The far right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is illustrating both how out of the mainstream and dubious their legal arguments are. This time, they’re claiming Amazon is violating their religious beliefs by refusing to give them money to attack LGBTQ people.
The “legal” group is apparently under the impression that Amazon, the online retail giant, is run by the federal government since corporations aren’t required to accommodate every customer’s religious beliefs.
While discriminating against someone based on their religion is illegal (a position that Amazon has supported in their advocacy for inclusive nondiscrimination protections), that’s not the reason why Amazon isn’t willing to line the hate group’s pockets.
Companies are free to establish standards for service and charitable donations. The Alliance Defending Freedom violates those terms not because of their religion, but because they’re an officially designated hate group.
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The company allows other religious groups to participate in their AmazonSmile charitable giving program. Customers can designate a not-for-profit group to receive a small portion of the profit from a customer’s purchase.
Amazon uses the Southern Poverty Law Center’s exhaustive list of domestic hate groups and other extremists. SPLC monitors the groups and issues public investigative reports and works with law enforcement agencies to prevent domestic terror attacks and hate crimes.
“ADF recently drew the ire of SPLC because of its religious beliefs and advocacy,” Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris said in a letter to the corporation. “Although the SPLC did good work many years ago, it has devolved into a far-left propaganda machine that slanders organizations with which it disagrees and destroys the possibility of civil discourse in the process.”
Religious right groups have launched a joint effort to discredit the SPLC as more and more Americans realize the groups aren’t simple religious charities.
“If you are going to rely on a discredited partisan organization like the SPLC to determine who is eligible to participate in AmazonSmile, you should disclose that in your policy and to your customers,” Farris writes.
“Millions of Americans share our beliefs and thousands of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious organizations subscribe to them as well.”
The corporate policy for the charitable program does not have any prohibitions on charities’ or personal religious beliefs.
But under the “Eligible Organizations” portion, it specifically disqualifies groups that “engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age; hate, terrorism, or violence; money laundering; other illegal, deceptive, or misleading activities.”