Sunday, October 26, 2014

Belligerent and obtuse, ADF is increasingly and deliberately deceitful

Last night, Alliance Defending Freedom took to their blog with a piece titled “Setting the Record Straight: 4 Things You Need to Know About the Hitching Post Case.” Not only have they failed to set the record straight, they have been freshly disingenuous in an effort to cover up their past deceitfulness.

We expect lawyers to be zealous advocates. We are perfectly willing to accept some hyperbole here — some spin there. Being barefaced liars is another matter entirely. ADF has become a group of barefaced liars. They are taking advantage of their incurious audience. What is more insidious is the notion that they are on God's side. A little fib now and then in defense of “His Kingdom” is not only tolerable but compulsory. It is religious arrogance.  ADF intentionally creates confusion about what Equal Protection and Due Process mean for their fellow LGBT citizens for whom they hold considerable animus.

For example, in last night's polemic they have the temerity to blame the city attorney for any confusion about whether or not the Hitching Post is a for-profit operation:
Inaccurate statements that The Hitching Post is a non-profit made by the Coeur d’Alene city attorney in a letter to Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the pastors, are largely to blame.  This inaccuracy has unfortunately been repeated by many media outlets.
That is a compound lie. The bullshit began on October 20 when the ADF lawyers referenced this for-profit business as a "ministry" while never stating the fact that this was a for-profit business indistinguishable from an Elvis chapel:
The Knapps, both ordained ministers in their 60s, began operating the wedding chapel in 1989 as a ministry. They perform religious wedding ceremonies ….
A for-profit wedding business is not a ministry. If that isn't bad enough. the letter that they link to doesn't say what ADF claims it says. Not only are they liars but, apparently, they doubt that people will click, let alone read. It's a form of arrogance. The city attorney points out how the law would not apply to a not-for-profit and would apply to a for-profit organization. This letter reflects a telephone conversation between ADF's David Cortman and city attorney Michael Gridley. Gridley is summarizing what he was told by ADF:
… it now appears that on or about October 6, 2014 they filed with the Idaho Secretary of State as a religious corporation. These are new facts. If they are operating as a legitimate not-for- profit religious corporation then they are exempt from the ordinance like any other church or religious association. On the other hand, if they are providing services primarily or substantially for profit and they discriminate in providing those services based on sexual orientation then they would likely be in violation of the ordinance.
Nowhere in this letter does Mr. Gridley suggest that the Hitching Post actually is a not-for-profit (as ADF claims). There is a big "IF" in Gridley's paragraph.

I would also point out that this whole idea of a "religious corporation" is another lie. There is no such thing unless it is a not-for-profit. ADF has been floating this idea of a "religious corporation" as if there was some way to register such a thing. They are doing this intentionally to mislead people into believing that this enterprise is actually some sort of religious endeavor. It is a fabrication. ADF wants the general public to believe that this is some sort of house of worship.

The next lie deals with the notion that the Knapps were threatened if they don't perform services. According to ADF:
Contrary to a statement made by the city of Coeur d’Alene this week, the city, on at least three separate occasions, made clear that because the Hitching Post is a for-profit company the Knapps would be in violation of the law and subject to criminal prosecution and punishment if they declined to perform same-sex marriages.
This is yet another compound lie.  To support what they call a statement by the city, they cite this article from the local newspaper. The first paragraph correctly and truthfully explains the current situation. That is not as ADF alleges a statement contrary to previous statements made by the city:
City officials in Coeur d'Alene say they have not received any formal complaints that the Hitching Post wedding chapel has violated the city's anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing to solemnize same-sex marriages.
Indeed, later on the article states that according to the city attorney:
He admitted that the Knapps were told by his office that if a complaint was filed against them for refusing to provide service to gay individuals seeking to marry, they would likely be in violation of the city's ordinance, based on their corporate status.
That directly contradicts the assertion by ADF that the city attorney's office has somehow been contradictory and even disingenuous. And by the way nobody (including the city attorney) has explicitly explained was a “service” is. While that might include obtaining the marriage license, a non-religious civil ceremony and providing place for the wedding, nobody has suggested that religious consecration is a service. In fact, going back to the earlier May article that ADF cites, Mr. Knapp seems to solve his own problem:
Knapp said he's okay with other ministers performing marriages at their facilities but it is not something he will do.
Moreover, ADF's very first article about this matter is an outright lie. On October 20, ADF wrote:
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Idaho for all of 2 days, and two ministers already face jail and fines for declining to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.
No they did not already face jail and fines because they did not turn away anyone. And if they did we would have to know the specifics. Did they refuse a Christian ceremony or just the use of the chapel? Since nobody has complained and now nobody ever will (gays couples are not going to line up at the door), this is rubbish.

Getting back to last night's polemic, they are "setting the record straight" when they claim that the lawsuit was not premature:
A caller to the Hitching Post inquired Oct. 17 if the Knapps would perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. They politely declined because of their religious convictions. This denial put the Knapps at immediate risk of being prosecuted and sentenced to jail time.
There are several problems with this all too convenient telephone conversation. Based on the information that we have, the caller could have been anyone (or nobody at all). It could have been ADF or it could have been a local reporter. The notion of “Immediate risk” is yet another lie because  nobody filed a complaint. And even if someone were to complain the Knapps are entitled to due process and then ADF might defend them. Absent a complaint the lawsuit was premature and a waste of taxpayer's money. ADF probably saw a way to create yet another self-manufactured victim. Victims (authentic or not) create donations and foster animus towards the gay community.

ADF filed this lawsuit for their own purposes. It was not only premature, it was entirely unnecessary. Now they are trying to explain away their impropriety.

Finally, they ask; “Does the recent Conestoga Woods/Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision protect the Hitching Post?” Their answer:
Yes and no. The Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood Specialties decision sent a clear message that business owners do not have to abandon their religious beliefs simply because they open a business. That case was decided under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This is a municipal law, so the decision does not directly apply. In City of Boerne v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court found that federal RFRA does not apply to state law. However, Idaho has a state RFRA that is a corollary of the federal RFRA and reflects the same principles. 
Here they are probably correct depending upon the nature of the service. But doesn't that contradict the BS that their lawsuit was timely? Why go into federal court when state law seemingly protects your client's interests?

ADF did this for ADF and not for the Knapps. Five days ago I pointed out the numerous lies that ADF lawyers told about the situation in Houston. Some of the prevarications were advanced by a young attorney recently out of an unaccredited Christian correspondence law school (seriously). Dishonesty is part of ADF's culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil and do NOT link to anti-gay sites!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.