The Southern Poverty Law Center has delivered a write-up on Become Who We Are. It isn’t all that bad, at least in comparison with some the SPLC’s smears of the past. But some corrections need to be made.
First, in commenting on the youthfulness of the audience, the SPLC estimates that we had 120 attendees. The actual tally was 172. Some 55 people purchased discounted Millennial tickets (for those who are 30 years old and younger). At the beginning of the conference, when I asked for those who are 30 and under to stand and be recognized, it seemed like a third to a half of the crowd jumped to their feet. I feel old.
Another theme the SPLC stressed was that the conference was “LGBT friendly.”
[I]n a move not normal in these circles, anti-gay voices were kept away. White nationalist Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) was disinvited. According to his close friend Scott Terry, Heimbach was “booted” from the NPI conference for his anti-gay views.
In hosting an event of this size, we have to make many decisions regarding personnel and attendees. These are private matters and will remain so.
I will comment, however, about a general principle we try to adhere to in making such decisions.
Our conferences will include people who hold many different views on religious, social, sexual, historical, and political matters. We do not exclude anyone for, say, being a Buddhist, Pagan, Catholic, or atheist, or for being passionate about gay issues or thinking that they are not important. We hope that such questions can be discussed respectfully at our conferences.
NPI will, however, exclude those who show reckless disregard with the media, or those who’ve made morally indefensible public statements. Such people make our movement look bad. We choose not to grant them a platform. It’s as simple as that.