Subscribe to RSS - Alliance Defending Freedom
Annual Revenue: 
$34,702,917.00

The Alliance Defense Fund was founded by a collection of Religious Right TV and radio preachers in 1993. Originally conceived as a funding source for Religious Right legal groups, it eventually began sponsoring direct litigation. The ADF has becoming the nation's best-funded and most powerful Religious Right legal organization.

Founded in 1993 by a coalition of more than 30 Religious Right leaders, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has become the nation’s most prominent Religious Right legal group.

ADF founders, which included James Dobson, Donald Wildmon, the late Bill Bright and the late D. James Kennedy, originally conceived the organization as a funding pool that would finance legal cases brought by other groups that advanced the Religious Right’s view in the courts.

This strategy was employed for a few years, but the ADF now directly litigates cases itself and is headed by Alan Sears, formerly an anti-pornography crusader in the Edwin Meese-era Justice Department. The ADF is rigidly anti-gay and promotes its fundamentalist Christian vision in public schools and government institutions.

A flavor of Sears’ views can be found in the titles of the books he has co-authored: The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (2003) and The ACLU vs. America (2005). Sears is so concerned about the “homosexual agenda” that he once opined that the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants might be part of a gay plot to indoctrinate children.

The ADF has been involved in several controversial cases. In 2005, the ADF sued a California public school after claiming that officials had ordered a teacher to stop using the Declaration of Independence in class. The claims were exposed as false, and the case quickly unraveled and was dropped – but not until the ADF had used the manufactured controversy to win media appearances and raise money.

Outside of court, the ADF has worked to lure evangelical churches into a vast right-wing political machine. It sponsors “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a ploy to openly defy federal tax law by encouraging pastors to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit. (While the ADF claims to be nonpartisan, all the project’s participating clergy in 2008 endorsed Republican John McCain or opposed Democrat Barack Obama.) The drive sparked a backlash from a group of Ohio clergy and tax law experts, who asked the IRS to investigate ADF lawyers on ethics grounds for urging churches to violate tax law. Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a number of reports with the IRS detailing the egregious violations of the tax code that were committed by churches that joined the ADF effort.

Working with a network of pro bono attorneys nationwide, the ADF offers training for both attorneys and law students. The latter are “equipped with a distinctly Christian worldview in every area of life, particularly in the areas of law and public policy,” boasts the ADF Web site.

Sears Quote: “One by one, more and more bricks that make up the artificial ‘wall of separation’ between church and state are being removed, and Christians are once again being allowed to exercise their constitutional right to equal access to public facilities and funding.” (January 2004 e-mail to supporters)

Horizontal Tabs

Most Recent
Blogs
Blogs
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

New Poll Shows Support For Muslim Ban Declining – Except Among White Evangelical Christians

While President Donald J. Trump reportedly is expected to issue a new executive order impacting immigration on Wednesday, a newly released poll shows support for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States is declining among most Americans except for one group: white evangelical Christians.

South Dakota Legislators Stave Off Anti-Evolution Bill

Good news for the integrity of science and church-state separation in South Dakota: The state House Education Committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have opened the door to teaching “intelligent design” – which is really just creationism – in public school science classrooms.

Trump Administration Revokes Guidance On Civil Rights Protections For Transgender Students

Last night the Trump administration officially revoked an Obama-era guidance reminding public schools that a provision in a 1972 federal law known as Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Harming Religious Freedom: For Some Oklahoma Senators, It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Within 15 minutes it was done: The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass three extreme bills yesterday – with no debate. The first bill would allow prayer in public schools (SB 450), the second would make the state’s law requiring parental consent for a minor to receive abortion care even more severe (SB 753) and the third would gut the state’s civil rights laws by allowing a range of individuals and businesses to discriminate as long as it’s based on a sincerely held religious belief (SB 197). It was as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Congressional Panel Wanted to Ignore Real Threats To Religious Freedom

Yesterday a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in America.” It was supposed to be yet another installment in a long-running series: opponents of LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights seek to promote discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

Washington Supreme Court Says There’s No Constitutional Right To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

Today, the Supreme Court of the state of Washington issued an important ruling, unanimously holding that a business can’t ignore the state anti-discrimination law and refuse to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

Pages

Blogs
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

New Poll Shows Support For Muslim Ban Declining – Except Among White Evangelical Christians

While President Donald J. Trump reportedly is expected to issue a new executive order impacting immigration on Wednesday, a newly released poll shows support for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States is declining among most Americans except for one group: white evangelical Christians.

South Dakota Legislators Stave Off Anti-Evolution Bill

Good news for the integrity of science and church-state separation in South Dakota: The state House Education Committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have opened the door to teaching “intelligent design” – which is really just creationism – in public school science classrooms.

Trump Administration Revokes Guidance On Civil Rights Protections For Transgender Students

Last night the Trump administration officially revoked an Obama-era guidance reminding public schools that a provision in a 1972 federal law known as Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Harming Religious Freedom: For Some Oklahoma Senators, It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Within 15 minutes it was done: The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass three extreme bills yesterday – with no debate. The first bill would allow prayer in public schools (SB 450), the second would make the state’s law requiring parental consent for a minor to receive abortion care even more severe (SB 753) and the third would gut the state’s civil rights laws by allowing a range of individuals and businesses to discriminate as long as it’s based on a sincerely held religious belief (SB 197). It was as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Congressional Panel Wanted to Ignore Real Threats To Religious Freedom

Yesterday a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in America.” It was supposed to be yet another installment in a long-running series: opponents of LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights seek to promote discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

Washington Supreme Court Says There’s No Constitutional Right To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

Today, the Supreme Court of the state of Washington issued an important ruling, unanimously holding that a business can’t ignore the state anti-discrimination law and refuse to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

Pages

Blogs
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

New Poll Shows Support For Muslim Ban Declining – Except Among White Evangelical Christians

While President Donald J. Trump reportedly is expected to issue a new executive order impacting immigration on Wednesday, a newly released poll shows support for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States is declining among most Americans except for one group: white evangelical Christians.

South Dakota Legislators Stave Off Anti-Evolution Bill

Good news for the integrity of science and church-state separation in South Dakota: The state House Education Committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have opened the door to teaching “intelligent design” – which is really just creationism – in public school science classrooms.

Trump Administration Revokes Guidance On Civil Rights Protections For Transgender Students

Last night the Trump administration officially revoked an Obama-era guidance reminding public schools that a provision in a 1972 federal law known as Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, including denying them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Harming Religious Freedom: For Some Oklahoma Senators, It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Within 15 minutes it was done: The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass three extreme bills yesterday – with no debate. The first bill would allow prayer in public schools (SB 450), the second would make the state’s law requiring parental consent for a minor to receive abortion care even more severe (SB 753) and the third would gut the state’s civil rights laws by allowing a range of individuals and businesses to discriminate as long as it’s based on a sincerely held religious belief (SB 197). It was as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Congressional Panel Wanted to Ignore Real Threats To Religious Freedom

Yesterday a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in America.” It was supposed to be yet another installment in a long-running series: opponents of LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights seek to promote discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

Washington Supreme Court Says There’s No Constitutional Right To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

Today, the Supreme Court of the state of Washington issued an important ruling, unanimously holding that a business can’t ignore the state anti-discrimination law and refuse to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

Pages

Press Releases
Church & State
March 2013 Church & State

God's Lawyers

With Millions In Assets And Hundreds Of Attorneys Helping Out, The Religious Right's Legal Machine Is Waging War On The Church-State Wall

March 2012 Church & State

ABC About-Face In Arkansas

State Officials Issue New Regs Barring Taxpayer-Funded Religion In Preschools, After AU Complaint

January 2012 Church & State

Religion And Campaign 2012

Religious Right Forces Are Seeking To Control Presidential Politics And Play A Dominant Role In This Year’s Elections

April 2011 Church & State

Counseling Clash

Religious Right Seeks Bible-Based Exemption From Public University Counseling Program’s Ethics Standards

June 2010 Church & State

Bluegrass Boondoggle Booted

Kentucky Supreme Court Unanimously Bars Millions In Taxpayer Aid To Baptist University

June 2010 Church & State

Cross Loss?

Fractious Justices Send Mojave Cross Case Back To Lower Court, But Church-State Separationists See Trouble Ahead

May 2010 Church & State

Members Only?

Christian Legal Society’s Desire To Discriminate At California Law School Sparks ‘Culture War’ Clash At Supreme Court

February 2010 Church & State

The Battle Of Hastings

Supreme Court Decision About Law School’s Anti-Discrimination Policy Tests Religious Right Power On College Campuses – And Elsewhere