The Southern Poverty Law Center Debunks Itself

November 29th, 2010 by

There was a time when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was highly respected for its exposure of hate groups, such as those of the neo-Nazi and KKK brand. Today, however, it’s almost a badge of honor to get a place on the SPLC listing, be it as an official “hate” group or merely as an “anti-gay” group. After all, now that the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council, Liberty Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Traditional Values Coalition qualify, it’s actually a little disconcerting to be left off the “anti-gay” list.

According to a recently released SPLC Intelligence Report (Winter 2010, Issue Number: 140), organizations are listed as hate (or, anti-gay) groups “based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities” and by their continuing “to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”

And what are these “known falsehoods . . . that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities”? According to an SPLC report entitled “10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked,” they include:

  • Same-sex parents harm children.
  • People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents.
  • Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.
  • Allowing homosexuals to serve openly would damage the armed forces.

(Some of the other “Anti-Gay Myths” are far more controversial, such as, “Homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust.”)

So, if you state that kids do best when raised by their mom and dad, you are propagating a known falsehood and are worthy of a place on the SPLC anti-gay list. If you agree with the many therapists and psychologists who argue that a child’s upbringing and early-life experiences play a major role in the development of his or her sexual orientation, you are propagating a known falsehood and are worthy of a place on the SPLC list.

The same is true if you claim that hate crime laws could lead to the arresting of pastors who criticize homosexuality (this has already happened in Sweden, England, Canada, and the United States), or if you argue that it would be detrimental to the military to have gays serving openly. Based on this “logic,” the SPLC would have to claim that many of the leaders of our Armed Forces, not to mention some of our most senior congressmen, are guilty of  the “propagation of known falsehoods,” since they strongly oppose the repeal of DADT. Maybe the SPLC will next place the entire American military on their anti-gay list. Why not?

Another alleged myth that has been “thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities” is that “Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol.” Yet the SPLC report actually acknowledges that “LGBT people suffer higher rates of anxiety, depression, and depression-related illnesses and behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse than the general population,” but blames it on homophobia. Of course!

Also singled out for disdain is the “known falsehood” that, “No one is born a homosexual,” yet in refuting this “myth,” the SPLC can only quote the American Psychological Association (APA) that “no evidence has emerged that would allow scientists to pinpoint the precise causes of sexual orientation.” In other words, we really don’t know exactly why people are gay. So much for science thoroughly discrediting the idea that no one is born homosexual!

The best that the SPLC could do to provide “the truth behind the propaganda” was quote the APA’s conclusion that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation,” which is a far cry from saying that someone is born homosexual. Perhaps lesbian journalist Camille Paglia should be added to the “anti-gay” list, since she famously wrote that, “No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous.”

The last alleged myth that is “debunked” in the SPLC article is that, “Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality,” yet there is substantial scientific evidence, not to mention abundant anecdotal evidence, that some people can and do leave homosexuality. It is positively chilling, however, to realize that those who make this claim are now guilty of “hate speech” and deemed to be spreading “demonizing propaganda.”

So then, rather than debunking anti-gay myths, the SPLC has debunked itself. Who can take them seriously anymore?


Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, “The Line of Fire,” and author of the forthcoming book A Queer Thing Happened to America

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