Conservative Group Gets Full Labeling Treatment at NYT, but Lefties at SPLC Merely 'Civil-Rights Group'

Atlanta-based New York Times reporter Kim Severson wrote Monday about Christian conservative backlash against a school program started by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center in which kids "are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to," "intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying." ("Seeing a Homosexual Agenda, a Christian Group Protests an Anti-Bullying Program.")

But while the American Family Association was tabled as "a conservative evangelical group" and "a Bible-based cultural watchdog organization," the lefties at SPLC, who go around labeling other nonprofits they disapprove of as "hate groups," get kinder labeling from Severson, who has promoted the group's propaganda before.

But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools” and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year.

The charges, raised in an e-mail to supporters earlier this month, have caused a handful of schools to cancel this year’s event and has caught organizers off guard.

“I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. “It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.”

The swirl around Mix It Up at Lunch Day reflects a deeper battle between the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group founded 41 years ago in Montgomery, Ala., and the American Family Association, a Bible-based cultural watchdog organization in Tupelo, Miss. The association says its mission is to fight what it calls the “increasing ungodliness” in America.

The law center recently added the group to its national list of active hate groups, which also includes neo-Nazis, black separatists and Holocaust deniers.

Association leaders, in return, have gone on the offensive, calling the law center a hate group for oppressing Christian students and claiming its aim is to shut down groups that oppose homosexuality.