Several Christian organizations known for their advocacy on behalf of traditional marriage and families were recently labeled hate groups on one of America’s top charity research sites, GuideStar.
In response to “hateful rhetoric” during a “highly politicized moment” in American history, the portal began incorporating designations from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) this month. Profiles for Christian nonprofits like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Liberty Counsel, the Family Research Council (FRC), and the American Family Association featured a banner saying they had been flagged as a hate group.
The SPLC’s “hate group” label, though often-cited, is controversial, particularly among conservatives. The Alabama-based watchdog charity applies the term to organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and certain LGBT rights as well as to violent and extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation, and Nation of Islam.
More than 40 organizations listed on GuideStar now have the label on the top of their pages, which prompted dozens of conservative leaders to write GuideStar in protest this week.
In response, a spokesperson for the site told The Daily Signal that GuideStar would be reconsidering how SPLC data will be displayed, and groups can expect to see changes in a few days. (The Daily Signal is operated by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization that didn’t get the “hate group” label.)
Meanwhile, the leaders of nonprofits impacted by the new policy have accused the site of favoring the SPLC’s agenda over GuideStar’s role as a neutral source of information for people researching charities.
“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, an evangelical group representing clients like Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses.
FRC vice president Jerry Boykin called the GuideStar policy “another attack on conservative Christian organizations and individuals.”