Mat Staver, the head of the anti-LGBTQ legal group Liberty Counsel, returned to his favorite analogy last week, saying that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling of his group as an anti-gay hate group is part of a persecution of Christians in America reminiscent of the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, and linked the removal of Confederate monuments throughout the country to a larger “civil war against our values” happening in the U.S.
Several years ago, the SPLC started adding anti-gay groups like Liberty Counsel to its lists of hate groups, noting that its decision to label these groups as hate groups was generally “based on their propagation of known falsehoods” about LGBTQ people and specifying that “[v]iewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” However, this has not stopped many of the anti-LGBTQ groups whom the SPLC has listed from claiming that they are merely on the list because of an opposition to marriage equality.
In an interview on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program on August 22, Staver said that SPLC knows that these anti-LGBTQ groups “are not violent organizations, they know that they are Christian organizations, and they know that they oppose any kind of hatred or violence. They just don’t agree with us on the issue of marriage.” (SPLC has never claimed that Liberty Counsel or its anti-LGBTQ allies are “violent organizations.”)
When the host of the program, Jim Schneider, asked how far the nation would let this sort of thing go, Staver issued a dire warning.
“I think that’s a question that everyone listening here needs to answer,” he said, “I think we’ve crossed the line and we can’t let this go any further. We’ve got to push back, it cannot happen like this. You know, if you go back into the 1930s, what ultimately happened back then with the Jewsand history, you know, there’s other histories you can point tobut they began to ultimately ban Jews from public employment, then ban Jews from their private employment, then put a Star of David on their ID and a Star of David on their passport, restrict their travel, restrict their income opportunity, and eventually you know what happened, we had to fight a World War II over that issue.”
(Speaking of travel restrictions, Staver went on the radio to defend President Trump’s travel ban for residents of several Muslim-majority nations earlier this year.)
Later in the interview, Staver lamented the “coarsening of discourse and a lack of morals and integrity” in American political debates, which he chalked up to “the erosion of our Judeo-Christian values” and what he claimed is intolerance of dissent.
“That is so much different than anything we’ve ever had before,” he said, “and continuing on this way, I think it’s almost, it’s like a civil war against our values, it’s a war against the very essence of who we are.”
He continued: “And there’s a number, like Antifa, that’s an anarchist group, they call themselves anarchists. I mean, an anarchist is somebody who wants to create anarchy, this is to just to completely destroy all the institutions. And you see this happening with the monuments. You know, I understand the concern people have against the Confederate monuments, I get all that, I understand that, I have a lot of people, a lot of friends that are affected by that. On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who say, Look, this is part of our history.’”
He added that “if we want to start taking down our history, our monuments, because certain people were not at the same level that we want them to be today” the only monuments that would remain would be those of Jesus Christ.