An organization that tracks charities and non-profits has announced it's dropping a controversial designation.
GuideStar USA recently began using information from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to label some non-profits "hate groups" if they were designated as such by the SPLC.
SPLC claims it tracks violent racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nation of Islam, but other organizations are also listed as "hate groups" if they hold conservative views on traditional marriage and immigration, or serve as watchdog groups that document radical Islam.
Responding to GuideStar, 41 conservative groups organized in opposition and sent a joint letter demanding an end to the "hate group" label.
The letter signers, who may be familiar to OneNewsNow readers, include American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, ACT for America, and Judicial Watch, among many others.
AFA President Tim Wildmon (pictured at left) and Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs for AFA, signed the letter on behalf of the Mississippi-based ministry.
The letter described the SPLC as a "progressive political organization" and pointed out it was linked to the 2012 attempted mass shooting at the Family Research Council. FRC is designated as a "hate group" by SPLC for its "anti-gay" views and the gunman decided to attack FRC due to that designation, the letter noted.
GuideStar announced it was removing the labels two days after receiving the letter, The Washington Post reported in a June 26 story.
Quoting a statement from GuideStar, the Post story went on report the charity tracker claimed "harassment and threats" directed at its staff - presumably from conservatives - also weighed on its decision to drop the labels.
The charity tracker didn't give examples of such harassment but FRC said in a statment it condemned such action and suggested GuideStar report any serious threats to law enforcement.
"I think we're all pleased that GuideStar USA has made the decision to remove the hate group label from their website," says Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, executive vice president at the Family Research Council. "That said, I think it's also important that we question why did they put it up there to begin with."
It's not clear why GuideStar decided to partner with SPLC but GuideStar CEO Jacob Harold has a history of left-wing activism that includes working for Greenpeace, the far-left environmental group, and partnering with pro-abortion group NARAL.
Elsewhere in its statement, GuideStar acknowledged there is a "deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address — and identify — hate groups."
GuideStar is "righting a wrong," Boykin says, but its mistake was cooperating with Southern Poverty Law Center.
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News and news website OneNewsNow.