A few Focus colleagues and I spent some time in California last week at a conference put on by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious liberty legal defense nonprofit organization that, just last month, won the most important religious liberty case at the Supreme Court in recent history.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when a couple of days later some news outlets were reporting that ADF is a “hate group.”
Here are the headlines of the articles I’m referring to:
- ABC News: Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks
- NBC News: Jeff Sessions Tells ‘Hate Group’ DOJ Will Issue Religious Freedom Guidance
The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in the Trinity Lutheran case marked ADF’s seventh win in seven years at the nation’s highest court. The Christian lawyers at ADF have also played a role in 52 other victories at the Supreme Court.
So it’s pretty evident that the “hate group” allegation against ADF is ludicrous on its face.
Yet that’s what ABC and NBC used in the headline – and it’s because reporters are using the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate list” as an unchecked authority.
And that’s a problem because, for some years now, the liberal SPLC has listed mainstream conservative organizations alongside extremist, violent groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis – and there’s obviously no comparison.
Perhaps that’s one reason why the FBI “deleted the SPLC from its website’s list of legitimate resources on hate crimes” two years ago.
But don’t take my word for it – judge for yourself.
At the bottom of this post, I’m going to share video of the two segments from “The View” featuring ADF Vice President Kristen Waggoner and her client, Colorado baker Jack Phillips.
The pair went on the television talk show to discuss why Jack declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding – a decision that got him in trouble with the law. The resulting legal battle will head to the Supreme Court in 2018, where Kristen will represent him.
I was impressed with Jack’s calm demeanor and Kirsten’s kind, common-sense approach to the religious liberty and free speech issues at play.
That seems like anything but “hate” to me.
Obviously, and this should go without saying, but respect goes both ways. As Christians, we cannot demean our ideological opponents by labeling them. After all, why would we do to them what we don’t want them to do to us?
I’d like to hear from you – what do you think about this penchant for labeling? Did you find the points Jack and Kirsten shared on “The View” to be persuasive? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.