Minnesota senator and former SNL funny man Al Franken recently referred to the pro-life organization Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group.”
LifeNews reports that during a confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, the Notre Dame law professor who was subjected to a religious litmus test by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein last week, Franken questioned Barrett’s association with Alliance Defending Freedom, which he referred to as a “hate group.” He cited the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as his source: the SPLC has called the ADF an “anti-LGBT hate group” because it supports traditional marriage.
Franken accused Barrett of being “irresponsible” and using “bad judgment” for accepting an opportunity to teach as part of a fellowship program with ADF before properly vetting their “hate group” status.
“I mean, this is a group that fights against equal treatment of LGBT people; this is a group which calls for the sterilization of transgender people abroad,” Franken falsely asserted.
ADF spokeswoman Kerri Kupec debunked this smear tactic in an interview with The Daily Signal, saying that Franken simply repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center’s slander against ADF’s international affiliate and that they would “never condone government-compelled sterilization, as he alleged.”
“I question your judgment,” Franken said. “The root word of judgment is a judge.”
“I gather that the SPLC’s designation of ADF as a hate group is controversial,” Barrett shot back. “I didn’t learn about that until more recently. But, again, that was not my experience with the Blackstone program.”
The ADF has since shot back against Franken castigating them as a “hate group.” Michael Farris, president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a press release, “it is deeply regrettable that Sen. Franken is misinformed about our work on behalf of religious freedom.”
“There is a real danger of conflating genuine hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, with mainstream religious beliefs that are shared by millions of Americans and people from all walks of life across the world,” he said, adding, “As a member of Congress, Sen. Franken needs to fact-check before parroting discredited attacks by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-proud civil rights organization that is now a left-wing smear machine known to incite violence.”
Labeling such organizations as a hate group has incited violence in the past. In 2012, a gunman nearly massacred members of the Family Research Council in Washington after the SPLC designated them a hate group for promoting traditional moral values, placing them alongside the KKK. The SPLC also put former Presidential candidate Ben Carson on their hate list for some bizarre reason until backlash forced them to take it down.