Weaponizing religious freedom
The Becket Fund has deep pockets and deep political connections and is determined to turn religious freedom into a weapon.
Denying birth control and LGBTQ protections
The Becket Fund is a frequent opponent of AU in court, a prominent member of the Shadow Network seeking to undermine church-state separation, and a group bent on using religious freedom as a weapon.
Here are some of the Becket Fund’s most well-known Supreme Court cases:
Becket got the Supreme Court to grant religious exemptions to corporations like Hobby Lobby and religious employers like the Little Sisters of the Poor so they could deny their workers access to birth control – even though contraceptives are an important part of health care that was guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
Becket also represented a taxpayer-funded foster care agency that wanted to violate the anti-discrimination protections in its contract with Philadelphia and refuse to serve LGBTQ parents. The Supreme Court ruled in the agency’s favor.
In several cases, Becket has convinced the Court to broaden the definition of a “minister” to grant religious schools a right to fire lay teachers because of characteristics such as disability or age, preventing the teachers from fighting for their civil rights in court.
And now, Becket is asking the Supreme Court to review two Americans United cases – one involving a teacher fired for trying to combat pervasive racism in a Colorado Christian school, the other involving a priest challenging colleagues and others who publicly defamed him and damaged his reputation. Becket argues these folks should have no civil rights or other legal protections and is asking the Supreme Court to slam the courthouse door on them.
Becket also opposes AU in the case of our client Aimee Maddonna, a mother of three who was denied the opportunity to help foster children because, as a Catholic, she didn’t share the taxpayer-funded foster-care agency’s evangelical Protestant beliefs. Becket represents South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who permits such discrimination by state-contracted foster care agencies.
Power and influence
Becket Fund has deep Shadow Network connections. Leonard Leo sits on Becket’s board of directors. According to Leo’s former media relations director, “Becket was saved at least two times by Leonard Leo before Hobby Lobby … Only Leo could raise that kind of money.” And before her lifetime judicial appointment, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined a Becket letter insisting religious employers should be able to deny workers access to birth control.
Among the Crusaders, the Becket Fund is better at diversifying its clientele to include non-Christians, but it is still preoccupied with weaponizing religious freedom. One former employee explained that the ecumenicalism was self-interested and also that Leonard Leo, the court packer, saved Becket twice by tapping his shadowy network for massive cash infusions.Andrew L. Seidel, American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is Weaponizing Religious Freedom