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Civil Rights Org. Labels Pro-Family Groups Hateful, Get Pushback

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jan 18, 2012

A number of religious pro-family leaders recently rallied against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., for being labeled as a "hate group" because of their anti-gay beliefs, the Christian Post reported in a Jan. 17 article.

The Jan. 17 group consisted of Christian and Jewish leaders, including African-American pastors that say the SPLC is wrong in labeling them as hateful.

"Although I have deep respect for the time honored work of the SPLC," Dr. Patrick Wooden, pastor at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, N.C., told The Christian Post, "there is a line that needs to be drawn between groups like the KKK and skinheads, and groups who simply believe in the biblical model of marriage, and believe that you're able to disagree with homosexuals and lesbians on this issue and not somehow be labeled a 'hate group' as a result of that disagreement."

The SPLC labels "hate groups" as any organization in the country that has "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics."

Wood and his colleagues are also upset that the civil rights organization has linked the civil rights movement for racial equality with today's gay rights movement.

"It's an insult to me to say a deviant sexual behavior is similar to being black," Wooden said. "We've never given minority status to someone based on who they have sex with."

SPLC's spokeswoman, Heidi Beirich, believes that the racial equality civil rights movement is similar to the current gay equality movement.

"From our perspective, this kind of defamation is just as heinous as some of those organizations [KKK, Skinheads, etc.]," Beirich said. "Gays and lesbians are victims of hate crimes way out of proportion. When you go about lying about a population, it tends to result in violence. You're vilifying a group and defaming them."

The president of the anti-gay group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Peter LabBarbera, will also be at the rally and claims that the SPLC is using its influence to "push forward its gay rights agenda."

"[Black pastors are] there to show it's not a civil rights issue," LaBarbera told CP. "SPLC was right to label [the] Ku Klux Klan, but they were wrong to include Christian groups and they're destroying they're own credibility."

EDGE reported in a March 2010, post that the SPLC placed Truth About Homosexuality on its list of hate groups.

"They [SPLC] are trying to minimize the influence of the groups that they hate, and they know this is the way to do it because most of the media is liberal and so the media doesn't hold SPLC accountable," LaBarbera said. "Once you get called a 'hate group' ... it has a huge cascading effect."

In a July 2011, article the Christian Post asked if Christians could ever shake the anti-gay label, especially when it comes to same-sex marriage. A senior fellow for policy students with the Family Research Council (FRC), Peter Sprigg, says that Christians must make it understood that they are "motivated by love."

The SPLC placed the FRC on its anti-gay list for saying that gay couples are not fit to raise children.

"The essence of love is to desire the best for someone, and to act to bring that about," he said. "And I would argue that's what we think we're doing."


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