(CNSNews.com) – The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), wants ABC News to apologize for and retract an item calling it a “hate group,” the group’s legal counsel Kerri Kupec said Friday.
On July 12, the network posted a story with a headline saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions had addressed an “anti-LGBT hate group,” in reference to a designation bestowed on the ADF by the left-wing advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016.
On Fox’ “Fox and Friends” on Friday, presenter Steve Doocy said it was one thing for the SPLC – “which you say has an agenda and they are to the left” – to call the ADF a hate group, “but for ABC news then to just cut and paste their headline, put it on their website, that’s where you got a problem.”
“Have you heard from ABC yet?” he asked Kupec. “And I know you want an apology.”
“We would like an apology,” she replied. “We would like them to retract the story.”
The ABC’s first story noted that the Department of Justice had refused to reveal what Sessions had told the group the Summit on Religious Liberty in Dana Point, California.
Sessions subsequently released the text of his address to the Federalist.
In a follow-up story, reporting that Sessions had released his speech. ABC restated that the ADF had been “designated an ‘anti-LGBT hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016.”
Kupac, who is also the ADF’s communications director, also had sharp criticism for the SPLC.
“Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that attacks veterans, nuns, Muslims who are fighting Islamic terrorists. They attack Christians, Catholics, it doesn’t matter. And yet ABC took it upon themselves to cut and paste language from this violence-inciting organization and put it into their headline as fact,” she said.
“And what’s really sad to me, Steve, is that the real news got lost in all of this, and that was that Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a beautiful speech on religious freedom, and I encourage all viewers to check it out on the Federalist,” Kupec said.
“Look at the remarks where he talks about religious freedom and freedom of conscience being inherent to who we are as a nation and as a society,” she continued. “That’s the real news. He talked about faith driving Martin Luther King to do the great work that he did, and it is that same faith that inspires us to do what we do and our clients, to serve and love everyone.”
Sessions’ speech told the story of religious freedom in America, from the founding to the present. In one part, he said:
“The government’s role was to provide the great secular structure that would protect the rights of all citizens to fulfill their duty to relate to God as their conscience dictated and to guarantee the citizen’s right to exercise that faith.
“The government would not take sides, and would not get between God and man. Religious rights were natural rights, not subject to government infringement, as the Virginia Assembly once eloquently declared.”
Kupec told the Fox show that the ADF was “going to continue to fight this kind of fake news, because that’s what this is about. Journalists are ethically obligated to present both sides of the story, and a mainstream news outlet like ABC news needs to present both sides of the conversation.”
“And what they’re doing when they cut and paste smear campaigns is simply just encouraging this lack of civil discourse in our society,” she said. “That’s a real problem. Tolerance should be a two-way street.”
According to its website, the ADF “is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.” It represented Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri before the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor last month.