The notoriously antigay American Family Association has published an online "bigotry" map that deems many LGBT organizations -- among others -- as being "deeply intolerant" toward Christianity, even though some of the groups singled out have missions that involve protecting the rights of people of different faiths.
The map's presumed origin, as Patheos notes, is the fact that the AFA has criticized hate groups lists compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has identified AFA itself as a hate group. (Naturally, SPLC gets the same honor from the AFA.)
In addition to listing an array of humanist, atheist, "anti-Christian" and "homosexual agenda" groups, the AFA went so far as to geo-locate them on a map that readers can peruse -- perhaps for the purpose of sending angry letters or arranging pickets?
Here's what the AFA itself said about the map:
The American Family Association has identified groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith.
These groups are deeply intolerant towards the Christian religion. Their objectives are to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America.
A common practice of these groups is threatening our nation's schools, cities and states. By threat of lawsuit, they demand prayer removed from schools and city council meetings, Ten Commandments monuments stricken from courthouses and memorial crosses purged from cemeteries and parks.
Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their business. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from bigoted anti-Christian zealots.
Some members or supporters of these groups have committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups. Physical and profane verbal assaults against Christians are methods frequently exercised in their angry methods of intimidation.
Not surprisingly, some of those represented on the map aren't exactly chagrined. The Human Rights Campaign responded with relish, via its blog:
"We, as well as the rest of the LGBT community, will be able to find each other and unite as 'advocates for the legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage'. Hurrah!"
The map can't completely be relied on for identifying like-minded groups, though, as HRC pointed out:
"Unfortunately, however, we will be not be able to meet at HRC's offices in North Dakota, Dallas and Austin that are included on the AFA's map, because they don't exist. Gosh darn."
Indeed, many LGBT and other robust candidates for the map were omitted, and Patheos reported that the Center for Inquiry has staked its claim. The organization obviously had some fun with its press release, in which it argues it's more of a threat to the AFA's values than the AARP. Here's an excerpt:
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) today demanded that it be included on the American Family Association's list of so-called "anti-Christian" groups in the United States, citing CFI's work for the equality of the nonreligious, its fight against religion's interference in health care and women's reproductive rights, and its support of same-sex marriage.
The AFA's list and map seeks to highlight those groups it believes "openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith," by opposing things like school prayer and legally protected religious discrimination, and supporting the rights of LGBT Americans to marry and adopt. CFI opposes the AFA on all of these issues and countless others.
"Of course, the Center for Inquiry is by no means anti-Christian, and we work to combat bigotry of all kinds, be it against atheists, Christians, or any other group," said CFI communications director Paul Fidalgo, nervously, between gulps of overly sweetened coffee. "But come on. The AFA listed Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, and, get this, the AARP! The AARP!"
"Come on!" added Fidalgo, who looked like he needed more sleep. "We ask...no, we demand that the American Family Association recognize that we are just as much a threat to their backward vision of a theocratic, Christianized America as any of these groups -- certainly more than the AARP -- and add us to their list."