Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently gave a speech to an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and gave them his endorsement and support.
At the recent summit on “religious liberty” held by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a stridently anti-LGBT group — Sessions cast doubt on the SPLC’s designation of the ADF as a hate group.
“You and I may not agree on everything — but I wanted to come back here tonight partially because I wanted to say this: You are not a hate group,” Sessions said to thunderous applause.
Sessions’ support comes despite the ADF pushing to have the government re-designate homosexuality as a crime, and defending the state-sanctioned sterilization of transgender people in other countries. The SPLC also pointed out tat the ADF has a history of comparing LGBT people to pedophiles, and baselessly accuses the LGBT community of wanting to destroy Christianity.
“People of faith are facing a new hostility,” said the man whose own church brought formal church charges against him for upholding child abuse as policy. “Really, a bigoted ideology which is founded on animus towards people of faith.”
“You’ll notice that they don’t rely on the facts. They don’t make better arguments. They don’t propose higher ideals. No, they just call people names — like ‘hate group,’ ” Sessions added.
As the SPLC has noted, the ADF is one of the most powerful anti-LGBT lobbying groups in Washington, and helps craft “religious liberty” bills that enable business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of religion — even though Jesus never once actually spoke out against homosexuality.
Despite their extreme views, groups like the ADF hold more sway in setting policy than ever before. This is most evident in the Supreme Court’s recent 7-2 ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding on the basis of religion. And with evangelical Catholic Mike Pence — who signed a “religious freedom” discrimination bill into law as Governor of Indiana in 2015 — so close to the presidency, the reign of anti-LGBT hate groups under the Trump administration shows no sign of slowing down.
Nick Jewell is a freelance political writer, and a proud resident of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.