Jeb’s New Adviser: Jordan Sekulow

In an obvious attempt to shore up his standing with the Christian far-right, Jeb Bush has hired Jordan Sekulow as a senior adviser to his presidential campaign. Jordan, the son of infamous Christian right lawyer Jay Sekulow and an attorney himself, is a raging bigot and a massive hypocrite on religious freedom. Salon runs down some of the evidence of his extreme positions:

Jordan Sekulow has been particularly instrumental in ACLJ’s African campaigns. Under his tutelage, the organization established the East African Center for Law and Justice in 2009, as Kenya prepared to debate a new constitutional framework. Aimed at convincing Kenyan lawmakers “to take the Christian’s views into consideration as they draft legislation and policies,” the EACLJ lobbied to ensure that gay sex remained illegal under the 2010 Kenyan constitution.  Although the draft constitution did not explicitly scrap the country’s colonial-era statute against consensual gay intercourse — violating the law risked a prison sentence of up to 14 years – the left-leaning Political Research Associates explained in 2012 that the EACLJ feared the new constitution would effectively jettison criminalization. The draft featured sweeping rhetoric opposing discrimination, and while LGBT people were not listed as a protected class, both the EACLJ and LGBT advocates interpreted the anti-discrimination clause to encompass the right to consensual gay sex.

Sekulow also railed against a provision of the constitution allowing abortions when a mother’s health is at risk; he denounced such a regime as “abortion on demand.” The EACLJ, however, failed in its dual efforts to modify the constitution’s anti-discrimination language and to scuttle the limited right to an abortion.

As Mother Jones documented, the ACLJ also sought to maintain the criminalization of homosexuality in Zimbabwe, a country ruled by the iron-fisted dictator Robert Mugabe since 1987. Unlike the Kenyan campaign, this lobbying campaign paid off, with the leaders of Zimbabwe’s short-lived unity government agreeing that homosexuality should remain illegal

Beyond Africa, the ACLJ has also established a European Center for Law and Justice, which has campaigned against marriage equality throughout the continent, and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice, which backs Russia’s notorious law banning the dissemination of so-called gay propaganda, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

So while they claim to just be opposed to same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws in the United States, Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice (the group founded by his father and Pat Robertson) argue abroad that gay people should be imprisoned or put to death. As for the hypocrisy:

In 2010, Sekulow was one of the most vociferous opponents of the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, an ultimately never-constructed project that opponents tarred as the “Ground Zero mosque.” Crusading against the center’s construction, Sekulow tweeted that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the ecumenically minded head of the proposed center, was, along with the rest of his crew, a terrorist.

The ACLJ is a staunch advocate of laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which gives religious groups exemptions from local zoning laws. When a Christian church wants to violate zoning laws, the ACLJ argues that it would destroy religious freedom if you don’t them do so. But when a Muslim group wants to build a mosque and is in full compliance with all local laws and has the approval of the relevant local boards, they’re opposed to that. Because, as usual, when they talk about religious freedom what they really mean is Christian privilege.

This is the second election in a row where the Sekulows have aligned themselves with a Republican candidate that is viewed as a relative moderate when it comes to religion and social issues like abortion and gay rights. In 2012, they were advisers to Mitt Romney and they worked to convince Republicans that he really was strong on those hot button issues they care about. Now they’ll try to do the same for Jeb Bush.

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  • raven

    In this era, we have a lot of new occupations.

    Fitness coaches

    Lifestyle coaches

    Mindfullness coaches.

    Jeb Bush has hired a…fundie xian crackpot coach.

    It’s not convincing. He has too much education and is part of the old WASP elite. McCain tried it to the point of dumping his old Mainline church and joining a fundie church. As well as putting Sarah “word salad” Palin on his ticket as VP. It didn’t work for him either.

    To loosely paraphrase Gibbon again:

    The common people believe religion to be true.

    The educated believe religion to be false.

    The rulers believe religion to be useful.

  • raven

    If Jeb Bush gets elected president, we might as well put a sign up, “Last person who believes in the old USA, turn out the lights when you leave.”

    1. His idiot brother nearly wrecked the USA with his expensive, pointless and counterproductive wars that we are still fighting. As well as the US economy with the Great Recession which is lingering to this day.

    2. He also helped kill two of my friends in Iraq, killed my 401(K) plan, and killed hundreds of thousands of other people and millions of other 401(K) plans.

    (My 401(K) plan was resurrected last few years. Thanks Obama.)

    3. If the US people have a death wish and a memory span of a fruit fly, there is no hope. Insanity is elected the same idiots over and over and expecting a different result.

    PS All Jeb Bush has going for him is a vague resemblance to a normal person. It doesn’t make up for his vague resemblance to…George Bush though. There is zero evidence that he is brighter or less kooky than his sibling.

  • Area Man

    Jordan, the son of infamous Christian right lawyer Jay Sekulow and an attorney himself…

    I’m really amazed at the extent to which far-right-wing punditry and assorted asshattery runs in families. It’s like they’re not even being coy about their disdain for meritocracy. Either that, or stupidity really is genetic.

  • Modusoperandi

    This is garbage.

    Look, you know as well as I do that the Establishment has taken back the party from the Tea Partiers and Christian Right (who are two different groups and not the same group), and that the GOP has moved on from the old ways of the Establishment and adopted a new libertarian spirit (engendered in one Paul and half the other Paul and nobody else in the GOP), avoiding the hot button Culture War issues that have hurt them deeply in elections that Democrats show up to vote in.

    Most importantly, this new generation of new candidates like Jeb Bush show to the public that this is a new party, reinvigorated, youthful and positive, and no longer a party of neo-cons and religious kooks; as Jeb Bush (original neo-con), shows with his choice of Jordan Sekulow (religious kook) as advisor.


    Next he’ll show his party is not the party of grumpy, resentful old white men by hiring Robert Bork.

  • Kamaka

    The Bush family really needs to improve their friend-picking skills.

  • eamick

    Next he’ll show his party is not the party of grumpy, resentful old white men by hiring Robert Bork.

    [Handing Modus a shovel]

    Here. You go dig him up. Really.

  • Modusoperandi

    eamick “[Handing Modus a shovel] Here. You go dig him up. Really.”

    Life is fleeting. Resentment is forever.

  • raven

    Bork isn’t dead.

    He is either a Vampire or a Zombie. Much like he was before.

  • John Pieret

    Jordan, the son of infamous Christian right lawyer Jay Sekulow and an attorney himself, is a raging bigot and a massive hypocrite

    The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • llewelly


    Next he’ll show his party is not the party of grumpy, resentful old white men by hiring Robert Bork.

    Which sounds absurd, since Bork died back in 2012, but that’s no problem for Righteous Christians, who have a direct line to the afterlife. Funny how necromancy always agrees with them …

  • grumpyoldfart

    One day (perhaps soon) one of these Christian Republicans will be your president. That will be fun to watch.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ grumpyoldfart : No and no. Won’t happen and definitely won’t be fun to experience if it does.

  • eric

    @11 – I doubt Jeb is any more personally religious than his brother or father. In fact, he could be hiring Sekulow precisely because he’s trying to look more religious to the fundie part of the conservative right. To paraphrase a common quote: never attribute (a political move) to fanaticism that can be explained by pandering.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    End Times Alert – Jay Sekulow said something sort-of sensible:

    …acts of religious discrimination that do exist — and Hobby Lobby, in my view, is an example — but that is not on the same level of religious persecution where people are having their throats slit, being crucified, or being beheaded…