The Southern Poverty Law Center has included likely 2016 presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson in its "Extremist Files."
According to Carson's page on the SPLC's website, the retired neurosurgeon is included in the list because of his opposition to gay marriage.
The "Extremist Files" includes other people listed because they are "Anti-LGBT" or are members of the "Patriot Movement." It includes people such as Louisiana politician David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, as well as number KKK members, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, Christian identity advocates and skinheads.
The SPLC says that after Carson made a speech condemning the Affordable Care Act at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, he soon "was appearing as the keynoter at a rash of right-wing and hate group gatherings, linking gays with pedophiles, comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany and endorsing biblical economic practices for 21st century America."
It uses a set of quotes to back up its claims, including:
- "Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition." — Interview on Fox News’ "Hannity," March 26, 2013
- "[I]f we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire." — "America the Beautiful: Resdiscovering What Made This Nation Great," 2012 book written with Candy Carlson
- "Obamacare is really the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And … in a way, it is slavery." — Values Voter Summit, Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, 2013
- "I mean [our government and institutions] are very much like Nazi Germany. … You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they really believe." — Quoted by Breitbart News, March 12, 2014
- "What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up by Bible, you know what I see? I see the first individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe." —Endorsing a flat tax for all Americans, White House Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 7, 2013
The SPLC, based in Montgomery, Alabama, describes itself as a civil rights organization, and includes on its "Hate Map" what many on the right consider to be simply conservative groups, including the Family Research Council.
That group was targeted by a gunman in August 2012 who found the group through the SPLC's "Hate Map." He had intended to shoot people and throw Chik-Fil-A sandwiches on them because of their opposition to gay marriage. He shot a guard, who then subdued him.
The conservative Washington Examiner
reported in March 2014 that the FBI had severed ties with the SPLC, but liberal Media Matters for America http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/03/27/no-the-fbi-hasnt-ditched-the-southern-poverty-l/198645 denied that, saying that the FBI had merely stopped listing non-governmental groups on its website.
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