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D. James Kennedy Ministries Sues Southern Poverty Law Center Over 'Hate' Label

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D. James Kennedy Ministries is standing up to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), filing a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against the media powerhouse for calling it a hate group.

The lawsuit says the SPLC "illegally trafficked in false and misleading descriptions of the services offered by DJKM and committed defamation against DJKM."

It also contends that the SPLC published false information that has harmed the ministry's reputation and subjected it to "disgrace, ridicule, odium and contempt in the estimation of the public."

Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries, said in a  statement that he hopes to expose the SPLC's deception.

"We have been falsely branded by the SPLC for nothing more than subscribing to the teachings of the historic Christian faith," he said, adding that SPLC efforts to label his ministry and others as hate groups stifles religious free speech.

CBN News was unable to reach the SPLC for comment.

The SPLC has listed the ministry on its website as an "active anti-LGBT hate group."

It's a charge that other Christian and conservative groups that have found themselves on the SPLC's hate group list are well aware of.

Since its founding in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center has evolved from a no-nonsense civil rights watchdog group into a national definer of hate organizations with the ability to inflict serious harm on a variety of groups.

The SPLC constantly monitors and reports on what it calls hate groups and that has grown to include not only white separatists and neo-Nazis but anyone who opposes LGBT activism. The mainstream media frequently cites the SPLC when referring to these groups, using the SPLC hate group label.

The Family Research Council (FRC) is one such organization that the SPLC has targeted as a hate group saying that it defames gays and lesbians. On Wednesday, top FRC leaders applauded the lawsuit.

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William "Jerry" Boykin, FRC executive vice president, called the SPLC "an attack dog of the Left."

"They are on the field playing, pushing an agenda and anyone who opposes them is slandered and slapped with a hate label," he said.

In a recent Politico profile, Cornell law professor and SPLC critic William Jacobson said that the group is using the national credibility it built during the civil rights movement to build a platform for its current-day partisan activities.

"I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents," he said.


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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim