Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


Southern Poverty Law ‘hate map’ label proves costly to pro-family Ruth Institute

Catholic nonprofit dropped by online donation service over listing, fights ‘hate’ label

By Valerie Richardson- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Southern Poverty Law Center "hate map" has come under heated criticism on the right for lumping mainstream conservative organizations with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. (SPLC)

Southern Poverty Law Center “hate map” has come under heated criticism on the right for lumping mainstream conservative organizations with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. (SPLC)

Being classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center has been costly for the Ruth Institute, a Catholic nonprofit dedicated to combating the breakdown of the family.


First, the online retail giant Amazon refused to allow the group to be included on its Amazon Smile charitable giving program. Then, last week, Vanco Payment Solutions dropped the ministry from its online donation processing service.

“The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse,” said the Aug. 31 notice, according to the Ruth Institute. “Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, who founded the institute in 2008 and previously taught economics at Yale and George Mason universities, rejected the “hate” label, saying her group “categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements.”

“We don’t incite anybody to violence. We don’t say we hate anybody. We don’t demean anybody,” said Ms. Morse. “We disagree with certain policy positions that are being aggressively promoted by professional gay rights organizations. But we disagree with their policies. That’s all.”

That’s enough to qualify for the SPLC’s “hate map,” which has come under heated criticism on the right for lumping mainstream conservative organizations with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

Walter B. Hoye II, a Ruth Institute board member and founder of the Issues4Life Foundation in Oakland, California, called the SPLC’s decision to list the institute alongside racist groups like the KKK “reprehensible.”

Mr. Hoye recounted his family’s horrific history with the Klan: His great-grandfather was lynched and his house set on fire — with his 14 children inside — by the KKK in Georgia.

“I understand what the Klan is, and with that understanding, there is just no way that the Ruth Institute should be on that list,” Mr. Hoye said. “The Ruth Institute is about healing the black family. It could not be more different.”

Ms. Morse said.

The Ruth Institute, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was part of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) until 2013, when it split off as its own in order to distance itself from politics and concentrate on families and children.

Ms. Morse said her group, which ministers to “survivors of the sexual revolution,” wound up on the “hate map” the same year.

“[O]ver the years, she has steered clear of some of the more virulent anti-LGBT rhetoric, though the institute RI, like NOM at the time, used a tactic in which RI bloggers selectively quoted from virulently anti-LGBT sources while claiming to support LGBT individuals and simply being opposed to marriage equality,” said the SPLC in an Aug. 24 post.

Vanco’s decision comes shortly after CNN posted the “hate map” online under the headline, “Here are all the active hate groups where you live,” later changing it to, “The Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.”

The SPLC took a public relations hit last week for funneling millions to offshore accounts, according to a report by The Washington Free Beacon, while D. James Kennedy Ministries has sued the center for defamation over its “hate map.”

Still, the SPLC remains popular with celebrities: Apple CEO Tim Cook and actor George Clooney both gave $1 million to the Alabama-based civil rights group after last month’s violent clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Rod Dreher of the American Conservative blog said he believed that leaders of major American corporations are “eager to marginalize and destroy socially and religiously conservative groups, and are more than happy to have the SPLC’s ‘hate map’ as an excuse to do so.”

“Note well the hypocrisy here: It is hateful for a Christian wedding photographer, florist or baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding out of moral conviction, but it is virtuous for a major financial corporation to refuse to do business with a Christian ministry out of moral conviction,” he said. “Heads they win, tails we lose.”

Vanco specializes in religious institutions: It markets itself as an “online giving solution for churches,” saying that it works with more than 20,000 and has been “trusted by more churches than any other faith-based giving and payments provider!”

Ms. Morse, who’s seeking another online donation service, said other faith-based groups may want to switch companies. A Vanco spokesperson had no comment on the issue.

“Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups,” she said in a post. “Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.”


Will the Southern Poverty Law Center Brand the Roman Catholic Church a 'Hate Group'?

By Tyler O'Neil

This article was first published September 7, 2017 at pjmedia.

Pope Francis closes the Jubilee of Mercy in Vatican City on Nov. 20, 2016. (Rex Features via AP Images)

In 2013, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) branded the Ruth Institute (RI) a "hate group," and has stood by this decision ever since. Last month, the credit card processing company Vanco Payments canceled its partnership with RI seemingly over this issue. Also last month, the SPLC reiterated its attack on RI, claiming to quote RI Founder and President Jennifer Roback Morse. In actuality, the quote they presented to justify labeling Morse a "hater" came from another source — the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Since the SPLC applied the "hate group" label to RI, "I don't see why they wouldn't also have to say that the Catholic Church is a hate group," Chris Gacek, senior fellow for regulatory policy at the Family Research Council (FRC), told PJ Media in an interview. "Except that it would be totally suicidal at this time."

"Absolutely, I think that's right," Roback Morse herself told PJ Media in another interview. But she argued that the reason the SPLC will not brand the largest Christian denomination a "hate group" has nothing to do with them being "afraid of the Catholic Church."

While Roback Morse admitted she does not know the SPLC's motivation, she explained, "The fact is, inside the Catholic Church, there are many shall we say gay allies. There are people inside the Church who are trying to change the Church's teaching."

"If I were the SPLC, attacking the Catholic Church would not be smart right now," the RI president added. "Better to let the Catholic Church unravel itself from the interior. But for all I know, at some point they may go after the Catholic Church and label it a hate group."

Indeed, Gacek's reasoning is sound. In its August update on the activities of "Anti-LGBT Hate Groups," the SPLC justified listing RI in this manner. "Over the years, Roback Morse has claimed that the gay rights movement is 'anti-human' and has used Catholic doctrine to assert that LGBT people are 'intrinsically disordered' and that they should remain celibate (or leave the 'gay lifestyle') and not act on their attractions."

Here is the section on homosexuality from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative statement of doctrine which Catholics must agree with:

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

This is the official position of the largest Christian denomination, and if its position justifies calling the Ruth Institute a "hate group," then the SPLC should be consistent and label the Roman Catholic Church a "hate group."

Furthermore, Pope Francis — often a darling of the political Left — has outspokenly condemned LGBT ideology, calling transgenderism in particular "a global war against the family." Why are his remarks not listed on the "Anti-LGBT Hate Group" page?

In her interview with PJ Media, Roback Morse explained the reasons she opposes the LGBT movement. "The reason that I battle the sexual revolution the way that I do is that I believe it has been harmful particularly to children," the RI president said.

"If you start with the idea that children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents, you'll end up with traditional Catholic morality," she argued. "You'll end up with, 'Don't have sex until you're married, and don't have sex with anybody you're not married to, and contraception and abortion do not get you off the hook.'"

But contemporary secular culture has "thrown all that under the bus for the sake of adult sexual freedom. Whether you're gay or not gay — that's not what we're concerned about." Roback Morse argued that the worst aspect of the LGBT agenda is that it "furthermore undermines the social and legal perception that kids are entitled to a relationship with their parents."

Chillingly, she declared, "I think that adults should be sacrificing for their children, not the other way around."

The RI president also explained why the Catholic Church is the natural enemy of the LGBT movement. "The Catholic Church, at least on paper, is the last big organization taking a stand against the sexual revolution and in favor of traditional morality," she said. "Now, in practice that's not always true because there are priests and bishops who are all over the map, but the Catechism is still very clear on these points."

"If you're a group like the SPLC or any other sexual revolutionary group like Planned Parenthood, they can correctly recognize that the Catholic Church is their enemy," Roback Morse concluded.

The SPLC's "hate group" list has gained traction following the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Va. The SPLC originally made its name fighting groups like the KKK in court, but later transitioned to labeling mainstream conservative and Christian organizations "hate groups" along with the KKK. An SPLC spokesman declared that his organization's "aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely."

In recent months, the mainstream media and Internet companies have aided in those efforts. CNN recently broadcast the SPLC's "hate map"on its website and Twitter account (which still includes FRC, by the way), and two other major media outlets, ABC and NBC, parroted the SPLC's "hate group" label against Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) last month.

Google officially announced that it was partnering with the SPLC and ProPublica to launch the Documenting Hate News Index. Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that his company would give the SPLC $1 million, that it would match employee contributions, and that it would set up a system in iTunes software for consumers to donate directly.

In June, the charity navigation website GuideStar adopted the SPLC "hate group" list, marking each profile of the targeted organizations as a "hate group." This action inspired the first of three lawsuits against the SPLC, launched by the Christian nonprofit Liberty Counsel.

In December, D. James Kennedy Ministries was denied access to Amazon's charity connection service, Amazon Smile, because it was listed as a "hate group" by the SPLC. They also filed a lawsuit against the SPLC for defamation.

The list of "hate groups" is extremely problematic, partially because the reasons the SPLC gives for defaming them shift frequently. The SPLC briefly listed Ben Carson as an "extremist" on its list, and only took his name down following a public outcry. Just last week, the group removed the innocent historic town of Amana Colonies from its "hate map." Furthermore, the group seemed unable to decide why Muslim Maajid Nawaz was guilty of "anti-Muslim extremism." It listed and removed many different reasons, one of which was Nawaz's visit to a strip club for his bachelor party.

The group also recently released a map of all Confederate monuments across America, which just happened to include elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The SPLC's post publishing the map also warned of "turmoil and bloodshed" if Confederate monuments were not removed.

This map is especially troublesome, considering the SPLC's history of inspiring terror. This past month marked the fifth anniversary of a terrorist attack against the Family Research Center by Floyd Lee Corkins II.

Corkins broke into the FRC, planning to kill everyone in the building, and intending to carry his attacks elsewhere as well. He pled guilty to committing an act of terrorism and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, he said he targeted the FRC because of the SPLC "hate map."

The SPLC has also been connected to Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) this summer. Hodgkinson "liked" the SPLC on Facebook, and the SPLC had repeatedly attacked Scalise — even after he apologized and distanced himself from the remarks that earned him a spot on the SPLC "extremist" list.

The SPLC also has a huge endowment ($328 million as of 2015), and The Washington Free Beacon recently reported that the group has sent multiple transactions to foreign entities, including two cash payments of $2.2 million to the Cayman Islands.

Why Google, Apple, GuideStar, and Amazon take the SPLC's "hate list" seriously is anyone's guess. James Damore, the former senior software engineer who wrote a memo attacking Google for fostering an "intellectual echo chamber," was likely on to something.

In her remarks to PJ Media, Jennifer Roback Morse noted that "the Left believes they are correct on the substance of the issues," but also denounced the hypocrisy.

Ironically, the RI president defended Vanco Payments' decision to stop doing business with her, even though it was inspired by the discredited SPLC "hate group" list. "They can do business with anybody they want, for any reason they want," Roback Morse said. "But I wish that florists and cake bakers and photographers were accorded the same privilege."

Many Christian bakers, photographers, and florists have been penalized by the government for refusing to serve at same-sex weddings. Roback Morse defended their free speech, religious freedom, and free association rights to opt out of such business, so she also defended Vanco's right to do the same with the Ruth Institute.

Would that the Southern Poverty Law Center followed such consistency.



Southern Poverty Law Center Gets Creative to Label 'Hate Groups'

Principled conservatives are lumped together with bigots.

By Megan McArdle
 

This is an actual hate group. It shouldn't be lost in a list of 900. Source: Hulton Archive, via Getty Images




Online payment company discontinues service to Christian organization over SPLC 'hate group' label

by Jardine Malado

This article was first posted

An online payment company has stopped providing its services to a Lousiana-based Christian organization that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

In a statement issued on Friday, The Ruth Institute, a Catholic nonprofit based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, announced that Vanco Payment Solutions has opted to discontinue their business relationship.

"The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our online donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately," the statement read, reported by Life Site News.

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, said that the organization was "flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse."


"The Ruth Institute's primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a 'hate group,' so be it," Morse stated.

Morse noted that The Ruth Institute has been listed on SPLC's "hate map," since 2013, adding that no one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo has ever contacted the Christian group to inquire about the designation.

After confirming that the online payment service had indeed cut them off, Morse and her staff contacted the institute's regular contributors to alert them about the news and assure them that their private information has not been compromised.

The Ruth Institute, which describes itself as an organization that seeks to create "a mass social movement to end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution," was just one of a growing number of Christian organizations that have been included on SPLC's list of "hate groups."

Last month, D. James Kennedy Ministries, formerly known as Coral Ridge Ministries, filed a defamation lawsuit against the SPLC for including the ministry on the list, alongside racist and anti-Semitic extremist groups like the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan.

The Christian ministry has recently aired a special on SPLC called "Profit$ of Hate," in which it details how SPLC's designation has led to violence against Christian organizations.

In 2012, a gun-wielding LGBT activist named Floyd Lee Corkins headed to the headquarters of Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington D.C. and targeted its employees, but he was thwarted by the building manager Leo Johnson.

Corkins later told the FBI that he found FRC through the "Southern Poverty Law [Center] lists [of] ... anti-gay groups."

Morse asked her supporters to redirect their donations to their main office, located at 4845 Lake St. #217 Lake Charles, LA 70605.

She said that she respects the right of Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo to conduct their businesses as they see fit since they are private companies. "We just wish wedding photographers, bakers and florists received the same respect," she said.

The Ruth Institute has compiled a list of items some groups have found objectionable on a webpage called "Where's the Hate?" Morse said that anyone interested can review the material and judge for themselves whether the Institute belongs on a list alongside the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.



SPLC’s McCarthyism Knifes Catholic Non-Profit

By Rod Dreher

This article was first posted September 1, 2017, at The American Conservative.

One more small but significant step in making it hard for orthodox Christians to buy and sell in America:

Vanco Payment Solutions has cut off services from a Louisiana-based Christian ministry, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which accuses the ministry of promoting “hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, told The Christian Post on Friday that her organization received a message Thursday around 2 p.m. that the online payment processing company had opted to discontinue their relationship.

The Ruth Institute is a Catholic nonprofit based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was “flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse,” Morse explained to CP.


“Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies,” Vanco’s correspondence read.

Morse commented, “The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a ‘hate group,’ so be it.”

Here’s a link to the Ruth Institute’s “About” page. It’s basically about advocating for traditional marriage, family, and sexual standards. That’s now hate? Why, yes, according to the despicable Southern Poverty Law Center, which says, in part:

Roback Morse … has used Catholic doctrine to assert that LGBT people are “intrinsically disordered” and that they should remain celibate (or leave the “gay lifestyle”) and not act on their attractions.

The woman believes what her church, the Roman Catholic Church, teaches about homosexuality. That makes her a hater. That makes the Roman Catholic Church a hate organization, according to SPLC’s expansive definition.

The Washington Free Beacon has been looking at the public tax filings of the non-profit SPLC, and has found some interesting information. Excerpt:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal, Alabama-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that has gained prominence on the left for its “hate group” designations, pushes millions of dollars to offshore entities as part of its business dealings, records show.

Additionally, the nonprofit pays lucrative six-figure salaries to its top directors and key employees while spending little on legal services despite its stated intent of “fighting hate and bigotry” using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps best known for its “hate map,” a collection of organizations the nonprofit deems “domestic hate groups” that lists mainstream conservative organizations alongside racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and is often referenced in the media. A gunman opened fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012 after seeing it listed as an “anti-gay” group on SPLC’s website.

The SPLC has turned into a fundraising powerhouse, recording more than $50 million in contributions and $328 million in net assets on its 2015 Form 990, the most recently available tax form from the nonprofit. SPLC’s Form 990-T, its business income tax return, from the same year shows that they have “financial interests” in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. No information is available beyond the acknowledgment of the interests at the bottom of the form.

However, the Washington Free Beacon discovered forms from 2014 that shed light on some of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s transfers to foreign entities.

Read the whole thing.

Politico — not a conservative publication — takes a very hard look at the SPLC in a recent piece. Excerpts:

And as Dees navigates the era of Trump, there are new questions arising around a charge that has dogged the group for years: that the SPLC is overplaying its hand, becoming more of a partisan progressive hit operation than a civil rights watchdog. Critics say the group abuses its position as an arbiter of hatred by labeling legitimate players “hate groups” and “extremists” to keep the attention of its liberal donors and grind a political ax. Which means that just as the SPLC is about to embark on its biggest fight in decades, taking on rising racism and prejudice across the country, its authority to police the boundaries of American political discourse is facing its greatest challenge yet.

“I do think there is a desperate need for more objective research on hate crimes and domestic extremism—especially now,” says J.M. Berger, a researcher on extremism and a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague. But like many observers, he worries that the SPLC has gone too far in some of its hate group characterizations. “The problem partly stems from the fact that the organization wears two hats, as both an activist group and a source of information,” he says.

More:

You might imagine the Southern Poverty Law Center as a handful of scrappy lawyers in a dingy office suite somewhere. In fact, it boasts 250 staffers and offices in four states, and its headquarters is testament to the fact that, in America, even fighting racism can be very good business. The building—a six-story postmodern edifice that could be the outhouse for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao—is the most architecturally striking structure in downtown Montgomery.

And:

William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell and critic of the SPLC, says the group has wrapped itself in the mantle of the civil rights struggle to engage in partisan political crusading. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he says. “For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson adds. “It taints not only the group or person, but others who associate with them.”

Ken Silverstein, a liberal journalist and another critic of the group who authored a scathing investigation of its marketing and financial practices for Harper’s in 2000, attributes the growing scope of the SPLC’s censures to a financial imperative to wade into hot-button issues that will rile donors. “The organization has always tried to find ways to milk money out of the public by finding whatever threat they can most credibly promote,” he says.

Here, in a short passage from the Politico piece, is why this matters:

The SPLC’s hate group and extremist labels are effective. Groups slapped with them have lost funding, been targeted by activists and generally been banished from mainstream legitimacy. This makes SPLC the de facto cop in this realm of American politics, with all the friction that kind of policing engenders.

So: the SPLC has enormous powers given to it by no publicly accountable agency or institution — powers that it uses to demonize mainstream conservative and Christian groups. It exercises these powers to stoke its liberal donor base. Meanwhile, a little non-profit Catholic ministry in Lake Charles finds itself suddenly unable to do business with its online fee processor because it takes SPLC’s McCarthyite charges seriously.

Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute responded to the shutdown of the donation page on its website:

  • The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.

  • Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.

  • No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we “promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.”

  • The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. We have been on this “Hate Map” since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.

  • We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called “Where’s the Hate?” Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

  • The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.

  • Donors to the Ruth Institute can rest assured that their private information has not been compromised. Supporters can send checks to our main office, 4845 Lake St.; #217; Lake Charles, LA 70605.

(PayPal seems to be working for the site, by the way.)

Note well the hypocrisy here: it is hateful for a Christian wedding photographer, florist, or baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding out of moral conviction, but it is virtuous for a major financial corporation to refuse to do business with a Christian ministry out of moral conviction. Heads they win, tails we lose.

I would wager that the leadership of major American corporations are eager to marginalize and destroy socially and religiously conservative groups, and are more than happy to have SPLC’s “hate map” as an excuse to do so. That’s why unless there is a federal investigation of some sort (though on what grounds, I don’t know), or a huge wave of public pressure, we won’t see Apple, Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase, or any of the other big banks and corporations that do SPLC’s bidding and fill its coffers being dissuaded by actual reporting of its charlatanry.

What if banks and lending institutions decide to cut off access to credit for organizations and institutions they deem to be purveyors of “hate”? You don’t think it could happen to your employer, your church, your favorite charities? You don’t think it could happen to you? Wake up. The Law of Merited Impossibility (“It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.”) is unrepealable in this environment.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Only a matter of time before Credit Card companies won’t let you buy certain books that promote “hate.” We’re just so stupid. By being lured into convenience, we have given up our privacy. But now that information will be used to censor, punish, and shame.


Donation Processing Company Cancels Christian Group’s Service Because SPLC Labeled It a “Hate Group”

by Steven Ertelt

This article was first published at Life News on September 1, 2017.

 

 

A company that processes online donations for organizations cancelled its service with a Christian organization after the pro-abortion Southern Poverty Law Center labeled it a “hate group” over its conservative political views. This action highlights longstanding concerns pro-life conservatives have had about of the kind of discrimination pro-life Christians can expect for their beliefs.

The Ruth Institute, whose primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children, informed LifeNews today about the discrimination. Officials indicated Ruth Institute’s on-line donation processor cut them off from further funding for allegedly promoting “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”

The Ruth Institute learned late Thursday that Vanco Payment Solutuons, their on-line donation processing service, was cancelling their service immediately.


Their letter stated: “Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”

Ruth Institute immediately went to the donation page on its web site and found it had already been shut down. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, told LifeNews she is very upset by the decision.

“The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it,” she said. “We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold [pro-life and conservative] views about marriage, family and human sexuality.”

The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. It has been on this “Hate Map,” since 2013. No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how it supposedly “promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse,” she added.

The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations but they may be reconsidering following this discrimination.

“Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider,” Morse told LifeNews.

ACTION: Contact Vanco to complain here.


Christian Group Dropped by Online Payment Service Over SPLC 'Hate' Map

By Brandon Showalter

This article was first published in the Christian Post on

Vanco Payment Solutions has cut off services from a Louisiana-based Christian ministry, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map," which accuses the ministry of promoting "hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse."

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, told The Christian Post on Friday that her organization received a message Thursday around 2 p.m. that the online payment processing company had opted to discontinue their relationship.

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute

The Ruth Institute is a Catholic nonprofit based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was "flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse," Morse explained to CP.


"Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies," Vanco's correspondence read.

Morse commented, "The Ruth Institute's primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a 'hate group,' so be it."

Upon going to the donation page of Ruth Institute's website soon after receiving the message, the ministry staff found that Vanco had indeed already cut them off. She and her staff had to call all of her regular contributors who give online to alert them of this and assure them that their private information was not compromised.

She asked her supporters to redirect their giving for the time being to their main office, which is located at 4845 Lake St. #217 Lake Charles, LA 70605. None of the Ruth Institute staff were ever contacted or received any formal inquiries from Vanco, Card Brands, or Wells Fargo, regarding how the group specifically sponsors "hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse."

Morse made a point to say that what is ultimately driving the SPLC and now Vanco's moves against the nonprofit — even though Vanco markets itself to churches and nonprofit groups on its website — is that the Ruth Institute espouses the historic Christian view of marriage and sexual ethics, a view now considered "anti-LGBT."

Those accusing her of "hate" simply do not want to debate those ideas. Their beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups, and like-minded organizations that utilize Vanco's services might want to reconsider, she said.

"The sexual revolution is ultimately irrational, and it can't be made to work," Morse explained.

"If you go around saying that kids don't really need their parents and adults can make any sexual choice that they want and it will all be good because we will contracept away all the problems on one hand or abort away the problems, or the kids will be so resilient that it will all be fine, that's completely irrational. It's completely crazy. And so if you're trying to build a whole society around that, you've got to suppress evidence."

She continued that what the SPLC hate map does is place her group "right next to the guys with white hoods and swastikas," marginalizing her in order to avoid engaging any arguments.

The Ruth Institute has compiled the items some groups have found objectionable on a page its website called "Where's the Hate?"

"Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot, or shoot anyone by our activities," she said.

The Ruth Institute has been listed on the SPLC's "Hate Map" since 2013.

Morse has no plans to keep quiet about this and noted that "the complicity of the media is a big part of the problem."

Many mainstream media outlets regularly cite the SPLC's "Hate Map" as though it comes from a neutral group when in fact the organization is hyper-partisan, Real Clear Politics Washington Bureau Chief Carl M. Cannon decried in March.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that the SPLC has also become a far-left funding powerhouse and their records show they are pushing millions of dollars to offshore bank accounts as part of its business dealings and the group's top officers are paid lucrative six-figure salaries. Major donors to the SPLC include Apple CEO Tim Cook who recently told his employees that the company would be donating $1 million to the SPLC and would match his employees' donations to the group two to one. JP Morgan Chase has promised to give $500,000 to the SPLC in support of its efforts to track and expose "hate."

Morse concluded that she respects the right of Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo to conduct their businesses as they see fit since they are private entities.

"We just wish wedding photographers, bakers and florists received the same respect," she said.



Target of the SPLC's Notorious 'Hate List' Speaks Out

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published at The Stream on August 23, 2017.

 

 

I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. But I am a bit confused. I thought I was supposed to be a member of the Alt-Right, or a racist, or a Nazi, since I voted for Donald Trump. I guess I am even supposed to be in sympathy with the Alt-Right marchers in Charlottesville.

Dealing With the “Hate” Label

People like me who have had the “hate” label pinned on them face a dilemma: we can defend ourselves and say, “I don’t hate anyone. I just don’t agree with you.” In my experience, this strategy goes nowhere. The more we attempt to defend ourselves, the more we appear, well, defensive. Hence, not believable.

Our other choice is to say, “The heck with it. I know I’m not a hater, bigot or racist. I officially no longer care what anyone thinks of me.” This second course has a certain nobility to it. But it presents dangers of its own. People can easily become jaded and cynical about the whole concept of “hate” and “bigotry.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I should reveal that this has been my preferred strategy. You see, the organization I lead, the Ruth Institute, is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map.” I don’t know how one gets on the SPLC’s “Hate Map.” And I certainly do not know how one gets off it.


Is It “Anti-LGBT” to Say Children Need Their Own Parents?

I suppose I am an “anti-LGBT” hater, because I believe children need their own parents. So here is my question: If believing children need their own parents lands the Ruth Institute a spot on the “hate map,” what words adequately describe white supremacists or neo-Nazis?

I am clear on one point: Sexual revolutionaries gain a strategic advantage by labeling people like me. Guilt by association is irrational, but powerful. The fear of being labeled a racist provides a potent disincentive for people to voice the view that children need their own parents. Silencing people relieves the Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries from the effort of having to defend their ideas.

This is convenient for said Identity Politicians and Sexual Revolutionaries, because their ideas are indefensible. Children actually do need their own parents. Sexual orientation is not the equivalent of race. Two mothers do not equal two fathers do not equal a mother and a father, and certainly not one’s own mother and father.

One typical Revolutionary response at this point is, “Why are you singling out gay people? What about divorce?” Please be aware that the Ruth Institute spends a LOT of time talking about divorce and other forms of family breakdown. Don’t change the subject. Society’s injustice to children through divorce is proof-positive that depriving children of a parent through genderless marriage will also be unjust.

This “Hate” Labeling is a Dangerous Game

But what does any of this have to do with being a Nazi? Or a racist? Or advocating violence? Nothing.

Our “opinion-makers” in the media, academia and assorted left-wing think tanks are playing a dangerous game. They have told us that the views of many ordinary decent Americans are the equivalent of racism. Some of those same ordinary decent Americans are fed up. They know they are not racists, haters or bigots. But we no longer have an adequate public vocabulary to describe actual haters, bigots and racists.

As I said, I categorically condemn the Alt-Right, white supremacy, racism, Nazism and all violent totalitarian political movements. You may search the Ruth Institute’s website all day long, and never find a racist word. Instead, what you will find are reasons and evidence to support sentiments that align with the vast majority of Americans, black and white, male and female. Children need their own parents. Men and women are different. Sex makes babies and therefore society has every right to expect people to control their sexual impulses.

The advocates of the Sexual Revolution cannot defend their ideas. That is why people with my views end up on their “Hate Map.”

On Wednesday, August 23, the Ruth Institute released a statement on being included on SPLC’s “Hate Map.” You can read that statement here. The Ruth Institute has also created a special page called “Where’s the Hate?” which lists items that some have deemed “hateful.” They invite the public to review these items and determine for themselves who is actually “hateful.”


But What About Abusive Marriages?

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was originally posted at Crisis Magazine August 3, 2017.

When people learn that I oppose no-fault divorce, some will say, “You have forgotten about abusive marriages.” When the Ruth Institute, the organization that I lead, describes itself as “The World’s Only Campaign to End Family Breakdown,” we hear again, “But what about abusive marriages?”

So, let me deal with this important issue. What about abusive marriages?

First off, let me assure you: I am certainly aware abusive marriages exist. I hear a lot of these stories. There are valid reasons why sometimes, spouses can, and should live separately. I am not opposed to separation in these cases. In some cases, a civil divorce can be justified, and even necessary.

The real question is this: who “broke” this family? Remember, I’m working to end family breakdown. In my opinion, the person throwing furniture through the wall, broke the family covenant. His wife has every right, and perhaps even a responsibility, to ask him to move out. If he refuses, she may need the help of (our admittedly dysfunctional) legal system. But make no mistake: she is not breaking up the family. He is.


Or what about this case? A woman becomes addicted to drugs. She spends all the family’s money, runs up credit card debts and acquires new lovers. Her husband may very well need to kick her out, sever all their financial dealings, and take steps to keep her away from the kids. He may need the help of the government to accomplish this. And yes, a divorce may be the only way to disentangle her from the family finances.

Who broke this family? The person who broke the covenant: the wife. The husband is protecting himself and his children.

I’m against the behavior that led to the family breakdown. I’m not against the innocent party doing what they need to do to protect themselves and their children. Yes, I’m so much against family breakdown that I want to see abusive behavior end.

I stated right up front that I am opposed to no-fault divorce. I stand by that. No-fault divorce was a radical restructuring of the institution of marriage. Under the no-fault regime, the State takes sides with the person who wants the marriage the least. The State not only allows, but actually assists, the least committed party to unilaterally ending the marriage.

Under a fault-based regime, an abused spouse could get a divorce. Abuse, adultery, abandonment, addiction: these were considered marital faults in virtually any jurisdiction. The person claiming a fault would have to offer evidence, to prove the faults had indeed occurred. But a fault-based divorce regime does not mean divorces never happened. Nor would a reintroduction of marital fault mean that “women would be trapped in abusive marriages.”

Under the no-fault divorce regime, the State pretends to be unable to discern an abusive marriage, from one that is not, or an offending party from an innocent party. The State then turns around and presumes to discern parenting plans, child support plans, and living arrangements of entire families. According to the State, no one has done anything wrong. Yet, the State assigns itself the right to send children for psychological evaluations, and to investigate all the family’s financial records.

It is true that the State does not use all this authority in every instance. This does not negate the fact that they still have that authority. No-fault divorce is a highly intrusive, privacy-invading legal structure.

Finally, some will ask, what about the Catholic Church’s annulment process? The annulment process is conceptually separate from discerning whether a marital fault has taken place. I realize this may sound harsh. But adultery or abuse has no direct bearing on whether the marriage was canonically valid in the first place.

The annulment process seeks evidence about the conditions surrounding the marriage itself. Did both parties freely consent? Were there any defects of form? Were both parties free to marry? Whether one or both became mentally ill or abusive or adulterous or anything else is not, strictly speaking relevant. If a person is too dangerous to live with, the couple can licitly live separately.

So why is annulment such a big deal in the Catholic Church? An annulment gives a person the Church’s permission to contract a Catholic marriage, just as a civil divorce grants a person permission to contract another civil marriage. But bear in mind: no one ever has to get married again.

This is why I am persuaded that abusive marriages do not present an exception to Jesus’ law of the indissolubility of marriage. Nor does the existence of abusive marriages dissuade me from my belief that family breakdown is something every decent person should work to end.

Breaking up a family in the absence of marital fault is unjust to the innocent parties, especially the children. And when abuse does take place, the person filing the divorce papers is not the person breaking up the family. The abuse that led to divorce is what needs to stop. Surely everyone can agree to that.



Euthanizing the Unhappy: The Urgent Need for Love

by Jennifer Roback Morse

The case of a Belgian woman who committed physician-assisted suicide after a sex-change operation reveals that we must not only look more closely at the causes of gender dysphoria, we must also offer all people the love that they so deeply need.

The recent physician-assisted suicide of a deeply depressed Belgian woman made worldwide headlines. But the headlines didn’t say a thing about depression. The headlines read, “Belgian killed by euthanasia after a botched sex change operation.”

This is not a story of medicine gone wrong. It is a story of a world where the light has gone out.

 


Everything about this headline is a euphemism or half-truth. The author couldn't figure out whether to describe the individual as a man or a woman. So, in keeping with GLAAD guidelines, the author used the gender-neutral term “Belgian,” to describe a generic person, and later describes the individual as “Nathan, born Nancy, Verhelst.” The story never tells us exactly what was “botched” about the operation, except that Nancy was unhappy with the result. And the term “euthanasia” obscures the fact that a physician killed a perfectly healthy woman who happened to have been extremely unhappy for a long time.

Let's read past the headline and consider the story more deeply.

Nancy was the daughter of a mother who wanted sons.

“I was the girl that nobody wanted. . . While my brothers were celebrated, I got a storage room above the garage as a bedroom. ‘If only you had been a boy’, my mother complained. I was tolerated, nothing more.”

Nancy’s mother confirmed Nancy’s story in this article.

“When I first saw ‘Nancy,’ my dream was shattered. She was so ugly . . . I had a ghost birth. Her death does not bother me.”

She said the farewell letter that Mr. Verhelst had written to her explaining his reasons for choosing euthanasia had not yet arrived, adding: “I will definitely read it, but it will be full of lies.

“For me, this chapter closed. Her death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond which could therefore not be broken.”

It is painfully obvious that Nancy needed love. What she got was a highly invasive set of medical procedures.

The typical justification for the amputation of perfectly healthy breasts and the prescription of powerful hormonal treatment is “gender dysphoria.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual describes gender dysphoria this way:

there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Looking through the DSM online, I did not find reference to the idea of trying to understand why the person experiences gender dysphoria. Nor did I find any reference to the idea of exhausting less invasive solutions to the distress or impairment before embarking on such a radical process as sexual reassignment surgery and a lifetime of hormone treatment, even on insurance company websites. One might think that an insurance company would want to know that less expensive alternatives had been attempted, before agreeing to pay for sexual reassignment surgery.

Admittedly, this online version of the DSM is for laypeople, not professionals. And also admittedly, insurance companies typically require "two referrals from qualified mental health professionals who have independently assessed the individual." But in the absence of objective criteria that would establish gender dysphoria apart from the individual's feelings, it is not clear what this very open-ended referral requirement exactly accomplishes.

The colloquial version of gender dysphoria is that the person feels “trapped in the wrong body.” But this does not apply to Nancy's case. The overriding fact of this woman's life was that her mother rejected her because she was a girl. We now know that millions of baby girls have been aborted worldwide, simply because they were girls. Nancy’s story is the slow-motion Western European equivalent. Her mother wanted a son, or at least a better-looking girl. She feels no remorse, even after her daughter’s suicide.

What exactly was “botched” about the sex change operation? I could find no allegation in the published accounts that the doctors did anything wrong or were negligent in any way. It appears that there was nothing medically abnormal about her body. The operation was “botched” only in the sense that Nancy was not satisfied with the outcome.

In the hours before his death he told Belgium's Het Laatse Nieuws: “I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself.

“My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be . . . a monster.”

Nancy needed to be affirmed in her femininity. She had internalized her mother’s view that she was defective. Not surprisingly, her surgical attempts to correct a moral and psychological problem did not succeed. Changing her body did not resolve the problem of her mother's rejection.

Why no one saw this, I cannot say.

Dr. Paul McHugh was Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins University from 1975 to 2001. During that time, he made the decision and led the department in shutting down the sexual reassignment unit. Here is what he said, years after the fact:

As for the adults who came to us claiming to have discovered their “true” sexual identity and to have heard about sex-change operations, we psychiatrists have been distracted from studying the causes and natures of their mental misdirections by preparing them for surgery and for a life in the other sex. We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.

However you may feel about Dr McHugh's argument as a general proposition, we can say that he is absolutely correct in Nancy Verhelst's case. This particular woman was not “really” a man “trapped” in a woman's body. She was “really” a woman “trapped” in a world in which the most important person in her life did not love her.

Nancy did not need surgery. She needed her mother’s love. And short of that, she needed other people to care for her, to reach out to her in love, and assure her that she is loved by God.

The Christian community should have and could have reached out to a little girl whose mother was disgusted by her female body. Christians of all denominations need to start creating their own structures of service to those who are so wounded that they want to mutilate their own bodies or kill themselves.

More cases like Nancy’s are inevitable. Sexual reassignment surgery for any reason is already here in America. Euthanasia for any reason is coming down the pike. These trends are driven by the modern obsession with personal autonomy, uncoupled from any objective notion of the good. You don't like your body? No problem. We'll change yours to your specification. You don't want to live? No problem. We will help you die. Giving people what they say they want is becoming the sum total of our idea of helping people.

Not long ago, I gave a talk at a university titled “Healing the Family of the 21st Century.” In the question period, I laughingly said that we need a new religious order to reach out to people hurting from family problems. (Listen to this around minutes fifty-four through fifty-eight.) In that context, I was talking about the millions of people who have been wounded by the Sexual Revolution: children of divorce, reluctantly divorced or abandoned spouses, heartbroken career women.

But I'm not laughing now. We really do need a group of people whose job it is to reach out to those who need love, for whatever reason, from whatever cause. Pope Francis has recently said that he views the church as a field hospital after battle. “Heal the wounds! Heal the wounds!”

There is a town where the Christian people pride themselves on the care of the mentally ill. This town was the site of the murder of St. Dymphna by her mentally deranged father in the ninth century. Ever since, the residents of this town take mentally ill people into their homes. Coincidently, this town is in Belgium, the country that now euthanizes depressed people like Nancy Verhelst.

The modern world promises health and happiness through science. Science is supposed to deliver human control over the constraints of nature. This, in turn, will make us happy, since the free exercise of our will is supposed to be the key to human happiness.

Science did not deliver happiness to Nancy Verhelst. Science helped her to exercise her will, all right—but that was not enough.

The psychological sciences are inadequate for dealing with the existential problem of lovelessness and loneliness. The medical sciences are not the solution for a spiritual problem. We cannot save ourselves. Only God can save us. Only God's love can sustain us in loving others when all hope of love seems lost. This is precisely when the need for love is the greatest. We who have experienced this love need to be more assertive about sharing this astounding fact with others.

 


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