Indiana born, Bill Gaither has become an unmistakable gospel music icon with numerous awards but in 2000 he and his wife Gloria, were named the Gospel Songwriters of the Century by the American Society of Composers and Performers. Bill’s real success has little to do with awards. His success can be estimated only by those he has inspired, encouraged and pointed or re-pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ through his music.
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SPLC made a name for itself by suing the Ku Klux Klan. After taking out this repulsive organization, and making millions in the process, it seems SPLC had to find new bogeymen to keep its crusading leadership in caviar.
The group is still playing the race card – linking anyone to the right of Arlen Specter with racism, extremism, militarism, hate, anti-immigrant vigilantism and, perhaps worst of all on the Morris Dees scale, "so-called patriot groups."
Enemies of SPLC include the tea-party movement, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Michele Bachmann, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Paul Broun and me. I seem to make it into every one of the group's screeds, I'm honored to say.
Who is the SPLC? I think Reason writer Jesse Walker may have said it best last month when he wrote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center … would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds."
The SPLC's stock-in-trade is raising hundreds of millions of dollars through fanning the flames of phantom threats posed almost exclusively by those who love America and its Constitution. He also files lots of lawsuits, sometimes even on behalf of real victims of racism, and pockets most of the money raised through heart-wrenching direct-mail pitches.
The most famous example was a judgment he won for a black woman whose son was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. While Dees and company raised $9 million sending out solicitation letters featuring a gruesome picture of the victim, the mom received a total of $51,875 in the settlement. Dees pays himself more than $280,000 a year from the "charity."
Do you get the picture?
Nevertheless, sadly, Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center get plenty of ink and face time in the Old Media. Their reports are peddled like cheap wine at a frat-house party in venues like PMSNBC and the Old York Times.
But it's not like these people don't have wealthy, influential and powerful friends listening to them. More than a few noted the striking similarities between the over-the-top rhetoric of SPLC and that infamous Department of Homeland Security report that warned about how pro-lifers and returning veterans represented threats to the republic.
It's not surprising the group seized on the tea-party movement, the most potent grass-roots political uprising in my lifetime. Fear-mongering is what the SPLC is all about – and turning it into a profit center.
So where's the big payoff for all the name-calling?
After all, even many on the left side of the political spectrum have criticized SPLC for a bark much worse than its bite. Only a tiny percentage of its huge bank account ever goes to filing litigation. More goes to fundraising.
Yet, that hasn't deterred some pretty big names in the world of left-leaning foundations from opening up their coffers with generous grants. They include:
the Arcus Foundation,
the Baltimore Community Foundation,
the Cisco Systems Foundation,
the Cleveland Foundation,
the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation,
the Columbus Foundation and Affiliated Organizations,
the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan,
the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region,
Community Foundation (Silicon Valley),
the Cushman Family Foundation,
the Dibner Fund,
the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation,
the Ford Foundation,
the Edward and Verna Gerbic Family Foundation,
the Jackson and Irene Golden 1989 Charitable Trust,
the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund,
the Grove Foundation,
the J.M. Kaplan Fund,
the J.P Morgan Chase Foundation,
the Kaplen Foundation,
George Soros' Open Society Institute,
the Albert Parvin Foundation,
the Picower Foundation,
the Jay Pritzker Foundation,
the Louis and Harold Price Foundation,
the Public Welfare Foundation,
the Raine and Stanley Silverstein Family Foundation,
the Spiegel Foundation,
the State Street Foundation,
the Steinberg Charitable Trust,
the Vanguard Public Foundation.
If you're reading this, chances are good the Southern Poverty Law Center sees you as a racist, militant, extremist, gun-toting, hate-mongering, anti-government patriot.
But, don't worry. Look who's doing the name-calling! Wear those insults as a badge of honor.