Matt Barber

With a column headlined, “Liberal violence rising,” I wrote, “The SPLC’s dangerous and irresponsible (‘hate group’) disinformation campaign can embolden and give license to like-minded, though less stable, left-wing extremists, creating a climate of true hate. Such a climate is ripe for violence.” (If anyone deserves to be taken out – rationalizes the unbalanced SPLC dupe – its members of this or that evil “hate group” whom, as he’s been repeatedly told, mean him great harm.)

That was before the fact. After the fact – one day after the shooting – Tony Perkins addressed exactly that which I forecast:

“Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday,” he told Washington reporters. “But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”

The SPLC “should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation and what the FBI here has categorized as an act of domestic terrorism.”

Regrettably, Mr. Perkins finds himself in a uniquely credible position to make this charge.

Still, although there remains a vast ideological divide between the SPLC and the tens of millions of Christian Americans represented by the Family Research Council, the Southern Poverty Law Center now finds itself with a brief window of opportunity to both do the right thing and rehabilitate its badly damaged reputation.

To the SPLC, I say this: Your cynical efforts to dehumanize Christians and equate biblical truth to “hate” are working better than I think even you expected. It’s now within your power to right a horrible wrong and restore a sense of peace and security to the rattled folks at FRC. What a gift that would be.

I appeal to your sense of goodwill. This is not a game. Lives are at stake. I know you have good employees (I’ve met some) who believe they’re doing the right thing; so, please, validate that belief. It’s time to remove your metaphorical “hate group” Star of David from mainstream Christian organizations before another of your ideological allies spills blood.

And to homosexual activists and other liberal groups, I say this: Rise above the fray. Let’s come together. Here is something on which even we can agree. Publicly encourage SPLC to lift this veil of fear.

Media, you, too, are on notice. Remember Wednesday’s shooting next time you even think about repeating SPLC’s “hate group” brand while addressing the Christians upon whom it’s tattooed. You also have share in the blame.

SPLC, hear me now: If, God forbid, something like this – or even worse – happens in the future and you have yet refused to retract and apologize for your “hate group” propaganda, then your hands will forever be stained with the blood of innocents.

Still, either way, we Christians are commanded to speak the truth of Christ “even unto death.”

FRC will not be deterred. “We’re not going anywhere,” Tony Perkins told reporters Thursday. “We’re not backing up; we’re not shutting up,” he vowed. “We feel that – we don’t feel, we know [that] we have been called to speak the truth. Speak it in love, but to speak the truth nonetheless – and we will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced.”

“I was there as [Leo] came to from the anesthesia,” said Perkins, “and I told him, ‘Leo, I want you to know you’re a hero.’ And he thought about it for a minute and he said, ‘You know, this hero business is hard work.’”

Heroes don’t work for “hate groups,” and FRC’s hard work is heroic indeed.

I’m proud to count them my friends.

You should be, too.


Matt Barber

Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).