Should Faithful Christians do business with Vanco? Draw Your Own Conclusions.

Vanco was the Ruth Institute’s payment processor for donations from 2015 until August 31, 2017. We have recorded many of the news stories as well as our press releases in this space. We want to let our friends know that we received additional correspondence from them. We record it here in its entirety, without comment. You may draw your own conclusions.

On Tuesday, September 26, the CFO of Vanco called and left a message for the Ruth Institute. I returned her call. She informed me that they would be willing to reinstate us. I was polite, and asked her for the details of what she proposed. This is what she sent me, the following day:

Wednesday, September 27: 

Jennifer, thank you for the conversation yesterday. As discussed on our call, Vanco has completed our re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. If you would like to reinstate your account, please contact me at the email above.

Also, if desired, we can restart your recurring transactions.

Your previous pricing for our services was a historical pricing plan that provided the following rates:

  • Monthly fee $5.00
  • Card fees: 2.75% processing fee + $.45 per transaction
  • ACH fees: 2.00% processing fee + $.35 per transaction

Our current published rates may be more advantageous for you depending on your forecasted mix between card and ACH and number of transactions. We are willing to reinstate you at your historical rate or you may choose from our current published plans. I’m happy to discuss if you have any questions.

Further, since you will be reinstated as a new customer, we would like to offer you our current promotions that we are currently offering to new customers. They are as follows:

  • Monthly Fee
    • First three months of 2018 monthly fees waived (January, February, March) if any new client has at least 5 individual members set-up a re-occurring transaction prior to December 31, 2017
  • Give+ Kiosk
    • First 3 months of monthly fee waived with the purchase of a kiosk

Jennifer Dorris, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

400 Northridge Road |Suite 1200

Atlanta, Georgia 30350

Main: 404-492-6600

On Friday, September 29, I sent her the following

Dear Ms. Dorris,

I received your email of September 27, 2017, in response to our telephone call of the previous day. As you know, your company discontinued your service with us without notice on August 31, 2017. For us to consider returning to Vanco, we would require, at a minimum, the following:

  • An explanation of why we were terminated. What policies had we violated?
  • An explanation of the investigation which took place which uncovered these violations.
  • The appeals process a client could go through, should we, or any other client, find themselves in this position of immediate, unexplained termination.
  • An explanation of the “re-underwriting process with our Banking partner and secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client.” What exactly changed between August 31st and September 26th?
  • When we signed up in 2015, this was the service agreement in effect. Would this agreement be in effect for us now, or is there a more current version?
  • Who exactly is Card Brands, the company mentioned in the August 31st message discontinuing our service?
  • What role does Wells Fargo play in your decision-making?
  • A personal, and a public apology. Neither your phone call, nor your email contained even a hint of an apology.

Ms. Dorris, we have many small monthly donors. As you well know, these are the people who pay the fees Vanco collects. We don’t pay: our donors pay. These dear people who give us $10 or $25 per month were most upset with Vanco when we had to call them and tell them about this situation. They deserve an explanation and apology. Reinstating service with Vanco without both an explanation and apology from you would be breaking faith with our friends and supporters. We simply cannot do this.

I am sure you can understand that switching credit card processing is no small matter. We finally have our new systems up and running. All things considered, it would take an extraordinary effort on your part to get us back. Your correspondence thus far, does not rise to that level.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse,

Founder and President,

The Ruth Institute

On Monday October 2, we received the following: 

As discussed on the phone and via email, Vanco has secured the ability to reinstate The Ruth Institute as a client. Based on your feedback, we understand you are working with another payment processor. Please know that if for some reason that does not work out, we would welcome the opportunity to have you back as a client.

Best, Jennifer Dorris

These documents speak for themselves. I will say no more. Thank you for your support. 

(This information also appears at the Ruth Institute’s blog: Ruth Speaks Out.) 

Doing it like Jesus would

“La crucifixion” (1597) by El Greco

Most of my readers have probably heard about the Ruth Institute’s dust-up with being called a “hate group.” We showed up on CNN’s republication of the SPLC’s “hate map.” Our credit card processing company dropped us unceremoniously. I want to ask you to help us.

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Many of you have sent complaints to Vanco, our (former) credit card processing company. Some have written to Wells Fargo Bank, which is evidently the banking partner in the background of Vanco, and most likely the instigator of the change. Thank you. I appreciate it very much. Many of you have sent donations to the Ruth Institute. Thank you for that as well.

But today, I would like to ask for one more thing. I ask you to pray for the officers in charge at Vanco and at Wells Fargo. If you have already written to them, please write them again, telling them you are praying for them.

What prompted this request? I went to confession today, before 6:30 AM Mass. (Our church has confessions for a half hour, prior to every Mass. What a blessing!) Anyhow, the priest asked me to pray for those I have harmed, and those who have harmed me. So why not Vanco and Wells Fargo?

Our telling them we are praying for them will have an impact on them, far beyond anything we can predict or even realize after the fact. So, do this for me, please, won’t you? We will not win the culture war by fighting on the turf chosen by our opponents. We can only win on the turf chosen by Christ. Our opponents won’t even think about genuine love (as in willing the good of the other person) as a genuine weapon. We can do this.

What it is Like Being Smeared by the SPLC

This is an abbreviated version of a Wall Street Journal article by Professor Carol Swain, formerly professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee about threats posed by domestic extremist groups. The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed because of Hurricane Irma. As a black conservative who has been smeared by the SPLC, I recommend against reinviting Mr. Cohen….

Dr. Carol Swain, a former Vanderbilt professor of law and political science.

What landed me in the SPLC’s crosshairs was a Sept. 10, 2009, Huffington Post blog entry titled “Mission Creep and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Misguided Focus.” I pointed out the SPLC’s silence about video footage released after the 2008 elections showing members of the New Black Panther Party, decked out in full paramilitary regalia, patrolling a polling precinct in Philadelphia where they were clearly intimidating white voters.

Although several news organizations covered the story, the SPLC ignored the incident. At the time, the law center was spending an inordinate amount of time attacking then-CNN host Lou Dobbs for his relentless focus on illegal immigration. It demanded that CNN fire the anchor. After CNN and Mr. Dobbs parted ways, the SPLC took credit for getting him off the air. I ended my post with a one-liner that raised the ire of the organization and had a devastating effect on my life. I wrote: “Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one.”

The SPLC’s retaliation was vicious and effective. On Oct. 17, 2009, my photo appeared on the front page of my local newspaper, the Tennessean, with the headline “ Carol Swain is an apologist for white supremacists.” That was a quote from Mark Potok, at the time the SPLC’s national spokesman. The context for Mr. Potok’s attack was a review I gave for a film titled “A Conversation About Race.” I endorsed it for classroom use because it offered a perspective on race rarely encountered on university campuses. Mr. Potok argued that the filmmaker was a bigot. I felt then and now that the perspective needed to be heard.

This negative article was featured on the front pages of several newspapers and it went viral, especially in black media outlets. The attacks did not subside until this newspaper’s website published a lengthy article titled “In Defense of Carol Swain.”

Being targeted by the SPLC has had a lasting impact on my life and career. Offers from other universities ended and speaking opportunities declined. Once you’ve been smeared in this way, mainstream news outlets are less likely to cite you as an expert of any kind.

Yet today I wear the SPLC’s mud as a badge of honor because I know I am in the company of many good men and women who have been similarly vilified for standing for righteousness and truth. Other SPLC targets have included Ben Carson (who eventually received an apology and retraction), Somali refugee Ayaan Hirsi Ali, terrorism expert Steve Emerson, political scientist Guenter Lewy (who successfully sued the SPLC), attorney Robert Muise, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and Princeton professor Robert P. George. The SPLC has tagged Mr. George, a devout Catholic intellectual, as “anti-LGBT.” … (Likewise, the SPLC considers the Ruth Institute ‘anti-LGBT.’  JRM) 

The SPLC should not be dignified with invitations to provide congressional testimony about domestic extremism as long as it continues to advance a transparently partisan agenda—one Mr. Potok has publicly acknowledged is designed to “destroy” groups it opposes.

Ms. Swain, a former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, is author of “The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration.”

Appeared in the September 12, 2017, print edition of the  WSJ article, behind a paywall. Please consider subscribing to the WSJ, if you appreciate this article. Also, if you are a subscriber, please write them a nice note, thanking them for their attention to this issue.