Catholic Archbishop Smacks SPLC for Falsely Labelling Alliance Defending Freedom a ‘Hate Group’

By CNSNews.com Staff | August 25, 2017 | 1:52 PM EDT

Archbishop Charles Chaput with Pope Francis at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Sept. 26, 2015. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center for falsely labeling the Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group.”

“When an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center labels a mainstream religious liberty advocate like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) as a ‘hate group’ it’s simply betraying its own bitter contempt for the people and convictions the ADF defends,” Chaput wrote in the his weekly column, which was posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Philadlephia.

“So yes,” Chaput wrote, “hate has a home here alright: not just among white nationalists, immigrant-haters and neo-Nazis, as loathsome as their ideas are, but also among the ‘progressive’ and educated elites who have the power to insulate themselves from the consequences of their own delusions and bigotries.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to “advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labelled the ADF an “anti-LBGT hate group.”

On its website, the SPLC has posted a timeline of things the ADF has said and done over the years that the SPLC believes has earned it the label “hate group.”

The timeline starts in 2000 with this item: “The ADF helps fund and strategize the filing of a key amicus (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, in which a gay assistant Scoutmaster sued the BSA for expelling him because of its ban on gay members and leaders.”

The SPLC’s timeline goes on to state that in 2014: “ADF sends a letter to school districts around the country stating that no school is legally beholden to implement trans-inclusive policies and allow trans students to access bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify. The letter denies the gender identity of such students and claims that such inclusive policies are allowing opposite sex students to access the facilities, which is ‘dangerous.’ ‘It is simply unfathomable that a school district would cave to activist demands that students have access to restroom and locker room facilities dedicated to the opposite sex.’”

In his column, Archbishop Chaput notes that President Donald Trump does deserve “a healthy portion of the blame” for the “current toxic national atmosphere,” but, as per his previously quoted critique of the “progressives” and “educated elites,” he does not argue that Trump is alone to blame.

“It’s easy, and warranted, to blame the White House for our current toxic national atmosphere.,” wrote Chaput. “President Trump, with his baffling manner and lack of self-control, has earned a healthy portion of the blame.  But there’s more than enough blame – a lot more than enough – to go around.  “Hate has no home here” is an admirable theme for one of today’s most popular lawn sign campaigns.  But its message simply isn’t true.  Hate does have a home here.  It’s welcome and very well-fed in a lot of our hearts, regardless of our political allegiances.  And our refusal to admit that is part of the problem.”

Chaput concludes his argument by quoting the Roman philosopher Seneca: “Human life rests upon kindness and concord; bound together, not by terror but by love reciprocated, it becomes a bond of mutual assistance.” 

“Those are beautiful words, and true,” says Chaput. “They’re not far from the deeper truths of the Gospel.  But they’re also empty words unless we live them.”

In a blog posted on the ADF website on Aug. 21, ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President Joseph Infranco hit back at SPLC for calling the ADF a hate group and putting it on its “hate map” because its stands up for traditional moral views on marriage and sexual behavior.

“If the price of holding our traditional religious beliefs and speaking on them in public discourse is to earn a place on the ‘Hate Map,’ then we’ll view SPLC’s slander as a badge of honor,” wrote Infranco. “But the people who use such tactics should know they won’t work forever. They will not succeed in trampling conscience or stopping civil discourse by name calling. That’s the tactic of the bully on the playground.

“We refuse to be silenced by such transparent efforts at intimidation,” said Infranco. “Thankfully, the SPLC is being called out more and more for its tactics aimed at silencing dissent. And as more people stand and resist, the rest of society will see SPLC is a far cry from the ‘civil rights watchdog’ it pretends to be.”

You can read the entirety of Chaput’s column at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia website by clicking here.


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