Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James is carrying water for two hate groups out of political expediency.

Kay Coles James
Kay Coles James is a Trump supporter. Not seeing Trump as a racist is a belief of political convenience.

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Kay Coles James, president of Heritage Foundation, is an African-American woman. She should know a thing or two about hate. Apparently she hasn’t the vaguest clue.

Ms. James took to the disreputable Washington Times (which exists to advocate for the “Moonie” cult and white nationalism) to complain about Amazon’s policy of excluding hate groups from the Amazon Smile Program. Heritage Foundation is not listed as a hate group but perhaps it should be.

After all, the Heritage Foundation employs Ryan T. Anderson, a bigot who smears LGBTQ people every single day. Anderson’s lies, as a Heritage spokesperson, add to a climate of fear, ignorance and intolerance; particularly towards transgender people. Anderson routinely attacks children because they have a medical condition. Ryan T. Anderson’s behavior is unacceptable in polite society.

The fact that Anderson does so in defense of orthodox Catholic teaching is no excuse. The Church will continue to advance bigotry until enough of its adherents stand up to say “this is wrong.” Anderson lacks the empathy and critical thinking skills to be one of those who oppose intolerance.

I digress and James’ diatribe continues.

That’s because [Amazon.com] uses the radical, left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the standard-bearer to decide which nonprofits’ customers are allowed to direct their contributions to.

No madame. There is nothing “radical” about opposing hate. In a prior paragraph James characterized Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom as victims of the SPLC. When has she ever stood up to say that insisting that persecuting a sexual minority is wrong?

When has she stood up and said that sexuality is not a choice? Claiming otherwise is wrong and provably false.

The involuntary nature of sexuality is based upon a mountain of evidence-based science published to respectable, peer-reviewed academic journals.

FRC and ADF both do that and much more to “segregate” LGBTQ people from society. Or is Ms. James another person who chooses to believe that people choose to be gay or to have gender dysphoria?

If Ms. James believes that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices then is she a proponent of the pseudoscience of conversion “therapy?” If not, then she should say so. She should stand up and admonish miscreants like Peter Sprigg of Family Research Council.

Is James another proponent of weasel-word ideology? Does she posit, for example, that homosexuality is not a trait but behavior?

Perhaps Ms. James should attempt to explain why she believes that anti-LGBTQ hate is any more “mainstream” or acceptable than racism or anti-Semitism. (As a Jewish person I see no difference whatsoever.) She writes:

The SPLC has labeled some of the mainstream conservative organizations it disagrees with as “hate groups” and publishes their names in a directory alongside real hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

And why must Ms. James lie? She knows perfectly well that this has nothing to do with what the SPLC “disagrees” with. When you have a valid, compelling argument, there is no reason to lie. The SPLC is quite clear on how it defines a hate group:

All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

Instead of senseless rhetoric, Kay Coles James should argue against the actual policy. She goes on, not to attack the SPLC’s arguments, but essentially to attack the organization ad hominem:

The SPLC itself is a completely discredited organization. It bills itself as being on the front lines in the fight against racial inequality and injustice, yet last year its own staffers accused its leadership of years of racial and gender discrimination and of widespread sexual harassment. Whistleblowers said that the organization had a “systemic culture of racism and sexism within its workplace.” As a result, its cofounder [sic] and president were both forced out.

Rational people give others credit for fixing their problems and righting their wrongs. How often do organizations have the wherewithal to oust their founder and president? Doing so does not render the SPLC discredited. Quite the contrary. Ms. James is content to regurgitate the talking points of organizations, … “like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.” They do not like the Southern Poverty Law Center either.

I’ve heard it all before

James offers no shortage of proforma talking points which have been repeated ad nauseum:

That means long-established, venerable organizations like the Family Research Council continue to be excluded from receiving contributions because the SPLC considers an organization that adheres to traditional Christian teachings about marriage a hate group.

Nonsense! Many conservative religious groups have the same beliefs about marriage but they are not listed as hate groups. The difference is not in beliefs but in its conduct. The notion that the listing is due to religious beliefs regarding marriage is absurd. It is a lie!

At the above link is a long list of statements and actions attributed to Family Research Council. Kay Coles James should take a look in order to have at least some cursory understanding of what she is talking about.

Is that too much trouble or is she unable to counter specifics?

Moreover, it is outrageous that an African-American woman considers Family Research Council “venerable” when its leader, an anti-Semite, has direct ties to the Klan.

Ms. James is equally inept in defending Alliance Defending Freedom:

Alliance Defending Freedom, a respected organization of Christian lawyers dedicated to defending religious liberty and free speech rights, was also designated an anti-LGBT hate group because of its defense of traditional marriage in the courts.

Can this woman read? Does she have the intellectual curiosity necessary to learn why ADF is deemed a hate group. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (in part):

The SPLC lists ADF as a hate group because it has supported the idea that being LGBTQ+ should be a crime in the U.S. and abroad and believes that is OK to put LGBTQ+ people in prison for engaging in consensual sex. It has also supported laws that required the forced sterilization of transgender Europeans.

ADF has spread lies about the LGBTQ+ community. It has, for example, linked being LGBTQ+ to pedophilia and claimed that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy society. ADF tries to couch its rhetoric in benign-sounding phrases, but the truth is that it works to dehumanize LGBTQ+ people and restrict their rights for being who they are.

There is more to this at the cited link. However, the idea that the listing is based on “defense of traditional marriage in the courts” is preposterous. Is Ms. James ignorant of the facts or is she just lying?

The people at the SPLC certainly have a right to disagree with these groups’ policy positions; but it’s unconscionable that they would label decent people as hateful and consider them on equal footing with neo-Nazis and the Klan.

There’s that “disagree” bullshit again. The SPLC is very specific about why it lists an organization as a hate group. Claiming, for example, that transgender people comprise a cult movement is not a policy subject to disagreement. That is irresponsible and unsupportable rhetoric intended to denigrate a minority group.

As long as James brought up the Klan, I imagine that she knows that every Klansman claims to be a knight defender of Christianity. Hate groups like FRC and ADF couch their bigotry as a defense of freedom of religion when what they really want is freedom of discrimination.

This is all very cynical on James’ part. Her arguments are vague because she does not want to confront the real rationale of the SPLC. Simply stated, she is unable to do so.

Kay Coles James doesn’t get any more eloquent (or original) in conclusion:

It’s also unconscionable that Amazon would legitimize the SPLC’s list. In doing so, Amazon is telling millions of its customers who share the same traditional Christian or conservative beliefs that they are hateful, too.

One more time: This has nothing to do with beliefs! This is about conduct. Amazon.com’s conservative customer don’t go around claiming the LGBTQ people are destroying Western civilization.

Amazon.com has been quite explicit. The company has a very high regard for diversity which applies to customers and its workforce. Not allowing hate groups to profit off of a charitable program is an extension of the corporate culture.

The simple fact is that, in spite of all the rhetoric from hate groups and their abetters, most people recognize that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a very credible organization. More people shop at Amazon.com because of their commitment to diversity than people who don’t shop at Amazon.com because they will not subsidize hate groups.

About 40% of our populace has a close family member who is an LGBTQ person. They will defend the dignity of that family member with all the zeal that they can muster. That concept is lost on the religious right. They don’t get it and they never will because they are slaves to ancient texts.

On May 30 at Fox News James wrote:

The racism experienced by black Americans is not a political issue and to anyone who tries to use it as one, on the left or the right, I say shame on you. No longer should our communities be pieces in a grand chess game.

Shame on you Ms. James! The homophobia and transphobia experienced by LGBTQ Americans is not a political issue either. And before you get in a huff, I am not comparing the experiences of LGBTQ people with African-Americans. Prejudice is prejudice.

There is nothing new in religious warfare on minority groups. In the 19th century the United States delivered an ultimatum to Native Americans: Convert to Christianity or become extinct. Religion has been used in this country to support slavery and to underpin segregation.

Now a new group of political organizations is wed to the belief that they require the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people. In service to that desire they spread falsehoods about, and demonize, LGBTQ people just as other groups have lied about and demonized other minorities.

From the time that settlers wanted Native American lands, prejudice and discrimination have always been based on zero-sum doctrines. Persecution of LGBTQ people is no different. What we hear from the religious right is this: “More for them means less for me.”

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