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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)

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

Federal Appeals Court Refuses To Reinstate Muslim Ban 2.0

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The court did not mince words in its condemnation of the ban as an affront to the First Amendment. The opinion calls Muslim Ban 2.0 an order that “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

The Attacks On Religious Freedom Keep Coming From The Texas Legislature: A Roundup

The Texas legislature only meets every other year. So, with the last day of session rapidly approaching, the past few days – yes, even including the weekend – have been wild. The result: A lot of harmful policies are closer to becoming law. Here’s a roundup of the legislature’s troubling actions over past couple of days:

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Today marks 100 days since Michigan billionaire and school voucher proponent Betsy DeVos took over the reins as President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education. If there’s one thing she’s accomplished in that time, she’s demonstrated her perseverance in pushing for vouchers.

Trump Endangers National Security, And The Religious Right Just Yawns

Let’s engage in a thought experiment: Pretend that it’s May of 2009, and Barack Obama, who has been president for a few months, has just shared some highly classified intelligence with the Russians. Let’s say this material has damaged America’s standing with our allies, exposed sources to possible retaliation and jeopardized the war on terror.

What do you think the leaders of Religious Right groups would be saying? My guess is they’d be calling for his impeachment, if not outright imprisonment.

Pages

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

Federal Appeals Court Refuses To Reinstate Muslim Ban 2.0

Today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction that prevents President Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 from going into effect.

The court did not mince words in its condemnation of the ban as an affront to the First Amendment. The opinion calls Muslim Ban 2.0 an order that “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

The Attacks On Religious Freedom Keep Coming From The Texas Legislature: A Roundup

The Texas legislature only meets every other year. So, with the last day of session rapidly approaching, the past few days – yes, even including the weekend – have been wild. The result: A lot of harmful policies are closer to becoming law. Here’s a roundup of the legislature’s troubling actions over past couple of days:

Trump’s Budget Cuts Funding For Public Schools While Funneling Money To Vouchers For Private Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was expected to finally reveal details of President Donald J. Trump’s long-promised federal school voucher plan last night. Instead, we heard a lot of platitudes, but little in the way of a policy proposal.

Trump And DeVos Are About To Propose Federal Funding For School Vouchers

Today marks 100 days since Michigan billionaire and school voucher proponent Betsy DeVos took over the reins as President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education. If there’s one thing she’s accomplished in that time, she’s demonstrated her perseverance in pushing for vouchers.

Trump Endangers National Security, And The Religious Right Just Yawns

Let’s engage in a thought experiment: Pretend that it’s May of 2009, and Barack Obama, who has been president for a few months, has just shared some highly classified intelligence with the Russians. Let’s say this material has damaged America’s standing with our allies, exposed sources to possible retaliation and jeopardized the war on terror.

What do you think the leaders of Religious Right groups would be saying? My guess is they’d be calling for his impeachment, if not outright imprisonment.

Pages

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

Federal Appeals Court Refuses To Reinstate Muslim Ban 2.0

Today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction that prevents President Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 from going into effect.

The court did not mince words in its condemnation of the ban as an affront to the First Amendment. The opinion calls Muslim Ban 2.0 an order that “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

The Attacks On Religious Freedom Keep Coming From The Texas Legislature: A Roundup

The Texas legislature only meets every other year. So, with the last day of session rapidly approaching, the past few days – yes, even including the weekend – have been wild. The result: A lot of harmful policies are closer to becoming law. Here’s a roundup of the legislature’s troubling actions over past couple of days:

Trump’s Budget Cuts Funding For Public Schools While Funneling Money To Vouchers For Private Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was expected to finally reveal details of President Donald J. Trump’s long-promised federal school voucher plan last night. Instead, we heard a lot of platitudes, but little in the way of a policy proposal.

Trump And DeVos Are About To Propose Federal Funding For School Vouchers

Today marks 100 days since Michigan billionaire and school voucher proponent Betsy DeVos took over the reins as President Donald J. Trump’s Secretary of Education. If there’s one thing she’s accomplished in that time, she’s demonstrated her perseverance in pushing for vouchers.

Trump Endangers National Security, And The Religious Right Just Yawns

Let’s engage in a thought experiment: Pretend that it’s May of 2009, and Barack Obama, who has been president for a few months, has just shared some highly classified intelligence with the Russians. Let’s say this material has damaged America’s standing with our allies, exposed sources to possible retaliation and jeopardized the war on terror.

What do you think the leaders of Religious Right groups would be saying? My guess is they’d be calling for his impeachment, if not outright imprisonment.

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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