September 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge has rejected D. James Kennedy Ministries’ (DJKM) lawsuit against the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), ruling that labeling the Christian organization a “hate group” falls within the protections of the First Amendment.
Formerly known as Coral Ridge Ministries, DJKM filed a lawsuitagainst SPLC in 2017 for “trafficking in false or misleading descriptions of the services offered under the Ministry's trademarked name.” The suit also named Amazon and the charity monitor Guidestar, because they relied on SPLC’s “hate” designation in their own classification of the ministry. Guidestar eventually relented, but the label resulted in Amazon customers being unable to donate to DJKM through the AmazonSmile program.
"The mission of the (D. James Kennedy) Ministry is to proclaim the Gospel upon which this nation was founded, to teach and nurture the followers of Jesus, to equip and encourage believers, and to defend religious liberty," the lawsuit declared. "Nowhere in the purpose or action of the Ministry is there HATE or any room for HATE.”
U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson (who has a history of blocking pro-life laws) ruled against DJKM on September 19, AL.com reported. He wrote in his opinion that Kennedy Ministries “failed to allege facts or circumstances that could suggest that the SPLC’s designation … as a hate group was made with actual knowledge of the falsity or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity,” and rejected their argument that “hate group” inherently implies that a group is violent.
SPLC issued a press release celebrating the ruling as a “victory” for the organization’s ability to “educate the public.” DJKM did not respond to inquiries from other media outlets; LifeSiteNews has reached out to the ministry and will update this report upon reply.
SPLC has long been controversial for its history of labeling mainstream Christian and/or conservative organizations – including Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, the Ruth Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Jihad Watch – “hate groups” to be distrusted by the public and blacklisted from various online platforms and services.
So. We now live in a world where the following exists:
Not a hate group:
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