Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records show that Chick-fil-A is not only stopping donations to Christian organizations but is funding left-wing extremist groups, including the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Chick-fil-A’s 2017 990 IRS filing shows the fast-food franchise made a $2,500 donation to SPLC, among a laundry list of pro-abortion and pro-LGBT orgs, Townhall reports. The Chick-fil-A Foundation has come under conservative scrutiny since its decision to stop supporting Christian charities such as the Salvation Army, caving to disingenuous pressure campaigns from far-left activists.
The SPLC is most infamous for inspiring an attempted domestic terror attack against the Family Research Council (FRC), a group that lobbies for pro-marriage and pro-life policies.
In 2013, Floyd Lee Corkins II was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the first-ever conviction for domestic terrorism under Washington, DC, law. Corkins pled guilty to assault with intent to kill and committing an act of terrorism for entering the FRC’s office in August 2012 and shooting a black security guard, who ultimately thwarted his attack. Corkins used the SPLC’s “hate map” — an error–filled digital map giving the addresses of entities that the org deems “hate groups” — to locate the FRC for his planned massacre.
Corkins was carrying a bag of Chick-fil-A sandwiches when he entered the building and started shooting. He later told prosecutors that he planned to smear some of the food on the faces of his would-be victims.
FRC President Tony Perkins swiftly denounced the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s support of “one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America.”
“Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, it has donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America,” Perkins said in a statement. “Anyone who opposes the SPLC, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives, is slandered and slapped with the ‘extremist’ label or even worse, their ‘hate group’ designation.”
“It’s time for Christians to find a fast food alternative to Chick-fil-A,” he concluded.
In addition to the FRC terrorism episode, the SPLC has suffered a number of other setbacks and humiliations, but it has not backed down from its extremist agenda, refreshing its “Hate Map” in 2018 and putting mainstream conservative activists in the same category as neo-Nazis and the alt-right.
The FRC remains a target on the map, even after the listing nearly got some of its staff killed. Other supposed “hate groups” include the Center for Immigration Studies, Center for Security Policy, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Clarion Project.
After Corkins’ prosecution, federal agencies began distancing themselves from the then-discredited SPLC. The Department of Justice scrubbed its hate crimes web page of any association from the org in 2014, and the Department of Defense soon followed suit in its training materials. In August 2018, then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called out the org while speaking at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — which SPLC has labeled a “hate group.”
The SPLC’s broad-brush approach to political smearing has caused it more PR headaches in recent years. In December 2017, its “Hate Tracker” — a tool ostensibly set up to monitor the conversation topics of online extremists — flagged the hashtags “#Christmas,” “#MerryChristmas,” “#Jesus,” and “#ChristmasEve.” At the time of this writing, the “Hate Tracker” website is no longer functional.
Just months earlier, the org committed an even bigger blunder, including British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” Nawaz sued for defamation and won a $3.375 million settlement plus an on-camera apology from SPLC President Richard Cohen.
After the Nawaz fiasco, the floodgates opened with bipartisan scrutiny of its practices. Washington Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen wrote a piece titled “The Southern Poverty Law Center has lost all credibility,” calling the org a “caricature” of its former self and urging donors to halt their support.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote to the IRS in April 2019, asking for a review of the SPLC’s nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in light of its obviously partisan activities which have yielded hundreds of millions of assets and “lavish salaries” for its management.
“Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents,” Cotton wrote, citing the Nawaz settlement and the org’s Hate Map. “In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation.”
In March of 2019, the SPLC fired its founder Morris Dees, suggesting some kind of misconduct. A local reporter said several sources told him Dees had been accused of sexual harassment. In addition, SPLC employees reportedly accused management of being “complicit in decades of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and/or assault.”
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