August 21, 2012 at 9:56 am EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Memo to Dana Milbank: FRC is a hate group

Contrary to the opinion of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, the Family Research Council (FRC) has been properly labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The shamelessness of the Council’s attacks on the SPLC must be recognized for what they are: a way to distract attention from its mission and actions.

The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate by identifying groups that sponsor it. Whether that hate is aimed at African Americans, Jews, Muslims or the LGBT community, hate rhetoric is unacceptable and we know it foments violence among unstable individuals.

The hate spewed by those who run and support the FRC does exactly that. By using rhetoric such as wanting to “export homosexuals from the United States” and claiming as their Executive Director Tony Perkins has, “that pedophilia is a homosexual problem” clearly charges up those who are already volatile and unhinged enough to commit violence.

The violence committed everyday across the nation against members of the LGBT community is clearly a result of the hate that comes from the FRC and other groups. As the spokesperson for the SPLC explains, the FRC regularly sends out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse, claims that are provably false.

I am opposed to violence of all kinds. The shooting at the FRC’s office was unacceptable under any circumstance and I am thankful that the security guard, who acted in a heroic manner, will make a full recovery. But the violence against members of the LGBT community goes on everyday across the world. As the spokesperson for the SPLC so aptly said, “For Mr. Perkins and his allies on the religious right to suggest in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be targets of criminal violence” is patently absurd.

Religions are within their rights to not recognize marriage equality in their churches. They have never been asked to do so. I respect those who feel that it goes against their religious beliefs. We have a clear separation of church and state in our nation and we should thank the founding fathers for that. There is a clear difference in our nation between civil law and religious doctrine and groups like the FRC purposely refuse to accept that and go further by making claims that they want that changed. They want to control all facets of civil law to have them conform to their particular religious beliefs.

One must accept that no one is born hating, rather hate is taught. Just as we need to teach our children math, science and English we need to teach them to accept diversity and the differences in people and cultures. We need to teach them to respect those differences even if they don’t agree with them. The choice that more in the LGBT community are making today is to live life openly and be true to themselves. They are no longer being forced or willing to hide in a closet to protect themselves and their families from the hate being spewed by groups such as the FRC.

To suggest that it is the SPLC that is wrong to list the FRC as a hate group seems to me a subversion of reality. All groups must stop spewing hatred if we are to stem the violence in this nation against all minorities or individuals who may not conform to what a particular group thinks they should be. We need to identify hate groups like the FRC to have fair-minded people focus on what they are doing and to try to change them. The world has seen hatred before and it has been the cause of too many wars and too much violence. Governments can spew hatred and we saw what that did in Nazi Germany when Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others were routinely exterminated.

The FRC is a hate group and we should thank the SPLC for shining a light on them. The response to their hate is to teach our children to fight hate with compassion for the haters and education for all. That is how the LGBT community is moving forward and that is how we have always won the battles for the rights of other minorities. Hate groups do lose out in the end but disregarding them is not the way to proceed.

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