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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

Poll Shows Increasing Numbers Of Americans Are Rejecting The Religious Right’s Narrow Views On Morality

During last week’s Values Voter Summit, I heard speakers like former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and researcher/author George Barna lament the shrinking “biblical worldview” of the American electorate.

“We are dropping like a rock in America. America!” Bachmann said. “That’s something that should give us pause.”

Barna, an evangelical Christian who writes a lot about religion in America, said his research indicated only about 10 percent of voters hold a “biblical worldview,” and the percentage of millennials with that viewpoint is even smaller.

AU Helps Put A Freeze On The Latest Version Of Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’

Surely if a temporary ban on immigration by Muslims violates the Constitution, an indefinite ban should too. That’s exactly what Judge Theodore D. Chuang found in IAAB v. Trump, a case brought in federal court in Maryland by Americans United with its allies Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling to stop Muslim Ban 3.0. (The National Iranian American Council also consulted in the representation.)

Religious Right Legal Group Issues Misleading Poll On The Johnson Amendment

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is heralding the results of a new poll it commissioned among Protestant pastors and claiming it proves pastors oppose the Johnson Amendment, which is the provision in the tax code that ensures tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, do not endorse political candidates.

The problem for ADF is that the poll doesn’t actually show that at all.

What I Saw At The Revolution: A Report From Values Voter Summit 2017

I attended my first Values Voter Summit this weekend, the annual event hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., that aims to “mobilize citizens to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government.”

Religious Freedom And Social Justice Are Not In Conflict

On Monday, a group of conservative Christian women gathered for a prayer rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to criticize feminist activists and church-state separation. 

“For years, the feminists lied to us,” author Lisa Bevere said during the event, as the crowd cheered, according to The Washington Post. “They said for us to be powerful as women, we needed to act like men.”

Pages

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

Poll Shows Increasing Numbers Of Americans Are Rejecting The Religious Right’s Narrow Views On Morality

During last week’s Values Voter Summit, I heard speakers like former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and researcher/author George Barna lament the shrinking “biblical worldview” of the American electorate.

“We are dropping like a rock in America. America!” Bachmann said. “That’s something that should give us pause.”

Barna, an evangelical Christian who writes a lot about religion in America, said his research indicated only about 10 percent of voters hold a “biblical worldview,” and the percentage of millennials with that viewpoint is even smaller.

AU Helps Put A Freeze On The Latest Version Of Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’

Surely if a temporary ban on immigration by Muslims violates the Constitution, an indefinite ban should too. That’s exactly what Judge Theodore D. Chuang found in IAAB v. Trump, a case brought in federal court in Maryland by Americans United with its allies Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling to stop Muslim Ban 3.0. (The National Iranian American Council also consulted in the representation.)

Religious Right Legal Group Issues Misleading Poll On The Johnson Amendment

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is heralding the results of a new poll it commissioned among Protestant pastors and claiming it proves pastors oppose the Johnson Amendment, which is the provision in the tax code that ensures tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, do not endorse political candidates.

The problem for ADF is that the poll doesn’t actually show that at all.

What I Saw At The Revolution: A Report From Values Voter Summit 2017

I attended my first Values Voter Summit this weekend, the annual event hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., that aims to “mobilize citizens to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government.”

Religious Freedom And Social Justice Are Not In Conflict

On Monday, a group of conservative Christian women gathered for a prayer rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to criticize feminist activists and church-state separation. 

“For years, the feminists lied to us,” author Lisa Bevere said during the event, as the crowd cheered, according to The Washington Post. “They said for us to be powerful as women, we needed to act like men.”

Pages

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

Poll Shows Increasing Numbers Of Americans Are Rejecting The Religious Right’s Narrow Views On Morality

During last week’s Values Voter Summit, I heard speakers like former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and researcher/author George Barna lament the shrinking “biblical worldview” of the American electorate.

“We are dropping like a rock in America. America!” Bachmann said. “That’s something that should give us pause.”

Barna, an evangelical Christian who writes a lot about religion in America, said his research indicated only about 10 percent of voters hold a “biblical worldview,” and the percentage of millennials with that viewpoint is even smaller.

AU Helps Put A Freeze On The Latest Version Of Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’

Surely if a temporary ban on immigration by Muslims violates the Constitution, an indefinite ban should too. That’s exactly what Judge Theodore D. Chuang found in IAAB v. Trump, a case brought in federal court in Maryland by Americans United with its allies Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling to stop Muslim Ban 3.0. (The National Iranian American Council also consulted in the representation.)

Religious Right Legal Group Issues Misleading Poll On The Johnson Amendment

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is heralding the results of a new poll it commissioned among Protestant pastors and claiming it proves pastors oppose the Johnson Amendment, which is the provision in the tax code that ensures tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, do not endorse political candidates.

The problem for ADF is that the poll doesn’t actually show that at all.

What I Saw At The Revolution: A Report From Values Voter Summit 2017

I attended my first Values Voter Summit this weekend, the annual event hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., that aims to “mobilize citizens to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government.”

Religious Freedom And Social Justice Are Not In Conflict

On Monday, a group of conservative Christian women gathered for a prayer rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to criticize feminist activists and church-state separation. 

“For years, the feminists lied to us,” author Lisa Bevere said during the event, as the crowd cheered, according to The Washington Post. “They said for us to be powerful as women, we needed to act like men.”

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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