The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) might have gone too far this time.
On Wednesday, Dr. Frank Wright, the president of D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), announced that he was filing a defamation lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center. Wright indicates that the SPLC is defaming his organization by placing it on their “hate map,” which is an online database that lists various hate groups in the United States.
The hate map includes DJKM alongside groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and other white supremacist groups. Wright stated that the SPLC “illegally trafficked in false and misleading descriptions” of the Christian organization. He added:
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 lawsuit alleges that the SPLC knowingly listed DJKM on their hate map to deceive people into believing the Christian organization was guilty of propagating hateful ideas. As a result, Amazon dropped the organization from its charitable list, which limited their ability to collect donations. While they are the only group to file suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, DJKM is not the only Christian organization that has appeared on the hate map.
The SPLC has also placed the Alliance for Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council (FRC) on the list because of their stances on homosexual marriage and religious freedom. It appears the SPLC isn’t satisfied with targeting actual hate groups; they are willing to go after groups that happen to espouse views contrary to theirs. The SPLC’s approach has created other problems for some of the organizations on its list.
CNN recently used the map to erroneously suggest that the Alliance for Defending Freedom is a hate group. Naturally, this was designed to vilify the Alliance for their support of religious freedom. Not only has this damaged the reputation of certain organizations… it has also inspired violence.
In 2012, a domestic terrorist attempted to murder employees at the Family Research Council. Fortunately, a security guard prevented him from taking any lives. According to The Washington Times, the shooter picked the Family Research Council from the SPLC’s hate map. Nevertheless, the SPLC has refused to remove the FRC from the hate map. The Daily Caller states that this incident prompted the F.B.I. to cease using the hate map for information.
Up until now, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been allowed to portray Christian organizations as hate groups because of their views on gay marriage and religious freedom. By their definition, most churches in the United States are hate groups. Here’s the thing: the SPLC knows that these organizations are not hate groups. They certainly don’t belong on a list that includes organizations like the KKK. They do not commit or advocate for violence against homosexuals. Their disagreement with the left on these issues has nothing to do with bigotry, but if the SPLC is going to demonize Christians, they must find ways to portray them as hateful people.
DLKM has decided to fight back against the SPLC’s attempts to defame them which is a positive sign. It shows that there are conservatives who are willing to push back against the left’s attempts to smear those on the right. If they win their lawsuit, the SPLC might not be so quick to arbitrarily add a ministry to their hate map unless the group actually espouses hateful ideas. One can only hope.