Evangelical Leader calls SPLC “Most Dangerous Hate Group”
Michael Brown is a right-wing evangelical with a syndicated radio show and a regular column in The Christian Post. A recent column declared, “The Southern Poverty Law Center Is the Most Dangerous Hate Group in America.” For those unfamiliar with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), it compiles research on hate groups and takes legal actions against some of them. It is best known for bankrupting the KKK through a series of lawsuits. It publishes Hatewatch, and often works with the FBI. (Here for wiki.)
Mr. Brown calls SPLC “most insidious and dangerous” -- “a well-organized, massively-funded, ‘civil rights’ organization which demonizes Christian conservatives.” He even claims it has “blood on its hands.”
What kind of maniac could think that SPLC is the most dangerous hate group in America -- more dangerous than either neo-Nazis or radical Muslims? What kind of newspaper would publish such garbage?
In recent years, SPLC has broadened its definition of hate groups to reflect various gender-related issues. Hate groups now include those that advocate the Bible’s claim that homosexuality is an abomination – Mr. Brown’s “conservative Christians.” In fact, in 2012 Mr. Brown was among those identified. He and his colleagues cherry-pick an isolated commandment from the book of Leviticus while ignoring most of its other commandments. But what they lack in integrity they make up for in vitriol.
About Christian Post
It was founded in 2004 by Richard Land, who is its editor. Mr. Land was the leader of the pre-reform Southern Baptist Convention. He fought reforms concerning race, gender, and other matters. Neither its web site nor Wikipedia say anything about its sources of funding.
Media Bias/Fact Check is one of the largest such organizations. It rates right (and left) wing organizations on the following scale: Least Biased; Right-Center; Right; and Extreme. It rates Christian Post (here) as Right – “moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes.” It adds that some Right sources “may be untrustworthy.” Media Bias/Fact Check also rates “Factual Reporting,” and gives Christian Post a MIXED rating, noting a number of factual errors. By comparison, Breitbart News, the well-known alt-right group, is rated mid-way between Right and Extreme. It is also given a MIXED rating for Factual Reporting.
In other words, Christian Post is almost as politically biased as Breitbart News, and bears false witness about as often. But Christian Post purports to be a religious publication, upholding the principles of Jesus. Breitbart News is a political publication that has openly declared it is an alt-right platform. This helps explain why Christian Post carries many articles puffing Donald Trump and claiming he has divine support. It also explains why it runs columns calling the SPLC a dangerous hate group. Christian Post has good reason for concealing its sources of funding. They would show it is serving Mammon, not God.
In 1999 the FBI released a report on Project Megiddo. Many groups of extremists were becoming frenzied about the approaching millennium, and the FBI believed they posed a potential threat. The report described some of these groups, like Aryan Nations and Klan-derived groups, and also provided a general profile of these potential terrorists. The religious right, including the Richard Land-led Southern Baptists, raised an outcry about the report. They perceived that the profile for potential terrorists fit them all too well.
There is a large gray area between zealous evangelicals and politico-religious extremists. Furthermore, it is a slippery slope, and changing external conditions play a major role in determining where people end up. The Crusades are a case where ordinary people got swept up into a religious frenzy and committed atrocities. Many of these Christians initially slaughtered European Jews, then headed east and killed Eastern Orthodox Christians, before reaching Jerusalem where they slaughtered Muslims, including any women and children that crossed their path. Religious leaders often supported these atrocities. More recently, many suicide bombers were formerly pious religious students. Some pro-life Christians killed doctors and blew up clinics. Passionate faith is often divorced from reason, and can lead to atrocities.
Zealous Christians are far more likely to be driven by hate than Jesus’ central teaching of brotherly love. You almost never encounter the Golden Rule in the Christian Post.