Justin Danhof
Justin Danhof

via YouTube

Justin Danhof, who works for the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), has a petition aimed at Amazon.com. Danhof wants Amazon to stop barring hate groups from participating in the AmazonSmile program which donates a portion of a customer’s purchases to the charity of their choice.

It’s the usual religious conservative BS about the Southern Poverty Law Center. At its core is the assertion that anti-LGBTQ hate is somehow different from racism and anti-Semitism because it is based on Christian scripture.

While falsely claiming that the SPLC smears Christian organizations they disregard the fact that these anti-LGBTQ hate groups routinely smear LGBTQ people (a partial list is below-the-fold).

They conveniently forget that racism has its roots in slavery and then segregation. Those institutions were underpinned by similar religious dogma. Anti-Semitism is the direct result of literalist Christian teachings.

In the way of background Nation Center for Public Policy Research doesn’t do any real research. NCPPR seems to devote most of its resources to the promotion of NCPPR and fundraising rather than to actually doing anything useful.

Perhaps that is why 2018 revenues were less than half of what the organization took in in 2014. Yet Amy Ridenour (chairman) and David Ridenour (president) take in over $400 thousand every year.

In the past, NCPPR was a pro-tobacco advocate. It is now in the climate denial business. The organization had close ties to Jack Abramoff.

Typically, NCPPR buys a share of stock in a publicly held company and sends Danhof to the annual shareholders’ meeting. Danhof asks a rhetorical question. He is often the recipient of boos.

I am unaware of Danhof ever successfully changing corporate policy. Nevertheless, Danhof takes credit for, … something. Perhaps there is virtue in being a pain in the ass.

Danhof’s problem is the lack of intellectual honesty. He claims that his petition “can bring real change at Amazon.” No it cannot. A core corporate value of Amazon.com is the diversity of its customer base and its workforce. Amazon credits diversity for its success.

According to the text:

Amazon outsources decisions on nonprofit eligibility for the AmazonSmile program to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a deeply politically partisan and controversial organization which attempts to silence conservative ideas through threats and intimidation. In fact, SPLC controls what nonprofits are eligible for AmazonSmile, and they exclude dozens of mainstream conservative organizations purely for political advantage. This must end.

“Outsources” is dishonest. Excluded from AmazonSmile are nonprofits deemed hate groups by the SPLC. There is nothing that is “deeply politically partisan and controversial” about the SPLC.

These are the claims of hate groups who do not like being deemed hate groups because it affects their revenues. The SPLC makes no effort to silence anyone. Nor does it threaten or intimidate any organization.

Anti-LGBTQ hate groups are not in the mainstream. The notion that this is a quest for “political advantage” is not only dishonest. It is preposterous.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, as of May 11, 2020 there are 1,757,420 federally tax-exempt entities in the United States. 70 organizations are deemed anti-LGBTQ hate groups as of calendar year 2019. 940 groups overall. These are in the extreme minority.

If we eliminate branches of organization and organizations that are otherwise ineligible for the AmazonSmile program because they are not federally tax exempt, about 42 anti-LGBTQ hate groups are excluded from participation.

Neither Amazon nor the SPLC “attempt to silence conservative ideas.” People are free to believe anything they want. When organizations dishonestly promote intolerance in an effort to marginalize a disfavored minority group then they might be deemed a hate group.

As an Investor and Amazon Customer, your voice is very important, and you can take steps to stand up to the SPLC’s control of AmazonSmile quickly and easily:

Again, the above is dishonest demagoguery. The SPLC does not “control” the AmazonSmile program. The SPLC is considered to be a reliable arbiter of what constitutes a hate group. AmazonSmile chooses to exclude from participation those hate groups.

After urging supporters to sign onto their misleading and idiotic petition, they offer:

Use the Advocall button below to immediately call Amazon Investor Relations and tell them that you support NCPPR’s Viewpoint Discrimination Risk Reporting shareholder proposal. This proposal will appear on Amazon’s proxy statement this year and holds Amazon accountable for its irresponsible partnership with the SPLC.

Calling IR wastes the time of the caller and investor relations. Shareholder proposals are decided by a vote of shareholders not by the opinions of these employees.

Shareholder proposals invariably fail. Overall, they attract about 10% to 15% of votes on human rights issues and about 25% on social or environmental issues. In other words, across the board, 75% to 90% of shares are voted according to management’s recommendations.

This proposal is item 12 of 16 shareholder proposals. While it tries to obfuscate its relationship to LGBTQ discrimination, Amazon had no problem discerning the real objective. Management’s response, in part, reads:

We take seriously our commitment to diversity and respect for people from all backgrounds, including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and other dimensions of diversity,… Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our continued success and critical components of our culture …

They wrote the above only because “go fuck yourselves” would be impolitic.

Getting back to the petition that NCPPR wants people to sign, the verbiage includes:

Amazon has outsourced eligibility decisions for the program to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which uses this power to settle political scores by smearing U.S government registered nonprofits whose mission it opposes. Given Amazon’s growing importance in American life, this is intolerable.

A smear is a deliberate inaccuracy. These religious conservatives never quote anything that the SPLC says about a company and then provides evidence of mendacity or inaccuracy. What evidence exists to support the absurd notion that the SPLC uses hate group designations to “settle political scores?”

Indeed, these anti-LGBTQ hate groups smear LGBTQ people, and their families.

  • They falsely claim that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices.
  • They falsely claim that the clinical guidance of respected medical associations is politically motivated.
  • They falsely claim that gender-diverse kids are just “confused.”
  • They promote thoroughly discredited conversion therapy.
  • They falsely claim that LGBTQ people pose a danger to children.
  • They falsely claim that LGBTQ people influence others to become LGBTQ.
  • They falsely claim that sexuality is a “lifestyle.”
  • They falsely claim that tolerance of LGBTQ people poses a danger to children.
  • They uniformly oppose nondiscrimination laws claiming that they have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
  • They falsely claim that nondiscriminatory service in public accomodations forces Christians to “celebrate” a “lifestyle” that they disapprove of.

The above is just a partial list of the many smears that LGBTQ people endure at the hands of these hate groups.

Danhof wants people to believe that AmazonSmile approves of liberal organizations while disapproving of conservative organizations:

These nonprofits include politically liberal organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the SPLC.

Amazon outsources eligibility decisions to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which deliberately excludes government approved 501(c)3s that are politically conservative to settle political scores, even as they receive funds that they deny their political opponents.

It is an odd claim given that Danhof’s own organization is eligible to receive AmazonSmile contributions. “Settling political scores” is bullshit as is the then repeated claim that Amazon outsources eligibility to the SPLC.

There are some conservative whom I find very informative. While I usually disagree with them, they are intellectually honest. A good example is Rod Dreher. I read his stuff every day and I learn from him.

I have nothing to learn from Justin Danhof. Danhof, by nature, is dishonest.

Related content: