SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER ALLOWED TO LABEL POPULAR MINISTRY “HATE GROUP” UNDER FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTION

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09/20/2019

A district court judge in Alabama has dismissed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that sought to keep the organization from labeling a Christian ministry as a hate group. The lawsuit was filed two years ago by Florida-based D. James Kennedy Ministries. In a 141-page decision, Judge Myron Thompson made clear that the court had not made a call as to whether Coral Ridge Ministries was indeed a hate group. “It has merely held that SPLC’s labeling of the group as such is protected by the First Amendment,” he said. The suit was filed against the SPLC, Amazon and others after D. James Kennedy Ministries claimed they were not permitted to be recipients of Amazon Smile, a program which allows customers to donate certain non-profit entities. The complaint claimed that Amazon’s refusal was based on the SPLC’s labeling of the ministry as a hate group, due to their position against homosexual behavior.

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