Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center is experiencing some internal turmoil. Founder Morris Dees has been terminated and its president, Richard Cohen, has resigned. Board chairman Bryan Fair explains:

Right now, as you may have read, we’re facing some internal workplace challenges. But we’re meeting them in the same way that we’re meeting every other challenge that we face — with a fierce commitment to do justice. We’ve just launched an initiative with Tina Tchen — a former chief of staff for Michelle Obama and one of the leading voices behind the Times UP Legal Defense Fund — to advise us on workplace culture issues. Everyone who works at the SPLC deserves a workplace that reflects our highest values, and we’re committed to making sure that it happens.

For the record, Mr. Fair is a professor of constitutional law and he receives no compensation for his service at the SPLC.

Three points:

  1. In no way do the SPLC’s internal problems have anything to do with what is, or is not a hate group.
  2. Confronted with the fact that they have been designated as a hate group, leaders like Mad Mat Staver and Tony Perkins (to name just two) have attacked the arguer rather than the argument. These people have lacked the insight and cognizance to examine the fact that other Christian groups with similar views are not listed as hate groups. They have never worked proactively to be removed from the SPLC’s list. It is easier, I suppose, to attack the SPLC for unrelated issues.
  3. Confronted with a problem the hate groups have lacked the introspection to do something similar to what the SPLC is doing in order to fix the problem.

It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with people at the SPLC. At times I am probably a pain in the ass. The people I know at the SPLC are universally dedicated, professional, smart and focused. They are also nice, decent people.

The SPLC has been a staunch defender of LGBTQ rights and dignity. They (those dedicated professionals) have had our back and deserve our reciprocal support.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.