Amazon Pressured to Drop Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, from Charity List

Michael Foust | Contributor | Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Amazon app on a phone, Left-leaning group urges Amazon to drop several conservative Christian groups from its charity list

Amazon Pressured to Drop Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, from Charity List

A prominent left-leaning group is urging Amazon to drop dozens of Christian organizations from its popular AmazonSmile charity because they hold to traditional, biblical beliefs about sexuality.

The group, openDemocracy, says Amazon should drop Focus on the Family, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and other Christian groups from its AmazonSmile program because they have opposed same-sex marriage and/or affirmed the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is sin.

AmazonSmile is an Amazon-sponsored program that allows buyers to donate part of their purchases to charities.  

OpenDemocracy calls the targeted Christian groups “anti-LGBT.”

“Dozens of US-based anti-LGBT groups are fundraising on Amazon’s online donations platform – despite the company’s policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation,” the openDemocracy story says.

OpenDemocracy is a United Kingdom-based website with hundreds of thousands of social media followers. As of Wednesday, The Hill and Business Insider had posted stories about the investigation.

“openDemocracy research has discovered that more than 40 organisations listed on the US AmazonSmile platform publicly oppose LGBT rights and equality,” the openDemocracy story says.

Among those are Focus on the Family, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and American Center for Law and Justice. Millions of evangelicals in the United States support the three groups.

Amazon previously booted Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council – two well-known Christian-based, socially conservative groups – from its AmazonSmile program.

A spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told openDemocracy it “does not engage in unlawful discrimination and we do not promote intolerance.”

“We hope Amazon Smile will continue to respect the rights and dignity of all people, and won’t discriminate against faith-based groups based solely on their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the spokesperson said.

Amazon told openDemocracy it relies on the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine if charities “engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council as “hate groups.” But Alliance Defending Freedom, on its website, calls the Southern Poverty Law Center a “corrupt” and “partisan” organization that is no longer the “respected civil rights organization” it once was. The Family Research Council previously released a similar statement.

“ADF believes that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone is worthy of dignity and respect,” ADF says on its website. “While ADF takes legal and policy positions that are informed by a biblically-based understanding of marriage, human sexuality, and the sanctity of life, we respect the human dignity of those with whom we disagree and win legal cases that also protect their freedom to express and advocate for their beliefs.”

Photo courtesy: Christian Wiediger/Unsplash

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.