Mikey Weinstein runs the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and emphatically advocates for members of the U.S. military on behalf of their freedom of religion, and probably more often, their “freedom from religion.”
He often has “crossed swords” with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which advocates for religious rights across the nation.
“Frankly, we disagree with ADF’s positions on almost everything in law and policy,” he explains in a new letter.
But when Amazon, using details from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, ordered the ADF removed from its promotional “Smile” program that allows customers to designate a tiny fraction of their purchase price to be donated to various organizations, Weinstein had to speak up.
“It is one thing to fight for ideals, and it’s another tro marginalize and suppress others – even though you vehemently disagree with,” he wrote in a letter, dated Monday, to Jeff Bezos, chief of Amazon.
Weinstein also dispatched a copy of the letter to WND.
“And that is what’s happening when ADF is branded a ‘hate’ group and thrown out of the Amazon Smile program,” Weinstein wrote.
WND reported last week when the “money-grabbing slander machine” SPLC was cited as the source of information over which ADF was dropped from Amazon’s program.
ADF, which has won seven cases at the U.S. Supreme Court in the last seven years in defense of religious and civil rights, said it has been dropped from the Smile program because it has been labeled by SPLC as a “hate group” for defending traditional marriage.
ADF charged SPLC “exploits the terms ‘hate’ and ‘hate group’ against any organization it disagrees with.”
SPLC’s hate list also was used by the charity-information site GuideStar, prompting lawsuits. While it famously battled the KKK many years ago, of late SPLC has taken to labeling famed surgeon and conservative Dr. Ben Carson as a “hater.” And it was linked to domestic terror through Floyd Corkins, who used information from SPLC to target the Family Research Council with a mass-murder attempt at the Christian organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. SPLC also was reprimanded by the far-left administration of Barack Obama, and the Department of Defense and FBI have severed their ties to the group.
ADF, which among its accomplishments has successfully defended a state program that provides funding for children to attend private schools, offered in a letter Thursday to Amazon to help set up a legitimate program to evaluate charities.
“It you are going to rely on a discredited partisan organization like the SPLC to determine who is eligible to participate in Amazon Smile, you should disclose that in your policy and to your customers,” ADF said. “Millions of Americans share our beliefs and thousands of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious organizations subscribe to them as well.”
Weinstein said those at the SPLC are his “beloved brothers and sisters” and they “always will be.”
“Irrespective of that immutable fact, on this particular and specific matter, MRFF and SPLC simply disagree. Even brothers and sisters can disagree,” he wrote to Bezos.
“Please reconsider, Mr. Bezos. In my long years of fighting for what’s constitutionally right, I’ve come to personally know several senior ADF lawyers extremely well. Their religiously based legal positions, I and MRFF TOTALLY reject. However, their integrity, compassion, character, empathy, honor, and concern for their fellow humans I will steadfastly affirm. I have seen it and I have lived it.
“As seemingly incomprehensible as it may seem, sometimes hell actually DOES freeze over. I consider them dear friends and I assure you that I don’t use that term light,” he wrote.
He explained the use of the “formidable” power of Amazon against such workers is just wrong.
“The American way is not to impose ‘truth’ by power – be it economic or government – but by free speech, robust debate, and conflict in the courts. Though I and MRFF fervently disagree 100 percent with ADF’s views, I will stand up here and now and respect their fight for conscience, for their understanding of human life, and their commitment to their conception of religious freedom.”
While they are “profoundly wrong,” he explained, “They do not deserve controversial labels or being shoved to the side by the inestimable and raw power” of Amazon.
There are “Christian religious extremist organizations,” he pointed out, who “richly” deserve being tossed from such programs.
But he said he’s known personally the “principled humanity” of the ADF staff members.
Michael Farris, ADF’s president, CEO and chief counsel, said that to justify removing ADF from the Amazon Smile program, Amazon “is hiding behind the Southern Poverty Law Center, a discredited fundraising group that fills its ever-increasing coffers by attacking veterans, Catholics, Muslims who oppose terrorism, and even nuns.”
“SPLC is not a neutral watchdog organization,” Farris said. “Instead, it raises money by slandering people and organizations who disagree with its views. ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Amazon representatives to explain why they shouldn’t exclude us from the Amazon Smile program.”