Alliance Defending Freedom

A recurring theme

Politics-AllianceDefendingFreedomBakery

The concept of an alliance defending freedom has great appeal with me. What could be better? The item pictured above is a Facebook posting that “likes” the ADF, the Alliance Defending Freedom. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the ADF:

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an American conservative Christian nonprofit organization with the stated goal of “defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.” ADF was founded in 1994 by Bill Bright (founder, Campus Crusade for Christ), Larry Burkett (founder,Crown Financial Ministries), James Dobson (founder, Focus on the Family), D. James Kennedy (founder, Coral Ridge Ministries), Marlin Maddoux (president, International Christian Media), and Donald Wildmon (founder, American Family Association), along with the leadership of over thirty other conservative Christian organizations.

Very specifically, the ADF post advertises “Five Reasons BuzzFeed Agrees With the Photographer, the Florist, and the Baker.” So, what’s the connection between the ADF and BuzzFeed? Here’s the argument the ADF wants to make:

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s recently announced his decision to pull out of an agreement to run Republican ads supporting Donald Trump for president. Why? Because of its corporate beliefs, BuzzFeed leadership decided it cannot in good conscience allow Mr. Trump’s ideas and candidacy to be promoted or advocated via content on its website.

Sound familiar? It should. BuzzFeed made the same conscientious choice that a number of small business owners represented by Alliance Defending Freedom have made: to decline to promote messages, create art, or participate in events that are counter to their deepest convictions.

Senior counsel for the ADF, Jordan Lorence, wants us to know that BuzzFeed is in same position as a number of business that have refused to serve people they do not like. Of course, businesses are not people, so they are unable to like or dislike anything, but in the case of a sole proprietorship or a closely-held corporation, the owners are people, and they may feel inclined to refuse doing business with those they do not like. Is that the same as BuzzFeed not wanting to do business with Donald Trump? Some examination is in order.

The referenced photographer, florist, and baker could be any of these:

  • US supreme court declines appeal of photographer who refused gay couple.

    Justices will not debate New Mexico’s highest court, which ruled against company for refusing service to a same-sex ceremony

    A conservative legal group specialising in defending businesses accused of discriminating against same-sex couples vowed to redouble its efforts Monday after the US supreme court declined to take up one of the group’s flagship cases.

    In Elane Photography v Willock, a New Mexico photographer sued after a state human rights commission fined the photographer for its refusal in 2006 to work a same-sex commitment ceremony. The photographer said that to shoot the ceremony – an unofficial blessing as same-sex weddings were not carried out in the state at the time – would have violated the company’s Christian beliefs. The commission made the photographer pay the legal fees of the couple, Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth.

  • Florist Sued for Refusing Service to Gay Couple Pens Defiant Letter Rejecting Gov’t Settlement Offer — and Her Attorney Reveals What’s Next

    A Christian florist who was sued and found guilty of discrimination after refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding isn’t planning on backing down, recently issuing a defiant letter rejecting a settlement agreement and revealing plans to appeal her case.

    After Barronelle Stutzman, 70, declined a $2,001 settlement offer in a letter to the state’s attorney general on Friday, her attorney, Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, told TheBlaze on Monday that a judge’s decision that Stutzman violated anti-discrimination law will be challenged in the state court system.

  • Court Rules Bakery Illegally Discriminated Against Gay Couple.

    A Colorado judge today determined that a Lakewood bakery unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

    David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop last year, with Craig’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home in Colorado. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs the store’s policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding.

What is at play here are echoes of The Civil Rights Act of 1964:

 

TITLE II–INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION

SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.
(b) Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:
(1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;
(2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;
(3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and
(4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment.
(c) The operations of an establishment affect commerce within the meaning of this title if (1) it is one of the establishments described in paragraph (1) of subsection (b); (2) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (2) of subsection (b), it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers or a substantial portion of the food which it serves, or gasoline or other products which it sells, has moved in commerce; (3) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (3) of subsection (b), it customarily presents films, performances, athletic teams, exhibitions, or other sources of entertainment which move in commerce; and (4) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (4) of subsection (b), it is physically located within the premises of, or there is physically located within its premises, an establishment the operations of which affect commerce within the meaning of this subsection. For purposes of this section, “commerce” means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any State or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country.
(d) Discrimination or segregation by an establishment is supported by State action within the meaning of this title if such discrimination or segregation (1) is carried on under color of any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation; or (2) is carried on under color of any custom or usage required or enforced by officials of the State or political subdivision thereof; or (3) is required by action of the State or political subdivision thereof.
(e) The provisions of this title shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment within the scope of subsection (b).

That’s the gist and the reflected intent. There is more to it. Please read the complete text. Along about 1964 the American population had become embarrassed over signs saying “No Jews,” “Whites Only,” and the like. See the photo from Google Images

From Google Images

From Google Images

You get the picture. Congress outlawed such practices in venues covered by US law,which would be public accommodations. In short, places open for business to the public are no longer allowed to embarrass the entire nation through the use of insulting and exclusionary practices.

What was not included in the original law were sexual preferences and predilections. That would include homosexuals, transvestites, and transsexuals. Possibly 50 years ago equal treatment for such people was not considered that big a deal, and possibly the LGBT community was not as aggressive in pushing for equal treatment. To be sure, 50 years ago public sentiment slanted against this faction of society.

Things changed. Congress has not enacted new laws, but local governments have, and it is here the LGBT community has begun to seek relief, even vengeance. And it is also here another segment of American society has started to reveal its dark side. There permeates in some quarters a lingering disdain for homosexuality and other forms of deviation from the sexual norm. And somebody has told these people they should be all right with it, because this prejudice is ingrained in their most deeply-held religious convictions. Sort of like this:

From Google Images

Repeated from Google Images

In recent years the ADF has positioned itself as the champion of people desiring to circumvent United States law. The means available, as the ADF sees it, is religious liberty. Freedom.

With recent court rulings on topics such as same-sex marriage, this avenue of escape has seen appeal to a number of government employees:

Let me get this straight. Hood County Clerk Katie Lang took it upon herself to defy the law and to expose tax payers of Hood County to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, on a personal whim? How many ways are there to spell breathtaking inanity? And it played out two blocks from where I grew up.

More famously there was the case of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis.

I’m guessing that where the BuzzFeed connection comes in is that the ADF feels the need to align itself with a more respectable enterprise. Senior Counsel Lorence begs to show how BuzzFeed suffers the same threat as Christian antagonists. Please go to the linked ADF post. I will paraphrase and interpret.

BuzzFeed objects to Donald Trump’s professed beliefs, and the CEO of the corporation, Jonah Peretti, wants to distance his company from these ideas. This could be based on some personal disagreement on the part of Mr. Peretti, or it could be a corporate decision that association with Mr. Trump is bad for business. Regardless, this is refusal of service by a public accommodation, and it could be likened to a similar decision to do business with homosexuals. Is it illegal? Counselor Lorence points to three venues that do have laws regarding political discrimination.

Importantly, is there a close parallel between discrimination against Donald Trump and that practiced by the likes of County Clerk Kim Davis? Hardly. Some explanation.

Donald Trump has no biological predilection to embarrass the country by mouthing nearly every absurdity that pops into his mind. He is, I hope, doing this from a carefully-crafted plan to inflame the electorate and to gain political advantage. Additionally, while the actions of homosexuals pose no threat to American Society, Donald Trump has that capacity, and some deep-thinking people agree that capacity could be fulfilled. Trump poses a threat (getting elected) that is not offered by the LGBT community.

Having said that, I need to conclude that CEO Peretti is wrong. Donald Trump should be allowed to have his ideas heard. A vital democratic society cannot exist where some ideas need to be suppressed.

And may Jesus have mercy on my soul.

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2 thoughts on “Alliance Defending Freedom

  1. Pingback: Dying to Believe | Skeptical Analysis

  2. Pingback: Merry Christmas From The ADF | Skeptical Analysis

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