The Washington Post’s New Religious Right Now Blogger

Yesterday the Washington Post announced that Jordan Sekulow, a Republican activist and lawyer with Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice (led by Sekulow’s father Jay), would be blogging for its On Faith section on the religious right.

This is not, of course, like hiring a reporter to cover the religious right. Sekulow is the religious right, and deeply embedded and committed to its ideology and causes; giving him a blogging platform gives an unvarnished platform to the ACLJ (which already is heard and seen on radio and television). The ACLJ is involved in litigation and advocacy on a range of issues including constitutional challenges to health care reform, demagoguing the Park51 project, and promoting other religious right efforts to outlaw gay marriage and abortion.

At the Center for American Progress Think Progress blog, national security and foreign policy expert Matt Duss argues:

In addition to peddling the historically revisionist claim that “the United States is a Christian nation” — Sekulow believes “America has a special relationship with God” — he’s also part of the “creeping sharia” crowd, writing of Oklahoma’s ban on sharia law, “The threat of Sharia law is real and the people of Oklahoma are ahead of the curve.”

And at Media Matters, Jamison Foser points out that Sekulow has previously used the platform at On Faith “to approvingly quote biblical references to homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ and ‘unnatural’ and ‘indecent’ and ‘perversion.’”

I’ve reported on the ACLJ’s and Sekulow’s advocacy in Africa, intended to bring the “Christian nation” mythology there and impose or continue legal bans on homosexuality and abortion. In Zimbabwe, Sekulow played a key role in launching the African Centre for Law and Justice:

Together with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the African Centre for Law and Justice is working to garner the support of religious leaders and activists for constitutional provisions that would “affirm that Zimbabwe is a predominantly Christian nation founded on biblical principles,” and require application of “the Laws of God in order to prosper and avoid chaos and destruction,” according to a pamphlet prepared by the EFZ and supported by the ALCJ.

Backed by the ACLJ, [African Centre for Law and Justice Vicky] Mpofu has been traveling Zimbabwe to rally religious support for the EFZ’s constitutional proposals. “We’ve had a lot of support from ACLJ in America because for me to be able to go around the country to visit the ten provinces we’ve received some help financially and also we’ve received some help from the teams from America visiting and working with us,” Mpofu said. “The support has been tremendous.”

More recently, the ACLJ has called on the Department of Justice to investigate the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association based on nothing more than a bogus Fox News report that the group hosted speakers with terrorist ties, a claim strongly disputed by Suhail Khan, a conservative Republican and a Muslim. Nonetheless, Sekulow took to the airwaves of Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network to engage in a guilt-by-association attack on Muslim Americans:

As the interview went on, it became clear that Sekulow’s goal is to end the Muslim prayers at the Capitol by portraying Muslim organizations as necessarily having ties to terrorists, a common smoke and mirrors routine used by the right. “We see now,” he said, “that when we scratch the surface of most Islamic organizations we find something that we don’t hope to find. we find that if you bring in speakers, they’re connected to terrorism.” He identified this as “a problem within Islam. As Christians, we can’t change what’s happening internally in Islam, but we cannot be afraid of exposing the truth of what is happening here in our US Capitol. Our hope is that the truth comes out, that people see the associations here, and that this group isn’t able to meet anymore.”

On Faith’s “About” section reads:

And so, in a time of extremism — for extremism is to the 21st century what totalitarianism was to the 20th — how can people engage in a conversation about faith and its implications in a way that sheds light rather than generates heat? At The Washington Post and Newsweek, we believe the first step is conversation-intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful conversation-among specialists and generalists who devote a good part of their lives to understanding and delineating religion’s influence on the life of the world. The point of our new online religion feature is to provide a forum for such sane and spirited talk, drawing on a remarkable panel of distinguished figures from the academy, the faith traditions, and journalism. 

It will be interesting to see if the Post continues to believe that someone who thinks, for example, that all Muslim organizations have terrorism lurking right beneath the surface or that homosexuality is a “perversion” can contribute to a “sane” conversation that “sheds light rather than generates heat.”

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email