Cleaning House at the Southern Poverty Law Center

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the controversial group whose well-known “hate map” targets religious conservatives and conservative organizations alongside the KKK and other racist groups, has announced the firing of one of its founders, Morris Dees.

Dees, 82, co-founded the organization in 1971, which in its early years earned a reputation as a civil rights watchdog group, going after the KKK in court and helping to cripple its finances.

That was then. Now, the SPLC and Dees have become a fund-raising gold mine, raking in tens of millions more than SPLC’s operating costs require. And it has done so by targeting religious groups, primarily those with biblical views on marriage and biblical sexuality. With over $450 million in assets, some of which is stored in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, the SPLC knows it can raise a lot of money by caricaturing religious conservatives as haters of people who identify as homosexual, lesbian, or transgender.

Here’s a taste of the SPLC’s track record:

In 2012, an LGBT supporter named Floyd Lee Corkins entered the offices of the Family Research Organization, a pro-family, pro-life group based in Washington D.C., bent on murdering as many employees there as possible. He was stopped by the building manager, who was shot in the process. Corkins confessed that he looked at the SPLC “hate map” to obtain FRC’s name and location.

In 2017, Congressman Steve Scalise was severely wounded by a shooter who targeted Republicans at a softball practice. The shooter turned out to be a Facebook fan of the SPLC, which had strongly criticized Scalise.

The extremely successful religious freedom public interest law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, finds itself on the SPLC hate list. ADF’s crime? It supports traditional man/woman marriage and defends people of faith from religious discrimination. But mainstream media routinely identifies ADF as a “hate group” in its reporting, based solely on the SPLC’s designation. The internet retailing giant Amazon used the SPLC designation to remove ADF as a recipient of donations made through its “Amazon Smile” program.

Guidestar, the world’s largest source of information about charities, added warning labels to nearly four dozen nonprofits listed on its website because the SPLC had designated them as hate groups. Guidestar eventually removed the warning labels after complaints from the nonprofits.

The Ruth Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending family breakdown, is also on SPLC’s hate list and has also been punished by Amazon.

Carol Swain, an African-American college professor and conservative, saw her professional and personal life destroyed by the SPLC, which accused her, of all things, of supporting white supremacists. What she had really done was to question the SPLC’s misguided focus in supporting the New Black Panther Party.

In 2015, the SPLC even placed Ben Carson, surgeon, presidential candidate (currently Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), and well-known Christian, on its “extremist watch list.” After a backlash, the SPLC apologized and removed him from the list.

The SPLC has recently teamed up with the money transfer internet company, PayPal, to ban “hate groups” like ADF and Ruth Institute from using PayPal’s payment platform. The SPLC also works with Facebook, Google and Twitter to police those platforms for “hate groups.”

These incidents are just a few of the better-known consequences of the SPLC’s campaign of destruction. Gradually, though, word is getting around about the type of smear machine the SPLC has become. The Department of Defense and the FBI have either reduced or eliminated any consulting or partnering they had been doing with the SPLC concerning domestic terror groups. Even left-leaning news and commentary outlets such as Politico.com have criticized the SPLC for losing its way.

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