The hate crimes witch hunt continues throughout the nation. Now, Michigan’s governor has joined the part relying on the utterly discredited SPLC to tell her what “hate groups” she should most fear in her state.
By Mark Anderson
Elected in 2018, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has put together a “hate crimes unit” that compiles data and mainly targets those accused of committing so-called hate crimes against “the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer] community.” She’s heavily relying on the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to help her office define which groups are “hate” groups. The intent, according to both government and media sources, is to increase the documentation and prosecution of hate crimes while also targeting “incidents” of hate.
Ms. Nessel is a married lesbian and former Wayne County assistant prosecutor who’s working with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in this crusade. She is using SPLC data to focus on a particular region of Michigan where, it’s alleged, there’s a stronger-than-usual concentration of “hate” organizations.
“These groups range in the ideological extremes from anti-Muslim, to anti-LGBT, to black nationalist and white nationalists,” Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu said in an official statement, which added that the lower peninsula’s “thumb” area is seen as a hotbed of supposed hate.
“Particularly of concern, over one half of the  identified groups are located east of U.S.-23 between Flint and Ann Arbor,” Arbulu specified. Yet, this crusade goes even further. Arbulu’s department, in coordination with the attorney general’s office, is going so far as to create “a process to document hate and bias incidents that don’t rise to the level of a crime or civil infraction,” as noted in The Detroit News.
In other words, something as harmless as philosophically or politically disagreeing with certain “minority” groups deemed worthy of extra protection by the state is being monitored and logged. This means that Michigan is trying to discredit, pathologize, and potentially criminalize certain beliefs, primarily if not solely conservative, constitutionalist, or Christian beliefs. In due course, this could result in a “thought crimes” dragnet.
The SPLC—whose scandal-ridden founder, Morris Dees, was recently fired and whose overall leadership is mired in corruption, as detailed in AFP’s last two editions—claims Michigan is home to 31 hate and extremist organizations—which is “an uptick from the 28 [the SPLC] reported in 2017,” according to The Detroit News.
Ms. Nessel’s office announced that “active hate and extremist groups in Michigan” from 2017 to 2018 had increased “by more than 6%.” Two of the 31 accused Michigan groups are the American Freedom Law Center in Ann Arbor, accused of being anti-Muslim, and the Church Militant/ St. Michael’s Media in Ferndale, labeled as being “hateful” of LGBTQ people.
In correspondence with this writer, St. Michael’s Media spokesperson Christine Niles responded: “Church Militant categorically rejects the label of ‘hate group’ imposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical leftist outfit whose aim seems to have morphed into attacking prolife, pro-family organizations. We are deeply concerned that the Michigan attorney general’s office is launching its hate crimes task force using the SPLC’s list to investigate groups like ours.”
In a news release, the American Freedom Law Center announced it has filed a civil rights lawsuit “accusing Michigan of roundabout discrimination” in this matter. The law center is “going after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and state Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu” because they are “waging an unjust crusade against the law center.”
Michigan, adds the complaint, “is unfairly targeting the law center due to its inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of local hate groups.”
The American Freedom Law Center says its mission “is to fight for faith and freedom through litigation, education, and public policy programs. The strength of our nation lies in its commitment to a Judeo-Christian heritage and moral foundation and to an enduring faith and trust in God and His Providence.”
Other groups among the 31 named by the SPLC are: American Guard (statewide, “general hate”), The Creativity Movement (statewide, “Neo Nazi”), the Daily Stormer (statewide, “Neo-Nazi”), and the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas (Clinton Township, “White Nationalist”).
Bill Mohr, chairman of the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party (a.k.a. Constitution Party), remarked that the attorney general’s crusade “is not receiving the kind of news coverage that it deserves.” He added that newly elected Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) “issued an executive order forbidding any discrimination against the LGBTQ crowd.”
Mohr told this writer he has been contacting state Sen. Eric Nesbitt (R), among others, “to try and get even one senator to disavow or counteract the executive order,” but to no avail, as of this writing.
Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].