Amazon Deals Harsh Blow to Christian Non-Profit that Defends Religious Freedom


To the retail giant Amazon, “defending freedom” are dirty words.

That’s the takeaway from the behemoth’s decision to ban the conservative legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom from its fundraising options on the word of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftist activist group that uses its mainstream media popularity to remorselessly attack conservative organizations.

But the Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting back.

At issue is Amazon’s reliance on the Southern Poverty Law Center for determining which groups are eligible to participate in a fundraising set-up known as AmazonSmile, which allows its customers to donate “.05 percent of the purchase price of eligible products” to an approved charitable organization.

Within the past several weeks, Alliance Defending Freedom learned that it was no longer one of the approved organizations eligible for donations, according to a news release on the ADF’s website, because the Southern Poverty Law Center was in charge of making the decision.

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As the Daily Wire reported, potential donors who tried to use AmazonSmile to give money to ADF received the following message:

“The AmazonSmile Participation Agreement states that certain categories of organizations are not eligible to participate in AmazonSmile. We rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which charities are in certain ineligible categories. You have been excluded from the AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center lists Alliance Defending Freedom in an ineligible category.”

The ADF is mounting a public relations campaign against the Amazon decision, including publicizing a letter from its president, Michael Farris, to Amazon demanding that Amazon be more transparent about its practices.

“If you are going to rely on a discredited partisan organization like the SPLC to determine who is eligible to participate in AmazonSmile, you should disclose that in your policy and to your customers. Millions of Americans share our beliefs and thousands of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious organizations subscribe to them as well,” he wrote.

Do you think this is an attack on religious freedom?

“Your customers have a right to know that you’ve placed such an organization as the gatekeeper to participation in a charitable program.”

On Thursday, Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the ADF, made an appearance on Fox News to call the decision out the SPLC in brutal terms.

Check out the interview here:

Waggoner pointed out that the ADF is a legal group that has successfully argued cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. (Just last year, it won the precedent-setting Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer” case that found states can’t discriminate against schools because of their religious affiliations.)

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The SPLC, on the other hand, she said, “is essentially a group that’s designed to slander other groups, and it’s a direct mail marketing scheme designed to pocket millions and millions of dollars off-shore.”

“They’ve publicly stated they are not a neutral watchdog group, but instead only go after those on the right, and their purpose is to destroy groups that disagree with their leftist ideology,” she said.

Anyone who’s even vaguely followed the news regarding the Southern Poverty Law Center recently knows what Waggoner is talking about.

While its origins may well have been the noble civil rights organization it pretends to be today, SPLC has long since evolved into little more than a weaponized arm of the militant leftst movement, branding conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

Sometimes those activities are simply dangerous – like the case of the “map” the SPLC published of facilities in the United States bearing the names of Confederate figures, deliberately putting school children at risk for “progressive” violence.

Sometimes they lead to violence, like the 2012 attack by a gunman on the conservative Family Research Council’s headquarters in Washington. The gunman, Floyd Lee Corkins II, told investigators he launched the attack because the SPLC had identified the Family Research Council as a “hate group,” according to the Washington Examiner.

And this is the organization Amazon is relying on to decide what groups are worthy of participation in its fundraising application?

Amazon is a private company, and if its CEO Jeff Bezos wants to rely on a soulless, cynical outfit like the Southern Poverty Law Center to make decisions about what charities are eligible for his organization’s help, that is, literally, his business.

But he should understand there could be business ramifications among millions of Americans who realize that to Amazon, “defending freedom” are dirty words.

They’re not to most Americans. And that could end up costing Amazon more than it expects.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.