John Leo
The Anti-Defamation League is dedicated to opposing hatred, particularly hatred of Jews. Its recent activities include support for abortion and gay rights, backing the effort to remove Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore from the bench in the Ten Commandments case, and opposing school vouchers in Washington, D.C.

The Southern Poverty Law Center was also created to focus on hate and hate groups. Recently it involved itself in the Sierra Club elections, demanded the elimination of the Chief Illiniwek sports mascot at the University of Illinois, sued to get Judge Moore off the bench and came out against the proposed amendment to prohibit gay marriage. Its subsidiary,, made news by featuring an essay complaining that the Lord of the Rings movies are too white.

Call this mission creep. A group starts out with a clear mandate that commands respect across most of the political spectrum. Gradually it moves to a broader and vaguer agenda, typically heading left. John O'Sullivan, columnist and former editor of National Review, offers us an explanation, which he calls O'Sullivan's First Law: "All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing." As examples, he cites the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ford Foundation and the Episcopal Church.

Many previously neutral and unassailable groups are now ripe examples of O'Sullivan's First Law. The League of Women Voters calls for the defeat of the gay marriage amendment and the repeal of the partial birth abortion law. It continues to call itself as "non-partisan, community based." This implies detachment and evenhandedness, but in truth, the League is now committed to the cultural left and is part of the abortion lobby.

Though most people still think the YWCA is a sort of health club or urban spa, it too is part of the cultural left. It joined the National Organization for Women's "Fight the Right" campaign, backed Martha Burk's campaign against Augusta National Golf Club and opposed school vouchers in D.C. It denies being pro-abortion, but supports Roe v. Wade and supports public funding for abortion.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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