My Letters to SPLC — 2007-2008

Following is my posting of Feb 20 2009 at Defend the Family.  I am reposting it here today because of the attack on the Family Research Council.  You will note that I did my very best to reason with this organization that I now recognize as evil, and warned them in the Nov 1 2007 letter that their irresponsible accusations of “hate” would lead to violence.  The introduction discusses a project that I have been compiling data for since 2009 but have never implemented.  Perhaps it is time for that.

Help Expose the Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has published its annual list of “hate groups” and for the second year in a row, it includes my organization, Abiding Truth Ministries. I know this because I recently received a call from a reporter at The Californian newspaper Riverside County California asking for my comment on this designation. I spent nearly an hour on the phone attempting to defend our reputation as a civilized and reasonable advocate of the pro-family agenda for society, rooted in the Bible. I am not the violent hatemonger they portray me as, which you may confirm for yourself at my website www.defendthefamily.com. Nearly everything I have written in my career as a Christian activist is published there.

I am well used to fending off the accusation of hate, since that tactical rhetorical weapon is leveled by the “gay” movement and its allies against everyone, however mild-mannered or benign, who dares to assert the self-evident truth that homosexuality is wrong and harmful. However, to be labeled as such by the SPLC is a whole different story. This is an organization which purports to be the national authority on hate groups, a claim which carries substantial credibility due to its past high-profile campaigns against racist groups (which I supported). In fact, the SPLC conducts training seminars on hate groups for law enforcement agencies.

After being placed on the hate list the first time, I tried diligently over the course of a year to persuade the SPLC to remove us on the grounds that we really don�t belong there. My letters to the SPLC are posted in our resource section at http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/archives.php?PHPSESSID=f39909a337a62f112a6b458fb6e217a1 for your review (and included below). Finally, I sent a letter to SPLC staffer Mark Potok asking specifically why we had been placed on the list and what we would need to do to be removed. I never received an answer to my letter (nor to my prior phone call), but when the reporter posed that same question to him he replied that we were added because I am the co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party and I would need to repudiate the claims of the book to be removed from the list.

Obviously, I have no intention of distancing myself from my accurate, factual documentation of the homosexual roots of the Nazi regime. As I stated to the reporter, I stand ready (as I have since the publication of our first edition in 1995) to debate the facts and implications of The Pink Swastika anywhere and with any competent opponent. A portion of The Pink Swastika is published online at http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/showproducts.php and I encourage everyone to read it for themselves.

However, having now exhausted diplomatic options for resolving this problem I am left with the choice of giving up or taking more aggressive measures. Frankly, if the attacks against me were limited to the SPLC”s own website, I would probably just drop the issue, even though one polemic by SPLC writer Casey Sanchez is by far the most vicious piece of libel I have suffered in 20 years of being smeared by “gay” apologists. I”m not really concerned with the opinions of the loonies at SPLC and their followers, and I am ever mindful of (and grateful for) the Biblical promises related to suffering for being a faithful Christian. But the SPLC”s articles on me and ATM are now being cited as documentation of my bad character all over the web, and growing more and more outrageous in their claims, including the absolutely false and beyond-the-pale accusation that I defend murder of homosexuals.

I have decided that I will not, by my silence, embolden the SPLC to widen its attack on the pro-family movement beyond the several groups already on their “hate” list (most of which as undeserving as ATM of this designation).

How then to respond? One avenue would be litigation, since I am an attorney and I believe some of what they have published on their site is legally actionable. But I believe the more effective response would be to give them a taste of their own medicine and expose the SPLC as the blindly partisan, anti-Christian hate group which it has become. Certainly, SPLC leaders have every right to their bigoted views, but they do not have the right, at the same time, to claim the status of independent, neutral arbiters of the homosexual issue.

The SPLC and its personnel are, in most cases, more deserving of public scrutiny and disapproval than their targets. Their overarching theme seems to be the demonization of the “Christian Right” as a fundraising strategy (see my November 2007 letter to the SPLC below for an analysis of how Christians are treated on their website). It appears to me that the SPLC is, more than anything else, a fundraising machine, and that it has run out of racist threats with which to scare its donor base. Therefore it has turned to the most convenient alternative target, Christians, because the “gays” have already spent years and vast resources publicly painting us as “haters” comparable to racists.

However, the SPLC has not yet learned that Christians are not the easy targets that racists were. No reasonable person endorses racism, and few Americans are willing to defend racists when they are attacked. But Christians are a different story. We”re not racists. We”re not like racists in our actions or beliefs (despite what the “gays” say). And we have a large, powerful and growing army of social activists at work in the so-called culture war. These Kingdom-minded believers are already angry with the “hate-mongering” smear campaigns that the pro-”gay” media has been waging against us for years, and that the SPLC has only recently begun to mimic.

What”s lacking is someone to turn the attention of the pro-family movement as a whole on the SPLC as a worthy target of its scrutiny and activism. This prior sentence is exactly the sort of statement that the SPLC would like to twist in it”s own fear-mongering fundraising letters, so let me be absolutely clear what I mean about “targeting” the SPLC:

I mean examining every aspect of their organizational life and history — which we already know is filled with hypocrisy, double-standards, misrepresentations of good people, and other bad stuff — and exposing the facts to the light of public scrutiny through pro-family and neutral media. No dirty tricks. No violence. No threats. No unethical conduct. Just good old-fashioned truth-telling.

As a victim of the SPLC hate machine I am willing to be that person, but I cannot succeed in this without help. I will need money (one cannot take on a fundraising “Goliath” without at least a few “smooth stones” worth of financial support). Donate at

http://www.defendthefamily.com/help/donate.php

I will assume that all donations made over the next few days are for this project.

I will also need help gathering information. As of today, consider Abiding Truth Ministries a repository and clearinghouse for all research and documentation related to the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you are one of those whose skill and interest lean toward the gift of research and investigation consider this a request for legally-obtained data about the SPLC. If you are one of those whose gift is the dissemination of information, whether as a private party or part of a media organization, please introduce yourself to me at sdllaw@gmail.com.

Phase I is about gathering information and processing it into useable forms.

Phase II will involve disseminating the information.

Stay tuned. If you are not already on my e-mail list, but received this because of forwarding, please contact me directly to be added so you don”t miss our future updates.

Your Fellow Servant in Christ,

Dr. Scott Lively
President, Abiding Truth Ministries

The following are my letters to the SPLC:
The first was actually in my capacity as co-founder of Watchmen on the Walls, but applies equally to ATM.

Letter #1

LAW OFFICE OF SCOTT DOUGLAS LIVELY
PO BOX 891023, TEMECULA, CA 92589

November 1, 2007

Attorney Morris Dees
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104

Dear Mr. Dees,

I have long held a favorable opinion of your organization for its work against racism and violent extremist groups. We differ on issues related to sexual morality because my opinions conform to the long-standing conclusions of Christianity, based on the Bible. Nevertheless, I respect your right to disagree, and to advocate your opinions, as you do so eloquently and so zealously.

When a respected organization such as yours ventures into the business of evaluating the behavior and motives of others (called “judging” when Christians do it), the organization bears a special responsibility to be accurate and fair-minded. An erroneous representation of a person or a group as “hateful” can destroy a reputation and cause great harm. Indeed, given the current extreme Left/Right polarization of our society, identifying someone as “hateful,” in the manner in which your organization uses the term, exposes that person to potential violence at the hands of people who perceive themselves, or other members of their group, as potential victims of his or her “hate.” Such people, relying on your characterization, may feel justified in striking preemptively against the “hater.”

I believe this is similar to the logic that you use in suggesting that public disapproval of homosexuality leads to violence against homosexuals. However, Christian disapproval, if it is legitimately rooted in the teachings of Jesus, forbids violence and in fact requires Christians to “love their enemies.” This is a doctrine I cite continually, though I have never seen the corollary on the Left.

I was more than a little dismayed, therefore, when I found myself the subject of your recent reporting in association with Watchmen on the Walls, for which I am a consultant and founding member. The following was published by a leading local newspaper in the Seattle media market prior to our recent WOW conference.

[Watchmen on the Walls] is building a reputation for being an “unbelievably virulent anti-gay organization,” said Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala. The center is known for promoting tolerance, tracking hate groups and fighting legal battles against white supremacists, including the Klan and Aryan Nations.

This led me to a search of your own website, where I found myself mentioned in several articles, primarily in connection with my book The Pink Swastika. I also found an outrageously irresponsible and inflammatory article by Casey Sanchez linking Watchmen on the Walls to the murder of Satender Singh in Sacramento, without the least shred of evidence to support the association except that the alleged perpetrator is Russian, as is the founder of Watchmen on the Walls. I believe you once called that type of rhetoric racism.

Another article by Sanchez, posted on October 19th, 2007, accused me of stating that “gays orchestrated the Holocaust.” I refer you to your own website where previously your writer Bob Moser quoted my Orthodox Jewish co-author and I accurately as stating “we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust.” I respectfully request a retraction of that falsehood.

I”d also like the opportunity to correspond with whomever in your organization reviewed my book and concluded it”s assertions were baseless. I”d be interested to know how your researcher evaluated the specific facts I cited from my nearly 200 mainstream and “gay” sources. Perhaps this person, or anyone you care to designate, would also consent to debate these assertions publicly with Kevin Abrams and me.

The same Sanchez article also featured an excerpt from my recent speech in Novosibirsk, Siberia in which several local men cheered during my recounting of how the death of Singh was used by the Sacramento media to tarnish all Russians. These men did not represent the spirit of the conference, nor the beliefs and goals of the Watchmen on the Walls. The meeting was open to the public and in Russia there are, unfortunately, some people who do hate homosexuals.

Most disappointing, however, especially given your stated mission to promote tolerance, was that your article failed to mention that I spent most of the remainder of my speech articulating the genuine Christian approach to homosexuality as one of compassion for self-identified homosexual people even while we oppose their lifestyle and political goals. I believe that my speech helped change the attitude of those men who had previously held only hatred for homosexuals, and allowed them to see homosexuals as people who need and deserve the love of Jesus, just as much as they do. This is, after all, what my religion teaches: love, not hate. The article therefore casts me in a false light and damages your claim to be an arbiter of civil rights conflicts.

This brings me to the issue of “hate.” I found it very surprising that on your website, which is dominated by the theme of hatred, I couldn”t find a definition of the term, as you use it, anywhere. This is especially odd, since I know you are a law center, and clear definition of terms is indispensable in the practice of law. If I am mistaken, please advise me where I can find this information on your site, because I do not want make the same mistake toward you that you have made toward me.

I will not impugn your motives, but I know that others on the Left refuse to define hatred because that would establish a standard by which they, and the organizations that share their views, could be measured. For example, if one uses the dictionary.com definition “intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility,” then much of the content of your own website, as it relates to groups on your list could reasonably to be considered “hate.” I don”t have a problem with that. Frankly, I hate what most of those groups do also. I hate racism, extremism that leads to violence, and irrational bigotry as much as I disapprove of homosexuality. But I don”t hate racists, bigots or homosexuals: they all need and deserve the love of Jesus just as much as I do.

I urge you to take leadership on this question and clearly set forth the definitions and criteria that you believe we should all use to judge these matters. Frankly, I don”t know how you can offer to teach law enforcement about “hate” groups without such objective standards. Perhaps they are included in your teaching materials not accessible on the website. If so, please extend me the courtesy of sending me a copy of the relevant passages or telling me where I can find them.

Your website has one additional deficiency in that it does not include any references whatsoever to hate-based attacks on Christians. I searched “attacks against Christians,” “against Christians,” “Christian victim,” “victim was a Christian,” “church-burnings,” and a number of other intuitive phrases. I didn”t find a single item in which a Christian was identified as a victims of hate or discrimination. However, these search terms pulled up numerous items in which hate-groups and individual perpetrators were identified as Christian. Surely you are not ignorant of the many hate-motivated incidents in recent years in which Christians were the targets?

Once again, if I”m wrong, and this information is published on your website, please direct me to it. Assuming I”m right, however, this begs the question “why is it omitted?”.

I decline to draw any conclusions here, and give you the benefit of the doubt that the concerns I”ve raised are simple errors and/or oversights on the part of your staff. However, I would hope that, as a leading, indeed legendary, figure in the field of civil rights, you would take immediate action to correct these mistakes.

This is not a demand letter and I have no desire or intention to file suit against you. I am relying on your reputation as a man of integrity to set these matters straight simply because its the right thing to do.

I agree with you that there are some hate-filled people who operate under the name “Christian.” This does nearly as much damage to the community of genuine Christians as it does to the victims of these misguided men and women. I urge you reach out to leaders of my community to find common ground against racism and violence, so that you do not make the mistake, even unintentionally, of painting all Bible-believing Christians as hateful bigots. We will probably not agree on matters of sexual morality, but surely there is room for civil dialogue even on these issues. I stand ready to cooperate with you personally toward this goal if you are willing.

Finally, I ask you to take a second look at Watchmen on the Walls. You will find that it is as racially and culturally diverse as any organization in America, and does not advocate or condone violence. Yes, it is strongly against homosexuality, but that alone shouldn”t qualify anyone as “hateful.” I am sending for your perusal a copy of the “Watchmen on the Walls Statement of Beliefs and Goals,” and a copy of WOW”s first public document, the “Riga Declaration on Religious Freedom, Family Values and Human Rights.” I am also sending a copy of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, and my recent essay “Is Hating “Haters” Hateful.” I ask you to give each of these a fair reading before commenting upon them.

Hoping to reach a place of mutual respect, I am

Most Sincerely,
Scott Douglas Lively, J.D., Th.D.

Letter #2

LAW OFFICE OF SCOTT DOUGLAS LIVELY
PO BOX 2373, SPRINGFIELD, MA 01101

October 1, 2008
Attorney J. Richard Cohen
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104

Dear Mr. Cohen,

I am an attorney and President of Abiding Truth Ministries, based in Temecula, California. On November 1, 2007 I sent a letter to your organization on behalf of the pro-family organization Watchmen on the Walls, respectfully asking you to reconsider your decision to list that organization as a hate group. You did not respond to the substantive points of my argument except to correct a factual error on your website regarding my book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. I thank you for the correction. However, you maintained your posture relative to the Watchmen group, and, to my great disappointment, added my own organization, Abiding Truth Ministries, to your list of “hate” groups in your 2008 report.

In my November 1st letter, addressed to Mr. Dees, I wrote:

I found it very surprising that on your website, which is dominated by the theme of hatred, I couldn”t find a definition of the term, as you use it, anywhere. This is especially odd, since I know you are a law center, and clear definition of terms is indispensable in the practice of law. If I am mistaken, please advise me where I can find this information on your site, because I do not want make the same mistake toward you that you have made toward me.

I will not impugn your motives, but I know that others on the Left refuse to define hatred because that would establish a standard by which they, and the organizations that share their views, could be measured. For example, if one uses the dictionary.com definition “intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility,” then much of the content of your own website, as it relates to groups on your list could reasonably to be considered “hate.” I don”t have a problem with that. Frankly, I hate what most of those groups do also. I hate racism, extremism that leads to violence, and irrational bigotry as much as I disapprove of homosexuality. But I don”t hate racists, bigots or homosexuals: they all need and deserve the love of Jesus just as much as I do.

I urge you to take leadership on this question and clearly set forth the definitions and criteria that you believe we should all use to judge these matters. Frankly, I don”t know how you can offer to teach law enforcement about “hate” groups without such objective standards. Perhaps they are included in your teaching materials not accessible on the website. If so, please extend me the courtesy of sending me a copy of the relevant passages or telling me where I can find them.

Your website has one additional deficiency in that it does not include any references whatsoever to hate-based attacks on Christians. I searched “attacks against Christians,” “against Christians,” “Christian victim,” “victim was a Christian,” “church-burnings,” and a number of other intuitive phrases. I didn”t find a single item in which a Christian was identified as a victims of hate or discrimination. However, these search terms pulled up numerous items in which hate-groups and individual perpetrators were identified as Christian. Surely you are not ignorant of the many hate-motivated incidents in recent years in which Christians were the targets?

Once again, if I”m wrong, and this information is published on your website, please direct me to it. Assuming I”m right, however, this begs the question “why is it omitted?”.

I decline to draw any conclusions here, and give you the benefit of the doubt that the concerns I”ve raised are simple errors and/or oversights on the part of your staff. However, I would hope that, as a leading, indeed legendary, figure in the field of civil rights, you would take immediate action to correct these mistakes.

As I stated above, your organization did not respond to these issues. Neither, in the eleven months since I notified you, have you done anything to address them on your website. I must therefore conclude that the glaring anti-Christian bias in your materials accurately reflects your perspective and ideology, and that the lack of clear, objective criteria for determining who is a “hater” is intentional. This, of course, by any reasonable standard disqualifies you as an moral arbiter on issues, such as homosexuality, where Christian beliefs or values are in conflict with those of other groups.
Irrespective of the above, my organization does not meet even the vague basis by which you categorize “anti-gay” hate groups: “organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.” However, even if you can stretch these term to include us, the same must certainly be true of virtually every “gay rights” group in the public sphere as they address Bible-believing Christians, negating any justification for singling out my organization.
Therefore, this letter is to ask you to immediately remove Abiding Truth Ministries from your list of “hate” groups.
Please note that this is not an open letter. I am not holding you up to public scorn or scrutiny on the issues herein. My only goal is to protect my organization from being falsely characterized as a hate group. If you immediately remove ATM from your list I will consider the matter closed and will not seek to cause you any embarrassment by publicizing your action outside of reporting it to my subscribers. You have my word.
However, if you choose not to accede to my request within a reasonable time, I will take the liberty of making the contents of this letter public, and may take further action as appropriate.
Frankly, I submit that you would provide a much more valuable service to our society if you were to promote a more balanced and objective approach to the homosexual issue that accommodates instead of condemns the views of Bible-believing Christians. I would be pleased to discuss such an objective with you at your convenience.

Respectfully,
Dr. Scott Lively
President, Abiding Truth Ministries

Letter #3

LAW OFFICE OF SCOTT DOUGLAS LIVELY
PO BOX 2373, SPRINGFIELD, MA 01101

October 18, 2008
Mr. Mark Potok
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104

Dear Mr. Potok,

Thank you for your reply to my letter of October 1.

With inflammatory “hate crime” rhetoric and legislation advancing across the nation, and your organization being perceived by many to be the leading “independent” source of information about so-called anti-”gay” hate groups, your refusal to remove my organization from your list of these groups is exposing my organization and me personally to increasing harm.

So far, to my knowledge, we have suffered only damage to our reputations. I want to be removed from this list before we suffer something more serious.

Please tell me why you listed us in the first place and what specifically we must do to be removed from the list.

Respectfully,
Dr. Scott Lively
President, Abiding Truth Ministries

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