Faith

Outrage: Amazon Drops Alliance Defending Freedom from Charitable Giving Program

Online retailer is somehow trusting the Southern Poverty Law Center for guidance on donations and 'hate groups'

It’s outrageous but not shocking that Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer –– based in liberal Seattle –– has dropped Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) from its charitable giving program, Amazon Smile.

ADF, a conservative nonprofit based in Scottsdale, Arizona, defends religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family, throughout the country and around the world.

On Thursday, Michael Farris, ADF’s president, CEO, and general counsel, expressed his dismay in a letter he sent to Amazon, criticizing the company’s decision to trust the opinions of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center.

“To justify removing ADF from the Amazon Smile program, Amazon is hiding behind the Southern Poverty Law Center, a discredited fundraising group that fills its ever-increasing coffers by attacking veterans, Catholics, Muslims who oppose terrorism, and even nuns,” said Farris.

“SPLC is not a neutral watchdog organization,” the letter continued. “Instead, it raises money by slandering people and organizations who disagree with its views. ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Amazon representatives to explain why they shouldn’t exclude us from the Amazon Smile program.”

Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the U.S. legal division of ADF, told LifeZette, “The program has benefited ADF, just as it does other charitable organizations. But the main point here is that Amazon should not be relying on a discredited propaganda machine like the SPLC when making decisions about who is eligible to participate in its program.”

Last summer, SPLC included ADF on its designated hate list — because when the hard Left does not like something, it labels that thing (or person, or group) a hater. It’s very simple.

To be sure, Farris is justified in his criticism toward SPLC, which was the subject of a blistering op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last June.

Entitled “The Insidious Influence of the SPLC,” the article noted that SPLC flagged the well-known and very trusted Washington-based Family Research Council (FRC) as a hate group. FRC, in its own words, “advances faith, family, and freedom in government and culture from a Christian worldview.”

Yet somehow this is unacceptable today.

“Aided by a veneer of objectivity, the SPLC has for years served as the media’s expert witness for evaluating ‘extremism’ and ‘hatred,'” opined the WSJ. “But while the SPLC rightly condemns groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Westboro Baptist Church, and New Black Panther Party, it has managed to blur the lines, besmirching mainstream groups like the FRC, as well as people such as social scientist Charles Murray and Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islamic extremism.”

“Here’s the thing,” added Farris in the letter to Amazon. “SPLC did good work many years ago, but it has since devolved into a propaganda machine dedicated to crushing dissent. It does this by labeling anything they disagree with as ‘hate’ — even if those beliefs are widely held and constitutionally protected, as ours — and those of our clients and supporters — most certainly are.”

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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