Today the Southern Poverty Law Center has updated its list of hate groups and it now includes many prominent Christian organizations that promote anti-gay messages. This includes the American Family Association and Family Research Council, groups who receive media attention on at least a weekly basis. (Truth Wins Out has the full list of the new additions.)
For some, these are obvious choices. Others might think it overreaching. Personally, I think this is a very important step, and I’m very proud of the SPLC for making it.
Let’s not forget that Tony Perkins, in particular, is regularly included in national newspapers and mainstream cable news discussions. It is always done in the name of “showing both sides” of the story. Now, one of those sides is clearly designated as “hate.” Similarly, the AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who is never short on astonishing talking points, is also clearly labeled as “hate.”
There are many who seek to somehow bridge the gap and claim that beliefs that homosexuality is a sin somehow do not amount to hate. This is very murky territory. The idea that homosexuality is a choice (and a bad one) is the most hurtful idea our community still fights. It has no ounce of truth, and yet it persists quite widespread. It is used to create shame, promote bullying, and maintain inequality. Anyone who holds such ideas is certainly contributing to the negative experiences of the LGBT community, but anyone actively promoting and reinforcing such ideas is most definitely a bully.
The culture war is all about one thing: legitimacy. With these new designations applied to some very large organizations and prominent anti-gay speakers, it is a big win for the groups promoting the health, safety, and prosperity of LGBT people.
Not all ideas are created equal. We now have some important reinforcements in the fight against hate.