Last week D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), a Christian-based missionary ministry based in Florida, filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Amazon after being added to the SPLC's list of "hate groups" and excluded from Amazon's charitable donation program, Amazon Smile. Apparently, at least in the SPLC's estimation, verbally expressing a religously-based opposition to same-sex marriage and transgenerism is enough to get yourself labeled an "Anti-LGBT hate group." Per PJ Media:
"We embarked today on a journey to right a terrible wrong," Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO at DJKM, said in a statement Tuesday. "Those who knowingly label Christian ministries as 'hate' groups, solely for subscribing to the historic Christian faith, are either woefully uninformed or willfully deceitful. In the case of the Southern Poverty Law Center, our lawsuit alleges the latter."
The SPLC has labeled DJKM an "anti-LGBT hate group" for its opposition to same-sex marriage and transgenderism. "These false and illegal characterizations have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and on religious free speech for all people of faith," Wright declared.
"After having given the SPLC an opportunity to retract, we have undertaken this legal action, seeking a trial by a jury of our peers, to preserve our own rights under the law and to defend the religious free speech rights of all Americans," the DJKM president concluded.
The lawsuit laid out charges against the SPLC, GuideStar, and Amazon. "SPLC acted knowingly, intentionally, and with actual malice in publishing the Hate Map that included the Ministry and in publishing the SPLC Transmissions to GuideStar that included the ministry," the suit alleged. "SPLC's conduct in making these publications was beyond the reckless disregard for the truth standard required by Alabama law for punitive damages."
Of course, given that "same-sex marriage and transgenderism" generally do not comport with the views of most religious entities, it's unclear exactly how/why all churches, mosques and synagogues in the U.S. managed to avoid being added the SPLC's list...maybe DJKM just got lucky?
In all, the SPLC says there are 917 "hate groups" in the United States which they divvy up into the following categories:
- Black Separatist
- Christian Indentity
- General Hate
- Hate Music
- Holocaust Denial
- Racist Skinhead
- Radical Traditional Catholocism
- White Nationalist
Only in the U.S. can a peaceful Christian group end up on a "hate" list with "Neo-Nazis" and the "KKK". Be that as it may, here is where the SPLC says the "hate groups" of America are located (click here for an interactive version of the map).
Among other things, DJKM's lawsuit alleges that SPLC's "hate group" designation has prevented them from being added to Amazon's charitable registry.
In early January of this year, a DJKM employee attempted to register the ministry with AmazonSmile, but was denied after multiple attempts. The program made clear, "We rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which charities are in ineligible categories," and explained that DJKM was listed as ineligible.
AmazonSmile support also noted that they "rely on GuideStar to send us information from the IRS," and that GuideStar's automated feed included the "hate" designation from the SPLC.
AmazonSmile's eligibility requirements exclude organizations that "engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities," none of which DJKM engages in, the lawsuit argued.
Meanwhile, not that it matters because it's just a silly little fact, the 2015 Supreme court decision that legalized same-sex marriage specifically found that "religious based opposition to same-sex marriage and the homosexual agenda is not hate speech"...but what does SCOTUS know about laws anyway?
But the lawsuit quoted Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in the 2015 case which legalized same-sex marriage wrote, "Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here."
"Therefore, as a matter of law, religious based opposition to same-sex marriage and the homosexual agenda is not hate speech, but rather is a position that the U.S. Supreme Court has labeled 'decent and honorable,'" the suit explained.
"Because the Ministry's position on 'LGBT' issues is inextricably intertwined and connected to the Ministry's religious theology, and because SPLC and GuideStar have declared the ministry to be a Hate Group due to the Ministry's stand on LGBT issues, what occurred here is that SPLC and GuideStar have discriminated against the Ministry because of its ... religious beliefs."
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has embraced, without question, the SPLC's list of "hate groups" with CNN publishing their map earlier this month. Meanwhile, Apple pledged to donate $2 million to the SPLC and Anti-Degamation League in the wake of the Charlottesville attack.
Here is DJKM's President Dr. Frank Wright discussing the lawsuit on Fox News:
Oddly, we didn't see any mention of AntiFa groups on SPLC's map...