We all remember the rhyme "sticks and stones," and those of us in the pro-family movement are certainly used to being called just about every name in the book. So the recent attack by the far left Southern Poverty Law Center (see Christianity Today) on Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage certainly doesn’t bother me — but it does reflect the desperation of the far left. Unfortunately, SPLC and other leftist organizations have gone as far as urge that pro-family spokespersons, such as the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, be denied the opportunity to be guests on national news programs. In response to the SPLC's labeling of pro-family organizations and leaders as "hate groups," The Family Foundation has joined with nearly 150 other national and state organizations to denounce the SPLC's attack and call for a civil debate on the merits of the issues.

Name-calling reveals a lack of strength and character — and of valid arguments. By dismissing debate and dialogue, SPLC and its liberal funders simply are avoiding having their assumptions challenged.

The Family Foundation and the other pro-family groups that have signed on to the response welcome the debate. We have the truth, the facts, on our side. To read more about the response, go to startdebatingstophating.com. You also can sign onto the response at that site (and share this link to encourage others to do so).

We are proud of our association with Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund and the other nearly 40 Family Policy Councils around the country! It is indeed sad that the divisions in our country have brought us to the point where believing that marriage as we have always known it — between a man and a woman — is viewed as hateful. It is even more distressing that there are organizations working, literally, to silence voices that carry the pro-family, pro-life message.

We are blessed with tens of thousands of people across Virginia who support The Family Foundation and our pro-family message! You and I know that our principles, our values, make society stronger and more stable. That is a message that will not be silenced!