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Why would anybody accuse 13 Christian organizations, including the American Family Association and Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, of practicing “hate?”

Why would anybody apply intense pressure this weekend until TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie apologized publicly for having anything to do with Focus on the Family?

What’s going on?

Could the intent be to smear and silence some of the most effective Christian ministries in America? To blacken their names because they have dared to speak out in the political battle over same-sex marriage?

When a smear campaign against the Family Research Council began last year, it was immediately denounced by Speaker of the House John Boehner and 150 other national leaders, including 24 members of Congress.

Those denouncing the smear against FRC included former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Secretary of Education and bestselling author William Bennett, Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, chief executive officer of Concerned Women for America Penny Nance, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical Association and Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Richard Land.

That time the smear was led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which for years has pursued anti-discrimination cases. It received considerable well-deserved publicity for suing the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

However, the SPLC in recent years has taken up the same-sex marriage cause and the battle against “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military.

In late December 2010, the center advised the national press to shun 13 Christian groups because they were hate groups. Among the groups smeared were the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition. The smaller groups included Abiding Truth Ministries of Springfield, Massachusetts; the Chalcedon Foundation of Vallecito, California; and the Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, Arizona.

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