A Christian ministry is suing for defamation after being listed a 'hate-group' alongside the KKK and neo-Nazi organisations.
D James Kennedy Ministries (DJMK) is a Florida-based conservative TV ministry that opposes gay marriage and radical Islam.
It has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – a left-leaning campaign group – on its 'hate map' as a group with 'beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics'.
Also on the list are groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation, a white supremacist and antisemitic organisation.
The lawsuit also targets Amazon and GuideStar claiming the two companies use SPLC's 'hate-map' and have removed DJKM from the AmazonSmile Foundation's charitable list, effectively depriving it the option of receiving donations.
Dr Frank Wright, president of DJKM, accused SPLC of having 'illegally trafficked in false and misleading descriptions' about his charity and had 'committed defamation against DJKM arising from the publication and distribution of false information that libels the ministry's reputation and subjects the ministry to disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public'.
Announcing the lawsuit on Wednesday Wright said: 'We embarked today on a journey to right a terrible wrong. Those who knowingly label Christian ministries as 'hate' groups, solely for subscribing to the historic Christian faith, are either woefully uninformed or willfully deceitful. In the case of the Southern Poverty Law Center, our lawsuit alleges the latter.'
He added: 'These false and illegal characterizations have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and on religious free speech for all people of faith. After having given the SPLC an opportunity to retract, we have undertaken this legal action, seeking a trial by a jury of our peers, to preserve our own rights under the law and to defend the religious free speech rights of all Americans.'
Jerry Boykin, vice president of the Family Research Council, praised the DJKM for 'its effort to expose the truth about the Southern Poverty Law Center'.
He said in a statement: 'The SPLC is an organization that is an attack dog of the Left, they are not a neutral arbiter that is calling balls and strikes.
'They are on the field playing, pushing an agenda, and anyone who opposes them is slandered and slapped with a hate label.'
Christian Today has contacted SPLC for comment.