To Disagree is Not to Hate

Christians, apparently, are the newest threat to homeland security.  There is a new emphasis on Americans attacking Americans, and the biggest thing that the Department of Justice is looking at is what people believe.

On Wednesday, October 14, the Assistant Attorney General John Carlin delivered remarks on Domestic Terrorism at an event co-sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security’s Program on Extremism. According to John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General, 

“In America, harboring extremist views is not itself a crime, nor is the expression of even a hateful ideology or association with a hateful group.  But the line between speech and violence is crossed too often, resulting in heartbreaking tragedy.”

Christians, of course, do not want to see innocent people get killed or the “heartbreaking tragedy” referred to by Carlin such as what happened at the AME Church in Charleston this past summer.  However, the rhetoric used by Carlin is itself extremism:  “the line between speech and violence is crossed too often.”  Carlin and the DOJ are now closely monitoring the opinions of people on the internet to the point that freedom of expression is not really going to be allowed.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Carlin commended the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center for their creation of hate lists, and announced the creation of a new position at the Department of Justice, the Coordinator for Domestic Terrorism Investigations. reports:

Carlin praised groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center “that dedicate themselves to examining what the threat is, observing it, and reporting on it,” adding that the work of the SPLC was “very important.”

The SPLC says it places groups — including conservative, Christian groups — on its “Hate List” based on their beliefs, not their propensity for violence.

“Homegrown violent extremists can be motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate — anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs,” Carlin told a gathering at George Washington University. The discussion was co-hosted by SPLC. “When it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs.”

Carlin was asked about the value of SPLC’s work in helping DOJ deal with the threat of domestic terrorist extremism.

“I can say, based on our briefings, that as I said in my opening remarks, we very much think that the domestic terrorism threat is a real and present threat that demands to be addressed in new, creative ways,” he replied emphasizing that “Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups in this space are very important.”

The SPLC’s website features a “hate map” that lists the conservative. Christian Family Research Council (FRC) as a “hate group” because of its defense of traditional marriage. The “hate map” was cited by convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins in his decision to attack the FRC in 2012 when he shot and wounded a security guard before being subdued.

“We recognize that, over the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,” Carlin said in his remarks.

The SPLC admits that the groups on their hate map are placed there based on ideology and not their propensity for violence.  SPLC’s Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich was with Assistant Attorney General Carlin at this event, and she very plainly stated that Christian groups have been put on the “hate list” because of their beliefs that homosexuality is wrong.

Bierich said,

“I think there’s a common misunderstanding about the way you get on our Hate List. We post groups on the basis of ideology, not whether they’re violent or not,” she replied.

 “Of course some of the groups are particularly violent, the Skinheads, Neo-Nazis, and what not,” she continued.  “Others are simply pushing propaganda that we consider hateful. For example, there’s an organization called American Renaissance, it puts out reams and reams of information about why black people are inferior, it lies basically, so black people are dumber, they’re psychopathic, they’re more violent.

“In the same way groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association do that but what they’re putting out is anti-gay material so gay people are pedophiles, or molesters, or whatever the case may be, and that’s why they’re on the list and that’s the direct analogy.”

So we see that what we think is now going to be used against us. To disagree with the thoughts of others is every American’s right.  To disagree is not to hate.   The Department of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center are confused about the definition of hate, and unless their understanding changes, Christians have reason to be concerned.