The letter was written by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Boykin, former commander of U.S. Special Forces Command, and now executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC). It was co-signed by representatives of like-minded organizations, including the National Organization for Marriage, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the American Family Association.
The FBI, for example, uses SPLC as a “resource” on its hate crimes website.
“The presentation of SPLC to the public as a trusted source of information on the serious matter of hate crimes is completely unacceptable,” said the letter.
“The SPLC is a heavily politicized organization producing biased and inaccurate data on ‘hate groups’--not hate crimes,” the letter stated. “Moreover, the SPLC findings are not consistent with trends found in the FBI statistics.
“The FBI states that there has been a decrease in hate crimes of 24.3% from 1996 to 2010,” the letter stated. “During that period racial hate crimes decreased by 41.9%.
“However, the SPLC claims that since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 67.3%. Something is not right here.”
The letter notes the SPLC is linked to the first conviction for domestic terrorism under a 2002 District of Columbia law after Floyd Lee Corkins II was found guilty of that charge and other felonies for shooting a security guard at FRC in August 2012.
Corkins, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, admitted to investigators and in federal court that he targeted FRC based on a “hate map” on SPLC’s website that listed the organization as a “hate group” because of its support of traditional marriage and opposition to same-sex marriage.
“Thus, the FBI now directs the public to trust a group whose website played a significant part in bringing about an act of domestic terrorism,” the letter stated. “These facts were developed by federal prosecutors – not FRC.
“We appreciate the work the FBI does every day, but we cannot allow the SPLC to be listed in official FBI resources as a friend of civil rights and law enforcement when the organization has become one of the biggest bullies in America.”
The letter concluded that it is “completely inappropriate” for the DOJ to use SPLC’s data and called for links to the organization on its website to be “taken down immediately.”
“Now we know that SPLC is connected to domestic terrorism in federal court, and yet, the DOJ is still using them as an official resource,” Boykin told CNSNews.com ahead of the letter’s release.
On Oct. 14, Fox commentator Todd Starnes wrote about soldiers who had attended an Army training session at Camp Shelby in Mississippi where they were told that the American Family Association (AFA)--a pro-family, Christian organization--was listed alongside the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis as a “domestic hate group.”
One soldier contacted Starnes and included a photo he took at the training session to document his claim.
On Oct. 24, Starnes reported on a similar incident that allegedly took place at Ft. Hood Army base in Texas. He said soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at the base were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the country and those that made donations to such groups could face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
On Dec. 6, a similar coalition--Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition--that includes FRC and AFA among others, sent a letter to Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel to express concerns about the threat to religious liberty in today’s military, including using SPLC as an “expert” and resource on “facts” related to hate crimes.
That letter--which the FRC told CNSNews.com has yet to receive a direct response from Hagel--also refers to the incidents first reported by Starnes.
Following Starnes’ reports, Army Secretary John McHugh stated the Army would "cease all briefings...on the subject of extremist organizations and activities," according to a FRC press release commending McHugh for his action.
"In recent months, Army instructors have begun relying on the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-Christian group, as a source for its briefings," FRC President Tony Perkins said in the release. "We can infer from the Secretary's letter that he recognizes that the Southern Poverty Law Center's labeling is 'inconsistent' with current Army policy.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center's mission is to advance the agenda of the Left, whereas the military's mission is to defend and uphold the constitution of the United States," said Perkins, who also is a military veteran. "These series of incidents reveal the conflicting missions."