47 prominent conservative leaders and organizations have released an open letter to the news media calling on journalists to stop using data on "hate groups" compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The letter condemns the SPLC as a "discredited, left-wing political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a 'hate group' label of its own invention."
D. James Kennedy Ministries is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center after it was added to the SPLC's infamous "hate map" which purports to identify hate groups in the United States.
The hate map also includes other Christian organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council alongside racist groups like Aryan Nation.
SPLC's former spokesman Mark Potok was reported to have said in an interview that the SPLC's criteria for a hate group has "nothing to do with criminality or violence...It's strictly ideological."
Potok added, "We're trying to wreck the groups. We're trying to destroy them."
The conservatives' open letter to the media also accuses the SPLC of having endangered conservatives' lives.
Five years ago, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C. and shot and badly wounded its building manager,
Leo Johnson, who stopped his intended killing spree. The U.S. Attorney stated in federal court that Corkins targeted FRC by using the SPLC website's "Hate Map."
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins said the "SPLC isn't the answer to America's racial divide or its deep political rifts, it's the accelerant that is driving the divide. The media is an industry built on reliable sources. It should stop treating SPLC as one of them."