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posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48
Southern Poverty Law Center: Gays main targets of hate crime
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Southern Poverty Law Center: Gays main targets of hate crime

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Southern Poverty Law Center said on November 22 that 'Homosexuals are far more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group in the United States.'

Their finding is based on a new analysis of federal hate crime statistics published in SPLC's Winter 2010 Intelligence Report. SPLC's analysis was released this month to coincide with the scheduled release of the FBI's hate crime statistics for 2009.

SPLC also announced it was listing 13 anti-Gay organizations as 'hate groups.' Eight had previously been listed.

SPLC is a civil rights watchdog organization founded in 1971 to help African Americans fight racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. They are now international leaders in tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups of all kinds.

'The SPLC's analysis of 14 years of hate crime data found that homosexuals, or those perceived to be Gay, are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos,' SPLC said in their report.

"The findings are based on FBI hate crime statistics from 1995 to 2008, the period for which there is complete data. The basic pattern also holds true in individual years."

"As Americans become more accepting of homosexuals, the most extreme elements of the anti-Gay movement are digging in their heels and continuing to defame Gays and Lesbians with falsehoods that grow more incendiary by the day," said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report. "The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we're seeing."

The organizations to be listed as hate groups are:

o Abiding Truth Ministries
o American Family Association
o Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
o American Vision
o Chalcedon Foundation
o Dove World Outreach Center
o Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, Arizona
o Family Research Council
o Family Research Institute
o Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
o Illinois Family Institute
o MassResistance
o Traditional Values Coalition

"[T]he SPLC's listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods - claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities - and repeated, groundless name-calling," the SPLC report says,

Many of these organizations have limited resources and support, but some of them are national or even international organizations with substantial influence.

Abiding Truth Ministries, founded by Scott Lively, "serves mainly as a launching pad for an international anti-Gay campaign," according to the SPLC's report.

Lively has traveled extensively in Eastern Europe and is the founder and mentor of Watchmen on the Walls, a Christian-fascist group known to have been involved in acts of violence against LGBT people. Lively also appeared at the Kampala, Uganda evangelical conference that spurred that country's "kill the Gays" legislation.

The American Family Association's executive director Bryan Fischer "proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in [a] 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing Gays into 'reparative' therapy," according to SPLC.

In a 2010 "action alert," the AFA warned that if Gays and Lesbians are allowed to serve openly in the military, "your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals."

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality is led by Peter LaBarbera, who SPLC describes as a "long-time Gay basher."

According to the SPLC report LaBarbera "reorganized [AFTAH] in 2006 as a much more serious and influential, if often vicious, operation."

Besides AFTAH, LaBarbera has worked for a number of right-wing groups, including Accuracy in Media, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and the Illinois Family Institute.

The Family Research Council was founded by Gary Bauer, and merged with the much larger religious-right group Focus on the Family in 1988. Focus on the Family split from the FRC in 1996 in order to preserve its 501(c)3 status.

FRC is now led by former Republican Congressman Tony Perkins. According to SPLC, Perkins has been linked politically to Klan leader David Duke and the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

The Traditional Values Coalition claims to speak for 43,000 churches, and lobbies Congress on a wide range of right-wing issues, including reproductive choice and national security.

Perhaps the scariest of these groups are the "Christian Reconstructionist" groups American Vision and the Chalcedon Foundation. Both advocate the establishment of a Christian government that would execute LGBT people.

In addition to the outright hate groups, SPLC also evaluates and refutes the propaganda of Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Marriage, and Liberty Counsel.

While SPLC considers these groups "anti-Gay," and notes the overlap of leadership between some hate groups and some of the more sedate anti-Gay organizations, it says that "viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups." SPLC's full report can be found on their website: www.splcenter.org

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