A non-profit resource that posts publicly available tax documents for charities has infuriated anti-gay Christian and conservative nonprofits by using a widely available database at the Southern Poverty Law Center and tagging each of them as a "hate group."
According to the Friendly Atheist, charity database GuideStar -- which bills itself as "the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations" -- now includes information provided by the SPLC.
Among the putative Christian non-profits with a political bent who made the "hate group" list are the Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, Family Research Council, and the American Family Association -- all of whom promote anti-LGBTQ policies, In the case of the Liberty Counsel, they offer legal representation, recently defending Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who refused marriage licenses to gay couples.
Also being tagged with the "hate group" designation is the anti-Muslim group American Freedom Defense Initiative, headed by conservative gadfly Pam Geller.
As Guidestar notes on their website: “The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a respected hate group watchdog. There is disagreement on some of SPLC’s specific choices, but on balance GuideStar believes the analysis is strong enough to share. We leave it to you to come to your own conclusions.”
Fearful that the "hate group" designation may be cutting into their non-profit cash haul, the groups are lashing out at Guidestar for "liberal bias."
“The only purpose of providing the SPLC false and dangerous ‘hate group’ label is to push a liberal political agenda designed to hurt good organizations,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel.
FRC vice president Jerry Boykin also blasted Guidestar, calling bet use of the database, “another attack on conservative Christian organizations and individuals.”
Greg Scott, the spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom said his organization would like to ignore it, and attempted to dismiss the civil rights watchdog SPLC as a "tabloid' operation.
“Normally we wouldn’t waste time talking about it, but some mainstream news organizations take what the SPLC says as gospel. We see it more as tabloid,” Scott told Christianity Today. “It’s so unfair. It’s obviously a highly partisan organization.”
Several of the organizations have pushed back at Guidestar, writing a letter at letter to CEO Jacob Harold that attacks the SPLC, saying it incited violence.
"Despite its denials to the contrary, this highly refined method of ostracism and dehumanization practiced by the SPLC isn’t just about verbal debate – it can foreseeably lead to violence," the letter read. "The SPLC’s primary goal is to achieve the political submission of its opponents, but its practice of sustained demonization in one’s community – which is what a “hate map” is all about - inflames passions of hatred and animus against its targets."
YOu can read more at the Friendly Atheist.