Senator to ABC: ‘Concern’ About Hate Group Designation of Christian Legal Organization

By Dustin Siggins Published on August 7, 2017

A U.S. Senator expressed “concern” that an ABC News article described a Christian legal organization as a “hate group.” ABC relied on the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) classification.

“I found it odd that ABC would designate [Alliance Defending Freedom] ADF as a hate group not based on any actual crime or action, but apparently based on their belief in religious liberty or traditional marriage,” wrote Senator James Lankford (R-OK) in a letter to ABC News President James Goldston. According to Lankford, “disagreement is not the same as discrimination and it’s not the same as hate.”

Conservatives have criticized ABC for the label, issued in 2016. “Hate group” was used in ABC’s headline; the lede said ADF is “an alleged hate group.”

The article was about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech to ADF. The article quoted ADF’s pushback, then four critics of Sessions and ADF. Those critics were a SPLC spokesperson, a George W. Bush appointee, a Democratic National Committee spokesman, and lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

ADF Legal Communications Director Kerri Kupec told Fox News that ADF has won seven cases in the U.S. Supreme Court since 2010.

SPLC and Hate Groups

SPLC states that a hate group has “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” According to SPLC, “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.” SPLC previously noted on its “hate map” page, “Listing here [as a hate group] does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”

The FBI partnered with SPLC in the Bush and Obama administrations, but removed SPLC from its website in 2014. SPLC provided anti-Christian propaganda to the military under Obama.

SPLC has blamed President Donald Trump’s campaign for an alleged rise in “hate groups,” and in February claimed 1,372 alleged “bias incidents” occurred since Trump’s victory. A similar report in December 2016 stated “many” alleged incidents “remain anecdotal.”

Some incidents proved to be fake.


SPLC President Richard Cohen defended ADF’s label. “The Alliance Defending Freedom spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community in this country and seeks to criminalize it abroad. If the ADF had its way, gay people would be back in the closet for fear of going to jail.”

Kupec, said that ABC used “false charges … by a radically left-wing, violence-inciting organization.” Her statement appears to link SPLC to violence against conservatives. In 2012, Floyd Corkins used SPLC’s “hate map” in a shooting at the Family Research Council. Middlebury College students who attacked Dr. Charles Murray partly relied on SPLC’s criticisms of his race research. The man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) this summer liked and followed SPLC’s Facebook page.

Lankford and the SPLC did not respond to The Stream’s requests for comment. Institute on Religion & Democracy President Mark Tooley said in an e-mail that SPLC “should not be a partner for any government agency.”

For SPLC, “there’s little distinction between the Klan and orthodox Christians and Jews,” said Tooley. He described its “analysis and agenda” as “unserious” and “dangerous.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Business and Culture Dan Gainor told The Stream that SPLC is “a leftist propaganda shop” that “was once a legitimate civil rights organization.” He urged ABC “to apologize to” ADF.

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  • Andy6M

    In some ways it may actually be an honor to be included on the SPLC’s list..a sort of marker that says you must be doing something right – a sort of feather in your cap.

    • Dean Bruckner

      A short list of allies when the new
      slavers like John Conner and his hat-filled activists come to try to enforce their tyranny.

  • Hmmm…

    Hate groups, hate speech — actually means they hate your group or speech … they are the haters

  • John Connor

    ADF is in the business of opposing any and all things related to the LGBT community. They deserve the moniker

    • GLT

      John Connor,

      So, according to John Connor, if someone disagrees with your opinion, they hate you?

      Here is John Connor’s logic.

      If some social group A opposes the agenda of social group B, social group A is guilty of promoting hatred towards social group B.

      However, if social group B opposes the agenda of social group A, they are not guilty of promoting hatred towards social group A, they are simply practicing their right to free speech.

      Interesting logic you have there, Connor.

      • Dean Bruckner

        The logic of a violated conscience.

        • GLT


    • Kevin Carr

      Then LGBT activists are also members of a hate group.

    • Dean Bruckner

      You are one of the new slavers, trying enslave your opponents to worship your idols, serve at your ceremonies, take loyalty oaths to your ideologies, and give up all they own to your tribunals so you can crush all opposition.

      Why are you here? You can take your new slavery somewhere else.

      • CatoYounger

        Exactly. We thought the 13th amendment outlawed “involuntary servitude” but John Connor and his ilk want to bring it back.

  • tether

    Since when did it become an act of hate to disagree with someone or their beliefs? Isn’t that why we have freedom of speech?
    People are free to believe or not believe in God. And they should also be free to express their beliefs. That is part of what makes the USA great. People are allowed to have and express their ideas. The issue comes when people try to force acceptance in place of tolerance. Just because I don’t agree with you does not mean that I hate you. I love my wife very much but I don’t always agree with her. To try to force someone into thinking and believing the same as you do is self centered.
    As is see it the problem comes in when one group tries to change the previously established definition of one groups terminology into something that better accommodates their beliefs over the previously held definition.
    Or when one group tries to force the other into participating in the activities around the apposing beliefs.
    Christians won’t force you to go to their church with them. They won’t force you to bake a cake for their baptism that you don’t believe in, so stop trying to force them to bake a cake for an event that violates their beliefs.

    • Dean Bruckner

      The new slavers like John Connor are filled with hate and want to enslave you to serve their idols of sexual anarchy, abortion and socialism. They are all about force, because slavery doesn’t work without it.

      • CatoYounger

        Yes, the Left is a totalitarian movement.

        • Boris

          Christianity is a totalitarian movement.

  • Patmos

    Saul Alinsky is the gift that keeps on giving: When they don’t agree with you, demonize. Worked out great for Hillary didn’t it? The progressive house is built on sand, not solid rock.

    • Emma2

      Demonie? I thought that was the specialty of the rightwingers. They did a helluva job against Mrs. Clinton. And look what we got instead. Chaos.

  • Dean Bruckner

    It seems SPLC President Richard Cohen never met one of God’s Commandments that he didn’t want to break, starting with bearing false witness.

  • PhilliesFan2001

    Sounds like the SPLC has become a hate group…by its own definition. It seeks to demonize Christians. And by the way, what Cohen said about the ADF is simply a pack of lies. ADF does not seek to :”demonize” LGBT people…it just upholds the rights of Christians not to participate in gay marriage ceremonies. And “criminalize” LGBT people abroad? Where did that come from?

    • Emma2

      Some of our Dominionist Senators went to Africa and persuaded one head of state then homosexuals caught in the act should be executed and the rest tossed in jail. Of course, there was some American aid money attached to this change in the law. Money talks, and money offered by US Senators talks more loudly than most. The Dominionists will be running everything if ordinary Christians don’t wise up pretty fast.

  • CatoYounger

    SPLC just provides the pretext. They provide the cover for the MSM to do what they already want to do – smear conservatives and Christians.

  • CatoYounger

    The SPLC is a fundraising group that masquerades as a civil rights group. They spend much more on fundraising than they do litigation. They still send out emergency appeals even though they have $200 million in the bank. Another trick the SPLC likes is to count flyers as hate incidents. So, if some pathetic KKK group hands out 100 flyers that get thrown in the trash, the SPLC says that town has been “terrorized” with 100 hate crimes. The FBI, on the other hand, said there were 5,850 hate crimes in the US in 2015 – out of a country of 330 million. The SPLC’s schtick is to make it look like there is a hate crime on every corner even though its actually one of the least committed offenses in the United States.

  • tkrepel

    Interesting that Lankford (or the Stream, for that matter) never address any of the evidence the SPLC has previously laid out as evidence for stating that ADF denigrate and despise gays. Seems relevant.

    • Andrew Mason

      SPLC are a known hate group. Why waste time on their claims?

      • tkrepel

        Um, because the SPLC backs up what they say, and the Stream and Lankford don’t?

        • sc_cannon

          Apparently your pro homosexual so why are you here? Go to the impoverished philosophy site where you will find people like yourself.

          • tkrepel

            The same reasons Christians minister to the heathens — to spread the truth.

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