Southern Poverty Law Center Defends Online ‘Hate Map’

Elizabeth Harrington
CNS News
August 6, 2013

deesCo-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees said his group’s “Hate Map” “doesn’t cause anybody to attack,” despite Floyd Lee Corkins’ admission that he targeted the Family Research Council (FRC) after going to the center’s website.

As Corkins told the FBI after his arrest, he learned of the FRC online, “It was a, uh, Southern Poverty Law, lists, anti-gay groups. I found them online. I did a little bit of research, went to the website, stuff like that.”

Corkins attempted a mass shooting on Aug. 15, 2012, opening fire at the Family Research Council and wounding Security Guard Leo Johnson.

Armed with more than 95 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-a sandwiches, Corkins told the FBI that he chose the FRC as his first target after looking at a list of “anti-gay” groups on the SPLC’s website.

The Family Research Council is still listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” as “anti-gay.”

CNSNews.com questioned Dees about the Hate Map when he was in Washington, D.C., last week, asking whether his group has ever considered removing the FRC since the revelation from Corkins.

“Well, first of all, having a group on our Hate Map doesn’t cause anybody to attack them anymore than they attacked us for one thing or another,” Dees said. “This group that says gay people—statements attributed to their people said that gay people caused the Holocaust. Demonstrably false things they say about gay people.

“It’s not on our Hate Map because they’re against gay people—and many, the Catholic Church is against people who are gay, so as others—it’s because of the demonstrably false things they say about people that are just total lies that demean gay people, they cause people to attack gay people,” he said.

“They claim that somebody attacks them because they say hateful things, think about how many gay people get bashed because these people say that gay men are pedophiles, which is demonstrably false,” Dees said.

In a statement to CNSNews.com, the Catholic League took umbrage with Dees’s remarks.

“Morris Dees is a man in search of people and institutions to hate,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said. “Branding the Family Research Council a hate group is not only irresponsible, it trivializes the status of hate-ridden groups that have claimed real victims.”

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