Justice Department official slammed for calling ADF a ‘hate group’

DOJ
Entrance signage to the United States Department of Justice building in Washington DC The Department of Justice, the US government agency responsible for law enforcement and the administration of justice. |

A Justice Department official has been accused of violating official policy by publicly calling Alliance Defending Freedom, a prominent religious freedom organization, a “hate group” in a social media post.

Jason Weida, a former assistant US attorney from Massachusetts, said in a Linkedin post last month that he was “honoured” to be part of an Alliance Defending Freedom event.

Eric P. Bruskin, deputy director of the DOJ’s Civil Division Commercial Litigation Branch, who previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, a progressive organization, commented on the post, saying, “Jason, this is a group hateful. You speak at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, it’s time to end our professional association.

Bruskin drew backlash, with a few commenters claiming Bruskin violated DOJ employee policy regarding how federal government employees should use social media.

According to the DOJ’s employee handbook, under the category “Personal Use of Social Media,” department employees “must not make comments that could be perceived as showing bias based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected base”.

“Departmental employees are required at all times to adhere to certain government-wide standards of conduct that apply to online communications, whether employees are at work, outside of working hours, or using government equipment,” the policy added.

The ADF has won several religious liberty cases in the United States Supreme Court, many cases defending the rights of Christian conservatives to defend their beliefs in the public square.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left advocacy group that has sparked multiple controversies in recent years, classifies the ADF and ADF International as a “hate group.”

“The ADF’s long-standing antipathy toward LGBTQ people has become public knowledge through its work on lawsuits, various statements from its leaders, and materials it has offered on its website over the years,” says the SPLC.

For its part, the ADF refuted the SPLC’s accusation that it is a hate group, noting that the SPLC frequently uses the term to “silence dissent” and intimidate religious conservatives.

“If the price of keeping our traditional religious beliefs and speaking about them in public discourse is to earn a place on the ‘hate map,’ then we will consider the SPLC’s slander a badge of honour,” said the ADF.

“But people who use such tactics need to know that they won’t work forever. They will not succeed in trampling on conscience or stopping civil discourse with name-calling. It’s the bully’s tactic on the playground.

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