Jeb’s New Adviser: Jordan Sekulow

Jeb’s New Adviser: Jordan Sekulow March 11, 2015

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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