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

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions In Religious Freedom Cases Are Imminent

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to act on several crucial religious freedom cases, all of which Americans United is involved in.

As soon as Monday and certainly by the end of next week, the court is expected to issue a ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, a case that threatens to blur the lines between church and state.

For Focus On The Family, The Focus Remains On Far-Right Politics

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs this Friday speaking at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family (FOF), the fundamentalist Christian family ministry and Religious Right group founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, a child psychologist.

Controversial Wisc. Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Won’t Be Joining Trump Administration After All

The Trump Administration apparently will include one less person dragging the baggage of legal entanglements and concerning views on religious freedom: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. over the weekend announced he won’t join President Donald J. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security after all.

Celebrating 30 Years Of Sound Science In Public Schools

This Monday marks the 30th anniversary of Edwards v. Aguillard, a milestone U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the separation of church and state in public schools. As we mark the anniversary, it’s a good time to examine the history of the efforts to undermine instruction about evolution in public schools – and understand that the threat remains with us. 

A New Study Underscores The Dangers Of Partisanship In America’s Pulpits

A new study of more than 130,000 American clergy finds that faith leaders tend to be more partisan than the congregations they’re leading.

That finding should give pause to those who seek to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment – a provision in the tax code that protects the integrity of our tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates. Changing the law could divide congregations – especially if a pastor endorses a candidate congregants don’t support.

Religious Right Attorney Jay Sekulow Joins Trump Legal Team

You might have noticed that President Donald J. Trump is in a bit of legal trouble.

Trump is lining up a legal defense team. His point man is Marc Kasowitz, a brash attorney who has defended Trump in several lawsuits, including one concerning fraud allegations at Trump University.

But Kasowitz has no experience in constitutional law, so Trump is augmenting his legal team. Among his legal eagles is a name longtime readers of this blog may find familiar: Jay Sekulow.

Pages

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

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions In Religious Freedom Cases Are Imminent

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to act on several crucial religious freedom cases, all of which Americans United is involved in.

As soon as Monday and certainly by the end of next week, the court is expected to issue a ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, a case that threatens to blur the lines between church and state.

For Focus On The Family, The Focus Remains On Far-Right Politics

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs this Friday speaking at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family (FOF), the fundamentalist Christian family ministry and Religious Right group founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, a child psychologist.

Controversial Wisc. Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Won’t Be Joining Trump Administration After All

The Trump Administration apparently will include one less person dragging the baggage of legal entanglements and concerning views on religious freedom: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. over the weekend announced he won’t join President Donald J. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security after all.

Celebrating 30 Years Of Sound Science In Public Schools

This Monday marks the 30th anniversary of Edwards v. Aguillard, a milestone U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the separation of church and state in public schools. As we mark the anniversary, it’s a good time to examine the history of the efforts to undermine instruction about evolution in public schools – and understand that the threat remains with us. 

A New Study Underscores The Dangers Of Partisanship In America’s Pulpits

A new study of more than 130,000 American clergy finds that faith leaders tend to be more partisan than the congregations they’re leading.

That finding should give pause to those who seek to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment – a provision in the tax code that protects the integrity of our tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates. Changing the law could divide congregations – especially if a pastor endorses a candidate congregants don’t support.

Religious Right Attorney Jay Sekulow Joins Trump Legal Team

You might have noticed that President Donald J. Trump is in a bit of legal trouble.

Trump is lining up a legal defense team. His point man is Marc Kasowitz, a brash attorney who has defended Trump in several lawsuits, including one concerning fraud allegations at Trump University.

But Kasowitz has no experience in constitutional law, so Trump is augmenting his legal team. Among his legal eagles is a name longtime readers of this blog may find familiar: Jay Sekulow.

Pages

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

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions In Religious Freedom Cases Are Imminent

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to act on several crucial religious freedom cases, all of which Americans United is involved in.

As soon as Monday and certainly by the end of next week, the court is expected to issue a ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, a case that threatens to blur the lines between church and state.

For Focus On The Family, The Focus Remains On Far-Right Politics

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs this Friday speaking at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family (FOF), the fundamentalist Christian family ministry and Religious Right group founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, a child psychologist.

Controversial Wisc. Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Won’t Be Joining Trump Administration After All

The Trump Administration apparently will include one less person dragging the baggage of legal entanglements and concerning views on religious freedom: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. over the weekend announced he won’t join President Donald J. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security after all.

Celebrating 30 Years Of Sound Science In Public Schools

This Monday marks the 30th anniversary of Edwards v. Aguillard, a milestone U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the separation of church and state in public schools. As we mark the anniversary, it’s a good time to examine the history of the efforts to undermine instruction about evolution in public schools – and understand that the threat remains with us. 

A New Study Underscores The Dangers Of Partisanship In America’s Pulpits

A new study of more than 130,000 American clergy finds that faith leaders tend to be more partisan than the congregations they’re leading.

That finding should give pause to those who seek to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment – a provision in the tax code that protects the integrity of our tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates. Changing the law could divide congregations – especially if a pastor endorses a candidate congregants don’t support.

Religious Right Attorney Jay Sekulow Joins Trump Legal Team

You might have noticed that President Donald J. Trump is in a bit of legal trouble.

Trump is lining up a legal defense team. His point man is Marc Kasowitz, a brash attorney who has defended Trump in several lawsuits, including one concerning fraud allegations at Trump University.

But Kasowitz has no experience in constitutional law, so Trump is augmenting his legal team. Among his legal eagles is a name longtime readers of this blog may find familiar: Jay Sekulow.

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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