After D. James Kennedy Ministries was cited in local media reports as the No. 1 “hate group” in Florida, the Coral Ridge Presbyterian broadcaster became the first ministry to sue the label’s instigator, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), for defamation. The SPLC lists almost 20 Christian organizations—including Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and the Family Research Council—on its hate map for their “anti-LGBT” stance. The Coral Ridge ministry said the hate group label was not only false but was intended to hurt its reputation and fundraising efforts. The SPLC’s hate map has been covered by CNN, noted by charity researcher GuideStar on ministries’ profile pages, and used by AmazonSmile to block donations to listed groups.
After more than three decades as senior pastor of the 20,000-member Northland Church in the Orlando area, Joel Hunter announced he was stepping down in order to minister to the “unincluded in the Kingdom.” The 69-year-old, who served as an evangelical adviser to President Barack Obama and prayed at his inauguration, said his “call to the pastoral role in a church is fulfilled.” But Hunter isn’t finished with ministry. “My experience, relationships, and apostolic gifting are at their highest potential,” he told his congregation, “and I will spend them in the most productive way possible in this final season of my journey.” That will include teaching a weekly Bible study where community members can ask questions, helping to address homelessness, and forming networks to “distribut[e] the ...1