Clarence Thomas blasts SPLC’s ‘hate group’ designation of anti-LGBTQ Christian church
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo of the justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 2021. - Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images North America/TNS

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday appeared to agree it is a "blatant falsehood" that a far-right Christian ministry that has claimed "homosexuals say yes" to pedophilia and promotes anti-LGBTQ lies is a "hate group" that deserves to be placed on the same map and the KKK and neo-Nazis.

Justice Thomas' rant appears as the only opposition to the Court's decision Monday to not take up a case that would effectively revisit the landmark First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan, which requires a plaintiff suing for defamation to prove "actual malice."

Coral Ridge Ministries asked the Supreme Court to review its case, which it lost, against the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating it an anti-LGBTQ hate group. The case is not about whether or not the church is a hate group, but whether or not the Southern Poverty Law Center has the First Amendment right to say so. The court refused, but Thomas in an angry dissent wrote:

"SPLC’s 'hate group' designation lumped Coral Ridge’s Christian ministry with groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis. It placed Coral Ridge on an interactive, online 'Hate Map' and caused Coral Ridge concrete financial injury by excluding it from the AmazonSmile donation program. Nonetheless, unable to satisfy the 'almost impossible' actual-malice standard this Court has imposed, Coral Ridge could not hold SPLC to account for what it maintains is a blatant falsehood."

Thomas also writes:

Coral Ridge maintained that although it “opposes homosexual conduct” based on its religious beliefs, it is in no sense a “hate group.” ... To the contrary, it “has nothing but love for people who engage in homosexual conduct” and “has never attacked or maligned anyone on the basis of engaging in homosexual conduct.”

That's false.

In its iconic 2010 report, "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda," the Southern Poverty Law Center explained that the "late Rev. D. James Kennedy started turning fundamentalist Coral Ridge Presbyterian into a mega-church in the 1960s."

In an especially nasty 1989 edition of a CRM newsletter, Kennedy ran photographs of children along with the tagline, “Sex With Children? Homosexuals Say Yes!”

"Over the years," the SPLC report adds, Rev. Kennedy "emphasized anti-gay rhetoric, particularly in his TV ministry. He recommended as 'essential' the virulent work of R.J. Rushdoony ... who believed practicing gays should be executed."