The American “radical right” grew explosively in 2011, a third consecutive year of extraordinary growth that has swelled the ranks of extremist groups to record levels, contributing to a significant increase in the number of anti-gay hate groups, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Overall, the number of hate groups counted by the SPLC last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old.
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The LGBT community made significant advances in 2011, with the repeal of the “Don’t Act, Don’t Tell” policy on gay men and lesbians in the military, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage by Americans and the legalization of such bonds in New York state.
But it was precisely these advances that seemed to set off a furious rage on the religious right, with renewed efforts to ban or repeal marriage equality and what seemed to be an intensification of anti-gay propaganda in certain quarters.
American Family Association official Bryan Fischer, for instance, said that “gays are Nazis,” claimed that HIV does not cause AIDS but gay men do, and, for good measure, criticized black welfare recipients who “rut like animals.”
Following is the list of anti-gay hate groups, as reported by the SPLC. Those in bold face are newly-designated:
United Families International
Faithful Word Baptist Church
Traditional Values Coalition
Family Research Institute
Family Research Council
Traditional Values Coalition
Sons of Thundr (Faith Baptist Church)
Illinois Family Institute
H.O.M.E. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
Westboro Baptist Church
Abiding Truth Ministries
You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide
Parents Action League
American Family Association
Jewish Political Action Committee
Windsor Hills Baptist Church
True Light Pentecost Church
Tom Brown Ministries
Bethesda Christian Institute
Public Advocate of the United States
“The religious right in America has employed a variety of strategies in its efforts to beat back the increasingly confident gay rights movement,” said the SPLC. “One of those has been defamation. Many of its leaders have engaged in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as “perverts” with “filthy habits” who seek to snatch the children of straight parents and “convert” them to gay sex.”
The dramatic growth in hate groups is largely attributed to the Patriot movement, which is composed of armed militias and other conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy, reported the SPLC.
“These groups saw their numbers skyrocket for the third straight year in 2011, this time by 55 percent – from 824 in 2010 to 1,274 groups last year. In 2008, just before the Patriot movement took off, there were 149 Patriot groups, a number that metastasized to 512 in 2009.”