Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘Our Aim in Life Is to Destroy These Groups, Completely’

A map of organizations across the United States which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers "hate groups."

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has gained traction in recent weeks, but contrary to media reports, the group does not exist to "monitor hate groups" but to destroy groups that it targets for "strictly ideological" reasons. In light of large donations from Apple, J.P. Morgan, and George Clooney, and CNN's favorable coverage of the SPLC, Americans should learn the real motivations behind this far-left organization.

In the words of SPLC former spokesman Mark Potok (who spent 20 years as a senior fellow at the SPLC and only retired this year, according to LinkedIn), the group does not exist to monitor hate groups.

"Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate groups, I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them," Potok declared at an event in Michigan in 2007.

Potok reiterated this point at a Vermont school group in 2008. "You are able to destroy these groups sometimes by the things you publish," he declared. "It's not so much that they will bring down the police or the federal agents on their head, it's that you can sometimes so mortally embarrass these groups that they will be destroyed" (emphasis added).

The SPLC "mortally embarrasses" groups by equating mainstream conservative, Christian, and other organizations with the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists. Make no mistake, this is not a "hate group monitoring" organization, it's a far-Left defamation racket that exists to target any group it disagrees with politically.

"We see this political struggle," Potok added in his 2008 Vermont speech. "We're not trying to change anybody's mind. We're trying to wreck the groups. We're trying to destroy them. Not to send them to prison unfairly or to take their free speech rights away, but as a political matter to destroy them."

In yet another 2008 speech, Potok explained the SPLC criteria for a "hate group." The spokesman said, "Our criteria for a 'hate group,' first of all, have nothing to do with criminality, or violence, or any kind of guess we're making about 'this group could be dangerous.' It's strictly ideological" (emphasis added).

Here's the criteria: "So we look at a group and we say, 'Does this group, in its platform statements, or the speeches of its leader or leaders — Does this group say that a whole group of people, by virtue of their group characteristics, is somehow less?"

The SPLC's actions have revealed what "group characteristics" means. The "hate group" list  features Christian organizations like D. James Kennedy Ministriesthe Family Research Council (FRC), Liberty Counsel, the American Family Association (AFA), and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), along with other groups like the American College of Pediatricians and the Center for Immigration Studies. It also lists Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz and women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as "anti-Muslim extremists."