Amazon Smile continues to deny admission to Christian organizations that support traditional marriage and religious freedom, opting instead to place them on a proverbial naughty list by recommendation of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Amazon Smile allows customers who sign up to have 0.5% of their purchases donated to their favorite charity. Organizations on SPLC’s “designated hate groups” list, however, are barred from registering, according to Amazon’s website.
SPLC calls itself the “premier” organization that monitors what it describes as “domestic hate groups” and “extremists.” On its website, the SPLC regularly updates the list of hate groups that include neo-Nazis, the KKK, the Nation of Islam and pro-religious freedom organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Ruth Institute (RI) and the Family Research Center (FRC).
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ADF and the RI were rejected by Amazon Smile after being added to SPLC’s hate group list in 2016 and have remained on the list ever since. The SPLC directed the Daily Caller News Foundation to its website when asked how they determine who is assigned the “designated hate group” label.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization or collection of individuals that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” SPLC states. “An organization does not need to have engaged in criminal conduct or have followed their speech with actual unlawful action to be labeled a hate group.”
The SPLC accuses ADF of supporting sterilization for transgender people, likening LGBTQ individuals to pedophiles and claims that the Christian organization seeks to criminalize LGBTQ sexual behavior. ADF resoundingly denies all of the accusations and has a part of its website dedicated to combating SPLC’s claims.
“ADF is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting free speech, religious freedom, parental rights, and the sanctity of life and the family,” ADF states. “And we work every day to build a society where life is cherished and protected and everyone can freely share their ideas, exercise their faith, and live together peacefully despite different beliefs, opinions, and backgrounds.”
The Ruth Institute is described as a “vehicle for spreading the Catholic right-wing Gospel” and an anti-LGBTQ group. Jennifer Morse, RI’s founder, has also denied the allegations but refused to back down on her organization’s mission.
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“The Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love,” Morse said on RI’s website. “If fighting sex abuse, pornography, and divorce makes us a hate group, so be it.”
Despite this, on Amazon’s current nice list are the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation (BLM) and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF). BLM condoned hundreds of riots in 2020 that resulted in millions of dollars worth of damages and 24 deaths.
BLM also has a history of encouraging and endorsing antisemitic ideas and causes such as when former director Patrisse Cullors told Harvard law students in 2015 to rise against the “imperialist project called Israel” and said the Jewish state needed to be “brought to an end,” according to the New York Post. On the organization’s Twitter page it states that the BLM movement is “committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms” when speaking about the Palestine conflict with Israel.
TLDEF is a nonprofit that provides legal aid and educational resources to individuals who identify as transgender. TLDEF openly states on its website that they advocate and defend the rights of minors to obtain surgeries like a double mastectomy to medically transition, yet, SPLC does not label the organization as extreme and TLDEF is allowed to have a profile on Amazon Smile.
ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco told the DCNF even though Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged to Congress in 2020 that it is an “imperfect system” and he would “like a better source if [he] can get it,” ADF has continued to be wrongly labeled as a hate group.
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“By continuing to depend on the SPLC’s own biased and ideologically-driven definition of ‘hate group’—which one former SPLC employee rightly described as part of a ‘highly profitable scam’ aimed at ‘bilking gullible Northern liberals’—Mr. Bezos and Amazon are depriving Americans of their ability to choose which causes they want their hard-earned dollar to support,” Tedesco stated. “That’s wrong, and Amazon should take tangible steps to restore a culture of charitable choice in its giving program.”
FRC is listed as another hate group by SPLC for its supposed anti-LGBTQ ideology. Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of FRC, told the DNCF that the Christian organization hates no one.
“First of all, make no mistake, we are a Christian organization,” Boykin said. “We work public policy but we also take a position on the social issues, which many people want to avoid today, we don’t hate anybody.”
Boykin explained that while FRC has not applied for Amazon Smile, being branded a “hate group” since 2010 has had real-world consequences for their organization.
“We had an LGBTQ activist walk in our building and shoot our building manager because he found us listed as a hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, so he came in and shot our building manager,” Boykin explained. “And we’ve never heard anything from SPLC as a result of that.”
Boykin was referring to Floyd Lee Corkins, II who walked into FRC in August 2012 and shot the security guard because of the “organization’s policies” and was later arrested, according to a 2013 press release by the U.S. District of Columbia’s Attorney’s Office. Corkins was later sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted on charges of terrorism, “assault with intent to kill while armed” and “interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition.”
ADF’s website points to money as the real motivating factor behind the hate groups list. The SPLC continues to push its own brand of hatred towards Christians and conservatives because “the more ‘hate’ they could gin up, the more money they could raise,” according to ADF.
Boykin echoed ADF’s statement, “the whole thing is totally illegitimate, but its a money-raising thing for [SPLC] and they are a money-making machine.”
Amazon, BLM, TLDEF and Bezos did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Cullors could not be reached for comment.