The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has labeled Moms for Liberty as an anti-government extremist group and placed chapters of Moms for Liberty on its “Hate Map” alongside such organizations as the Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi groups.
Moms for Liberty is a nonprofit organization that began in 2021. The organization has opposed masking and COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools and has challenged the inclusion of racially-charged and sexually-charged material in public school libraries and curricula. Its members have led protests at school board meetings and endorsed their own candidates to lead such boards.
On Tuesday, the SPLC released its 2022 “Year in Hate and Extremism” report. In the report, the SPLC said Moms for Liberty and several other self-described parental rights groups are exhibiting tactics used by opponents of racial desegregation after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
“Galvanizing supporters around supposed ‘parental rights’ and ‘family values’ is nothing new—similar rallying cries were adopted by those who opposed school desegregation during the civil rights movement and by the Moral Majority of the 1980s,” SPLC report states.
“These political slogans have been used repeatedly because they are effective, framing the organizing of far-right activists as something done solely out of real concern for children. But Moms for Liberty activities make it clear that the group’s primary goals are to fuel right-wing hysteria and to make the world a less comfortable or safe place for certain students—primarily those who are Black, LGBTQ or who come from LGBTQ families.”
The SPLC cited examples of Moms for Liberty opposing the inclusion of critical race theory in school curricula.
The SPLC noted an example of a Tennessee chapter of Moms for Liberty that objected (pdf) to a portion of curriculum they said “implies to second grade children that people of color continue to be oppressed by an oppressive ‘angry, vicious, scary, mean, loud, violent, [rude], and [hateful]’ white population (Attachment 1 – Teacher’s Manual) and teaches that the racial injustice of the 1960s exists today.” Moms for Liberty argued that the nine-week stretch of instruction “focuses repeatedly and daily on very dark and divisive slivers of American history” without enough mention of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or prominent black figures like Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas and President Barack Obama.
The Moms for Liberty chapter also cited an example of a biracial child who felt ashamed of his white half and his white father after going through that particular stretch of the curriculum. The SPLC did not mention this aspect of the Moms for Liberty chapter’s curriculum complaint.
The SPLC also criticized Moms for Liberty for opposing books oriented toward the LGBT community, such as the book “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.
“Gender Queer” and others have been flagged for their graphic sexual depictions. In March, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended removing such titles as “Gender Queer,” “Flamer,” and “This Book is Gay” from public schools, saying the materials in those books were pornographic.
“Moms for Liberty has been at the forefront of the battle for book bans, which often includes labeling teachers and librarians who have books deemed inappropriate as groomers and also reading excerpts of books aloud without context at school board meetings to raise alarm in other parents,” the SPLC claimed.
The SPLC noted Moms for Liberty also partnered with Gays Against Groomers to host what the SPLC called an “anti-LGBTQ ‘Protect the Children’ rally” in Florida. Gays Against Groomers is an organization of gay individuals who have spoken out against what they’ve called a “trend of indoctrinating, sexualizing and medicalizing children under the guise of ‘LGBTQIA+'” acceptance.
“Just so everyone is clear, opposing pornography in children’s books is not anti-LGBTQ. It is insulting and disgusting that people try and say otherwise. Do not do this in our name. We do not consent,” Gays Against Groomers posted on Twitter Tuesday.
NTD reached out to Moms for Liberty for comment on being included on the SPLC’s hate map, but the organization did not respond by the time this article was published.
SPLC Being Sued Over ‘Hate’ Label
The SPLC is already facing a defamation lawsuit after describing another organization, the Dustin Inman Society (DIS), as an “anti-immigrant hate group.”
The Dustin Inman Society, which describes itself as an organization with a mission of “promoting the enforcement of immigration laws in the United States,” has argued that the SPLC’s description of their organization as a “hate group” is defamatory and exposes them to an increased risk of violent retribution.
In 2011, the SPLC allegedly told the Associated Press that the DIS did not belong on the “Hate Map” because DIS was pursuing its immigration policy objectives through the legal process rather than threats of violence or intimidation of immigrants.
“Because [DIS Founder and President D.A. King] is fighting, working on his legislation through the political process, that is not something we can quibble with, whether we like the law or not,” the SPLC announced in 2011, according to the DIS lawsuit.
In 2018, the SPLC reversed course and branded DIS as a hate group. The DIS complaint alleges the SPLC made no change to its criteria for labeling organizations as hate groups and the DIS hadn’t changed its behavior to warrant such labeling. The DIS instead claimed the SPLC decided to add the hate group label after coming out on the opposite side of a Georgia immigration bill.
“SPLC is not taking the posture of an opinion columnist or political pundit, but instead claims it has specialized knowledge of the groups it monitors, holding itself out as having the ability to conduct in depth investigations and offering expertise on the groups it monitors and to make factual determinations regarding the organizations it includes in the ‘hate map’, not mere opinion,” the DIS lawsuit alleges.
The DIS lawsuit also noted that organizations, such as the Family Research Center, have been attacked after being labeled a “hate group” by the SPLC. In 2012, a man entered the Family Research Center’s headquarters and shot 50 rounds, injuring a security guard.
The DIS lawsuit against the SPLC has survived a motion to dismiss and is moving forward in federal court.
NTD reached out to the SPLC for additional comment about its “hate map” designations, but the organization did not respond by the time this article was published.