“People of faith are facing a new hostility,” observed Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a religious liberty summit on Wednesday. “Really, a bigoted ideology, which is founded on animus towards people of faith.”
According to the Washington Times, Sessions was speaking to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization, which advocates for religious freedom and traditional family values.
“You’ll notice that they don’t rely on the facts. They don’t make better arguments. They don’t propose higher ideals,” he continued, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which he leads. “No, they just call people names — like ‘hate group.’ Does that sound familiar?”
“You know I’m from Alabama — the home of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that did important work in the South, vital work at a pivotal time,” Sessions explained before listing off a string of accomplishments the SPLC did in the past in fighting racism and hate groups in the South.
After mentioning that he’s even judged in favor of the SPLC in a KKK case, he shifted gears, noting that the SPLC of today has gone way overboard in its “hate group” designations, even giving the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that damaging label. He pointed out that that “hate group” label was spread far and wide by the mainstream media and prompted Amazon to remove the ADF from its charity program.
“They have used this designation as a weapon and they have wielded it against conservative organizations that refuse to accept their orthodoxy and choose instead to speak their conscience,” he told the crowd. “They use it to bully and intimidate groups like yours, which fight for the religious freedom, the civil rights, and the constitutional rights of others.”
“You are not a hate group,” Sessions declared.
He added that he may not agree with every single aspect of the ADF, but he praised them for having an “impressive record” for winning important cases defending free speech and affirming “the Constitution and American values.”
And then the attorney general delivered a massive blow to the SPLC.
“Let me say this loud and clear: at the Department of Justice, we will not partner with hate groups. Not on my watch,” he announced.
“I have ordered a review at the Department of Justice to make sure that we do not partner with any groups that discriminate,” Sessions continued. “We will not partner with groups that unfairly defame Americans for standing up for the Constitution or their faith.”
He concluded, “Under President Donald Trump, we are going to continue to uphold the Founders’ tradition of religious liberty — and we will keep defending the rights of the American people.”
Read more about how dangerous and damaging the SPLC’s “hate group” over-labeling is and how conservatives are starting to push back against it.