May 11, 2018
Groups like Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) can't stand it when people don't take their hate labels seriously. But then, that's what happens when you don't reserve them for actual extremists! Their watch lists are packed with so many mainstream organizations and conservatives that most Americans -- with the exception of the media -- don't give it a second thought. Of course, that doesn't stop some liberals from trying to use it as a weapon. (Usually ineffectively.)
Wisconsin's attorney general, Brad Schimel (R), is the latest one the Left is trying to tag as intolerant for daring to associate with a conservative group on SPLC's bogus list: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Of course, ADF is as respectable and decent as it gets, a tremendously credible legal organization who argues -- and wins -- routinely before the U.S. Supreme Court. Like FRC, our friends at ADF ended up on SPLC's who's who of conservatives for holding a different opinion than the far Left -- not because the group is actually hateful.
Schimel said as much when his opponent in the November election, Democrat Josh Kaul, tried to use his stop at ADF against him. Using the tired playbook of other liberals, he called it "unacceptable" for Schimel to participate in a conference put on by such a "virulently anti-gay" organization. That's ridiculous, Schimel fired back. "There's nothing anti-gay about [ADF]... I've never gone to a conference where there was frankly so much love. This is a Christian organization, kind of an alliance of Catholics and evangelicals, getting together to focus on issues about how we build better love in the world. Nobody hates anybody at Alliance Defending Freedom." When Kaul suggested he couldn't be a conservative and do a fair job as attorney general, Schimel refused to take the bait. "I have always respected all human beings and their inherent dignity as children of God. As a prosecutor, I protect all human beings..."
For liberals trying to play the hate card, the message was clear: America is on to you. Leaders like Schimel know the SPLC's end game is to silence opposing views. Their strategy, spelled out in a hate map they still refuse to take down from their website after Floyd Corkins used it to find FRC's office and shoot a member of our staff, is the height of the intolerance they claim to fight. Regardless of what SPLC says publicly, it's clear that the reason they don't want people associating with Christians and conservatives is because they're terrified Americans will find the truth persuasive.
Someone needs to ask these trumpeters of intolerance how they ever expect to have civility in America when they not only discourage conversation about our differences, but denounce it! But here's the reality of that mindset: it only leads to further fragmentation in our society. When we don't talk to each other, we can't understand each other. And if we don't understand each other, we won't like each other. It humanizes people to talk openly with them, even about topics where we disagree. But if groups like SPLC continue to dehumanize Christians, even conversations will be impossible.
"The illiberal Left's answer to everything that doesn't fit their narrow worldview is 'Shut up.' Demonization and dehumanization are their tools, and they wield them every chance they get," Eric Metaxas points out. But that strategy doesn't work if people like Brad Schimel aren't afraid of being labeled -- or if the label is meaningless from overuse. As far as SPLC and its cronies are concerned, every Christian is a hater. They just can't seem to persuade the broader public of it -- not when we're the ones willing to sit down and talk.
As for the attorney general, Wisconsin should be grateful they have someone as courageous as Brad protecting their values. Julaine Appling, head of the Wisconsin Family Council, certainly is. "We're proud of Attorney General Schimel's commitment to defending religious freedom in Wisconsin. He has been part of several court cases that are proof of that commitment. People should be proud to know ADF invited him to be part of a panel rather than dissing him for going to the event. ADF is the premier legal coalition defending religious freedom in our country."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.