Says 1st Amendment protects labeling
Oct 27, 2019
It seems, according to a federal judge’s decision protecting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s practice of labeling Christian organizations as “hate groups,” that just about anyone can be labeled a “hate group.”
Judge Myron H. Thompson found that the definitions of “hate group” vary so widely that the slam is protected by the First Amendment, even if it causes harm.
The ruling came in a case brought by D. James Kennedy Ministries against SPLC, which routinely labels anyone who disagrees with its pro-transgender, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion agenda as a hater or “hate group.”
In fact, the ministry, which is appealing the ruling, had been prevented from participating in an online donation program because of the label.
But “the term ‘hate group,'” Thompson wrote, “has no single, commonly understood meaning.”
He took “judicial notice” that “neither Black’s Law Dictionary (11th Ed. 2019), Merriam-Webster Unabridged (online ed.), nor the Oxford English Dictionary (online ed.), defines the term ‘hate group,'” and that reinforced his decision.
“The court concludes that there is no single, commonly understood meaning of the term ‘hate group.’ Rather, as shown by the conflicting definitions … the term does not have one precise definition, and instead may be ascribed multiple different meanings by ‘the average reader.'”
Which means, under his opinion, that the recipients of Yale Law School’s Award of Merit, which includes Thompson, could be labeled online as a “hate group.”
Or those who have received Stanford Law School’s National Public Service Award, which he received in 2015.
Or anyone who has served as “Jurist in Residence at Pace Law School,” which he did in 2012.
He said there “appears to be no uniform definition of ‘hate group” in Canada either.”
The ministry says on its website: “The infamous SPLC has recklessly classified disciples of the Gospel as purveyors of hate. They denounce pro-family groups that stand for traditional marriage—God’s rules for marriage—as ‘haters.’ Join D. James Kennedy Ministries as we fight for religious freedom, stamp out discrimination against Christians and conservatives, and continue our bold defense of the Truth!”
CBN reported the ministry is appealing its case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ministry, founded in 1974 by the late D. James Kennedy as Coral Ridge Ministries, filed the federal religious discrimination lawsuit against SPLC in 2017.
The charge is that SPLC “illegally trafficked in false and misleading descriptions of the services offered by DJKM and committed defamation against DJKM.”
It also alleges the SPLC engaged in publishing “false information.”
CBN explained the ministry has been on SPLC’s “hate map” and denigrated as a “hate group” for “teaching the traditional, Biblical position on marriage and sexuality.”
“A few weeks ago, Beto O’Rourke in a CNN town hall said that, as president, he would take away tax-exempt status from churches and organizations that adhere to a biblical ethic on same-sex marriage. Punishing traditional biblical beliefs now appears to be a mainstream position in the Democratic party. That’s why we have a sense of urgency to stand up against those like the SPLC working overtime to marginalize and silence Christians,” Frank Wright, ministry’s executive director, said in the CBN report.
“I really hope people will take note of the fact that the federal judge, in this case, ruled that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘hate’ designation is unprovable and meaningless,” the statement continued.
“Considering that some lawmakers in the House have proposed revoking the tax-exemptions of Christian ministries based on the SPLC’s ‘hate map,’ many might be surprised to discover that the SPLC’s defense against the charge of slander is that we (in the judge’s words) ‘cannot prove the falsity of the ‘hate group’ designation, given that, as the court has found, the designation is not provable as false.’ Still, we’re not going to let them continue getting away with their mendacity without a legal battle.”
The case is just one of many against SPLC over its attacks on traditional Christian values.
WND reported a coalition of nearly 50 conservative leaders warned of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s open hostility to faith groups.
The coalition grew to more than 60 groups, and many are considering lawsuits against SPLC for putting them on its “hate map” because of their stance on marriage and sexuality, according to PJMedia.
Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel explained at the time the groups are considering legal action after SPLC paid more than $3 million and apologized to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation for putting them on its “hate” list.
Staver said SPLC has been “doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz.”
As WND reported, SPLC and Nawaz and reached a settlement in which SPLC agreed it wrongly included him and his group on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” SPLC has agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam $3.375 million to fund their work to fight “anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism.”
SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote that SPLC “was wrong to include Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in our Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”
“Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect,” he said. “We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.
“Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.”
Staver said at the time the “allegations that were at issue here were very similar to the allegations against the other groups.”
“The SPLC promotes false propaganda, demonizes and labels groups they disagree with, and that labeling has economic as well as physical consequences,” Staver said.
SPLC also was linked to domestic terrorism several years ago when Floyd Lee Corkins III attacked the Washington office of Family Research Council, with the intent, he later explained, to kill as many people as he could.
He admitted under questioning that he picked FRC because SPLC had it on its “hate” list.
And the man who opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a congressional baseball game was a fan of SPLC, which had falsely claimed Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the players, was a white supremacist.
Many organizations already consider SPLC discredited. The federal government cut off cooperation with the organization.
Judicial Watch said a letter to Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and others, said the DOJ, under Barack Obama, even reprimanded SPLC in 2016, but it was “kept quiet at the agency’s request.”
“[It] involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘eugenicist,’ ‘anti-Semitic,’ and ‘anti-Catholic.’ In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct ‘overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional,'” Judicial Watch said.
Oct 27, 2019
In our pluralistic society, we are often taught that mantra that all religions are the same. Yet the evidence tells a vastly different story.
On this program, we will look at a religious movement that aims to take away your religious freedom—and most of your other freedoms as well. Yet it’s gaining ground around the world, and even in America.
And we’ll share some key resources to help you deal with it. And we look at one massive organization may be spreading its influence around the world to further the goals of radical Islam. And that influence does not stop at the borders of the United States.