Author, columnist, speaker

The Biggest Bully in the Room


Illustration by Alexander Hunter / The Washington Times)

By Robert Knight

Three cheers for Moms for Liberty.

The national parents’ rights group has again made the latest “hate map” of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the most prominent leftist smear machine outside of the “legacy” media itself.

Despite a scandal in 2019 that ousted its leadership, “SPLC annual revenue still reaches nine figures, and its assets are just shy of $700 million,” the Capital Research Center reports.

The Moms last year were designated partly because they supported reform-minded school board candidates who won elections.

The hate list includes Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Mission: America, Family Foundation of Virginia, Alliance Defending Freedom and many other pro-family, faith-based groups, along with national security groups like the Center for Security Policy (“anti-Muslim”) and the Center for Immigration Studies (“anti-immigrant”).

The “hate map” also includes the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other extremist and violence-prone nutcases, which is the whole point of the conservative groups being lumped in with them – guilt by association.

As the Washington Times has reported, missing from the map are any of the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian groups like The Escalate Network, which backs the terrorist group Hamas and pushes polices that would amount to a second Holocaust of Jews in Israel.

Also missing are Black Lives Matter and Antifa, which spearheaded massive rioting in 2020 after George Floyd’s death.

If this was just a list compiled by one of the many crackpots out there, it wouldn’t matter much. But being tagged as a “hate group” by the SPLC has real implications.

The FBI has cited the SPLC as a source in targeting terrorist threats. For instance, the agency’s Richmond, Va. bureau issued a memo warning about people who hold to “radical traditionalist Catholic ideology.”

The U.S. armed forces and federal agencies have used SPLC materials in “diversity” programs, and some have banned Christian speakers and groups over the SPLC’s “hate group” label.

One of them, D. James Kennedy Ministries, which recently reverted to its original name of Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM), filed a federal defamation lawsuit in 2017.

But a U.S. District Court rejected the claim, saying the SPLC has a First Amendment right to label CRM as a “hate group.”

As a “public figure,” Coral Ridge had to prove three elements, according to Cornell’s Legal Information Institute: “The ‘hate group’ designation had to be (1) provably false, (2) actually false, and (3) made with ‘actual malice.’”

I think accusing someone falsely of “hate” in the current climate constitutes a hateful act in and of itself and is arguably defamatory. But the court threw it out, saying the term “hate group” has “a highly debatable and ambiguous meaning.”

Really? Not so ambiguous that the AmazonSmile charities program banned CRM.

Coral Ridge appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to review an appeals courts’ upholding of the district court ruling that the group had not plausibly alleged that the SPLC acted with “actual malice.”

No, of course not. Vilifying some good people falsely to the point of public ostracization that damages their ability to raise funds is downright friendly, right?

In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “I would grant certiorari in this case to revisit the ‘actual malice’ standard. This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups ‘to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.’”

In the case of Moms for Liberty, their unforgivable sin is being “hateful” and “antigovernment” for advocating more parent input into school curricula and books that push LGBTQ behavior on kids.

The SPLC said the Moms are “banning books, protesting drag story hours and using school boards as political battlegrounds.”

Good for them.

Apparently, the only people qualified to speak at school board meetings are those approved by the SPLC.

Other groups have sued, but only one—the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society—has an ongoing case, thanks to U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins, who ruled in 2023 that it could proceed.

Alas, as the Washington Times reports, “the SPLC’s new hate map again includes the Dustin Inman Society (DIS), listing it as ‘anti-immigrant.’”

Do you think 10 million illegal aliens over the past three and a half years might be more than the United States should let in? The SPLC might want to know what groups you belong to or donate to.

Founded in 2005, the Georgia-based DIS is named after a 16-year-old boy who was killed and his mother permanently crippled when a hit-and-run driver crashed into their family vehicle on Father’s Day weekend in 2000.

The alleged driver, a Mexican national here illegally, was placed on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) most wanted fugitive list but has not been found.

DIS says it is a “broad-based coalition of Americans of every race, ethnicity and description – including many immigrants.”

Its mission is: “to end illegal immigration, illegal employment, the illegal administration and granting of Public Benefits and services through the equal application of existing laws” and to establish English as America’s official language.

One hundred-proof hate, right?

They support legal immigration and acknowledge that immigrants are drawn to America because of our freedom and opportunities.

Is this a great country or what?

Not if bullies like the SPLC continue to get away with their hateful targeting.

Robert Knight is a columnist for The Washington Times. He once worked for Coral Ridge Ministries, which has published several of his books. His website is roberthknight.com.