Liberty Counsel Founder: Hate Group Label Is Like Nazi Persecution of Jews

Mat Staver

Labeling the anti-LGBT legal nonprofit Liberty Counsel a “hate group” is similar to the persecution Jews faced in Nazi Germany, according to Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver.

Staver made the outrageous comparison on today’s edition of Liberty Counsel’s Faith and Freedom radio program. He was discussing his group’s loss of a lawsuit it filed against GuideStar, an organization that provides information on nonprofits to help guide charitable giving. The suit contended that by noting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of Liberty Counsel as a hate group, GuideStar was violating the Lanham Act, a federal law banning unfair competition and false advertising. A federal judge dismissed the suit last month.

Staver said that GuideStar’s president, Jacob Harold, had made the organization into a bastion of left-wing political activity. “Because of his liberal political activism, he decided to partner with the SPLC and slap these labels on [organizations],” Staver said. “You have to ask yourself, why did he do it? Why was he trying to do it? What was his motivation? It’s very clear what his motivation was. His motivation in terms of what he said, what they did, how they did it is to harm these nonprofits, to put, essentially, if you will, a Star of David on them like the Nazis did to the Jews. Wanted to isolate them, identify them, and ultimately economically boycott them.”

Staver and his Liberty Counsel colleagues asserted there’s nothing hateful about their group or any of those designated as anti-LGBT hate groups by the SPLC for the misleading information they spread. Many LGBT people, naturally, beg to differ, as does the SPLC itself.

Organizations listed as anti-LGBT hate groups “use dehumanizing language and pseudoscientific falsehoods to portray LGBT people as, for example, sick, evil, perverted, and a danger to children and society — or to suggest that LGBT people are more likely to be pedophiles and sexual predators,” notes the SPLC’s website. “Some anti-LGBT hate groups support the criminalization of homosexuality in the United States and abroad, often marshaling the same debunked myths and demonizing claims in their efforts.” Simply opposing marriage equality or considering homosexuality a sin is not enough to merit a hate group label, the SPLC adds.

Its list of anti-LGBT hate groups includes the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Mission: America, Mass Resistance, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many other familiar names. Liberty Counsel, besides being on the list itself, has provided legal representation to some of the other groups or their leaders, such as Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, in addition to representing antigay county clerk Kim Davis, anti–marriage equality judges, and practitioners of “ex-gay” therapy.

Listen to a clip of Staver’s comments excerpted by Right Wing Watch below or find the full episode here.

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