AmazonSmile and GuildStar might want to reconsider using SPLC “hate group” designations.
Franklin Graham Facebook:
“A hate group? Can you believe this—The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, AL, has labeled a number of Christian groups such as D. James Kennedy Ministries, and the Family Research Council run by my good friend Tony Perkins as “hate” groups. Why? Simply because they hold to the teaching of God’s Word on moral issues such as homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
They even speak disparagingly against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who was born into a Muslim family in Somalia and bravely speaks out against the dangers and oppression of women in Islam. Because she dares to speak against what Islam has done to her and other women, she is being accused of hate speech! Incredible. As Kimberley Strassel said in the The Wall Street Journal, “If the SPLC doesn’t agree with your views, it tags you as a hater.” The SPLC has the funding of Apple CEO Tim Cook and financial giant J.P. Morgan, and is a media favorite. Who is the real hate group here?”
A venerable Christian ministry based in Fort Lauderdale recently saw its name listed on a CNN map of “all the active hate groups where you live,” as well as in local news reports as the No. 1 hate group in Florida.
D. James Kennedy Ministries shares sermons, devotionals, and religious liberty messages inspired by the late founder of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, a prominent Florida megachurch. In media coverage after Charlottesville, the Christian broadcaster was mapped alongside about 60 “hate groups” in the Sunshine State, using designations from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“Enough is enough,” said Frank Wright, president of D. James Kennedy Ministries, which filed a lawsuit against the SPLC on Wednesday. The organization also sued GuideStar and AmazonSmile for their use of the SPLC list…
The suit alleges that the ministry’s inclusion on the list of hate groups amounts to defamation—spreading false, harmful information—as well as a trademark violation, misrepresenting the ministry in order to drum up fundraising support. Wednesday’s filing made the same claims against the charity-research site GuideStar for promoting the SPLC designation, seeking an injunction against further use of the “hate group” label and damages from both organizations.
Wanting to call out “hateful rhetoric” during a “highly politicized moment,” GuideStar recently added the SPLC designations onto its profile pages—including for Christian nonprofits who stand for traditional marriage like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Liberty Counsel, the Family Research Council (FRC), and the American Family Association—then removed the hate labels after backlash in June. The controversy made many of these groups, their leaders, and their supporters even more upset over the prominence of the SPLC’s categorizations.
In its lawsuit, D. James Kennedy Ministries also alleges religious discrimination by Amazon’s charity partner program AmazonSmile, which makes a small donation to shoppers’ designated nonprofits. Since AmazonSmile uses the SPLC as one way to determine organizations’ eligibility, and the SPLC based its “anti-LGBT” designation on the ministry’s Christian convictions, the suit claims that D. James Kennedy Ministries was wrongly excluded from the program and possible donations due to its religious beliefs.
Part of their defense against calling opposition to same-sex marriage hateful comes from the US Supreme Court decision that made it legal. “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises,” the court wrote, “and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” (The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability quoted the same line in its response to GuideStar’s use of the hate group label for certain Christian organizations.)
Online: CT – D. James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC over Hate Map