The number of hate groups in Missouri went down from 24 to 18, and in Kansas the number currently stands at just 4. The numbers are according to a recently released report by the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights litigation and is well known for its successful legal cases against white supremacist groups. It annually compiles a report on hate groups by using their publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports, according to the SPLC’s website.
While monitoring legitimate hate groups though, SPLC has also come under scrutiny for who it considers a hate group.
Few, if any, would consider D. James Kennedy Ministries of Fort Lauderdale a hate group. Kennedy had one of the most well-known and respected Christian ministries of the last 30 years and his Sunday morning telecast of services was a stable for millions.
The ministry filed a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against SPCC last August group. Other mainstream Christian groups are also on the hate group list, including Don Wildmon’s American Family Association, organizations that promote legal immigration and groups that support biblical definitions of marriage.
But for those fighting against the message of real hate groups, the news is encouraging. The report for 2017, released this month, pointed to some nationwide trends, which help to explain the decrease of hate groups in Missouri and Kansas.
According to the report, the Ku Klux Klan has been unable to adapt and its efforts reveal a “feeble online activism” and lack of a central organizational structure. But the report also alleges that the so-called alt-right movement has been siphoning off potential new recruits for the KKK. The report does not list antifa, which many consider one of the most dangerous hate groups in America. Anita regularly opposes all forms of Christianity and conservatives, especially when they are scheduled to speak on college campuses or other public spaces.
As for the KKK, the number of state and local KKK chapters nationwide decreased by 58 from 2016 to 2017, while the number in Missouri went from four to only one in the same period. Kansas does not have a KKK group.
Kansas’ most infamous hate group is Wesboro Church. The group is made up almost entirely of just one family and regularly protests anyone they find fault with, from funerals for fallen soldiers to Christian conferences and concerts.
–By Dwight Widaman