The elevation of U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as speaker of the House has put the spotlight on Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian Nationalist legal group laboring to undermine separation of church where Johnson worked for several years.
Americans United has been exposing ADF since it was founded 30 years ago; recently, the group has been receiving some critical attention in the media.
ADF’s attempts to replace American democracy with theocracy are well known. What you may not know is that ADF works all over the globe through an arm called ADF International. Through this affiliate, ADF seeks to establish anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion policies in as many nations as possible.
‘No international right to abortion’
Recently, ADF International issued a press release crowing about 36 nations that gathered to mark the third anniversary of a joint statement called the Geneva Consensus that says life begins at conception and there should be “no international right to abortion.”
During the recent event, which included participation by several members of Congress, supporters gathered to reaffirm its language. While the document contains a few lines about the need to support women and families, its central message is clear: Life begins at conception, and abortion should be illegal.
Interestingly, the press release didn’t list the 36 countries. There’s probably a reason for that: It’s a collection of hardline Islamic states, impoverished developing countries and Eastern European autocracies. Western-style democracies don’t populate this list.
An alliance of anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+ nations
Signers of the statement include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Poland, Libya, Guatemala, the Russian Federation, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Zambia, among others. Aside from being anti-abortion, many of the nations that signed the document are also rabidly homophobic and known for suppressing women’s rights. Several have dismal human rights records.
“What the Geneva Consensus Declaration makes clear is that there is no human right to abortion,” said Elyssa Koren, director of legal communications for ADF International. “Under international law, all people, born or unborn, have an inherent right to life. ADF International is encouraged by the coalition of governments seen today that are committed to protecting life and to advancing life-affirming initiatives for women around the world.”
We can look at human history as a struggle between progress and regression. We either expand rights, or we take them away. ADF has made it clear where it stands: Its model is autocratic, repressive nations, and its call is for less freedom, not more.
That is a dystopian, nightmarish vision – and unless we start rebuilding the church-state wall, we just might find ourselves living there.