The Ruth Institute, of which I am the President and Founder, issued this statement on Friday, August 31:
The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our on-line donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately. Their letter stated:
Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. 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.”
We immediately went to the donation page on our website and found it had already been shut down. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute made these statements in response:
- The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a “hate group,” so be it.
- Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.
- 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 Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which was recently in the news. We have been on this “Hate Map” since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.
- We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called “Where’s the Hate?” Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
- The Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family and human sexuality that are considered “Anti-LGBT.” Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.
- Donors to the Ruth Institute can rest assured that their private information has not been compromised. Supporters can send checks to our main office, 4845 Lake St.; #217; Lake Charles, LA 70605.
To interview Dr. Morse, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.