When you’re wanting to donate to a charity or nonprofit group, it’s a good idea to do a little research to make sure they’re legitimate and don’t support causes that you oppose. That’s why GuideStar exists, and they’ve become the internet’s largest compendium of data on charities, giving potential donors information on 2,000 different charities, according to the Associated Press.
But then they did something really bizarre. Early in June, they allowed the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center to attach a “hate group” label to any nonprofit they didn’t like.
It was akin to giving a rambunctious child a brush full of paint and leaving them alone in a white-walled room for an hour.
The SPLC went to work, labeling 46 groups as “hate groups.” Some of them included conservative and Christian groups like the conservative Christian Family Research Council, the fundamentalist Christian American Family Association, the conservative Christian Alliance Defending Freedom, and the evangelical Christian Liberty Counsel.
The SPLC’s label sat prominently near the top of every flagged group’s page, warning potential donors to stay away. GuideStar defended their decision to let the SPLC run wild.
Not surprisingly, 41 of the “hate groups” wrote a letter to GuideStar to complain, according to Life Site News. That’s when GuideStar decided to remove the “hate group” label from those 41 groups’ pages, but they made it clear the SPLC’s information on each of those nonprofits would remain readily available upon request.
Now one of those conservative Christian Groups is suing GuideStar for defamation. Florida-based Liberty Counsel uses litigation to defend the rights of Christians in America, and now they’re using their legal muscle to defend what they do. The case is called “Liberty Counsel vs. GuideStar USA, Inc.”
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver claims, "GuideStar’s CEO, Jacob Harold, is using GuideStar as a weapon to defame, harm, and promote his liberal agenda by using the SPLC to falsely label good nonprofit organizations as ‘hate groups.”
"GuideStar has not retracted its ‘hate group’ label and continues to provide false, defamatory and harmful information it pushes as fact to the public. The damage by GuideStar is far reaching because this false and defamatory labeling has been spread through scores of media sources and the internet. It also appears on the GuideStar Wikipedia page,” he continued.
As of Thursday, the Wikipedia pages for most of the targeted groups mentioned above now prominently feature the SPLC’s designation of them as hate groups, making the attack widespread indeed.
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