Political Research Associates released a new report yesterday to shed light on the activities of Religious Right organizations in Africa – activities that often fly under the radar of American media.
Exporting similar tactics used to influence voters and policymakers in the United States, a broad coalition of far-right groups have invested heavily on outposts in African nations. These groups use their outsize influence to push for radical legislation banning all rights for LGBT persons and curbing reproductive rights.
The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ’s efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
The report lays out a detailed explanation of why the Christian right enjoys sizable influence on the African continent, and issues ten recommendations for protecting human rights and developing an infrastructure for the long term.
RWW’s own Brian Tashman is featured in the report, in an article which explores the role of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a right-wing legal group founded by Pat Robertson and led by Jay Sekulow.
His research sheds light on its extensive network (and questionable accounting practices) and opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights at home and abroad:
The ACLJ is now one of the principal legal advocacy groups in the conservative movement, along with the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, the Liberty Institute, and the Thomas More Law Center. The group has built strong partnerships with many Religious Right groups, including the Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action,5 the American Family Association,6 and WallBuilders. Its reach has expanded globally with affiliates in countries including France, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.
The Better Business Bureau says the ACLJ does not meet ten of its twenty standards for charity accountability, citing problems with oversight, compensation, accuracy of expenses, financial transparency, and disclosure; even the founder of the conservative Rutherford Institute has criticized the group’s financial mismanagement.9 An Associated Press investigation found that since 1998, the ACLJ and Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), Sekulow’s family-controlled charity, “have paid more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own.”