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Justice Dept. Official Publicly Smears Alliance Defending Freedom as 'Hate Group' in Social Media Post


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A Justice Department official recently labeled the religious liberty legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) as a "hate group" in a public reply to a LinkedIn post. 

The Daily Signal reports Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the commercial litigation branch in the Justice Department's Civil Division, who was previously a lawyer for the ACLU of Massachusetts, appeared to follow the lead of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing group that regularly calls the ADF and other conservative organizations "hate groups."

Bruskin wrote the term "hate group" when replying to a post by Jason Weida, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who is now the assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid policy and quality at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

In his LinkedIn post, Weida wrote: "Honored to speak with senior counsel Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom about the work we're doing in Florida to protect kids from experimental medical interventions and to defend parental rights, all thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis." 

In his reply, Bruskin wrote: "Jason, this is a hate group. You're speaking at a conference for a hate group. Are these the beliefs you hold? If so, then it's time we end our professional association."

Bruskin did not point out the reason for the "hate group" specification that he applied to the ADF.  His response to the post appears to go against the Justice Department's policy in its employee manual concerning the personal use of social media. The departments policy reads: "All Department employees should be aware of the following requirements governing the use of social media, and Department attorneys should consider obligations imposed by applicable rules of professional conduct." 

The policy goes on to say, "Department employees should not make comments that can be perceived as showing prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected basis."

When checked by CBN News on Tuesday, Bruskin had not deleted his comment from Weida's post. Weida declined to comment. 

CBN News reached out to the Justice Department and to Matt Sharp at the ADF for comment. We'll post it here if we hear back.  

As CBN News has reported, the ADF is one of the leading religious rights law firms in the U.S. 

"ADF is the world's largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God's design for marriage and family," the ADF states on its website.

However, the SPLC has smeared the ADF as a hate group. As CBN News has reported, many people acknowledge the SPLC did good work years ago by targeting haters and racists like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. But then it took a lurch to the far left and began to put conservatives and Christians on the SPLC website's hate map. A left-wing gunman even used that erroneous SPLC map to find his target when he shot up the Family Research Council's office in Washington, D.C.

Law Firm Receives Support From Unlikely Defender

As CBN News reported in 2018, the ADF received support from an unlikely defender – an organization whose CEO and founder says he pretty much disagrees with everything the ADF stands for in terms of law and policy.

Amazon had informed the nonprofit they were removed from the AmazonSmile program because the SPLC determines who is qualified.

Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, the CEO and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says he wrote a letter of support to Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon on behalf of the ADF because of his years-long friendship with several of the ADF attorneys.

In the letter, Weinstein asked Bezos "to reconsider and kindly reverse your decision and permit ADF once again to participate in the AmazonSmile program."

"I've learned to separate religious and political viewpoints from the people. I learned that these are individuals with an inspirational amount of personal integrity and character, honor and intelligence," he told CBN News.

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of