Worldwide Christian organization D. James Kennedy Ministries is fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center after the far-left advocacy group labeled them a hate group.
Reverend D. James Kennedy founded the ministry alongside the Coral Ridge Presbyterian mega-church in the 1960s. Rev. Kennedy, who was close friends with Rev. Billy Graham, was known for his sermons on television, in which he addressed his opposition to things like abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, and fetal stem cell research.
Due to their opinions on traditional marriage, D. James Kennedy Ministries found itself on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) hate map, which includes 1,020 groups in the United States.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, “the map includes neo-Nazis, white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan, black nationalists, followers of the Nation of Islam, New Black Panther Party members, opponents of immigration and Muslims, and Holocaust deniers.”
In retaliation to the “hate group” label, the ministry organization had sued the SPLC, saying that the label was damaging to their name.
This past Thursday the case appeared before a U.S. District Judge, Myron H. Thompson. Thompson ruled against the lawsuit, siding with the SPLC, and citing first amendment rights.
Thompson did not address whether or not D. James Kennedy Ministries was considered a hate group, only that the SPLC has a right to categorize groups how they desire.
“Any organization we list as a hate group is free to disagree with us about our designation, but this ruling underscores that the designation is constitutionally protected speech and not defamatory,” said Karen Baynes-Dunning, who is the interim president of the SPLC.
SPLC’s anti-Christian background
The SPLC is notorious for labeling Christian organizations “hate groups” for their views on things like traditional marriage and LGBTQ relations.
This past April, 25 Christian and conservative leaders wrote and signed a letter urging CEO’s of major companies to cut ties with the SPLC, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon.
“It is now clear that the SPLC has proven to be a hate-filled, anti-Christian, anti-conservative organization and nothing more than a weapon of the radical Left, whose goal is to bully people into compliance with their ideology,” the letter states. “Fail to comply with their demands, and you will be labeled as a hate group or an extremist.”
The SPLC has targeted groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, The Family Research Council, and Prager University in the past, labeling them hate groups for their conservative and/or Christian ideology.
Not only did Christian and conservative leaders rally together against the SPLC, but legislators have also called upon government officials to examine their tax-exempt status.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) has been vocal about his disdain for the group and their biased labeling.
They’ve really become kind of a hate group themselves,” Cotton told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “Serial repeated defamation against what you see as a political opponent is not a tax-exempt purpose.”
“I don’t know many charitable advisors say it’s best practice to send your endowment to overseas accounts in the Caribbean,” said Cotton. “That’s why Charity Watch gives them an ‘F’ rating.”
Last fall, the SPLC was reported to have more than half a billion dollars in assets, “putting tens of millions in tax havens,” according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
The group has also faced serious and disturbing sexual harassment allegations, as well as racist discrimination in the workplace, which surfaced this past spring.
Amid the turmoil, the group’s co-founder Morris Dees was fired and the SPLC President, Richard Cohen, stepped down.