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By David Emrich
PayPal is partnering with leftist legal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to target conservatives.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman admitted to blacklisting certain conservative businesses classified as "hate groups" by the SPLC.
"There are those both on the right and left that help us," Schulman said. "Southern Poverty Law Center has brought things. We don't always agree. We have our debates with them."
The SPLC, originally founded to battle groups like the Ku Klux Klan, has morphed into a radical leftist organization with an anti-Christian bias, evident in their selective list of "hate groups," which includes a dozen traditional Catholic organizations, including, for the first time, Church Militant.
Schulman justifies PayPal's blacklisting of conservatives as consistent with its value of "diversity and inclusion." It's not clear how far back the partnership between Paypal and SPLC stretches. Before the Trump era many left-leaning corporate leaders maintained a veneer of objectivity to avoid alienating customers based on their social, political and religious beliefs. But since the president's election in 2016, various companies, including Visa, Mastercard, and Chase, have openly declared their leftist allegiances in the current culture wars, relying on SPLC as a source to target conservative-run businesses.
Since 2016 Schulman has openly politicized Paypal in favor of the LGBT agenda, objecting to North Carolina's law requiring men and women to use restrooms according to their biological sex. The California-based organization protested by canceling plans to bring 400 PayPal jobs to Charlotte. Critics have noted Paypal's hypocrisy, as the company does business in countries in which homexual practices are penalized by law, including countries where sodomy merits the death penalty.
The current list of SPLC's "hate groups" is at an all-time high: 1,020. The list lumps together mainstream Evangelical Christian groups like the American Family Association with violent racial supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party.
The anti-Christian bias shows itself in the fact that SPLC's hate groups include the category "anti-Muslim," while none are classified as "anti-Christian." SPLC's hate list has previously been credited by offenders themselves as a cause of hate crimes against Christian conservatives.
SPLC defines hate groups according to discrimination on the basis of "race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity." This allows them to give a free pass to violent groups like ANTIFA that use other criteria to justify their aggression. Even more indicative of SPLC's leftist bias is its failure to hate-list big-dollar organizations like Planned Parenthood, with demonstrated roots in racist eugenics, and endorses infanticide and what some critics say is de facto black genocide.
The current hate list of "radical traditional Catholic" organizations on the SPLC hate list includes a wide spectrum of viewpoints ranging from marginal Feeneyites to authentic Catholic apostolates committed to upholding the Church's magisterial teachings on marriage, family and sexual morality.
SPLC alleges that traditional Catholic groups "may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America," without giving any clear reasons to back up this claim. Of the 1,020 blacklisted groups only a dozen (slightly over 1%) are categorized as "radical traditional Catholic," and antisemitism is not the only reason these groups are hate-listed, calling into question SPLC's claim that this group could "make up the largest single group" of anti-Semites in the country. The SPLC also ignores the anti-semitic rhetoric uttered by radical Islamic group leaders and off-the-cuff comments of high-profile Muslim politicians. One is hard-pressed to find Catholic influence connected with anti-semitic violence by white supremacists; it's more typical for such extremists to be anti-Catholic as well as anti-semitic.
Identifying detractors from the dogma of social tolerance proves to be a lucrative business. SPLC rakes in tens of millions of dollars from donors each year. In 2017 SPLC received nearly $130 million in donations, most of which is stockpiled in offshore reserve accounts. Annual salaries of SPLC's top executives are well into the six-digit range. The ratio of income to program expenditures was more than 2–1 in 2017.
By denying access to small and comparably unprofitable "hate groups," critics might wonder whether Paypal hopes to tap more extensively into SPLC's profitable fundraising mechanism. Adding a touch of innocuous corporate social responsibility helps some companies strengthen their bottom line.
Paypal cannot specify clear and consistent guidelines for what constitutes a "hate group" in contrast with organizations merely exercising their right to free speech. While Schulman insists that PayPal is committed to "free speech," he admits that the distinction between "free speech" and "hate" is unclear. Paypal's reliance on SPLC to set censorship standards is a risky path to tread as SPLC's preferences and practices are coming under greater scrutiny. Refusing service to alleged hate groups may earn Paypal a merit badge for corporate social responsibility in the eyes of the socially liberal elite. But this partnership may prove detrimental in the long haul as Paypal's mainstream clients question whether a financial service provider should act as a politically correct cop in the free marketplace.