Amazon Bans Group Who Just Won 7-2 Supreme Court Cake-Baking Victory As “Hate Group”
The Alliance Defending Freedom, ADF, was recently banned by Amazon.com’s Smile program. Smile, which my wife and I use, is a great way for Amazon customers to support the charity of their choice. Except, that is, if Amazon denies them that choice, which is exactly what they did with ADF. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group with a glorious history but which has been taken over by extremist voices, has engaged in the practice of labeling mainstream conservative organizations as ‘hate groups’. This allows managers of companies such as Amazon to indulge their own private ideological urge to shun, but with the surface appearance of fighting extremism.
Here’s the problem in the case of ADF: It’s hard to get more mainstream than a 7-2 SCOTUS ruling. If Kennedy, Kagan, and Breyer agree with your reasoning, it seems pretty clear that you are not an extremist right-wing hate group. This renders the Amazon decision (and the SPLC fig leaf) retroactively embarrassing. It’s time for Amazon to reverse the policy. To let customers decide which charities are legit, or if they must override customer preference, at least put in place criteria as to what constitutes a hate group that both conservatives and liberals would agree to.
Since this is an investment column and portfolio design is my day job, I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that Amazon is owned by investors. It’s someone else’s money that keeps the electrons of ecommerce whirring. When management imposes its own personal ideological agenda, it doesn’t just stymie customer preference, it misuses shareholder assets.
I recorded an audio commentary for Salem radio stations recently about the Amazon decision, which you can read below and listen to here.
Amazon has dropped ADF—the Alliance Defending Freedom—from their “Smile” charity program. They did so because the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the a group who are leading defenders of the the First Amendment and religious liberty as a hate group. The Smile program permits customers to donate part of their Amazon purchases to the charity of their choice.
Of course, ADF is no hate group, but that doesn’t matter to the SPLC. Their M.O. is to label mainstream conservative groups as hate-groups.
So why should the rest of us care?
Citizens should care because labeling everything the left doesn’t like as racist polarizes society and degrades civility. It’s long past time for Amazon to put its owners and its customers interests ahead of activists and the personal political biases of management.
Originally published on Townhall Finance.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.