The American Center for Law and Justice is basically the opposite of the American Civil Liberties Union; for every step the ACLU takes forward, the ACLJ pulls them two steps back. If ACLU executive director Anthony Romero is Mufasa, Jay Sekulow is a less cool and way less cunning Scar who happens to be in a shitty rock band with the ex-lead singer of Kansas. The ACLJ perpetuates a falsity that straight, white Christians are under attack and need protecting, and they’ve made a killing doing it.
So why does Sekulow, a Jewish Brooklynite, care so much about rural American Christian life? Hint: he doesn’t. Whenever a guy in a suit is really passionate about something that doesn’t affect him, you can bet there’s a paper trail linking him to other motives. In Sekulow’s case, the ACLJ provides an outlet for him to make money by offering his legal services to those who are “persecuted” for their “beliefs” (i.e., racism, Islamaphobia, homophobia, etc.) Remember those videos that “proved” Planned Parenthood were selling baby parts? The ACLJ represented the Center for Medical Progress—the group that masterminded the clips—in a legal battle, citing a violation of freedom of speech. It was this legal battle that led Olivia Nuzzi, a reporter for The Daily Beast, on a path to expose their moneymaking tactics.
In her piece “How to Get Rich Suing for Jesus; she delves into the ACLJ and its relation to Christian Advocates Serving Evangelicalism (CASE), another charity founded by Sekulow, using tax returns. Inspection of the returns unveils that the two charities funnel money into Sekulow’s endeavors. They also are both filed under “American Center for Law and Justice” and share a website. Both groups’ finances are handled by an 11-person board on which Sekulow and his brother are members, allowing them to siphon money out of the organizations that get richer by winning expensive cases.
The key to keeping Sekulow’s pockets full is keeping the far right angry about things that the ACLJ claims is threatening their way of life. A glance at the petitions on the ACLJ website—which accumulate hundreds of thousands of signatures each—confirms that “advocating for human rights” is code for “preying on rural America’s sense of abandonment in a scientific age.” Petitions include: “Don’t Force Us to Pay to Murder Babies; “Stop Islamic Indoctrination in Schools; and “Stop Funding President Obama’s Illegal Executive Actions; which, at this point in the Trump presidency, is painfully ironic.
All joking aside, let’s break down these petitions for their absurdities. “Don’t Force Us to Pay to Murder Babies,” besides just being poorly worded to target people who don’t understand science, is a pro-life petition to persuade congressmen to vote against funding Planned Parenthood. Right off the bat, the petition’s elevator pitch is factually incorrect, claiming “one million babies” are “murdered” each year in the United States. Assuming they mean one million abortions occur each year, they’re off by at least 300,000. According to the CDC’s most recent records, a little over 644,000 abortions took place in 2013, which is a 20 percent decrease from 2004’s stats. “Stop Islamic Indoctrination in Schools” is based on a falsity that Tennessee students were forced to write “Allah is the only God” and recite the “Islamic conversion creed.” Snopes was quick to shoot that one down; still, after debunking it in full, the petition remains on the site. The petition to stop Obama’s “illegal executive actions” implies that he “attacked” the Constitution during his presidency, and we’re still not sure what exactly its purpose is other than to rile up people who hate Obama.
As referenced earlier, Islamaphobia is a popular theme in the organization, whose supporters have little to no understanding of the religion or ISIS’s noninvolvement in it. There is literally a petition on the site to “Defeat & Destroy ISIS,” as if the government is waiting for a written request to attempt to stop the terror group. In 2010, the ACLJ took matters into their own hands when they insisted that the DOJ investigate the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association’s weekly Capitol Hill prayer session due to their fear of “Islamic extremism” Thank goodness someone is vigilantly protecting D.C. from Muslims who just want to say a prayer and go home to watch Scandal like everyone else. Next time someone you know is up in arms about Obama and his undocumented gay lover (who’s a member of ISIS) murdering babies with American taxpayer dollars, tell them to Google it and stay off of the ACLJ website, because it definitely isn’t fucking happening.
Now that you know all about Jay Sekulow, let this marinate for a second: one of Trump’s key lawyers is the architect of the modern idea that Democrats want to destroy white, Christian America and input Sharia Law. We couldn’t have written the White House’s current cast of characters any better. Unless, of course, we were the writers for The Simpsons.