SPLC: The Hate that Keeps on Hating

When a local paper, the Monadnock Shopper News, published a nice little human interest story on Saint Benedict Center, our school, and our Latin Mass, there was a letter sent to the editor calling the publishers out for legitimizing a “hate group” in their pages.

If you’ve smelled the brimstone scent of the SPLC in this, you’ve obviously been paying attention.

The initial story was published two weeks ago. The “hate group” letter was published last week, and this Wednesday’s edition of the Shopper carried this response from me, which I share here as being of potentially broader interest. The only edits I have made here are the insertions of hyperlinks to the various cited pieces.

Just yesterday, the Washington Free Beacon published a story on the SPLC, adding to the long list of exposes I referred to in my letter: Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities. A couple of days before that, a Protestant organization in Florida made news by announcing their lawsuit against the SPLC.

Dear Editor,
This is in reply to a letter published in your August 23-29 edition (“Response to Articles on Religious Group, Church”). The author, Catherine Vaughan, takes exception to your profiling our Center because, she says, we are an active hate group.

The accusation is false.

Ms. Vaughan relies exclusively on the claims of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a Montgomery, Alabama-based organization that postures itself as a neutral monitor of “hate-group” activity. But, in fact, the SPLC is itself engaged in the various “culture wars,” being fought in our country, and profiles mostly conservative organizations. Alongside the KKK and Skinheads, the SPLC frequently lists respectable organizations it opposes on ideological grounds.

And they have gotten rich doing so, with net assets of over $315 million. They frame other organizations as “hate groups,” then raise money based on the farcical notion that they will somehow remedy the growing problem of hate in America. What they actually do is provide journalists and even law enforcement officials with a treasure trove of information, much of which is false and libelous. In so doing, they augment the atmosphere of hatred by their own vitriol.

The Daily Caller, the Washington Times, and Politico have recently reported on the questionable reliability of the SPLC’s hate map, the first two taking to task other journalists (e.g., MSNBC and CNN) for relying on it so heavily. To these can be added numerous exposes of the SPLC’s methodology and profiteering by liberal and conservative outlets alike.

In the case of Saint Benedict Center, numerous factual errors were combined with hearsay and suspicion in an effort to portray our organization in an entirely false light. When I contacted the FBI about the matter, because I feared the negative fallout for our school and our families of being libeled as a “hate group,” local agents told me that they did not find the reports at all credible.

My reply to the SPLC’s first hit piece on us, entitled “Way off Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center on St. Benedict Center,” can be found on our website at Catholicism.org, as can a piece I recently penned: “Civil Unrest Means It’s ‘Hate Map’ Time for Lazy Journalists.”

The Monadnock Shopper News gets its name from Mount Monadnock (mentioned here), which also names the cities and towns in the area as the “Monadnock Region.” (Image source)