DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - In the aftermath of the Charlottesville clashes between white supremacists and Antifa resulting in the death of 32-year-old Heather Hayer, mainstream news media has taken to referencing the far Left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as their authority on the prevalence of extremist groups in the United States.
CNN and MSNBC have both featured the SPLC's "hate map" in their on-air discussions of extremism in the United States. An article published on CNN's website Thursday also makes use of the SPLC hate map. On Wednesday, The Atlantic posted a video, featuring the director of the SPLC, Heidi Beirich, titled "Hate Groups Are Growing Under Trump."
The hate map lists every local chapter of groups like the KKK, skinhead groups, as well as the Nation of Islam. Also listed on the map are pro-traditional marriage and pro-life groups such as the Ruth Institute, headed up by past Mic'd Up guest Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the pro-religious freedom, legal non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom, as well as such pro-life and pro-family Christian organizations as the American Family Association and the Family Research Council. The SPLC made headlines when it named the FRC to its list in 2010. All of these are listed under the category "anti-LGBT."
Each of the listed 22 chapters of the national security interest group ACT For America is listed under the category "anti-Muslim." ACT For America's policy statement, however, reads as follows regarding their mission and stance on Muslims:
ACT For America has never and will never tolerate any bias, discrimination or violence against anyone, based on their religion, gender, race or political persuasion. Freedom to practice one's religion in peace is afforded to each of us by the U.S. Constitution and we will defend it vigorously. Through our advocacy and activism, we will continue to address the threat presented by those who seek to destroy our Western way of life through advocating violence or radical religious discrimination through hate groups such as those represented by movements like radical Islam. We stand shoulder to shoulder with peaceful Western Muslims and peaceful Muslims worldwide, who recognize this threat and have taken bold actions to confront it.
The SPLC claims that there are 917 "active hate groups" in the United States. These include the 22 ACT For America groups belonging to the "anti-Muslim" category, which totals 101 organizations. Also listed are categories such as the KKK, Holocaust denial groups, as well as Black Separatist organizations of which the Nation of Islam is a part. "Anti-Catholic," "anti-Christian" and "anti-police" are not included as categories even following the rash of attacks on police, including the 2016 Dallas police massacre following a Black Lives Matter protest.
The SPLC lists the website JihadWatch.org, headed up by Mic'd Up guest and friend of Church Militant Robert Spencer, but doesn't have a category for radical Islam or a listing of radical mosques in the United States. Such radical Islamic groups are tracked by the Clarion Project, which is also considered a hate group by the SPLC.