SPLC Claims the FRC Is 'More Dangerous' Than the KKK, Attacks Trump for Giving It 'Legitimacy'

The headquarters of the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
The headquarters of the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. | (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has doubled down on its anti-conservative rhetoric, claiming that the Family Research Council is "more dangerous" than the Ku Klux Klan.

SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote a critique on the liberal group's website Thursday about the FRC's Values Voter Summit held in Washington, D.C. last week. 

In the piece, Cohen said the SPLC wasn't surprised they were called out during the event, as his organization has "been a thorn in the FRC's side for years."

"We've always believed it's important to take on groups like the FRC that have a foothold in the mainstream. In many ways, they're more dangerous to our country than hatemongers who wear robes and hoods," Cohen claimed.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins gives the 2016 State of the Family Address at FRC's office in Washington D.C. on Jan. 11, 2016.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins gives the 2016 State of the Family Address at FRC's office in Washington D.C. on Jan. 11, 2016. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Samuel Smith)

Cohen went on to bemoan President Donald Trump's address at the summit, arguing that he was "shamefully lending the legitimacy of the White House to hate groups like the Family Research Council and its President Tony Perkins."

"Now that Trump has given the FRC unprecedented access to the White House, it will be more powerful than ever and the LGBT community will be at even greater risk. It's the reason why our work is more important than ever," Cohen concluded.

Founded in 1971, in recent years the SPLC has been criticized by many for its labeling of numerous conservative Christian groups and public figures as hateful.

The SPLC's rhetoric has also been linked to violence. In 2012, a gay rights activist attempted to commit a mass shooting at the FRC's Washington, D.C. office.

The shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins, told authorities that he targeted the FRC because it was on the SPLC's hate map for the group's position on LGBT issues.

While the SPLC denounced Corkins' actions, they refused to remove the FRC from their list of hate groups, arguing in a statement released in 2012 that Perkins' claims that the liberal group enabled Corkins was "outrageous."

"The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage," the SPLC stated in 2012.

"The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence."

Cohen's recent claim that the FRC is "more dangerous" than the Klan stands in apparent contrast with a 2013 entry on the SPLC's website, which discussed Louisiana state Sen. Dan Claitor comparing Perkins to former KKK Grand Imperial Wizard David Duke.

"The reference to Duke is an interesting one. Perkins, to be sure, is no David Duke," the 2013 SPLC opinion piece said.

The SPLC's claims that the FRC is worse than the KKK comes as the liberal group finds itself in litigation over its labeling of conservative organizations as hateful.

In August, D. James Kennedy Ministries filed a lawsuit against Amazon, Guidestar and the SPLC, citing defamation and religious discrimination.

"SPLC acted knowingly, intentionally, and with actual malice in publishing the Hate Map that included the ministry and in publishing the SPLC transmissions to Guidestar that included the ministry," read the suit.

"SPLC's conduct in making these publications was beyond the reckless disregard for the truth standard required by Alabama law for punitive damages."

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