Keith Ellison Demands Amazon Remove Christian Books Published By SPLC-Defined 'Hate Groups'
On Prime Day, Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) — the runner-up in the race to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding that Amazon.com stop selling products from organizations marked as "hate groups" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). He likely intended to call for the removal of KKK and Neo-Nazi products, but his letter also effectively demanded the banning of books published by many Christian organizations the SPLC falsely labels "hateful."
Nonprofits have identified Neo-Nazi products on sale at Amazon, but they also drew attention to Christian literature available on the site, lumping in mainstream Christian tracts as "hateful" along with KKK baby onesies and backpacks with Neo-Nazi symbols. Ellison uncritically cited this report, and demanded that Amazon remove all "hate group" products.
"I am writing to you with my concerns about the amount of money Amazon has made from the sale of literature and music published by entities identified as 'hate groups' by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)," Ellison wrote to Bezos. "I would like to know whether Amazon is committed to ceasing the sale of all products that promote hateful and racist ideologies."
Ellison has cause to be concerned. Amazon has indeed sold products with KKK and Neo-Nazi images, despite the company's pledge to prohibit the sale of "products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views."
In "Delivering Hate: How Amazon's Platforms Are Used to Spread White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia and How Amazon Can Stop It," the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) and the Partnership for Working Families (PWF) reported the availability of various products that seem to violate Amazon's policy.
ACRE and PWF found that Amazon sold kid's backpacks with Neo-Nazi symbols, a swastika necklace, baby onesies sporting a KKK-style burning cross, products with the Confederate Battle Flag of Northern Virginia — which the company banned in 2015 — and more.
Some of these findings were more debatable than others, however. The report also drew attention to Chick Publications, a company that publishes Christian gospel tracts. The SPLC has branded Chick Publications a "hate group" because its gospel tracts argue that atheism, Islam, Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism are wrong while evangelical Christianity presents the only way to get to heaven.
Sorry, but most religions are exclusive and believe other religions are false. This does not make them "hate groups."
In his letter, Ellison directly cited the "Delivering Hate" report. He wrote, "I am disturbed that Amazon would make racist and hateful products for children available on its platform."