The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, a leader in outing "hate groups," equates anti-gay policy organizations like the Family Research Council, site of a politically-motivated shooting Wednesday, to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, drawing anger from conservatives.
The Center lists 18 "anti-gay" groups on a hate list, and puts three, including the Family Research Council, on a more prominent list of groups they say promote hate, charges FRC and others on the list reject.
What's more, the Center's list of individuals they say promote hate include prominent Washington conservative figures like foreign policy analyst Frank Gaffney and Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid. They are equated to white nationalist David Duke and aggressive anti-gay activist Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Some conservatives said Thursday that the Center's lists and the pro-gay group Human Rights Campaign's criticism on the Family Research Council played a role in motivating the shooter in Wednesday's attack at FRC. A security guard was shot in the arm by an attacker who complained about FRC's support for traditional marriage.
"This shooting is yet another reminder that recent comments by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Human Rights Campaign labeling FRC a 'hate group' are not only false, they are irresponsible and should not be tolerated," said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, one of the 18 "anti-gay" groups slapped by the Center. "That being said, in the spirit of loving our enemies, we pray for justice and deliverance from the evil that motivated the shooter," she added in a statement to Secrets.
Conservatives also hit what they see as a double standard in the media, which has shrugged off the attack at FRC instead of suggesting that it was terrorism or a hate crime.
"Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labelled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups," said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. "We'd be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos."