The SPLC Called This Black Woman a White Supremacist Apologist. Now, She's Shooting Down Their Attacks on Christianity
Carol M. Swain, former professor of law at Vanderbilt University, went after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for tarnishing her as a "white supremacist apologist" and for comparing Christians who seek to defend their rights to members of the Islamic State. She responded to an article the SPLC published this week arguing that conservative Christians like Ted Cruz are secret "Dominionists" aiming to turn America into a theocratic nation.
Christian activism "is not about trying to take over the society and make a theocratic society, there's nowhere Jesus told Christians to do that," Swain told PJ Media in an interview on Thursday. Instead, conservative Christians seek to "go into organizations and make it so that we're not oppressed for living by our faith."
"We have reached a point where Christians are being persecuted," Swain argued. "Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center have labeled Christians haters because they're trying to follow the teachings of their religion."
The SPLC is infamous for doing this. It lists Christian organizations like D. James Kennedy Ministries, the Family Research Council (FRC), Liberty Counsel, the American Family Association (AFA), and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on its list of "hate groups" along with the KKK.
But more egregious perhaps was its attack on Swain herself. In comments to the Nashville Tennessean, SPLC spokesman Mark Potok — the same man who said his organization's "aim in life" was to "destroy these groups, completely" — called Swain an "apologist" for a "white supremacist" in 2009. Potok stood by those comments after a debate with Swain in 2012.
Swain told PJ Media the attack was "just purely retaliatory." Earlier in 2009, the Vanderbilt professor wrote an article in The Huffington Post attacking the SPLC's "mission creep." She alleged that the group ignored voter suppression in the 2008 election, after a video showed members of the New Black Panther Party dressed in "paramilitary regalia and night sticks."
Rather than address this racial intimidation, the SPLC relentlessly attacked then-CNN host Lou Dobbs. Swain ended her article with this powerful line: "Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one."
The "white supremacist apologist" attack came six weeks later. Swain told PJ Media that she praised a film A Conversation About Race, because she "thought it was a great film." She argued that "messages on race are always from one perspective." She supported the film because it presented a different perspective.
In the movie, "a white guy asks, 'What is racism?' Well-educated people struggle to define racism, and their incidents of racism did not sound very credible," Swain summarized.
Later, the SPLC claimed that the filmmaker was racist, and branded Swain an "apologist" for white supremacy — "it was on the headline of my local newspaper."