A group helping children suffering from the effects of family breakdown has been axed by its online payments provider after political activists accused it of being a “hate group”.
The Ruth Institute is on a ‘hate map’ alongside 900 other US organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and holocaust denial groups.
Last week, online donation processing company Vanco cancelled its services to the group without notice, stating it believed the Ruth Institute was affiliated “with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse”.
The hate map, compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, also includes groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.
In response to Vanco’s move, the Ruth Institute said it “categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism, and all violent totalitarian political movements”.
“The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children… If this makes us a ‘hate group’, so be it”, it said.
“People who cannot defend their positions using reason and evidence resort to name-calling to change the subject away from their anemic arguments”, the pro-family organisation noted.
“The ‘hate group’ label is a club such people invented to bludgeon their political opponents.”
The Ruth Institute assured supporters that their financial details had not been compromised. It said the move was probably due to its traditional stance on LGBT issues.
While the family group noted that it respected the financial company’s right as a private business to make its own decision, it added: “We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.”
The Ruth Institute has been on the hate map since 2013, but recently CNN published the nationwide list on its website, initially under the headline “Here are all the active hate groups where you live”.
“No one outside the SPLC knows how organizations come to be included on the list. No one knows how to get off the list. The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of ‘hate’”, the Ruth Institute said.
Vanco declined to comment.
Genuine hate groups
Last week, during a US Senate committee hearing considering a new judicial appointment, Senator Al Franken tore into the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), repeatedly noting its inclusion on the hate list.
ADF’s President responded: “There is a real danger of conflating genuine hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, with mainstream religious beliefs that are shared by millions of Americans and people from all walks of life across the world.”