A Primer on Christian Legal Defense Groups June 14, 2015

A Primer on Christian Legal Defense Groups

With all the legal goings-on we write about on this website, it’s easy to get confused by the numerous Christian legal defense groups out there. Are there differences between them? What sort of cases do they take on? Which attorneys work for them?

Daniel Bennett, writing for Religion & Politics, has done a nice job of explaining the various groups out there and what makes them unique.

The biggest takeaway for me? The budgets for some of these groups are just ridiculously large.

Here’s just one example:

Alliance Defending Freedom — Founded in 1994, ADF was originally a funding source for other legal interest groups, but transitioned into direct advocacy and case sponsorship in the early 2000s. Led by Alan Sears, an attorney with roots in the Reagan administration, it has a network of affiliated attorneys around the country to go along with staff attorneys in several areas of law and policy. With annual revenue approaching $40 million, ADF boasts an impressive media presence and sponsors a series of legal training programs for law students and seasoned attorneys alike.

By way of comparison, the biggest atheist-specific legal defense group is the Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose 2013 budget (according to recent tax forms) approached $4 million — barely a tenth of the ADF.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which fights a broader range of church/state separation issues, had a 2013 budget of $5.3 million. The American Humanist Association, which has a legal component to it, had a total 2013 budget of less than half of that.

That’s what we’re up against. In short, if you combined the budgets of every major legal group defending church/state separation, the amount would barely equal a quarter of the annual budget for the largest single Christian group opposing them.

It also gives you a sense of how widespread this idea of “Christian persecution” really is. These groups are getting huge donations… and for what? It’s because they keep parroting this notion that the world is out to get Christians due to their faith.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Richard for the link)


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