The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPCL) has extended its influence into large American tech companies. It is now well known that Google has employed the SPLC to police its YouTube video sharing platform for what it considers “hate speech.” Now, Amazon.com has made a similar partnership.
And I did not discover this from the news.
Until recently, readers of Catholicism.org and supporters of Saint Benedict Center could benefit this charity by patronizing Amazon.com through Amazon’s “smile” program at smile.Amazon.com. Yesterday, a friend contacted me to inform me that he was getting this message:
We’re sorry. Saint Benedict Center Inc is not currently eligible to receive donations from AmazonSmile.
Please select a new charity to support. If you have made purchases in support of organizations that are no longer eligible for AmazonSmile, Amazon will apply donations based on these past purchases to the new charity you select.
I contacted Amazon to see what the problem was. This is the note I submitted via an Amazon.com contact page they set up for charities:
Without any notification from Amazon.com, we have found out from our benefactor (and your customer) that, “We’re sorry. Saint Benedict Center Inc is not currently eligible to receive donations from AmazonSmile.”
Please explain the problem in sufficient detail so that it may be rectified, if possible.
Today, I received a reply, which confirmed my suspicions:
From: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Subject: RE:[CASE 5012778361] Why Have We Been Excluded?
Date: April 24, 2018 at 10:17:17 AM EDT
To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
The AmazonSmile Participation Agreement states that certain categories of organizations are not eligible to participate in AmazonSmile. We rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which charities are in certain ineligible categories. You have been excluded from the AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center lists Saint Benedict Center Inc in an ineligible category.
You can read the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement here: http://org.amazon.com/agreement and read more about the Southern Poverty Law Center designation here: https://www.splcenter.org
AmazonSmile Charity Support
Of course, Amazon.com is a private company that can do what it pleases in such things. I’m not crying foul on that. But to partner with the SPLC is to take a side in the culture wars: it is to take the wrong side.
Decide, consumer who reads this, whether you want to continue patronizing Amazon.com.