Sticks and stones may break bones, but the words “hate group” will cost Alliance Defending Freedom donations from AmazonSmile. As a designee on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dubious “hate group” list, the religious liberty legal aid group has caught the disapproving glare of Amazon, which dropped ADF from its charitable giving program, according to a May 3 statement from ADF President Michael Farris.
AmazonSmile contributes 0.5 percent of the purchase price of eligible Amazon items to preapproved charitable organizations that customers can designate. ADF provides pro-bono legal support to clients defending their religious freedom, often from laws specifying sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. That earned ADF a place on the SPLC’s “hate group list” for its “anti-LGBT” activities.
Participation in AmazonSmile requires that nonprofit entities “do not engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination, or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”
In a letter to AmazonSmile, Farris called the SPLC list slanderous propaganda aimed at ruining the group’s ideological opponents.
“Unfortunately, it is aided and abetted by businesses like Amazon that uncritically accept SPLC’s slander and use it as a basis for its own business decisions,” Farris wrote.
Mikey Weinstein, an atheist and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and asked him to reinstate ADF’s status with AmazonSmile despite Weinstein’s own rejection of the organization’s positions. He called the work of SPLC “marvelous and courageous,” but also praised ADF attorneys’ “integrity, compassion, character, empathy, honor, and concern for their fellow humans” and called them “close personal friends.”
“However profoundly wrong they are on the law … they do not deserve controversial labels or being shoved to the side by the inestimable and raw power your formidable firm wields,” Weinstein wrote. —B.P.