Thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) erroneously classifying Christian or conservative organizations under a sweeping “hate group” label, these organizations and the charities and foundations that donated to them are now being blackballed.
On Wednesday, the Chronicle of Philanthropy released a report based on Internal Revenue Service records identifying 351 donor organizations and 280 private foundations that have donated $52.8 million to “SPLC-designated hate groups.” The top-donors mentioned are the National Christian Foundation at $26,878,059, the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund at $3,118,538, and the Christian Community Foundation at $2,216,667.
The problem? The SPLC is notorious nowadays for identifying a whole swath of right-leaning organizations as hate groups for simply supporting conservative causes. The Family Research Council, Ruth Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom are among those blackballed for pushing traditional family values, as well as non-woke views concerning gender and sexuality.
“ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates, and has won 11 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2011,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, in response to the SPLC designation. “Once a respected civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center has destroyed its own credibility because of its blatant partisan agenda and discredited fundraising scheme. It has devolved into a group that attacks and spreads lies about organizations and people who do not agree with its far-left agenda.”
While the SPLC plays God by dictating what is the proper standard for morality in 2021, it is important to note that its former President Richard Cohen resigned in 2019 after allegations were made of racism and misogyny. In 2013, Cohen wrote a column in the Washington Post that came under heavy scrutiny by virtually all left-wing publications as plainly bigoted. Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in The Atlantic at the time that it is Cohen’s “logic that killed Trayvon Martin,” concerning “living” with being black.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes that the Christian organization Liberty Counsel received $1,004,079 in funding. As of today, the SPLC cites it as anti-LGTB “under the guise of religious liberty.” This is primarily because the Liberty Counsel has historically had a firm stance on same-sex marriage, which is common to a lot of Christian organizations that rely on textualism concerning the basis of men and women to guide their political theory.
The Family Research Council is referenced as having received $11,162,422 (second-most to the American Family Association). This is an organization that primarily focuses on life and human dignity, religious liberty and conscience, marriage, family and sexuality, and civil society issues. Since 1983, Family Research Council has spearheaded efforts to guide pro-life policy and was founded by Gerald P. Regier, a former Reagan administration appointee in the Department of Health and Human Services. SPLC claims on its website that FRC’s “real specialty is defaming LGBTQ people.”
The overarching theme of the report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy is to clearly employ flawed SPLC designations to force certain corporate donors to cease donations to groups that do not abide by leftist orthodoxy.
One donor, Fidelity Charitable, is heavily ostracized in the report for predominantly funding the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC). AFLC is a “Judeo-Christian” public-interest law firm started by orthodox Jew David Yerushalmi and orthodox Catholic Robert J. Muise. Their mission statement is to “fight for faith and freedom through litigation, education, and public policy programs.” The organization notably filed a lawsuit in the state of Michigan in April 2020, calling Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “shelter in place” order unconstitutional. The SPLC and the Chronicle of Philanthropy report identify AFLC as an “anti-Muslim” law firm.
“Fidelity Charitable remains cause-neutral. We created a robust review process for each grant made by our donors, such as if they are a qualified 501(c)(3) charity. We also take into consideration a number of other data sources, including IRS databases and even news reports,” said Stephen Austin, a spokesman for Fidelity Charitable, defending their donations. “Fidelity Charitable does not make grants to groups that may be involved in illegal activities, such as terrorism, money laundering, hate crimes, or fraud.”
Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, ridiculed the SPLC’s listing his organization as a hate group.
“Who decided that the SPLC has any authority to decide what right other people have to determine other points of view or to approach public policy differently than they do,” said Stein. “This is becoming a battleground in the field of ideas and whether a society benefits from having a robust discussion from all points of view or whether a handful of vigilantes want to decide who is entitled to have a platform and who is not.”
As the left further grasps hold of seemingly all social institutions in America, designating right-of-center groups as hateful along the way, conservative and Christian organizations unwilling to forfeit their central values may face crippling aid reductions.
Gabe Kaminsky is an intern at The Federalist, and an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh. His work has appeared in The Daily Wire, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, The American Conservative, RealClearPolitics, The Washington Examiner, and other outlets. He is a participant in the Academy program at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @Gabe__Kaminsky.