On Tuesday, Denver Public Schools (DPS) in Denver, Colorado, quoted the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in a message about “decrying hate.” PJ Media reached out to the school district, explaining the SPLC’s anti-Christian tactics and its promotion of LGBT issues to children at very young ages. The school district responded by defending the SPLC, and declaring that Denver Public Schools shares its values.
“Respectfully, Denver Public Schools (DPS) has a different view of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC),” the school district told PJ Media. “The values expressed by the SPLC are in alignment with the values of DPS.”
Denver Public Schools added, “As a school district, we value conversations that create a sense of belonging, inclusiveness and support for all of our students, including those who are our most vulnerable. We work to ensure that we are providing a variety of culturally responsive resources to our educators and school leaders. The SPLC database is one of the sources that offers those types of tools.”
The school district did not explain how it would “create a sense of belonging, inclusiveness and support” for students and parents who support conservative and Christian groups that the SPLC falsely labels “hate groups.” It did not explain how these values would support Christians — whose beliefs are routinely branded “hate” by the SPLC.
The SPLC gained its reputation by taking the Ku Klux Klan to court, but in recent years it has engaged in a defamation campaign against mainstream conservative and Christian organizations. Christian nonprofits like the Family Research Council (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Ruth Institute, D. James Kennedy Ministries, and Liberty Counsel have found themselves on the “hate group” list, alongside the KKK.
These groups have never advocated violence against anyone — ADF has won 9 Supreme Court cases in the past seven years — but they do maintain traditional Christian doctrine that sex should be reserved for marriage and that marriage is defined as the lifelong union of one man and one woman. The SPLC has twisted their previous statements out of context in order to present this view as “hateful” toward LGBT people.
Egregiously, the SPLC actually quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church — the binding belief statement for 1 billion people around the world — as proof that the Ruth Institute is a “hate group.” If the SPLC were consistent, it would brand all faithful Catholics as members of a “hate group.”
This branding has real-world consequences. In 2012, a domestic terrorist targeted FRC, aiming to shoot everyone in the building. He later admitted to using the SPLC’s “hate map” to target this organization. The SPLC refused to remove FRC from its “hate map.”
In recent years, tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have used the SPLC “hate group” list to exclude conservative and Christian organizations. Amazon removed ADF and D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM) from its charity partnership arm, Amazon Smile, and DJKM responded with a lawsuit. Vanco Payments dropped the Ruth Institute over the SPLC label.
Last week, the SPLC — which is funded, in part, by liberal billionaire George Soros — teamed up with other Soros-funded groups to push “Change the Terms,” a campaign to bully tech companies into removing all “hate speech” from their platforms.
This summer, the SPLC paid $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer whom the organization branded an “anti-Muslim extremist.” In the wake of this settlement, about 60 organizations started considering separate defamation suits against the SPLC.
When presented with all this evidence against the SPLC, Denver Public Schools responded with that message — “The values expressed by the SPLC are in alignment with the values of DPS.” The school district did not explain whether or not that means conservative Christians and Roman Catholics will be considered “hateful” in the Denver school system.
That statement certainly means that DPS stands behind the SPLC’s “Teaching Tolerance” program, however.
The Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center offers useful resources for educators, and a reminder this week about the importance of talking about hate. “We’ve witnessed these hate-fueled moments so many times before, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them when they happen. Because when we don’t, we show our students that what’s happening is unremarkable.”
The DPS message, and the Teaching Tolerance post, responded to the tragic shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. The district declared its commitment to “building a culture that embraces and values the unique identity and potential of every child.”
It is indeed important that schools across the country denounce anti-Semitism and violence. But Denver Public Schools and other school districts need not team up with the SPLC to do this. Indeed, the SPLC itself tried to tie President Donald Trump to the anti-Semitism behind the synagogue shooting, despite Trump’s proud support of Israel and his own Jewish children.
Furthermore, the Teaching Tolerance program aims to combat “hate” in classrooms by pushing liberal cultural issues on young children. In 2013, two years before the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage, the program published “The Gender Spectrum,” about a “genderqueer” fourth grade kid named Alex who identified as neither male nor female. “So, boy or girl? Perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question all along.”
A Teaching Tolerance article from July 2016 pushed transgender identity as healthy and “debunked” the “myth” that “children aren’t old enough to know their gender identity.” The article insisted that “many children know their gender identity from a very young age,” but never acknowledged that many who “transition” as children eventually return to their birth sex.
“Treatments” pushed by transgender activists — hormone therapy and the more drastic transgender surgery — have left people scarred, as they later rejected their cross-sex identity. Max Robinson, a 21-year-old woman who once identified as a man, regrets having taken male hormones and removing her breasts, calling such “treatments” “not a cure at all.”
While the longterm medical and psychological effects of cross-sex hormones remain unknown, estrogen in biological males brings a clinically significant risk of deep-vein thrombosis and testosterone in biological females increases the chance of developing ovarian cysts later in life. Testosterone in biological females will cause irreversible deepening of the voice and augmentation of the clitoris, while estrogen in biological males will cause irreversible enlargement of breasts.
The science behind transgenderism is shoddy at best. At the genetic level, human beings are either male or female. Even so, transgenderism is pushed on children. Kindergarteners have been traumatized by a “gender reveal” party — afraid they might change genders themselves. At least one school in Minnesota has announced that not only will kindergarteners learn about transgenderism, but their parents won’t even be notified.
Some parents have even lost custody of their children for refusing to support their children’s transgender identity.
Transgender activism is controversial even on the Left. Radical feminists have argued that transgenderism involves “erasing” women, and even amounts to “conversion therapy” when applied to lesbians. Because transgender ideology teaches that biological men who identify as women should be considered female, lesbians who do not want to have sex with “women” who have penises are considered “transphobic.” Radical feminists have called this “rape culture.”
The SPLC and Teaching Tolerance have many positive aspects. They fight racism, anti-Semitism, and discrimination against certain religious minorities. By stigmatizing conservative Christian views about gender and sexuality, however, they undermine the very tolerance and acceptance they claim to value so much.
Furthermore, they promote the controversial, scientifically dubious, and medically dangerous ideology of transgenderism.
Denver Public Schools likely meant only to champion the values of tolerance, but their support for the SPLC is dangerous. This organization’s Orwellian definition of “hate” has already inspired one terrorist attack, and it is pushing an ideology on children that will cause confusion and lasting harm. The school district should reconsider its position.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.