Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
In 1990, televangelist Pat Robertson founded an organization in hopes of countering the hugely successful legal powerhouse, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His group would be called the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), and its mission was to “defend constitutional and religious rights.” However, ACLJ quickly began engaging in legal battles against a government it believed had become hostile to Christianity. Much of its work over the years has centered on fighting against the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, from drafting the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to an international campaign to defend laws that criminalize homosexuality in countries around the world. Take a look at 10 things you should know about ACLJ.
1. ACLJ has raised nearly $75 million in the past five years to fight for anti-LGBT causes, despite not meeting 10 out of 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability.
2. ACLJ suggests the “sin” of homosexuality might be to blame for the death of Tyler Clementi and the rash of teen suicides connected to anti-LGBT bullying.
3. ACLJ goes after cities and municipalities, simply for protecting employees against anti-LGBT discrimination. They even call workplace diversity training “offensive.”
4. ACLJ defended the Boy Scouts of America in their fight to prevent LGBT scouts and scout leaders, with the group’s founder warning of “predators as Boy Scouts, pedophiles who will come in as Scoutmasters.’’
5. ACLJ defends criminal punishments for consensual, adult same-sex behavior, saying homosexuality is destructive to society.
6. ACLJ literally helped write the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), parts of which were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in United States v. Windsor.
7. ACLJ opened an office in Nairobi, Kenya, where the group promotes discriminatory legal and legislative policies and engages in “civic education to warn people of the dangers of homosexuality.”
8. ACLJ-Zimbabwe has organized meetings with the country's ruthless dictator, Robert Mugabe, ad advocated for keeping criminal bans on homosexuality in place as the country reformed its constitution. This is the same Mugabe who threatened to behead gay people in his country.
9. ACLJ’s export of hate isn’t limited to Africa. They’ve set up shops in Brazil, Europe, and Russia, all to push their anti-LGBT ends and oppose marriage equality and anti-discrimination measures across the globe.
10. ACLJ founder Pat Robertson thinks that introducing lesbians to your child might make “your children grow up as lesbians.” Robertson actually claimed a gay father given custody of his child over a Christian mother made the child “a flaming homosexual, and if I’m not mistaken, he contracted AIDS.”