In light of recent news that the extremist Southern Poverty Law Center has added more groups to its “hate” list, here’s the experience of a guy named Sam.
Sam got a call from his elderly mother. “You’ll never believe what’s happened!” she exclaimed.
“I think your dad and I have been put on some terror watch list!”
She told him about the recent phone calls. “You wouldn’t believe the nasty things they’re saying! The phone’s been ringing all day!”
The callers kept mentioning a group called the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“And one guy yelled at me, saying I was a hateful homophobe. He said that it’s people like me who are making ‘gays’ commit suicide!” She started to choke up.
“Mom, wait, wait. There must be some mistake.”
“No, son, I think I know where this started. This creepy guy was watching me a few weeks ago at the card store,” she said.
“It was on my way back from volunteering at the soup kitchen. I wanted to get something for Pop for Valentine’s Day and went to the rack for ‘husband’ cards, and some guy took my picture. Then in the parking lot, I saw him write down my license plate!”
She started crying. “You know I don’t hate anyone.”
“Now, now, Mom, I’ll do some research and track this down,” Sam consoled her.
“Oh, there’s another thing. After I got in my car, he headed across the street to the Happy Hearts bakery--you know, that sweet couple from our church who make the gorgeous wedding cakes?”
She sniffed. “I wonder if they aren’t on this horrible list, too.”
Sam hung up and looked up the web site for the Southern Poverty Law Center. They apparently monitor Ku Klux Klan chapters, skinheads and other sketchy characters. But the group also thinks “patriots” and Republicans are domestic threats.
And SPLC tracks groups and individuals who object to homosexuality, gender-switching, same sex “marriage,” and “queer” lifestyles.
Sure enough, under “anti-LGBTQ” on a “hate map” Sam clicked on the state of Indiana, and there was a dot with his parents’ address!
Another nearby dot showed the “Happy Hearts” bakery street address and phone.
Sam mulled it over. Perhaps it was his mom’s support of man/woman marriage? Buying a card for her husband?
But he shook his head. “This is America! That kind of sinister fascism--secret spies with enemies’ lists and all-- couldn’t be happening here!”
Nevertheless, when Sam ran some errands later, he drove by the bakery and saw a group of people clustered on the sidewalk, holding signs. “No anti-gay bigots in this town!” read one. Another proclaimed, “Keep your HATE off my cake” and featured a picture of two men holding hands.
Sam pushed through the crowd. Several people pushed back. “You aren’t going in there, are you?” sneered one woman. “This bakery’s hate causes people to kill themselves!!”
Tempted to retort, Sam held his tongue and approached the door. But it was locked, even though it was 11:00 am on Saturday morning. Through the window, though, he saw his friend Bobby, the bakery owner. Bobby waved for him to go around the back.
Bobby met Sam at the back door. “Sam, I don’t know what’s happened here. Suddenly we’re flooded with harassing phone calls and emails, and now these picketers. One caller threatened to burn our shop down!”
“Bobby, I know where this is coming from.” Sam showed him the SPLC website on his smart phone.
“But this is so unfair! Who are these people? This could put us out of business!”
Sam didn’t have the heart to tell him, that was the point: unfair harassment, unfounded rumors, labeling ordinary citizens-- especially known Christians-- as the equivalent of domestic terrorists, using tactics more typical in banana republics, not in once-respectful American life.
And all for the allegedly noble cause of “gay” rights.
“Have you ever turned down any same sex couple who asked for a wedding cake?” Sam asked Bobby.
“No, but we have thought about what we’d do if asked. We might do it, because it’s just not right. Jesus told us what marriage is, and it’s not Amanda and Eve!” Bobby shook his head.
“What happened to freedom of religion?”
“Hey, Bobby,” Sam said, “ I know this is difficult, but even my sweet little mom and dad have ended up on this ridiculous list. Looks like SPLC just needs to invent ‘groups’ to track.
“The whole thing is phony and just plain evil. These Southern Poverty people are the real bullies and harassers. But they’re only a fringe private group. They have no authority. So don’t be afraid.”
Bobby shook his head. “How can people be so mean and un-American…and get away with it?”
“There’s only one reason, Bobby. I did some research this afternoon, and SPLC has a lot of money. People aren’t getting the story on groups like this, because much of the media thinks like they do, unfortunately.”
Bobby paused for a moment. “But what about our church? If Christians stand up to these people, they would back off. Would people from our church come over and protest in my defense?”
“I don’t know, but I’m calling the pastor right now.” Sam dialed the long-familiar number of the church where he grew up. But as it rang and went to voice mail, he remembered something his mom and dad had talked about lately…and he hadn’t paid much attention until now.
His folks were very concerned that too often today, churches don’t want to get involved.
Will Sam’s church step up to defend those unjustly targeted for godly values?
Note: Sam’s story is fiction, but what is not is the despicable bullying of the lavishly-funded SPLC and their highly questionable “hate” group lists.
As SPLC irresponsibly adds more pro-marriage groups and individuals, and those standing for constitutional principles, it’s time for America to respond with a resounding, “No!”