08 Sep Using a Label as a Weapon
Silencing Your Ideological Opponent with a Label
With good reason we recoil from hate when we see it. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the heart of a complacent country by exposing the hate that fueled America’s violent racism. Every ideology has the capacity to hate; even those that profess to promote equality and justice. This problem is manifest in a war of words, with labels such as “bigot”, “racist”, “homophobe” and “hate group” lobbed as weapons to silence not only debate, but to crush dissent and marginalize honest people following the dictates of their own conscience.
United Families International has been caught in the crosshairs of this conflict.
Our mission is simple and our dialogue free of the rhetoric of hate. We believe in traditional marriage and family as the foundation for a healthy and prosperous world. We believe, and social science confirms, that children thrive when they are raised by biological mothers and fathers committed to one another and committed to protecting and providing for them. We believe individuals have the right to make choices and this includes the right to choose to live their lives in accordance with their faith. We believe a pluralistic society best maintains peace and harmony by respecting the rights of all its citizens. Lastly, we believe in the sanctity of life. This respect for life informs our interactions with others, especially those with whom we disagree.
Our advocacy on behalf of the family has been interpreted as enmity towards the LGBTQ community. As such we have been labeled a “hate group”. The purveyor of the hate group label is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC was founded in 1971 with a mission to ensure the implementation of newly-won civil rights – a worthy endeavor. SPLC expanded its efforts to include fighting “hate.” In 1990, SPLC began publishing a hate group list. This list includes organizations as disparate in thought as they are in words and action. White supremacists, black separatists, antigovernment militias, and anti semites get lumped in with peaceful pro-family groups like the Ruth Institute, the International Organization for the Family and United Families International.
SPLC believes that “inflammatory rhetoric pours fuel on the fires of hate”, and we would agree!
But disagreement is not hate, and when SPLC paints all of these groups with the same broad brush, they are engaging in their own form of inflammatory rhetoric with its own incendiary consequences. In August 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins used SPLC’s hate group list to target Family Research Council offices in an armed assault with intent to kill. In March 2017, Charles Murray, author and political scientist who examined the effect of family breakdown on the white working class in his book, Coming Apart, was attacked by a mob after speaking at a college campus. Murray has been labeled a “white nationalist” by SPLC. When SPLC labels, individuals and groups are targeted, their personal livelihoods and safety threatened.
After the shocking and tragic events in Charlottesville, many individuals, businesses and organizations have turned to SPLC to identify hate groups. What they don’t realize is that they are being served just another form of bias and prejudice – a high tech ad hominem attack on Christian, conservative and pro-family groups and an assault on the principle of civil discourse. When it comes to the institutions of marriage and family, those bedrock structures that determine the health of society like no other, these groups say what few are willing to say and what many do not want to hear: When we alter the structure of the family, children and society pay a terrible price.
United Families International will not be deterred. We will continue to champion the family as the foundational unit in society that fuels not only economic prosperity, but peace and harmony in communities and nations.
And we will continue to pursue our mission in a civil and respectful manner – free of hate – for we are all ultimately family on this earth we call home.
Southern Poverty Law Center Gets Creative with Labels