The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is on a mission against hate groups. In its quest to end such organizations, it has a “hate map” which includes groups such as the KKK.
Controversially, the group also includes mainstream conservative groups on its hate map, and recent attacks against one such organization resulted in its loss of funding.
The SPLC is an Alabama-based, liberal, 501 (c)(3) non-profit. It is hoarding more than $300 million in assets, with millions in cash being transferred to offshore entities in the Cayman Islands, with reported “financial interests” in Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.
Although the SPLC reasonably fought the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, its “hate map” featuring conservative groups has turned it into a fundraising powerhouse for liberals. Often cited by mainstream media outlets, the SPLC has raised millions from Apple, J.P Morgan Chase, and George Clooney following the outburst of violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month, according to reports.
On Friday, the Ruth Institute, self-described as an organization dedicated to “creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown,” lost its payment-processing company for donations after it was labeled to be a hate group by the SPLC.
Vanco, the former processing provider for the group, cited that the Institute had been “flagged” when it ended their arrangement in late August.
“Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute,” Vanco’s message to the Institute read. “The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”
In a phone interview with the Washington Free Beacon, Ruth Institute’s founder, Dr. Jennifer Morse, said that upon receiving the letter, she found that the donations feature was already disabled.
“We received an email from them at two-o-clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 31st of August. We went and checked our website and it was already shut down—our donation feature was already shut down. So, they obviously shut it down then sent us a notice,” said Morse. “It’s just rude, you don’t treat people like that.”
“It’s interesting that Vanco will not come out and say Wells Fargo kicked us in the shins and told us to do this, they won’t say that, but that’s kind of the inference you’re led to draw based on the first communication we got with them and the complete shut down after that,” Morse continued.
Morse is disappointed with the financial processing company but happy that the event has given her a platform to discuss the mission of the Ruth Group.
“I’m grateful that this incident has given me an opportunity to talk about the mission of the Ruth Institute because nobody else is doing what we’re doing,” she reportedly said. “We believe that family breakdown is harmful to children. We believe it’s unjust to children, and that children have a right to have a relationship with both of their parents and to know their identity.”
As for the SPLC, Morse has her opinion about why they’ve added conservative groups to its hate map. She told the Beacon:
“I think it’s convenient strategically and rhetorically for groups like the SPLC to stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and white hood because then, nobody has to listen to what I have to say. Rather than argue with me—or, you know, try to say, ‘Gee, you’re wrong’—rather than have that conversation about why kids need their parents, they just dismiss the whole thing by putting me and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) in a lineup with guys in white hoods, and then they don’t have to deal with it.”
The SPLC has faced a number of “hate” defamation lawsuits, and dozens of conservative leaders asked the media to stop citing the SPLC.
The Beacon cites a specific incident that has sparked concern over the SPLC’s designations.
In 2012, a man entered the conservative Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., office, then opened fire. His attack on the group was due to seeing the Family Research Council listed as a “hate group” on the SPLC’s website.
“Honest journalism needs to stop taking these people seriously,” said Morse.
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