the “narrow way” which Jesus talks about, and that faith in Him is the only salvation. It is not my “religion” which is exclusive, but Christ Himself. What separates me and millions of other Bible believing Christians and those adherents to other religions such as Islam, is that while we will tell others about Jesus, and share the good news of His sacrifice for all, we do not demand people to accept or commit violence against people who do not accept Christ. As my good friend and Christian Brother, David Jeffers once said, we “are to share Jesus, not cram Him down peoples’ throats.”
Are Bible believing Christians, according to Southern Poverty Law Center’s definition, extremists? Are we advocates of racial, gender, religious or ethnic hatred? While I know certain groups who claim to be Christian are hateful, such as Westborough “Baptist” Church, but for as many Bible believing Christians I know, none of us have advocated hatred against any group. We might not agree with certain other beliefs or ideologies, but disagreeing does not make us hateful.
Southern Poverty Law Center has never been shy about making claims about so called threats to America by such extreme hate groups defined as “anti-Government” “Patriot groups” which again, lump in everyone and anything from the KKK and skin heads to Tea Party groups and Family Research Council.
It’s interesting that it was the Family Research Council who was a target of violence August 15, 2012, when Floyd Corkins intended to go on a shooting rampage at their headquarters in Washington DC. SPLC had previously come out with a “hate map” of hate spots across the US, which was the map Corkins claimed, caused him to go the Family Research Center headquarters, intending to kill as many people at the FRC offices as he could, and then rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces as they died.
Now, SPLC has since sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Sec. of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, about hate groups SPLC has deemed domestic threats to America. In this letter, they reference a threat to a US Representative, saying, “When US Rep. Diana DeGette proposed a ban on high-capacity magazines, a well- known neo-Nazi posted her address, along with photos of her and her husband, on a racist internet forum. Although individuals who make incendiary public statements may not act on them, their rhetoric is a barometer of the rage that is building in certain quarters.”
Now, I realize there is a difference between posting someone’s address and photos online, and a simple map of the US targeting so called hate spots, but it is ironic that they would use the case of publishing such information as a case against extremism while at the same time using extremist tactics to label hate across the nation. I don’t recall them coming out against the publishers of The Journal News, in New York, which allowed readers to zoom in on red dots, which indicated residents who are licensed to own pistols or revolvers.
Southern Poverty Law Center is big on calling others haters, yet seems to reserve the right to judge what constitutes as hate all the while not seeing that in their own website and publications that their descriptions of many groups which consist of average, every day Americans are hateful. In claiming they are for teaching tolerance, they are showing extreme intolerance for over half of the American public. This is typical for the left, a “What’s right for me, but not for thee” type attitude which shows how tolerant they really are.