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Another Scalp? Donation Processing Company Drops ‘Hate Group’ Christian Nonprofit Attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center

A map of organizations across the United States which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers "hate groups."

Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) seemed to claim another scalp. On Thursday, the credit card processing company Vanco Payment Solutions dropped the Christian nonprofit Ruth Institute (RI) over claims that RI "promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse." The group has been listed on the SPLC's "hate map" since 2013.

"The Ruth Institute's primary focus is on family breakdown, and its impact on children. If this makes us a 'hate group,' so be it," the RI's founder and president, Jennifer Roback Morse, declared in a statement.

Vanco sent the Ruth Institute a letter Thursday, declaring that it was canceling their service immediately. "Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute," the letter read. "The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies."

In a statement to PJ Media, Vanco confirmed that "we terminated our processing relationship with the Ruth Institute on Thursday, August 31." A Vanco spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny whether or not the company's conclusion that RI "promotes hate" was inspired by the SPLC's "hate map."

Morse reported that "no one from Vanco, Card Brands, or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we 'promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.'"

The Vanco statement did not explicitly link its reasoning with the SPLC "hate map," but the Ruth Institute has been listed on this map since 2013, Morse noted. "To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities," the RI president said.

This stands in marked contrast to the SPLC, which has been linked to two domestic terror attacks.

In the summer of 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins III broke into the Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that the SPLC's "hate map" lists with RI as an "anti-LGBT hate group." Corkins aimed to murder everyone in the building, and he later pled guilty to committing an act of terrorism. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, he said he targeted the FRC because of the SPLC "hate map."

This past summer, Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson shot people at a Republican Congressional Baseball Game practice, nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Hodgkinson "liked" the SPLC on Facebook. Furthermore, the SPLC had repeatedly attacked Scalise for a speech he gave to a white supremacist group in 2002. The SPLC attacked him for it even after he apologized and was called a "sellout" by white supremacists.