Talk:Alliance Defending Freedom

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Objection to recent edit

I strongly oppose this recent edit to the article -- the ADF has done a lot of good work on religious liberty issues and has strongly defended the religious liberty of Christians on numerous different issues. They are even brave enough to defend young Earth creationists (AiG, Andrew Snelling, etc.). They are clearly conservative and pro-religious liberty -- and they have a "badge of honor" from the SPLC to prove they are truly conservative. So despite all this, we're going to completely defame them and treat them almost like a leftist organization simply because they chose not to take a position on the travel ban?

Two things here: considering that the ADF exists to protect religious liberty, I'm not surprised that they didn't take a position on a case that is about immigration and national security. Also, keep in mind that they didn't oppose the Trump Administration in the case -- they simply didn't take a position. Also, there really should be a source that their leadership is part of the "Never Trump" movement. This isn't enough for me to harshly attack them in the article's intro.

I am OK leaving all of the info in the article, but the intro should be rephrased closer to how it was before. Taking no position on a non-religious liberty case is not enough to defame the organization. --1990'sguy (talk) 00:01, 24 June 2018 (EDT)

I have an open mind about this, but there was a "coup" at ADF in early 2017 and Never Trumpers apparently took over. ADF was a great organization but today it looks more like yet another anti-Trump group. Its stinging statement of neutrality on Trump's attempt to protect our country is striking and insulting. If you can point to good conservative work ADF has done since its coup, such as filing amicus briefs against a right to abortion by illegal aliens, I'd love to see it. I don't think the new ADF has done so.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 00:48, 24 June 2018 (EDT)
The ADF has done a lot of good conservative work since this "coup" (and seriously, are there any sources on this? -- I'm interested in this, even outside of our debate here):
The above are only cases that were recently decided in the Supreme Court or are currently pending. It's obviously doing more in the lower courts. In May 2017, the ADF filed a lawsuit for creation scientist Andrew Snelling because the National Park Service was discriminating against him. How many legal organizations today would help a young Earth creationist?
  • The ADF praised Trump's first 100 days: [1] The ADF priased several other Trump Administration actions: [2][3][4]
It's clear that the ADF is a conservative organization that is devoted to religious liberty. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not perfect (but we can find flaws in pretty much every conservative figure or organization if we look hard enough), but their record, even after 2016, is really good. I am OK with including info about not taking a position on the travel ban case (as I mentioned above), but turning this article into a literal attack page against the ADF (rather than simply criticizing its shortcomings) is over-the-top.
And as I stated above, the travel ban case has nothing to do with religious liberty--it's about national security, which is irrelevant to the ADF's mission. I don't see why the ADF needs to take a position on it. That's like saying a pro-Second Amendment organization should take a position on Trump's tariffs, or that an America First immigration organization should take a position on Trump's pro-life actions, or that a pro-life organization needs to take a position on the Trump Administration's deregulatory actions. It's great if they do take conservative positions on these issues, but it's outside the scope of their missions. It's the same for the ADF. --1990'sguy (talk) 00:07, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
The coup at ADF occurred early in January 2017, between Trump's election and his inauguration. Perhaps a faction at ADF remained Never Trump and wanted to turn in that direction.
In 2015, ADF participated in about 22 cases before the Supreme Court. But after the coup, from mid-2017 through the present, ADF has participated in only about 9 Supreme Court cases -- less than one-third its prior annual output. After the coup, ADF was notably absence in Trump's opposition to a right to abortion by illegal aliens (Azar v. Garza), and in David Daleiden's important case.
None of your above-cited cases are leading-edge cases on the abortion issue. NIFLA is really a free speech case, whose decision will probably be issued tomorrow (Monday at 10am). The Masterpiece Cakeshop case was initiated by ADF before the Supreme Court prior to ADF's coup. The NC case is a factually simple Establishment Clause case.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 00:38, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
P.S. Surprised by your statement about ADF supposedly praising Trump's first 100 days, I clicked on your link. ADF merely praised only 4 actions taken by Trump during his entire first 100 days, without really praising Trump himself. Two of those four actions were the appointments of people favored by ADF; the other two were straightforward reinstatements of prior policies of Republican Administrations. Notably absent is any praise by ADF of Trump on his flagship issues like immigration policy.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 00:49, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
I just went and found this document mentioned in the new intro, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is not unreadable due to jargon and legal stuff no ordinary person can understand. While I don't support ADF's decision to not take a stand, I'm not surprised either. They are focusing on free speech, the sanctity of life, and freedom of religion. Anyway, I set to reading through it, and found the quote Andy posted on the main page. I also found this interesting quote:
There is simply no justification for barring the Executive Branch’s implementation of its immigration and national security policies based on tweets, public relations puff, and video posts. Courts are not empowered to sift unofficial and passing comments in search of evidence discrediting officials’ heart of hearts.
As you read on, it seems that their explanation for not taking an official stand, however, is the Lemon test. They argue that although ADF is a religious organization, the Establishment Clause should not apply to them in this situation. The Lemon test has tainted the meaning of the Establishment Clause, and deviates from its true purpose. They say that "Lemon, as modified by the endorsement test, is flawed at its foundations. It trades objective fact for subjective intent—and even then not officials’ actual intent or purpose but what a fictional observer might wrongly believe that intent to be."
Admittedly, I did not read all of this filing, but I did go through a good portion. It can be found here: [5]
It sounds to me like they are saying there is not reason for Trump's order to not be upheld based solely on personal words of officials. However, they do not believe that they are allowed to take an official stand, due to the Lemon test. Am I misunderstanding this? --David B (TALK) 19:01, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
Also, let me respond to Andy's latest comments.[6][7]
Why does ADF need to praise Trump's immigration policy? Their mission is free speech and religious liberty -- immigration isn't their focus, and that's what groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies or NumbersUSA are for. Does a pro-second Amendment group have to praise Trump's immigration or trade policies? Does a pro-life group have to praise Trump's deregulatory agenda? It's a good thing if they do, but they don't have to, because these issues lie outside their missions and focus. The ADF focuses on religious liberty and free speech (as the latter relates to religious liberty), and in that area, it does great.
Considering that the ADF focuses on religious liberty, it makes complete sense that it only praised the actions of the Trump Administration relating to religious liberty. The ADF (like most conservative organizations) specializes in one particular area, so it would appropriately comment on one particular area of the administration's policies (the policies as they relate to religious liberty). Considering that we conservatives support Trump because of his strongly conservative policies (if Trump governed like Bush, Kasich, or Guiliani, we wouldn't support him), I don't see why it's damning that it's not praising Trump as a person. Also, on the links that I provided, one link was an entirely new policy (the DOJ's religious freedom guidance), and another was the administration withdrawing an Obama Administration policy.
All of the cases I linked are related to the ADF's mission. It's unfortunate that it didn't get involved in the illegal alien abortion case, and we can criticize it for that, but we should not condemn the entire organization in the first sentence of the article's intro simply because of this one unfortunate incident.
Bottom line: the ADF has its flaws (duh!), like almost every conservative and conservative organization, but overall, it is on the right track, standing for the religious liberty (it's sole focus) of Christians (including creationists), things that the vast majority of legal organizations refuse to do. --1990'sguy (talk) 20:20, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
ADF's brief says on its cover that it does not support Trump (or the other side). We won't have the Court's decision for another 24 or 48 hours or so, but ADF's refusal to support Trump is harmful, and people should be fully aware of that. Will it impact the decision? It might. Likewise, ADF's silence in the recent precedent-setting illegal-alien abortion case is objectionable. ADF boasts that the sanctity of life is one of its primary missions. So why did it remain silent in the case? (In response to David above, nothing in the Lemon test requires ADF to sit on the sidelines when its help is needed.)
Amicus briefs that expressly disavow being in support of either party are unusual. ADF went out of its way to do this, and that does not advance religious liberty or the sanctity of life. Moreover, ADF's disclaimer in its amicus brief is also unusual. Why did it undercut Trump like this? A reasonable inference is that Never-Trumpers who seized control of ADF in January 2017 had something to do with this.
It's fine to criticize the Never-Trumpers on the Left. But they aren't the only ones, and when that potentially hurts us in precedent-setting Supreme Court decisions, criticism is essential.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 22:31, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
I was wondering why they filed a brief, just to say that they were not taking sides. They mainly talked about Lemon test, which I do not know a great deal about. It is interesting that this does not affect them, so I wonder why it was brought up. Probably I just misunderstood the point of their argument. Still, on page 2, they seem to speak against those contesting Trump's order. I'm a little confused. --David B (TALK) 23:01, 25 June 2018 (EDT)
You didn't misunderstand. ADF's brief is confused because they are influenced by NeverTrumpers. You're right: "why [did] they file[] a brief, just to say that they were not taking sides." It's unhelpful. We'll see the outcome soon, maybe in less than 9 hours (but more likely later this week when the Supreme Court holds its final day of its Term).--Andy Schlafly (talk) 01:11, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
That doesn't justify treating the ADF (specifically in its intro) just like the ACLU or the Koch brothers. Unlike both organizations, the ADF still does a lot of good work, as the cases I mentioned above show (the baker, florist, pro-life clinic, creation scientist cases, etc.), and I don't see why any conservative wouldn't agree with that. Pointing out the organization's flaws is one thing (which I entirely support), but putting an organization that still does good work on the same level as some leftist organization (where none of the work is good) is misleading and doesn't give the full picture (and keeping it only positive is the same -- point is, there is a middle ground in this). --1990'sguy (talk) 07:57, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
I have an open mind about this, and welcome more info. But the Koch brothers' have probably had an undue influence over ADF since January 2017. Has ADF's record post-coup been so praiseworthy?--Andy Schlafly (talk) 12:07, 26 June 2018 (EDT)

How about their recent (successful) defense of Jack Phillips? They protected his religious liberty and right to refuse service on those grounds. --David B (TALK) 13:40, 26 June 2018 (EDT)

That case began before the Supreme Court in July 2016 - six months before the coup at ADF. I agree that ADF was good before the coup at ADF. Also, Trump supported ADF in this case; why didn't ADF support Trump in his case? But thanks for your feedback.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 18:14, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
You say it was good before 2016, but surely it's not terrible now -- they're not anywhere near the level of the SPLC, ACLU, or Koch Brothers (and the SPLC still labels them a "hate group", which is a very good sign for the ADF). They're not fighting for left-wing causes like those groups are, and much the opposite -- they just won Arlene's Flowers v. State of Washington and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra in the Supreme Court, and they're trying to get the Court to hear Rowan County v. Lund. In May 2017, they willingly agreed to defend a young Earth creation scientist (Andrew Snelling) who was being discriminated against by the National Park Service -- how many organizations would do that??? The point is that even with its flaws, the ADF is nowhere close to leftist groups like the SPLC or Koch brothers, and unlike those groups, they're still fighting for conservative Christians. The intro should make it clear and not misrepresent anything -- that the ADF definitely has flaws, but that it still does some very good work. Why does the intro have to read completely pro or completely con for a group with a mixed record?
In addition to what I wrote above, let me repeat what I mentioned above -- why does the ADF (a religious freedom group) have to take a stance on immigration, which is outside of the organization's original scope? The ADF commented on what it had to (and even defended the Trump Administration, such as on the tweeting thing) and appropriately left the immigration issue for actual immigration groups (Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA) to defend.
  • Must a pro-Second Amendment group be required to publically praise Trump's immigration or trade policies?
  • Must a pro-life group be required to publically praise Trump's general deregulatory agenda?
  • Must a conservative veterans group be required to publically praise Trump's trade policies?
  • Must a pro-religious freedom group (like ADF) be required to publically praise Trump's immigration policies?
All of these groups have very narrow focuses -- and there's nothing wrong with that. They focus on one specific area, where they excel, and they usually refrain from commenting on political issues outside of their expertise. The ADF is no different. Also, I know of several Christian groups that are clearly and overwhelmingly conservative (even politically), but they refrain from explicitly commenting on politics other than when it is relevant to their focuses on promoting correct Christian doctrine. Conservative and Christian groups are under no obligation to comment on every single political issue out there -- and oftentimes, it's better that they don't. --1990'sguy (talk) 21:30, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
P.S.: I noticed that LifeSiteNews did not praise or even comment on Trump's travel ban or the Supreme Court ruling. Does this mean they are run by Never Trumpers? Of course not -- LifeSiteNews (like ADF) has a narrow focus, so they will comment only on what is relevant to their missions. I did see, however, that LifeSiteNews loudly praised the SCOTUS decision on the pro-life clinics -- which ADF took the lead role in representing. --1990'sguy (talk) 21:35, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
But LifeSiteNews did not file an amicus brief in the Trump travel ban case. ADF did, and went out of its way to distance itself from Trump. It's as though someone when to someone else's party and announced to everyone that "he's no friend" of the host. He's free to do that, and others are free to properly criticize him for it and speculate as to the motivation of the bizarre behavior.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 22:35, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
I support criticizing ADF for that, but I do not support completely condemning (in the very first sentence) the ADF on the same level as a group like the SPLC or Koch just because of this, when it (unlike the other groups) still does some legitimately good work. Surely, we can find a way to criticize its problems while still noting the good work, like defending creationists or the pro-life clinic case today, or the pending prayer case, or the florist case. --1990'sguy (talk) 22:42, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
ADF's lawsuit for the creation scientist referenced above lasted less than two months: [8].
I'm open to an accurate description of ADF that reflects its work after its coup and change in leadership. We strive to keep our entries up-to-date and forward-looking here. It's a different ADF now from what it was pre-January 2017, and the intro to the entry should reflect what ADF is today. An historical section can be added about how it once did great work under prior management.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 23:19, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
The lawsuit lasted for two months because the National Park Service backed down -- are you implying that's a problem???
I agree with you on the historical section part, but the ADF still does some good work -- they're still very different from the ACLU or the Koch brothers -- unlike those groups, which are very socially left-wing, they're still defending the religious liberty of Christians. There are many cases (the ones I pointed out above) that they started on after the leadership change that show they're still helping Christians. Would the ACLU help Christians?? Would the Koch brothers help Christians?? The ADF still is, so they may not be 100%, but they're definitely not 0% or even 25% today. The intro should reflect that. --1990'sguy (talk) 23:24, 26 June 2018 (EDT)
Andy, you are correct of course--that case was filed earlier. I should have checked before mentioning it. In any case, 1990'sguy makes some good points. The ADF is still doing good in their specialized area of focus, and our article should reflect that. It probably should also mention this oddity, but not in a way which outright condemns them in the first sentence. As for this coup to which you are referring, I tried doing some research on it, but found nothing of interest. Michael Farris is still the head and CEO, and other than that, I'm not finding much. Who took control from who? Is there an article or other such resource explaining it? I'm curious, since I'd heard nothing about it. I would like to get a better idea of what is going on. --David B (TALK) 00:08, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I want to emphasize again that I have an open mind about this. But there was a marked change in leadership, a coup, that occurred in January 2017 at ADF. It was a surprise, as the longtime conservative, pro-life founder Alan Sears was replaced by the older, Trump-critic, Michael Farris. Now it's nearly July 2018. The ADF entry can have an historical section but its intro should reflect what the organization is doing now, not what it once did under prior management. And what ADF does now is to go out of its way to disclaim Trump in the biggest case of the year.
Does the ADF still do good work? It might. I agree it's not the ACLU. I'm sure there are still good people at ADF. But when a restaurant has new management, restaurant reviews do not credit or punish them based on what prior management did 2+ years ago. Here, we strive to provide candid, up-to-date info even as things change. And, by the way, the Kochs and their dark money may have been part of that January 2017 coup at ADF, so saying ADF is not like the Kochs may be a bit ironic.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 00:34, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
The intro should reflect that it's not like the ACLU even despite its flaws -- they still defended conservatives, Christians, and even creationists since early 2017, with the court decision striking down the California pro-life clinic law being one of several good actions resulting from the group's post-2017 work. As I said, they may not be 100% conservative anymore, but unlike the leftist/globalist organizations, they're definitely not 0% or even 25%. The current intro reads like it's "0%".
About the Koch brothers, there's no evidence that they were involved, and the ADF still made several actions that the brothers oppose -- defending the florist, having the court strike down the California law, and defending creationists. Even with its problems, the ADF is much better than the Koch brothers, who probably despise conservative Christians while the ADF still defends them. --1990'sguy (talk) 18:56, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I reread the intro, and don't see anything implying that the ADF is like the ACLU, or that the ADF is not somewhat conservative. The Koch brothers' network are substantial supporters of ADF, I think, and it is difficult any other way to explain the coup that installed Farris in charge of ADF. Farris has been pushing Koch brothers' Convention of States for years.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 00:49, 28 June 2018 (EDT)
We should at least link to the conservative article in the first sentence even if we "qualify" the label, and we should give a better explanation on why their current leadership is problematic. Them not giving an opinion on the travel ban case is a weak evidence to use, at least when we use it as the main evidence -- surely, we can go into specifics on who's in charge and why they're problematic before we complain about a religious freedom organization not giving an opinion on a national security case (otherwise, readers will have no idea on why it's bad, and we should make it clear to them). --1990'sguy (talk) 08:14, 28 June 2018 (EDT)
We're not Fox News Channel with its happy talk for people over 80 years old. We are candid here, and critical when appropriate. I think the intro to ADF should be clear that it pointedly refuses to support Trump, even though he supported ADF in its case. Please make the edits you think are appropriate and we can discuss further.
Happy talk was never my intention (and other articles I've edited, such as Mitt Romney and the token conservative article shows that). I made the changes, so I would appreciate feedback. I expanded on why the organization has shifted in an anti-Trump direction while still including some positive decisions it made. --1990'sguy (talk) 22:38, 28 June 2018 (EDT)