CNN has drawn flak after it published a map of so-called "hate groups" based on data from the Southern Poverty Law Center which includes some Christian organizations.
According to SPLC, a hate group is one which has "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." CNN published a report featuring a map of hate groups that include Christian organizations, and a link to an explanation as to why those groups were included in the list.
Aside from some of the Christian organizations that made it to SPLC's list of hate groups, there were also anti-LGBT and black separatist organizations. The latter reportedly refers to groups that do not believe in interracial marriage and want a country exclusive for black people.
"Over the course of a year, we have a team of investigators that scours the internet for racist publications and real world activities to find out which groups exist, which groups are still active and which groups come along," said SPLC Hatewatch project senior investigative reporter Ryan Lenz.
CNN noted that the FBI does not monitor local hate groups, so SPLC's list was largely accepted. However, some Christian organizations have opposed their inclusion in the tally.
In a news release, Liberty Counsel called CNN's report a "fake news article" and slammed its inclusion in the SPLC list of hate groups as a reckless move. Liberty Counsel chairman and founder Mat Staver conveyed his shock that the publication would post a "false report" in the wake of the Charlottesville protests which took a deadly turn, Christian Broadcasting Network relayed.
Pacific Justice Institute's founder and president Brad Dacus also issued a press statement that vehemently opposed its inclusion in the list of hate groups. He said they have nothing in common with groups that spread violence, and that comparing its work with those of White Supremacists is simply unacceptable.
Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, on the other hand, simply called for a day of prayer to seek healing from God on the heels of the Charlottesville tragedy.