Illinois Anti-Gay Group Protests ‘Hate Group’ Label
The Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay organization once fronted by Peter LaBarbera, has protested at being declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Member Laurie Higgins claims the IFI has been targeted purely because of its moral views on homosexuality.
Writing on the website Opposing Views, Higgins says that:
Since, in the distorted view of pro-homosexual organizations, our efforts constitute hatred, the only way we can be deemed not hateful is to change our views on the nature and morality of homosexual conduct, or to accept the continued use of public money to affirm and advance liberal/radical views on the nature and morality of homosexual conduct through public education. That’s a pretty tall and scary order.
Higgins would have us believe that merely being conservative on homosexuality makes one a target of the SPLC – but in fact, of the hundreds of anti-gay groups in the US, the SPLC has identified only 12 as hate groups.
Closer investigation reveals that IFI is typical of those on the Center’s list. As Alvin McEwen writes:
[The] problem with groups such as IFI is that they practice a sort of intellectual violence in which they are willing to distort credible research as well as rely on bad studies to give a negative view of the lgbt community – i.e. painting them as monsters who should be hindered and stopped at every turn.
In the OV article, Higgins tries unsuccessfully to absolve the IFI of a classic, giveaway trait of anti-gay hate groups: use of the flawed, heinously distorted “research” of Paul Cameron, the discredited academic whose studies have been denounced by numerous credible scientific organizations.
There is nothing arbitrary about the SPLC list. The website defines an anti-gay group thus:
Anti-gay groups are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.
The IFI finds itself in the company of Watchmen on the Walls, a group co-founded by Scott Lively, the Holocaust revisionist who recently called for homosexuals in Uganda to be subject to state-sponsored, involuntary reparative therapy.
Of course, if a group is anti-gay, it really is a hate group, whatever the SPLC says. Although I think all our labeling of hate speech, hate crimes, etc. may come back to bite us in the butt, when religious conservatives start declaring “hate crimes against Christians” (actually they’ve already done that.). I believe there’s hate speech and hate crimes, I’m just a little concerned about those concepts being codified in law, because of what I think the r. right would do with it.
I would have to disagree. If we were to follow that logic, the entire classification of “hate group” would be so diluted as to be meaningless. As it stands, I don’t think that is the case, however that is exactly what IHF claims. The idea of bias, or “hate crimes” is an entirely different matter not covered by the post.
Dealing with this stuff as we all do, I understand your impulse, but I think the SPLC has a decent criteria to maintain a meaningful classification. To merely disagree, if that is all there is to it, is not hate.
I regularly check IFI’s website. What David points out is absolutely true. They (IFI) have quite a history of using Cameron’s studies as the basis for what they promote. SPLC, if anything, gives a group a lot of leeway in what it does and applies the label “hate group” sparingly.
I suspect where they ran afoul of SPLC was when they started targeting individuals who did not share their point of view, such as teachers, public officials, etc.
It’s not just anti-gay rhetoric, they also get into a lot of anti-abortion stuff too.
That being said, I should point out that not every article they publish qualifies as hate speech. However, when you firmly stand behind the hate speech you do publish, as IFI has done, there are consequences, like being labeled a hate group.
Another bigot gets upset when called on their hate. I am getting so tired of this particular re-run. If they don’t want to be called bigots, hatemongers, homophobes, etc, perhaps they shouldn’t engage in such hateful behavior.
As has been pointed out already, the SPLC has labelled only a few anti-gay groups as hate groups. I think they should take another look at Exodus. Exodus lent their name and proudly sent a Board Member to the Uganda Conference with full advance knowledge of what was likely to occur. I think Exodus has crossed a line that they are never going to be able to uncross.
From my Microsoft Word dictionary: Morality:
ethics, morals, principles, standards, scruples, mores
goodness, decency, probity (formal), honesty, integrity, honor, virtue, godliness, saintliness
Higgins mentions some form of the word “morality” in regard to “homosexual conduct” some 18 times in the article without once explaining how it’s objectively a good vs. evil issue, and then has the audacity to say this:
Par for the course, I know, but the breadth of their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze.
How nice for Mr. Cohen, so now we can export all our insanity to make a big to-do over what shouldn’t even BE an issue. Hate is hate, and if this group, via their teaching or actions, promotes hate, this guy should be in jail. The last thing this nation needs for their public image is some half-baked church person purporting to speak for Americva, and worse, for God.
Is it a hate group? You know the saying: “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it IS a duck” Same applies to these people, I suppose they also stil believe the earth is flat!
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