A Justice Department official recently sparked backlash after calling Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom advocacy organization, a "hate group" on social media.
Eric P. Bruskin, assistant director of the commercial litigation branch in the DOJ's Civil Division, expressed his disdain for the ADF on LinkedIn. Bruskin was responding to a post by Jason Weida, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, who shared that he was "honored" to speak at an ADF event.
"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, who previously worked for the progressive organization the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in the comments section.
According to The Christian Post, Bruskin was criticized for calling ADF a hate group, a move that violates the DOJ's employee policy regarding how federal government employees should use social media.
The "Personal Use of Social Media" section of the DOJ employee manual states that department employees "should not make comments that can be perceived as showing prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other protected basis."
"Department employees are required at all times to adhere to certain government-wide standards of conduct that apply to online communications, regardless of whether the employees are at work, off duty, or using government equipment," the policy continues.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a controversial far-Left advocacy group, has also labeled the ADF and ADF International as hate groups.
"ADF's longstanding antipathy toward LGBTQ people has become public through its work on lawsuits, various statements its leaders have made and materials it has offered on its website over the years," the SPLC contends.
The ADF pushed back against the SPLC's claims, arguing that SPLC tends to use the term to "silence dissent" and to pick on religious conservatives.
"If the price of holding our traditional religious beliefs and speaking on them in public discourse is to earn a place on the 'Hate Map,' then we'll view SPLC's slander as a badge of honor," the ADF said in a statement.
"But the people who use such tactics should know they won't work forever. They will not succeed in trampling conscience or stopping civil discourse by name-calling. That's the tactic of the bully on the playground."
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.