The Daily Caller reports that the Department of Defense has officially severed all ties to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The DOD’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, which teaches about racial, gender and religious equality and “pluralism,” had been using SPLC material.
In 2014, the Pentagon told CNS News it would remove information on hate groups provided by the SPLC, but continue to rely on SPLC data. It will no longer do so.
This is good news, though it’s shocking that the DOD has been relying to any degree on the SPLC until now. The SPLC is a powerful left-wing interest group that tags as “hate groups” those with whom it strongly disagrees about matters of public policy. Its abuse of that appellation and the term “extremist” has attained an alarming degree of acceptance.
Mark Pulliam observes that the SPLC has branded Somali-born reformer Ayaan Hirsi Ali an “anti-Muslin extremist” for her opposition to female genital mutilation and other oppressive Islamic practices, and designated the respected Family Research Council as a “hate group” for its opposition to same-sex marriage. In addition, the organization deems mainstream immigration-reform advocates such as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as hate groups. British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz — regarded by most observers as a human rights leader — is suing the SPLC for listing him as an extremist.
Pulliam laments that the SPLC has “burrowed itself into the civil rights movement, the organized bar, the cloistered culture of large law firms, the education system, and even law enforcement as a champion for ‘the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten.’” The civil rights movement, big law firms, and the education system are probably hopeless cases.
Law enforcement and the Defense Department aren’t. The FBI reportedly has already purged itself of SPLC materials. Now the DOD is joining in.
These are important steps in the process by which SPLC becomes recognized for what it is — an advocate, and a particularly noxious one, not an arbiter.