Real haters of Sacramento
Southern Poverty Law Center calls out Save California for rhetoric
Hate is a pretty strong word, but there seems to be a lot of it in Sacramento.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group that has been working to defend the rights of minorities and stop violence based on prejudice for more than four decades, lists 84 hate groups in California. Eight of them are in Sacramento, and the latest to be included is also the city’s first anti-gay hate group.
What did Save California, a group supposedly devoted to family values, and its president, Randy Thomasson, do to get on the SPLC’s hate-group list?
According to Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, Save California has lied about gay people. A lot.
“In order to make the list as an anti-gay group, the group has to lie, defame or spread false propaganda about the LGBT community,” Beirich told SN&R.
“In this case, language that depicts LGBT people as predatory, attempting to convert children and as having unhealthy lifestyles—all of those things—are what got him on the list.”
Beirich noted that such language about an entire group “increases the likelihood of hate crimes being directed at that group.”
Each year, the SPLC updates its list of active “hate groups” in the United States. And white-supremacist and racist-skinhead groups that have long resided in Sacramento are on that list. Among them is the American Front, a white-supremacist group whose leader, David Lynch, was shot to death at his home in Citrus Heights last year.
Sacramento also has active members in the American Aryan Reich, European Americans United and the National Alliance, all of which fall into the white-supremacist or white-power category, as does North Highlands’ Life Rune Industries/Heathen Noise Productions, which produces white-supremacist music.
The Nation of Islam, a black nationalist religious group, has some Sacramento membership, and is included on the list because of what SPLC calls “the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders.”
As-Sabiqun, an Islamic nationalist group with strong anti-Semitic leanings, also has some active members in Sacramento, according to SPLC.
But Save California, the list’s newest addition, is Sacramento’s only anti-gay hate group.
Save California, which has also operated under the names Save America, Rescue Your Child and the Campaign for Children and Families, lists as its address a box at the central post office in downtown Sacramento. Its phone number is directed to an answering machine, and all requests for press and interviews are funneled through a booking agency. Repeated attempts to reach Thomasson or any spokesperson for Save California were unsuccessful.
So, what would Save California—and more specifically Thomasson, who is the only paid employee of the group, according to tax records—have to do to be removed from SPLC’s list of hate groups?
It’s pretty simple, according to Beirich. “He’d have to stop lying” about LGBT people, she said, and renounce his previous defamatory statements.