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Kim Davis attorneys: Associated Press endangered our lives by accusing us of ‘hate’

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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Liberal Counsel is accusing the Associated Press of "plac[ing] lives in danger" by labeling them "liars and haters" in a report on their client Kim Davis, says the conservative legal group.

In a lengthy letter to The Associated Press' (AP) Assistant General Counsel, Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver hammered the reporter of an October 4, 2015 AP article about how his group has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Staver said that the article framed Staver and Liberty Counsel as racist and liars.

"During our conversation at the end of a lengthy discussion, [the AP reporter] briefly raised the question about the SPLC calling Liberty Counsel a 'hate group,'" wrote Staver. "I explained to [the reporter] that the assertion was false and dangerous. I explained to her about how Family Research Council was targeted by Floyd Corkins, who obtained information from the SPLC website and then went to the FRC office in Washington, D.C., intending to commit mass murder."

In 2012, Corkins shot a security guard at Family Research Council headquarters. The guard managed to subdue him nevertheless, earning praise as a hero. Corkins also had the address of the Traditional Values Coalition, and is widely believed to have been intending to target Chik-Fil-A for its CEO's views on marriage.

The SPLC's definition of "hate group" has been widely criticized. Hate groups, they say, “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.”

A spokesperson for SPLC did not return a request for comment and clarification of its Liberty Counsel ranking.

The FBI has removed SPLC from its list of official resources, though it may still be using the organization as an unofficial resource.

"I explained to [the AP reporter] that neither I nor Liberty Counsel hate anyone," said Staver, "and that we hold and advocate traditional Christian views on human sexuality and marriage, which views have been shared by virtually every society through millennia of human history."

"[The reporter] knew that Kim Davis had received death threats. She knew that people threatened to kill her and her husband and burn down their house after raping her. She knew that people had threatened to kill her and her staff at the Clerk’s office. She knew that I had received death threats and that our staff at Liberty Counsel received death threats. She knew that the 'hate group' label against Family Research Council resulted in an attempted mass murder by Floyd Corkins using the SPLC website. She knew that Floyd Corkins is now in prison for attempted murder. She knew he intended to kill FRC staff and that he also intended to inflict carnage against other pro-family organizations in Washington, D.C., listed on the SPLC website."

Staver called the timing of the article's publication, and the use of the "hate group" term in the article's headline and body, an "unconscionable tactic."

Staver also claims that the AP article "gives the false impression that Liberty Counsel is a racist, hateful, and dishonest organization. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The full AP article can be seen here. Find Staver's letter to the AP's assistant general counsel here.

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