Family Watch International Calls Upon Media To Disclose Bias Of Southern Poverty Law Center

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SPLC’s misinformation that has incited violence is perpetuated by journalists who accept “Hate Map” without question


GILBERT, AZ –  Family Watch International (FWI), a pro-family policy organization unfairly labeled as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), responded to the fraudulent accusation today, calling on the SPLC to join them in an open forum to constructively and honestly address political differences. 

“The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to have lost its way,” said Sharon Slater, President of FWI. “Their original purpose of using the courts to promote civil rights in the 1970s has given way to a radically liberal organization that fraudulently labels those with whom it does not agree on any social policy as hate groups in a deceptive money-making enterprise. What they disagree with in our case is our positions on the traditional family and all of the empirical data that demonstrate the optimum environment for raising children.”

Already facing harsh criticism for spending more money on fundraising and overhead than litigating on behalf of true victims of human rights abuses, the SPLC received high-profile donations from progressives like Tim Cook at Apple and George and Amal Clooney—as well as a lucrative flurry of media attention—in the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, which involved neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other true hate groups. 

Using what they call a “Hate Map,” the SPLC identifies organizations it considers to “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” Currently, they claim 917 such groups exist in the United States, including legitimate organizations that do not promote hate but simply differ with them on public policy. A few of these include the Family Research Council, the American College of Pediatricians, the Center for Immigration Studies, and Family Watch International, whose charter is to “protect and nurture children by preserving and promoting the family, traditional marriage, life, parental rights and religious freedom.” 

Even Dr. Ben Carson, former presidential candidate and United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was unfairly targeted by the SPLC.

“Family Watch is a data-driven organization that provides and promotes academic, peer-reviewed studies highlighting optimum environments for raising children and supporting strong families,” said Slater. “And we are concerned about any influence or factor that undermines healthy families and the welfare of children, whether that be substance abuse, pornography, abortion, violence in the home, or radical sexual rights. The irony is that our mission is one of love and concern, and those with radical or progressive agendas should not have an issue with us, but with the data.” 

Recent articles in publications as diverse as Politico, The Philanthropy Roundtable, Harper’s Magazine, The National Review, and scores of others have referred to the SPLC as “essentially a fraud,” that “lumps conservative advocacy groups in with legitimate hate organizations, putting proponents of traditional family values in the same category as neo-Nazis and the KKK.” 

Ironically, SPLC’s Hate Map provoked a violent hate crime in 2012, when an SPLC follower entered the offices of the Family Research Council with over 50 rounds of ammunition and attempted a mass shooting. The gunman, who wounded a security guard during the attack, admitted to law enforcement officials that he went after FRC because it was listed on SPLC’s Hate Map. 

“We invite the SPLC to meet with us in an open forum,” said Slater. “We invite them to examine the data, our reports, and the work we do to support children and families around the world. Until they do, we suggest it’s not only disingenuous but dangerous for them to be perpetuating deliberate misinformation that creates its own hatred and violence.” 

SPLC’s wanton disregard for the truth led to the removal of SPLC as a recommended “external resource” on the FBI’s hate crimes webpage in early 2014, further discrediting the organization as an authority on identifying hate groups. Due to the serious, incendiary nature of SPLC’s slanderous accusations, FWI, along with several other professional organizations, filed a formal joint complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, outlining SPLC’s many dishonest and unscientific claims. 

“SPLC’s Hate Map is not only inaccurate and unfair, it actually encourages hate crimes and puts innocent lives at risk,” Slater said. “We strongly urge the media to discontinue perpetuating misinformation that incites violence. The SPLC must be held accountable for its reckless behavior.”