Tennessee Pastors Challenge Stance of Alliance Defending Freedom

Advocate Andy

Faith leaders say group is defending adoption agency that denied Jewish couple a baby

In response to efforts by Christian legal defense organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to offer legal support to an East Tennessee adoption agency that refused to assist a couple because of their Jewish faith, a group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition is claiming that ADF is distorting core teachings of the Christian faith.

In a video statement, retired Evangelical Lutheran pastor Matt Steinhauer pointed to a series of actions by ADF as evidence of the group's departure from the teachings of Jesus.

"Not only are they [Alliance Defending Freedom] legally defending an adoption agency who turned away a couple due to their Jewish faith, they've also been infiltrating Tennessee with their dangerous and harmful legislation. They've worked across the country to pass laws that target and harm LGBTQ people and students, whether from bathroom or sports bans by claiming that these marginalized and threatened groups are a threat to safety."

Rev. Steinhauer also read from James 1:27, saying, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Steinhauer clearly and specifically spelled out his disagreements with ADF:

"A version of Christianity that claims the freedom to discriminate as a higher value than loving your neighbor as yourself is a distortion and corruption of the Christian faith. And indeed, it's not actually the Christian faith. Alliance Defending Freedom claims to be a Christian organization, but their actions harm the dignity and worth of many of our fellow neighbors, the opposite of what Jesus called us to do when he told the parable of the 'Good Samaritan'. As faith leaders, we must speak in one voice condemning groups seeking to distort the Holy Scriptures and to justify an agenda that brings harm to our communities and contradicts God's commandment to love one another."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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