Reports on August 24th, 2017 state that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was sued by a conservative Christian group for defamation. The group claims that the Southern Poverty Law Center defamed them by placing the ministry on its hate map for its views on anti-LGBT.
Not only does the federal law suit by Fort Lauderdale target SPLC, but also Amazon for the exclusion of the group from its AmazonSmile charity partner program and Guidestar USA for incorporating what it termed misleading information into its nonprofit database.
Through AmazonSmile, shoppers on Amazon can donate 0.5 percent of the cost of eligible purchases to charity for worthy causes. The donations can be made to any organization in a select list of organizations on the online shopping platform.
The Florida based Coral Ridge ministry is also known as D. James Kennedy Ministry, and it claims in the suit that the hate group designation deterred the ministries reputation amounting to defamation.
“We embarked today on a journey to right a terrible wrong,” remarked the president and CEO at D. James Kennedy ministries, Dr. Frank Wright. He further adds, “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 ministry further claimed that its exclusion from the AmazonSmile program amounted to religious discrimination and this violated public accommodation provisions of the Civil Rights Act. The hate designation is claimed to violate trademark law because it is a wrong and misleading description of the ministry’s services in association with its trademark name.
“These false and illegal characterizations have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and religious free speech for all people of faith,” remarked President Wright. The CEO further added, “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 rights under the law and to defend the religious free speech rights of all Americans.”