Exposing the ADF

The Washington Post takes a good look at the Right’s answer to the ACLU: the Alliance Defense Fund

Considering itself the antithesis of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Scottsdale-based organization has used money and moxie to become the leading player in a movement to tug the nation to the right by challenging decades of legal precedent. By stepping into the nation’s most impassioned debates about religion in the public sphere, the group aims to bring law and society into alignment with conservative Christianity.

The ADF underwrites legal fights and increasingly handles litigation itself. Groups receiving significant funding include the American Center for Law & Justice, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson, and Liberty Counsel, backed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

The ADF was founded by the likes of D. James Kennedy of the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ and James Dobson of Focus on the Family and today the organization is continually fighting what it perceives as “hostility to Christian thought” – and it is training future generations of lawyers to carry on the fight

To change the equation, the alliance hired Reagan-era prosecutor Alan Sears. He later brought in corporate lawyer Jeffery Ventrella. Mostly under Ventrella’s watch, the ADF has schooled more than 800 outside lawyers, each promising to donate 450 hours to the cause.

Ventrella runs an annual summer seminar, which this year brought 100 law students to Scottsdale. The idea, according to ADF documents, is to train them in “a distinctly Christian worldview of law” before they head to clerkships and other influential posts, “perhaps even Supreme Court justices.”