I don’t always connect dots in the ways others do, so it’s usually interesting to me when someone connects dots in a way I never thought aboutAlliance Defense Fund Employment Policies — especially when it’s a particularly interesting character who makes the connections.

On September 8th, a Jewish, conservative Republican — David Benkof — wrote a piece entitled Right-wing nonsense, where he questioned the Yes On 8 – Protect Marriage Campaign‘s use of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) as their legal defense team:

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so I supported the man-woman marriage Proposition 8 in California – until I discovered the Proposition 8 campaign tolerates discrimination against Jews. ProtectMarriage.com‘s legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund, has in effect a “No Jews Need Apply” policy for legal and even secretarial positions. They say they’re not a law firm, they’re a “ministry” and thus have a right to discriminate against Jews and other non-Christians. But even if that’s true, Proposition 8 had hundreds of law firms to choose from. The fact they chose one that refuses to hire a Jew like me is very disturbing. Alliance Defense Fund Guiding PrinciplesInterestingly, Jesus himself was a Jew, so when a group has a policy that would lead them to refuse to hire their own Messiah, you know something’s seriously wrong.

I wanted to check to see if the employment policies of the ADF were as Benkof described these policies, and he’s correct on the facts, in that the ADF doesn’t hire anyone but those who ascribe to the ADF’s vision of Christianity:

[Below the fold: The employment policies of the ADF, and the interesting personal history of David Benkof]

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization, employs talented and dedicated team members who work together to defend the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

Before reviewing currently open positions, please review our Statement of Faith Alliance Defense Fund Statement Of Faithand Guiding Principles and indicate your acceptance and agreement of the principles contained therein.

During working and non-working hours, ADF Team Members, as part of their duties as Team Members, shall: (i) be ready, willing, and able to participate in public and private prayer, chapel or other similar Christian services held or sponsored by ADF, including prayer with and for friends and allies of the ministry; (ii) refrain from statements and conduct that detracts from the biblical standards taught and supported by ADF; (iii) be spiritually ready, willing, and able to fulfill such other ministry functions and requirements as may be requested by ADF; and (iv) abide by the practices and policies of ADF, including without limitation, those that pertain to corporate religious activities, beliefs, and practices.

At the bottom of the Alliance Defense Fund‘s employment webpage, they have an “I accept” button which has the following header:

Clicking this button indicates that you have read and understand ADF’s Statement of Faith and hold to spiritual beliefs which are not in conflict with ADF’s Statement of Faith. Clicking this button will bring you to the open position descriptions.

In other words, the Yes On 8 – Protect Marriage campaign employs a legal team that apparently won’t employ anyone who isn’t a conservative, evangelical Christian for any of that organization’s paid positions.

That would probably be interesting news to the Mormons who are volunteering time and have already donated approximately five million dollars (which is about 35% of the funds the campaign has raised) to the Yes On 8 – Protect Marriage Campaign — the legal team that the Yes On 8 – Protect Marriage organization hired for their campaign discriminates in its hiring practices against a large segment of the campaign’s faith-based donor base.

And to boot, David Benkof’s an interesting character to make this statement. Timothy Kinkaid, with whom I’ve worked previously at the Ex-Gay Watch, wrote a piece for the Box Turtle Bulletin entitled David Benkof: Behind the Mask. Benkof apparently is an ex-gay who was one of the founders of the Q-Syndicate (an LGBT publication), and contributed to the publication between 1995 to 2003. In recent years he’s been seeking to be influential in the restriction of LGBT rights and equality. Although Benkof apparently doesn’t identify as an ex-gay, he appears to me to have functioned politically pretty much like one. Specifically, Benkof was one of the founders of the Q-Syndicate (an LGBT publication), and contributed to the publication between 1995 to 2003; however, in recent years he’s been seeking to be influential in the restriction of LGBT rights and equality.

Two points, in summary:

– Discrimination is discrimination — the Yes On 8 – Protect Marriage Campaign hiring a legal team that in its hiring policies discriminates against Jews and Mormons is as wrong-headed as hiring policies that discriminate against LGBT people.

– David Benkof really is an interesting character to connect the dots on discrimination by evangelical Christians towards people of other faiths since he now appears to be for discrimination of LGBT people — it really seems that now he’s only against discrimination when it’s about how he currently identifies, not about how he previously identified. It really seems that now he’s only against discrimination when it deals with his current, primary identification, and isn’t about the gay identification that appears to me to have been his previous primary identification. At least on a policitcal level, it kinda seems like he’s just an upscale version of a James Hartline archetype.


Further Reading:

* Washington Post (July 10, 2006): Bringing the Church to the Courtroom



* California’s Prop 8: Polling Showing Voters Moving To Defeat Measure

* PROP 8 ballot wording rewritten: to ELIMINATE RIGHT of Same-Sex Couples to Marry

* The Fundamental Freedom To Marry

* Pam’s House Blend tags: Proposition 8; Prop 8; Marriage Equality


Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen