Michigan’s lesbian attorney general and the state’s Department of Civil Rights director are investigating organizations the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has deemed “hate groups.” One such group in their state is Catholic news service Church Militant, which reports on clerical sexual misdeeds and advocates adherence to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The SPLC has labeled Church Militant “anti-LGBT.” The law center lumps pro-life, pro-marriage, and Christian organizations in with neo-Nazis and the KKK as “hate groups.” Its “hate map” inspired a man to attempt a shooting rampage at the Family Research Council’s headquarters in 2012, the first incident of armed domestic terrorism in Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Dana Nessel and Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin V. Arbulu say they are responding to the SPLC’s annual “hate map” report. They claim that the SPLC has documented an increase of “active extremist and hate organizations in Michigan.”
According to Arbulu, his department is “creating a process to document hate and bias incidents that don’t rise to the level of a crime or civil infraction.” This may mean documenting the groups’ activities and members. Critics fear that the database amounts to a political enemies list.
“Hate cannot continue to flourish in our state,” Nessel said in a February 22 statement. She added that she is creating a hate-crimes unit to “fight against hate crimes and the many hate groups which have been allowed to proliferate in our state.”
In an opinion piece for the Detroit News, Nolan Finley warned that this new effort “has the real potential to morph into thought policing.”
“If what Nessel and Arbulu are targeting are words, thoughts and opinions, this could easily become a weapon to shut down groups they find abhorrent, but are operating within the law,” he wrote.