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Right Opinion

Southern Poverty a Poor Choice

Tony Perkins · Oct. 16, 2015

Don’t look for justice to roll down like a river (Amos 5:24) at the DOJ here in Washington. [Wednesday], the department created for justice showed the drought of it in another display of poor judgment. Fueled by a radical agenda that heeds neither the law nor common sense, the Obama DOJ will stop at nothing to marginalize and silence the Americans it disagrees with — a goal it shares with the disgraced Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

While the rest of the government is more cautious about its involvement with the so-called “civil rights” group, the DOJ continues to rush headlong into partnership with Richard Cohen’s anti-Christian organization. Wednesday, at George Washington University, that alliance was on full display at a special address on domestic terrorism — a topic the SPLC knows plenty about, having inspired the only case of it in D.C. since the law was adopted.

But instead of using the SPLC as an example of the kind of extremism the agency is trying to stop, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin heaped praise on the group for helping to end the very violence it’s been linked to in federal court. “While we continue to address this evolving international threat of violent extremists, we have not lost sight of the domestic terrorism threat posed by other violent extremists… Homegrown violent extremists can be motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate,” Carlin argued. Without batting an eye, Carlin applauded the Center for being an “important voice on the wide range of extremist groups throughout this country.”

Is he serious? Were it not for an ordinary man showing extraordinary courage, an activist bent on massacring an office of innocent people might have succeeded in gunning down dozens of people at FRC. As prosecutors pointed out, this was no ordinary attack — but an act spurred on by the SPLC’s reckless “hate” labeling. Now we’re supposed to believe that this same organization, the one that inspired Floyd Corkins to walk into our building and shoot Leo Johnson, is a legitimate ally in the fight against domestic terrorism? A trusted source in identifying the homegrown threats? SPLC’s own radicalism is so dangerous that the FBI, Defense Department, and U.S. Army have all backed away from using the group as a reliable source. Why? Because even they recognize that this reckless labeling was a few rounds away from ending the lives of dozens of Christians.

For three years, we’ve called on the SPLC to stop targeting Christian conservative organizations and individuals. And despite the suffering and near casualties at FRC, SPLC refuses. Obviously, the DOJ sees no problem with putting countless Americans at risk simply for participating in the political process and advocating for public policy consistent with their orthodox Christian beliefs. Sharing the stage with an organization that sparks the very hostility the government wants to end, Carlin insisted that “The Department of Justice’s highest priority is combatting terrorism, both international and domestic, and other threats to our national security in order to protect the American public…” SPLC, he said, “will be particularly valuable on this front.”

Let that be a warning to every freedom-loving citizen in America: Your rights to speak, believe, and even think independently are about to be severely tested.

NFL Owner Joins Team to Fight Ordinance

The owner of the NFL’s Houston Texans isn’t used to sitting on the sidelines — and he doesn’t plan to in the city’s bathroom ordinance debate. With time ticking down to one of the most watched ballot referendums in the country, Bob McNair is joining the team to repeal Houston’s so-called “Equal Rights Ordinance” (HERO). A long-time conservative, the football mogul jumped into the fight with just a few weeks left until the city’s vote.

Like so many locals, he’s strongly against forcing local businesses to swallow their beliefs and celebrate sexual immorality (upon pain of $5,000 fines and punishment). No doubt McNair is also shaking his head at the thought of giving grown men the green light to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and public showers with young girls simply because they identify as another gender. (Think it won’t happen? Think again.)

With a $10,000 donation, he and Major League Baseball’s Lance Berkman helped put to rest the notion that high-profile Texans all line-up behind the ordinance. “The HERO supporters have tried to scare people into believing that we would lose the Super Bowl,” Woodfill said. “Obviously, if there were any truth behind that, Bob McNair wouldn’t be donating to the folks that are opposed to the ordinance.”

Meanwhile, the anti-bathroom bill crowd got another boost [Wednesday] from an unlikely source: Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). During a stop at Iowa’s Drake University, the Kentucky Republican laid down his first marker on the debate, insisting that movement was an unnecessary attack on employers’ rights. “People don’t put up a sign that says, ‘I’m firing you because you’re gay,’” he said. “It’s something that’s very much disputed. So, I don’t know that we need to keep adding to different classifications and say, the government needs to be involved in hiring and firing. I think society is rapidly changing, and if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will probably hire you.”

But Rand didn’t stop there. Like a lot of people, myself included, he doesn’t want to talk about people’s sex lives in the first place. “I think, really, the things you do in your house, we can just leave those in the house, and they wouldn’t have to be part of the workplace, to tell you the truth,” Paul said. “These are very difficult decisions, on what you decide will be employers’ decisions and not. And it really isn’t so much about that question as it is about that it sets a classification, or a class of people, who can now sue.”

Muddle in the Huddle of Praying Coach

For Washington Coach Joe Kennedy, the biggest opponent is off the field — not on it. Bremerton School District’s revered football coach is squaring off against the same anti-faith intolerance that’s claimed so many victims. But this combat victim is no victim. Despite the threats from his own superintendent, Coach Kennedy is refusing to back down on his post-game ritual: midfield prayer.

Every Friday night, under the lights of the football field, he asks God’s blessing on the team effort. Although parents of the kids are firmly behind the coach, Bremerton’s district launched an investigation into the routine and warned him to stop praying on the field — or he’d have to start praying for a new job. “Your talks with students may not include religious expression, including prayer,” Superintendent Aaron Leavell warned.

But that kind of threat doesn’t scare Coach Kennedy — and it certainly doesn’t scare his attorneys at Liberty Institute, who are representing him in the case. “There is no lawful prohibition against Coach Kennedy’s practice of saying a private, post-game prayer,” attorney Hiram Sasser fired back. “The prayers are Coach Kennedy’s private religious speech, and no reasonable observer could conclude that BHS sponsors, endorses, or encourages student participation.”

And if anyone knows their rights, it’s a man who sacrificed his life protecting ours. “I spent 20 years in the military defending the Constitution and the freedoms that everybody has. All of a sudden, I realized that people who work for the public schools don’t have the same constitutional rights that everybody else has.”

If Bremerton thought that bullying their coach would work, they’ll find out at [today’s] game how wrong they were. “I’m not a guy who hides in a corner and does a secret prayer to God,” the Coach told Fox News’s Todd Starnes. “I’m very open about my faith everywhere I go.” Regardless of the consequences, Coach Joe Kennedy will be back on the 50-yard line at Friday’s Homecoming game, thanking God for the opportunity — not just to coach — but to take a stand for Christ. Cheer him on by signing this petition urging Bremerton to step down their attack.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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