When Arizonans buy a license plate displaying the words “In God We Trust,” they are told the money promotes the motto, First Amendment rights “and the heritage of this state and nation.”
What they may not know is the money supports Alliance Defending Freedom, a controversial group based in Scottsdale whose mission statement is “to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”
Because of that affiliation, one Democratic lawmaker now is proposing to get rid of the “In God We Trust” specialty license plates.
ADF is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-LGBT views and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy society.
ADF defended its mission and responded to the call to get rid of the Arizona license plate in a written statement.
“It’s disappointing to see elected officials become uncritical pawns in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ugly propaganda campaigns,” said Jeremy Tedesco, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel and vice president of U.S. Advocacy.
Tedesco said Southern Poverty Law Center mischaracterizes his group’s work.
“Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live in accordance with their beliefs, including those with no belief,” Tedesco said. “We represent people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds.”
ADF has been involved in a host of culture-war court cases: a challenge to the Obama administration directive that public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice; the Hobby Lobby case regarding businesses’ right not to provide contraception coverage to their employees for religious reasons; and Arizona’s law defining marriage as between only a man and a woman.
Most recently, it has been involved in the state Supreme Court case challenging Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate advocacy group based in Montgomery, Alabama, named the ADF a hate group in 2016 because of its “demonization of LGBT people” and “support of criminalization of gay sex in the U.S. and abroad.”
The center has written extensively about ADF and states that it “does not name groups to its anti-LGBT hate list simply for having biblical objections to homosexuality or for opposing same-sex marriage.”
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SOURCE: USA Today; Arizona Republic, Ryan Randazzo