Coral Ridge Ministries’ celebration of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade was dampened days later when the same court ruled against their petition on June 27 to sue the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone justice to dissent.
The church and its affiliate Dr. James Kennedy Ministries has been trying to sue the progressive advocacy group for labeling them a hate group.
“The infamous SPLC has recklessly classified disciples of the Gospel as purveyors of hate,” it says on the ministry’s website “They denounce pro-family groups that stand for traditional marriage—God’s rules for marriage—as ‘haters.’”
Visitors to the site are encouraged to donate to “help stop the lies” in their quest to “fight for religious freedom, stamp out discrimination against Christians and conservatives, and continue our bold defense of the Truth!”
The lawsuit began in 2017 when Coral Ridge Ministries attempted to create an Amazon Smile account, which would allow shoppers to donate a portion of their purchases to the church. However, because they were labeled as a hate group by the SPLC, Amazon rejected their application.
Coral Ridge Ministries then moved to sue the group for defamation, eventually taking the case to the Supreme Court, looking to have the definition of “defamation” reexamined. As Christianity Today pointed out, former President Donald Trump attempted to do the same.
In its decision, the Supreme Court wrote, “Coral Ridge maintained that although it ‘opposes homosexual conduct’ based on its religious beliefs, it is in no sense a ‘hate group.’”
The SPLC said they were protected by the First Amendment to call them a hate group, and the court agreed that there was no “actual malice” proven. In his dissent, Thomas encouraged the Supreme Court to revisit the actual malice standard.
“This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups ‘to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity,’” he wrote.
Coral Ridge Ministries has long clashed with the LGBT community, as it stands in opposition of same-sex marriage and the right to adoption by same-sex couples. Its founder, the Rev. Dr. James Kennedy, was the author of a number of books, including “What’s Wrong With Same-Sex Marriage?” in 2004, where he wrote about how “a tiny fraction of our population is on the verge of redefining the institution of marriage for all of us.”
One of the most-watched Christian broadcasters of his time, he wrote an endorsement of the comic book “Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternate Deathstyle,” which was printed on the back cover.
The city of Fort Lauderdale was met with public outrage when it celebrated the 60th anniversary of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the 50th anniversary of its school, Westminster Academy, in March 2021.
“It is important to note that for many in our community, the name of Dr. D. James Kennedy and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church still brings forth many bad memories and a lot of hurt and pain. The wounds are still there,” Commissioner Steven Glassman said in a statement to SFGN at the time.