GuideStar Marks Family Research Council as a 'Hate Group'

The charity rating website GuideStar marked dozens of nonprofits as "hate groups," using data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Among those groups is the Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian organization that was targeted by a domestic terrorist in 2012. The terrorist admitted in court that he used the SPLC "hate group" list to target FRC.

"We understand where this hate labeling can lead because we've experienced it," Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, executive vice president at FRC, told PJ Media in an interview Friday. He insisted that the SPLC list is a political attack on conservative and Christian organizations, and that the 2012 attack is a natural result of such labeling.

"We have three bullet holes in our lobby and one of our employees with very bad bullet holes in his arm" thanks to an attacker "motivated by the Southern Poverty Law Center to come into our building and kill as many people as possible," Boykin said. Floyd Lee Corkins II broke into the FRC in the summer of 2012, intending to kill everyone in the building. An unarmed security guard, Leo Johnson, wrestled Corkins to the floor, sustaining a gunshot in the arm.

In February 2013, Floyd Lee Corkins II pled guilty to three felony charges: transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines, assault with intent to kill, and committing an act of terrorism while armed. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, the shooter said he targeted FRC because it was listed as an "anti-gay group" on the SPLC website.

This very list, which inspired the attack, was adopted by GuideStar this week. The charity website, which touts itself as "neutral" and as the world's largest source of information about nonprofits, flagged 46 nonprofits on the SPLC hate list. A banner now appears at the top of the main page for each "hate group."  The banner includes an SPLC logo and a link to its home page.

GuideStar screenshot of the Family Research Council page, with the SPLC "hate group" warning.

This new feature reflects "a broader shift in how we imagine our role in the field," GuideStar President and CEO Jacob Harold told the Associated Press. Harold described the labels as a response to the rise of "hateful rhetoric" in America. "It's unique in that it's highly politicized in a highly politicized moment in history."

But the SPLC's list has numerous problems. "There is no legitimacy to their hate labeling, none," FRC's Boykin declared. "They have no authority to do this, other than their self-appointed authority. They have no specific criteria, either. It is not credible."