ORLANDO, Fla. – Now a religious rights group says even the terms "Merry Christmas" and "Jesus" are appearing on the SPLC's " monitoring hate" hashtags list.
● #merrychristmas comes in at number two.
● #jesus ranks number eight.
● Even #christmaseve made the list, coming in at number five.
Liberty Counsel is an Orlando-based non-profit legal organization that's long been on the SPLC's hate groups list.
"The SPLC's idea that 'Merry Christmas' is a hateful, violent slur shows how far out of touch it is from reality," Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said.
In the past, SPLC targeted groups that fought against civil rights or advocated violence, but in recent years it's included organizations that don't go along with the SPLC's "politically correct" or more liberal views, declaring them hate groups guilty of hate speech.
"When the SPLC confuses a cheerful 'Merry Christmas' with an obscenity-laced rant threatening harm to a group of people, it loses all credibility," Staver charged.
CBN News has asked the SPLC for their reaction to Staver's statement, but they have not responded to our inquiry.
Supporters of the SPLC suggest the organization wasn't itself adding "Merry Christmas" or "Jesus" to its hashtags hate list. They insist the SPLC was just keeping a tally of the hashtags that appear most often in the writings of groups on the hate list. They point out it's not all that strange that #merrychristmas and #jesus would suddenly appear more frequently around the Christmas holiday.
Despite what Liberty Counsel and others see as SPLC's turn from objective analysis to partisan targeting of conservative and Christian groups, its findings are still quoted and cited frequently in the mainstream media.
As for Liberty Counsel, Staver insisted it's not a hate group and hates no one.
"We believe that every person is created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect," he said. "In direct opposition to the SPLC's false campaign, Liberty Counsel believes in reaching out with kindness and truth to all Americans."