(Orlando, FL) The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) grossly misrepresents and recklessly labels Christian, pro-family and conservative nonviolent groups as “hate groups,” lumping them in with violent groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The SPLC includes Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, the American Family Association and others in its listing of “hate groups.” The SPLC has come under fire for its false labeling, which we know motivated Floyd Lee Corkins III to attempt mass murder against Family Research Council staff in 2012.
In 2016, the Disciplinary Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, under President Obama, sharply rebuked and reprimanded attorneys representing the SPLC and its allies for employing the SPLC’s “hate group” label to denigrate an immigration advocacy group. A letter from the Justice Department’s Office of General Counsel concluded that employing the label against groups with which it disagrees “overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional.” It continued that such behavior is “uncivil” and “constitutes frivolous behavior and does not aid the administration of justice.”
“Liberty Counsel hates no one,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We believe every person is created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that discourse should be civil and respectful. We condemn violence and do not support any person or group that advocates or promotes violence. As a pastor before becoming an attorney, my heart then and now is for hurting people. Liberty Counsel is a peaceful, law-abiding, Christian ministry that opposes violence,” said Staver.
The SPLC refuses to include left-leaning organizations that do engage in or have a history of violence, including Antifa. The SPLC’s false labeling is a self-promoted fundraising tool that has dangerous consequences. Floyd Lee Corkins III confessed that he relied upon the SPLC “hate list” in his assault on the Family Research Council.
Liberty Counsel has prepared several documents rebutting the SPLC’s false, defamatory, and dangerous labeling here.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.