According to Kay Cole James, president of The Heritage Foundation, Amazon has doubled down on its efforts to exclude conservative nonprofits from its charity donation program AmazonSmile based on recommendations from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left advocacy organization that has been mired in scandal in recent years.
“While Amazon customers can use the AmazonSmile program to donate a portion of each purchase to left-leaning organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Center for American Progress (and to be fair, to many right-leaning organizations, too), Amazon has decided to single out a few well-known conservative organizations like [Family Research Council] and [Alliance Defending Freedom] from receiving part of the tens of millions of dollars the program raises each year from customers,” James wrote in an article for The Washington Times.
Created in 2013, the AmazonSmile website offers the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.com. But when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to whatever charitable organization the customer chooses.
For years, AmazonSmile has relied on the SPLC to determine which organizations should receive donations through the program. And in 2018, AmazonSmile abruptly pulled these well-established religious liberty organizations—FRC and ADF—from its list of eligible charities after the SPLC categorized them as “hate groups” because of their Biblical beliefs on marriage and gender.
“How ironic,” said James. “Amazon wants to show it is diverse and inclusive—just not diverse and inclusive enough to include religious groups that espouse traditional Christian beliefs.”
While the SPLC has been wrought with scandal and controversy over the past few years regarding allegations of racial and gender discrimination and of widespread sexual harassment, Amazon shareholders stood by the left-wing activist group last month during its annual shareholders meeting.
The Free Enterprise Project (FEP) at the National Center for Public Policy Research had brought forth a resolution that would have curbed the SPLC’s power to decide what charities customers can contribute to via purchases made through AmazonSmile, but it was quickly defeated.
“Amazon’s board of directors publicly and unequivocally endorsed viewpoint discrimination against Christian and conservative organizations,” said Justin Danhof, director of the FEP. “The board rejected our request that it reevaluate its reliance on the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center as the de facto gatekeeper of the AmazonSmile charitable program.”
Most Amazon customers are likely unaware donations are based on the left-wing political leanings of one organization, said Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, a nonprofit watchdog group that has investigated the SPLC.
“Amazon’s continued reliance on the discredited SPLC means that a company most Americans assume is politically neutral is actually putting a thumb weighing billions of dollars on one side of the political scales,” Walter told The Daily Signal. “Amazon should go back to being a neutral business that isn’t intervening in America’s culture wars in this blatant way.”