In 1995, Amazon.com launched and grew quickly, boasting over 180,000 customer accounts by December 1996. What started as an online marketplace for books later evolved into the largest ecommerce site in the world.
Amazon is ubiquitous. We’ve probably all used it at some point.
So in 2013, it made good business sense for Amazon to expand its customer benefits and offer to donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price of eligible items bought through their AmazonSmile program to a favorite charity of the customer’s choice.
AmazonSmile has largely been a successful program—but it has one big glitch.
Amazon uses the “hate group” list of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a discredited and politically motivated organization, to decide which groups to exclude from the program. That may sound harmless at first, but if you take a closer look at the organizations barred from participating in AmazonSmile, it’s obvious that the SPLC—itself a recipient of AmazonSmile donations—has an axe to grind against conservatives and people of faith.
Amazon boasts over one million charities participating in AmazonSmile. But because it relies on the SPLC as its gatekeeper, you’ll find some mainstream religious and conservative organizations missing from Amazon’s list. That’s because the SPLC absurdly labels these faith-based and family-oriented 501(c)(3) organizations as “hate groups,” lumping them together with truly despicable outfits like the Ku Klux Klan.
Among those unfairly targeted by the SPLC—and excluded from AmazonSmile as a result—is the Family Research Council (FRC), a faith-based group dedicated to protecting the family and advancing pro-life policies. Because the FRC believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that biological sex cannot be changed, they’re branded as haters by the SPLC and banned from AmazonSmile. (Exclusion from AmazonSmile is just one of many costly, and even life-threatening consequences the SPLC’s “hate group” smear has caused the FRC over the years.)
Amazon customers like you are also kept from designating the Ruth Institute as an organization worthy of their dollars. The SPLC denigrates the Ruth Institute as “a vehicle for spreading the Catholic right-wing Gospel” and an “organization aimed at halting the ‘sexual revolution.’” In summary, the SPLC has deemed the Ruth Institute as hateful merely for its belief that children are best raised in strong and loving families with a mother and a father. The Ruth Institute also provides counsel and resources to those “harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.” That the SPLC would list the Ruth Institute as a “hate group” is evidence of the SPLC’s discrimination toward people of faith and traditional values.
Alliance Defending Freedom is similarly blacklisted by the SPLC as a “hate group,” which caused Amazon to remove us from its AmazonSmile program. But ADF works to preserve the fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience, and we’ve won 11 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2011.
Gatekeeping Public Opinion
While ADF is one of the nation’s most successful and respected legal organizations, the SPLC is highly discredited with its long record of internal corruption and hypocrisy. This has been reported on by multiple publications and media outlets. Even Twitter and Facebook have distanced themselves from the SPLC.
Meanwhile, AmazonSmile members can freely give to the SPLC and groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, whose missions align with its far-left agenda. Confronted with the SPLC’s fundamental dishonesty and incompetence at a congressional hearing this summer, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he would “love suggestions on better or additional sources”—a welcomed sign for Amazon customers who want their purchases to help fuel the causes they believe in.
Until it stops relying on the SPLC’s “hate group” list, Amazon is discriminating against its own customers.
What You Can Do
Are you an Amazon customer or investor? Your voice is important! You can stand up to the SPLC’s control of AmazonSmile quickly and easily by signing this petition today.
Downtown Hope Center serves everyone, while focusing on protecting vulnerable women at night. They should be free to do so according to their religious beliefs.