Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.
The furious reaction to the Obama administration’s gun control proposals is reminiscent of the anger that greeted the passage of the 1993 Brady Bill and the 1994 ban on assault weapons supported by another relatively liberal Democrat — Bill Clinton. The passage of those bills, along with what was seen by the right as the federal government’s violent suppression of political dissidents at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the early 1990s, led to the first wave of the Patriot movement that burst into public consciousness with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups in that era peaked in 1996 at 858, more than 500 groups fewer than the number active in 2012.
For many, the election of America’s first black president symbolizes the country’s changing demographics, with the loss of its white majority predicted by 2043. (In 2011, for the first time, non-white births outnumbered the births of white children.) But the backlash to that trend predates Obama’s presidency by many years. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hate groups rose from 602 to more than 1,000, where the count remains today. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is poised to legitimize and potentially accelerate the country’s demographic change, the backlash to that change may accelerate as well.
While the number of hate groups remained essentially unchanged last year — going from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,007 in 2012 — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.
Now, in the wake of the mass murder of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school and the Obama-led gun control efforts that followed, it seems likely that that growth will pick up speed once again.
In many ways, the John Birch Society is the prototype for the modern right wing, and this deranged rant at their official website is a perfect example. The twisted talking points are identical to the stuff you can read every day at any right wing blog or media site: Extremist Group Exposed Working With Obama’s Justice Department. (Google cache link.)
As if Obama’s politicized Justice Department was not embroiled in enough scandals — Fast and Furious gun-trafficking to Mexican drug cartels, the subsequent coverup and lies, disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder held in criminal contempt of Congress, lawless “legal memos” purporting to justify assassinating U.S. citizens without charge or trial, training police to believe Americans may be terrorists for political activism, and more — there is now yet another travesty to add to the growing list. Documents released recently exposed the department working intimately with one of the most controversial extremist groups in America.
E-mails released last Tuesday by the non-partisan Judicial Watch group showed that Obama’s increasingly out-of-control Department of Justice was collaborating closely with the ultra-leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). To make matters worse, hate-mongering propaganda issued by the widely criticized organization — ridiculed and blasted by critics as a discredited far-left attack group — was implicated last year in an attempted mass-shooting at the conservative-leaning Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C.
After the failed terror attack scheme to murder FRC employees, concerned conservatives and even some homosexual groups all across America expressed increasing alarm over the dangerous rhetoric and propaganda distributed by the SPLC, equating mainstream pro-family and Christian groups with the organizations like KKK, neo-Nazis, and terrorists, for example. The SPLC and its hysterical attacks were immediately thrust into the spotlight — especially after it was revealed that the shooter and would-be terrorist used the organization’s “hate map” propaganda to select his target.
Here’s a statement from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, responding to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins’ attempt to get a free pass for the FRC’s long-standing bigotry and hateful propaganda, by blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center for the shooting at the FRC’s DC office. (Bashing the SPLC is always a popular dodge with the far right.)
Yesterday’s attack on the Family Research Council and the shooting of a security guard there was a tragedy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack.
For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence. We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.
But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a “hate group.” The attacker, Floyd Corkins, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins said. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.
The ads, which were rejected in New York by the Metropolitan Transit Authority before a judge ruled that the decision violated free speech rights, send a strident pro-Israel message. They read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Then, between two Jewish Stars of David, the ad reads: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” The initial MTA decision in New York to reject the ads were because they “violated [the MTA’s] prohibition on ads that demeaned individuals or groups on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and five other specific categories,” according to the New York Times.
As ABC reported, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency has a policy against allowing political ads. But the legal victory for Geller in New York apparently “had an impact,” ABC reports. The advertisements are meant to counter other billboards that have ran in California that question US military aid to Israel.
The money for the ads was fronted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-Islam group run by Geller and fellow anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer. Geller’s organization has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Geller and Spencer led the fight against the Islamic community center in Manhattan in 2010, and routinely publish demeaning material about Islam and Muslims on their respective blogs. Geller, for example, once published an image of the Prophet Muhammad with a pig on his head and urine dripping from his face.
Congratulations to Pamela “Shrieking Harpy” Geller and Robert “Poison Dwarf” Spencer; their “Stop the Islamization of America” is listed in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual survey of extremist organizations, under the heading of anti-Muslim hate groups.
Anti-Muslim hate groups are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, most of them appearing in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Earlier anti-Muslim groups tended to be religious in orientation and disputed Islam’s status as a respectable religion.
All anti-Muslim hate groups exhibit extreme hostility toward Muslims. The organizations portray those who worship Islam as fundamentally alien and attribute to its followers an inherent set of negative traits. Muslims are depicted as irrational, intolerant and violent, and their faith is frequently depicted as sanctioning pedophilia, marital rape and child marriage.
These groups also typically hold conspiratorial views regarding the inherent danger to America posed by its Muslim-American community. Muslims are depicted as a fifth column intent on undermining and eventually replacing American democracy and Western civilization with Islamic despotism. Anti-Muslim hate groups allege that Muslims are trying to subvert the rule of law by imposing on Americans their own Islamic legal system, Shariah law.
Anti-Muslim hate groups also broadly defame Islam, which they tend to treat as a monolithic and evil religion. These groups generally hold that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.
Pamela Geller and the Bloggers of Hate
Meet the Leaders of the Anti-Mosque Movement
Violent British Anti-Muslim Gang Connects with Tea Party Movement
European Islamophobia Finds a Home in the US
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: The EDL’s American Apologists
White Supremacists ♥ Pamela Geller
A who’s who of right wing politicians, religious right spokesholes, and anti-gay loons have signed a statement opposing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s classification of many far right religious organizations as hate groups. LGF reader Gus 802 pasted together this picture of the statement, which they placed as an advertisement at Politico:
The fact is, the groups on the SPLC’s list are unarguably spreading falsehoods and hatred for gay people; the Southern Poverty Law Center responds to this ludicrous example of right wing persecution politics here, with numerous examples of their sick agenda and appalling hate speech: SPLC Responds to Attack by FRC, Conservative Republicans.
Consider a few of the comments about gays and lesbians that have come from some of the groups now denouncing character assassination. The FRC, in a booklet entitled Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys, has claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer wrote this year that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, which was not listed by the SPLC but helped organize today’s newspaper ad, describes relationships between gay men as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Officials of several, including the FRC, have called for criminalizing gay sex.
Almost all the religious-right groups named by the SPLC also have engaged in a particularly toxic and widespread defamation of gay men: The claim that they are essentially pedophiles who molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.
In fact, this became the crux of my “debate” with the FRC’s Perkins — the claim, as he put it in the very last moments of the show, that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.” To prove this, Perkins cited an outfit called the American College of Pediatricians, which certainly sounded authoritative. But he was being less than honest, to say the least. In fact, the American College of Pediatricians is a tiny group that broke away from the real professional association — the similarly named American Academy of Pediatrics — specifically because that 60,000-member organization had endorsed gay and lesbian parenting. Perkins’ move was enough to cause Chris Matthews to run a special segment two days later that explained the difference between the academy and the so-called college.
The reality is that virtually all real researchers in the field have concluded, as did the American Psychological Association in an official statement, that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has updated its list of anti-gay hate groups, and if you’ve been reading LGF you’ll recognize the names of many of these organizations: 18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda.
Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities. These groups’ influence reaches far beyond what their size would suggest, because the “facts” they disseminate about homosexuality are often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations. Of the 18 groups profiled below, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will be listing 13 next year as hate groups (eight were previously listed), reflecting further research into their views; those are each marked with an asterisk. Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.
Read the whole thing, because there are many examples showing exactly why this list exists.
Truth Wins Out has a list of the new additions; the Orwellian names are striking, invoking America, Truth, Faith, Morality, and of course, Family, as they spread hatred, bigotry, and dishonest propaganda.
1. Abiding Truth Ministries [Scott Lively]
2. American Family Association
3. Americans for Truth About Homosexuality [Peter LaBarbera]
4. American Vision
5. Chalcedon Foundation
6. Dove World Outreach Center [Terry Jones]
7. Faithful Word Baptist Church [Steven Anderson]
8. Family Research Council
9. Family Research Institute [Paul Cameron]
10. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
11. Illinois Family Institute
13. Traditional Values Coalition
(Hat tip: CuriousLurker.)
Here we go again with Dale Robertson, the founder of TeaParty.org who was photographed with a misspelled racist sign at a teabag protest in Houston.
Robertson made the Hatewatch page of the Southern Poverty Law Center today after he sent out a mass email attacking President Obama for traveling home to Chicago for Memorial Day: TeaParty.org Founder Labels Obama With Racial Terms.
Obama is going home to spend time with “his homies in the Chicago hood,” writes Robertson, who is white. The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the president to “bump and grind in the hood.” While he’s gone, Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife “will step into Obama’s sneakers” to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Obama, meanwhile, will be “shooting hoops, smoking cigarettes and goofing-off with his homies.”
Here’s a disturbing report on the rise of the “Patriot” movement, with profiles of 36 of the leaders of this far right antigovernment lunacy, including World Nut Daily’s head loon Joseph Farah, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and John Birch Society leader John McManus — all of whom are welcome in today’s right wing: Meet the ‘Patriots’.
(Hat tip: Thanos.)