The Corner

Culture

The Battle for Religious Freedom Comes to New Jersey

As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) continues its campaign to portray major Christian conservative leaders like Tony Perkins and groups like the Family Research Council as the equivalent of racist hate-mongers, it now faces a different kind of opponent in a courtroom in New Jersey: trial attorney Chuck LiMandri, who’s currently representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in an important case for religious freedom.

Alone with his fledgling start up public-interest law firm, LiMandri chose to take on the goliath SPLC. He told me when he walked into the courtroom in New Jersey, he faced as many as 15 top lawyers — the seven Ivy League-trained attorneys who work for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and another eight or so from top New York law firms offering their time and talent pro bono.

What is the SPLC’s aim? To bankrupt a small Jewish nonprofit that refers clients with unwanted same-sex attraction to counselors. All adults, the clients signed a statement recognizing therapy comes with no guarantees. The SPLC’s argument is that nobody has ever been helped to lead their lives in accordance with their religious values by counseling, and thus to claim you might be able to offer help amounts to “consumer fraud.”

Why watch this trial unfold over the next few weeks? One, because it is part of the Left’s ongoing campaign to redefine traditional Christian views of sex and marriage to be views as wicked and irrational as racism. Two, because for the first time in years, the SPLC may be about to take a beating in court. It will be a sweet victory, coming from twelve New Jerseyans, if so.

Here I am on CBN (as Chairman of Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund) making the case:

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