WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Apparently bowing to pressure from pro-family organizations, the FBI and the U.S. Army have removed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “hate crimes” resource on their websites. However, comments from the FBI indicate they may continue using SPLC as a resource.
An FBI spokesperson told LifeSiteNews that their Civil Rights program now “only provides links to resources within the federal government.”
“While we appreciate the tremendous support we receive from a variety of organizations, we have elected not to identify those groups on the civil rights page,” the spokesperson added.
A letter sent by the Family Research Council (FRC) and 14 other organizations criticized the FBI's use of the SPLC as a resource. Their criticisms ranged from the SPLC's questionable methodology on what it defines as “hate groups” to how Floyd Corkins was able to use SPLC's information to engage in domestic terrorism at FRC headquarters in 2012.
One of the criticisms pro-family groups had of the FBI's listing SPLC as a resource is the group's expansive definition of what it calls “hate groups,” as compared to the FBI's definition of “hate crimes.”
Under federal law, according to the FBI, “[a] hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. … Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”
However, according to the SPLC, “Hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” It also says that “hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. … Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and FRC Executive Director Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin praised the decision, with Boykin saying “any association between the federal government and an entity that is connected in federal court to domestic terrorism should be a no-brainer; it just shouldn’t happen.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was also dropped as a resource from the FBI's website. The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard reports this was done without any warning to the ADL.
The move comes months after the Army ignored efforts by the SPLC to put the American Family Association on a list of organizations soldiers may not join, and Army Secretary John McHugh ordered anti-Christian presentations ended.