Sunday 31st May 2020

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

SPLC And Misplaced Hate Groups

February 10, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO, JD

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel are both coming under scrutiny in several interconnecting lawsuits.
I’ve written in this space about both, but as a way of reminder: The SPLC, once a well-regarded civil rights organization, has now turned its efforts to rooting out hate and hate groups in America. Unfortunately, the organization’s definition of “hate” has evolved to include anything it considers politically incorrect. Thus, while the KKK and neo-Nazi groups are included, so are conservative religious groups who do not hold values consistent with LGBT, pro-abortion, or similar “progressive” beliefs.
Thus the SPLC holds institutions such as St. Michael’s Media, better known as Church Militant, the legal groups fighting for religious liberty such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and the Pacific Justice Institute, as well as the Family Research Council, the Ruth Institute, and the Traditional Values Coalition as hate groups — just to mention a few of the better-known causalities of the war for political correctness.
Unfortunately for the public, most news outlets hold that the SPLC is an authoritative source on hate groups and never bother to look beyond its claims.
Dana Nessel was elected attorney general of Michigan in 2018 and took office in January a year ago. She is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage and since taking office has devoted herself to rooting out what she determines to be hate in the public square. To that end she established a hate crimes unit to increase prosecution of extremist and hate groups and to document hate instances which do not rise to the level of a crime.
That unit relies on the SPLC list of hate groups to help determine which groups to key in on. And, as expected, several of those groups are Christian and are on the SPLC list because they opposed same-sex marriage, certain pro-transgender policies, and uphold traditional Christian beliefs in these areas.
Notably, she changed state policies by entering into a sweetheart legal stipulation with the ACLU that required all adoption agencies contracting with the state to work with LGBT couples. A Catholic adoption agency challenged that action and a federal district judge ruled in favor of the agency, finding that Nessel’s new rules actually targeted the adoption agency for its Catholic beliefs.
Now Nessel is facing more legal headaches from Christian groups over their hate designation. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a public law firm defending religious freedom and a designated “hate group,” filed a federal lawsuit last year claiming that the actions and policies of Nessel’s hate crime unit violate the Constitution and sought a permanent injunction to keep the unit from collecting files or databases on legally protected activities.
The AFLC claims in its suit that:
“The purposes and effects of the challenged policy are to silence political opposition to the policies of the left, policies which Defendants support, to marginalize political opponents by officially and pejoratively labeling them as ‘hate’ groups, to deter and diminish support for political opponents, and to provide a government-sanctioned justification for officials, including law enforcement officials and officials from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, to harass and target political opponents, thereby creating a deterrent effect on political speech and expressive association.”
And that it “brands individuals and groups such as Plaintiff as criminals on account of their political viewpoints, subjecting them to governmental scrutiny, investigation, surveillance, condemnation, and intimidation, which has a deterrent effect on their activities and their rights to freedom of speech and expressive association.”
It is also “a governmental attack on the reputation of Plaintiff that is designed to marginalize Plaintiff and its political viewpoints . . . [which] deters donors and volunteers from supporting the activities of Plaintiff. It deters potential clients from seeking legal services from Plaintiff. And it legitimizes the illegitimate, partisan attacks of SPLC in the public eye. Consequently, the challenged policy harms Plaintiff’s ability to influence public opinion on controversial political issues.”
Nessel and her co-defendant, the director of her Civil Rights unit, moved to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming, among other issues, that there is no merit to the claims made by the AFLC. Last month the judge denied their motion allowing the case to move to trial stating, “Defendants are not entitled to dismissal….Defendants’ general disagreement with the scope and nature of their new initiative does not undermine the effect that the announcement of the new policy on AFLC’s reputation and activities, as established by the affidavit submitted by AFLC.”
Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, reacted: “At a minimum, this is a loud shot across the bow of the Michigan attorney general, who is a left-wing progressive, that so long as she seeks to weaponize her office, she’ll be challenged in court, and the judges aren’t going to look too favorably on these types of actions.”
Over in state court, Nessel is facing another suit by Michael Voris on behalf of Church Militant, who was also labeled a hate group by SPLC. The Voris state suit is a bit different from the AFLC federal suit.
After Nessel announced her “hate crimes” unit in a press release which contained a link to the SPLC “hate map” which listed Church Militant as a hate group, Church Militant filed a freedom of information (FOI) request for “all AG records relating to Voris and Church Militant; any AG communications with the SPLC regarding the classification of Church Militant as a hate group; and all information relating to the criteria used by the AG and SPLC to designate an organization as a ‘hate group’.”
In reply the attorney general’s office requested a payment of $394.27 and indicated the records would be made available in an estimated three weeks. Church Militant paid the funds, and after another delay in providing the documents, the attorney general provided only some of the documents requested. In July of last year the attorney general’s office notified Church Militant that it had a complaint against Church Militant, an internal investigative report, and approximately 73 emails dated from February through June of 2019, but did not send along all the documents.
Thus the Church Militant suit is over the withheld FOI documents. But adding to the mix is the attorney general’s reply to Church Militant attorneys that she is withholding some materials because her hate unit has opened a criminal investigation against Voris and Church Militant.
In its lawsuit, filed last month, Church Militant claims, “The AG’s derelict response to Plaintiffs’ FOIA request is not in compliance with the law, addresses neither the nature of the AG investigation nor its connection with the SPLC’s annual update report listing Church Militant as a hate group, and fails to address Nessel’s public response that she would ‘fight’ against these ‘groups’.”
It continued, “Defendant’s justification to withhold public records from Plaintiffs was based solely on conclusionary and boiler-plate language without even attempting to explain how any particular record would interfere with any law enforcement proceeding.”
The AFLC is representing itself; Voris and Church Militant are being represented by the Thomas More Law Center. These will be two cases worth following.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

BREAKING:

Supreme Court rules 5-4 AGAINST a California church that challenged Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional public gathering restrictions

Why is it “legal” to burn our cities but officially illegal to go to church in CA?

John Roberts disappoints again

What a disgrace.

RT!

Minneapolis Mayor Frey, the poster boy of liberal progressive Democrat leadership literally gave one of his police stations to the looters last night.

Load More...

US bishop reverses plan to ban Communion on tongue as churches reopen

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana, May 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Douglas Deshotel has revised his decision to allow only reception of the Eucharist in the hand amid the coronavirus pandemic. He credited guidelines issued by the Thomistic Institute for correcting his previous…Continue Reading

Sainthood causes open for St John Paul II’s parents

A ceremony launching the causes of the Wojtyłas took place at the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice, John Paul II’s birthplace. At the ceremony, the Kraków Archdiocese officially formed the tribunals that will seek…Continue Reading

President Trump on National Day of Prayer: “Never Forget That All Things are Possible With God”

On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our Nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”  As one Nation under God, we share a legacy…Continue Reading

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Archbishop Hebda Gives Guidelines For Reopening Catholic Churches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, says he anticipates reopening churches on May 18, which is when the state’s current stay-at-home order expires. In a letter to Catholics, he outlined strict guidelines…Continue Reading

Joe Biden Calls Killing Babies in Abortions “Essential Health Care That Cannot be Delayed”

Today, presumed Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden stated that abortions are “essential health care that cannot be delayed” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden’s statement was in response to a question during a virtual town hall in which pro-abortion…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò: Third Secret of Fatima has not yet been fully published

April 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a stunning new interview, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. and the prelate who accused Pope Francis of covering up the crimes of Theodore McCarrick, has now publicly stated…Continue Reading

George Pell: In the suffering, we find redemption

Every person suffers. None escapes all the time. Everyone is confronted with a couple of questions. What should I do in this situation? Why is there so much evil and suffering? And why did this happen to me? Why the…Continue Reading

Covid-19: First Catholic bishop dies of coronavirus

Ethiopia’s Apostolic Vicar, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, has died. He is the first Catholic Bishop to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic. By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ Italian missionary and Apostolic Vicar to Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate, Bishop Angelo Moreschi, SDB, died on…Continue Reading

Catholic church offers curbside confessions during coronavirus outbreak

STILLWATER, Minn. — Drive-thrus, curbside pick-up, contactless methods. We’re becoming best buds with terms like these as we try our best to stay home, and flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. However, today, we’re not talking about food or…Continue Reading

All priests, half of seminarians at traditional Catholic order infected by coronavirus

OPFENBACH, Germany, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Almost all priests and roughly half of the seminarians currently at a German seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a traditionalist community of priests and seminarians, have been infected by…Continue Reading

Catholic Herald US to shut down offices

The Catholic Herald’s U.S. edition is shutting down its offices in Washington, D.C., after less than two years of publication, people familiar with the matter told the Washington Examiner. The magazine, which claims to be “America’s only national Catholic weekly…Continue Reading

Middle school hangs LGBT flag in cafeteria, bans flag of traditional family

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A small town Minnesota school has become a center of controversy because of a LGBT pride flag hanging in its cafeteria. Following several weeks of parental and community concern, packed school board meetings, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Supreme Court rejects challenge to limits on church services; Roberts sides with liberals

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.

Twitter censors Trump hours after he signs executive order combatting social media censorship

UNITED STATES, May 29, 2020  (LifeSiteNews) — Twitter has censored a new post by President Donald Trump within 24 hours of him signing an executive order to combat social media censorship. The social media giant covered a tweet published by Trump earlier today with the words: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Catholic Bishops Pander To Washington State Politics Rather Than Defend Their Faith

Washington state Catholic leaders would rather stick it to the president than let him defend their right to celebrate Mass. Following President Donald Trump’s direction on Friday for states to allow houses of worship to reopened and to declare public worship as essential, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately thumbed his nose, and Washington bishops quickly follow suit. In a disappointing response, the bishops demonstrated that rather than stand up for their flock and acknowledge the president’s commitment to religious…Continue Reading

Book calling for Catholic blessing of homosexual couples was requested by Austrian bishops’ conference

CNA Staff, May 26, 2020 / 11:02 am MT (CNA).- A book considering how homosexual couples might receive a formal, liturgical blessing of their union in the Catholic Church was written in response to a request from the liturgical committee of the Austrian bishops’ conference, according to the book’s principal author. The work includes contributions by a number of German speaking theologians and a liturgical section, including a suggestion for how such a Church blessing…Continue Reading

Trump announces that houses of worship are ‘essential,’ calls on governors to open them up

President Trump on Friday announced that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns. Trump announced the policy for churches, synagogues and mosques, during a short briefing at the White House. BALTIMORE PASTOR RIPS UP CEASE-AND-DESIST LETTER MID-SERMON: ‘WE’RE GONNA DO IT GOD’S WAY!’ “The governors need to do the right thing and allow…Continue Reading

Advertisement3

Does Life Have Any Meaning?

By DONALD DeMARCO W. Somerset Maugham was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930-40s. His most popular novel, The Razor’s Edge (1944), which was made into a most successful movie two years later, is about the search for meaning. It takes as its theme the Zen…Continue Reading

Jinping Takes Up The U.S. Challenge

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is the U.S. up for a second Cold War — this time with China? What makes the question newly relevant is that Xi Jinping’s China suddenly appears eager for a showdown with the United States for long-term supremacy in the Asia-Pacific and the world. With the U.S. consumed by the coronavirus…Continue Reading

Man Who Smeared Wartime Pope Dies

By RONALD RYCHLAK (Editor’s Note: Ronald Rychlak is a distinguished professor of law at the University of Mississippi Law School. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Catholic League, which distributed this article on May 15.) + + + Rolf Hochhuth has passed away in Germany at the age of 89. He…Continue Reading

Pope Francis . . . Merges Two Alaska Dioceses Into New Archdiocese

(CNA) — Pope Francis merged two dioceses in Alaska on May 19, creating the new Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau which will cover a territory larger than Montana. The Pope appointed Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario as the metropolitan archbishop of the newly formed archdiocese in southern Alaska. The Diocese of Juneau, located on the Alaska’s southeastern panhandle,…Continue Reading

Does Pelosi Believe A Baby Has A Right To A Mother?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSNews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column.) + + + When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper on Monday, May 18, she started the interview with an effusive statement about Cooper’s “new baby.” “Well, first let me…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. You recently wrote about Reiki as something not in accord with Church teachings. What about yoga? — L.S., via email. A. In his book Catholics and the New Age, Fr. Mitch Pacwa said that the word “yoga” is Sanskrit for “yoke” or “union” and, in Hinduism, it describes “the general category of various kinds of disciplines meant to unite…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Pandemic Brings Unseen Into View

By FR KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church and her work for souls, unseen and unknown so often by so many in a world which has made God so invisible, has in some ways become more tangible in these months when so much of “normal” life has ground to a halt. Many of our physical activities and concerns, our business and…Continue Reading

Manifest The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Pentecost (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the second reading, St. Paul tells us: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God.” In these verses, St. Paul…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. While I’ve read letters in religious publications from prisoners begging for Catholic materials, I have never had any success making contact with Catholic chaplains who might have requests for certain items. I’ve tried both prison and diocesan addresses, and no one responds. Any suggestions? — N.D., Illinois. A. Perhaps readers who are involved in prison ministry can recommend places…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… A Pope Francis Primer

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We are immersed in cultural and political wars, with opposing parties engaged in perpetual bickering and posing for effect. On the political front we are faced daily with the spectacle of elected officials who don’t want to work. Instead, they go on the attack and attempt to impeach the reputations of others. False criminal accusations…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Titus Zeman

By DEB PIROCH “Even if I lost my life, I would not consider it wasted, knowing that at least one of those that I helped has become a priest in my place” — Slovak priest, Blessed Titus Zeman. + + + Czech Communists attempted to eliminate the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia, beginning in 1945, Prime Minister Klement Gottwald working hand-in-hand…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort

By DEB PIROCH During the month of Mary, we turn to St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716), a saint inseparable in devotion to Christ’s Blessed Mother. His feast falls on the anniversary of his death, April 28, as if he is joyfully pointing us to the Marian month ahead. Many are familiar with Pope St. John Paul’s personal motto, “Totus…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)