A priest wearing red, sparkly costume devil horns on his head.

Judge Orders Airline Lawyers To Take “Religious-Liberty” Training From Hate Group

An employee of Southwest Airlines brought an employment discrimination case on the basis of religion, which concluded on August 7, 2023. The case ended with Trump-appointed judge Brantley Starr issuing an order for the company’s lawyers to attend “religious-liberty” training sessions, to be taught by notorious Christian hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

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The ADF is known for its extremist views and advocacy with red state legislatures to push its extremist agenda. The group’s ties to state legislatures go beyond their lobbying efforts: One of ADF’s lawyers is Erin Hawley, wife of MO Senator Josh Hawley (R). The group has never been shy about its biases, but it seemed taken aback by being labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The ADF presents itself as an institution of learning and tolerance for those in need of instruction when it comes to compassion toward different religious views, offering free classes on the topic. Be that as it may, the organization had no involvement in this particular dispute whatsoever, until Judge Starr called for their services as an additional sanction for the defendant airline. It is unclear why he opted for the ADF at all. Further, the plaintiff Southwest employee did not request any kind of training as a remedy for her grievance, making Starr’s order doubly confusing.

The ADF has been designated a hate group for its support of draconian legislation against the LGBTQIA+ community, its support of efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and its vitriolic attack against the right to reproductive freedom. The choice by a federal judge to call upon the services of an extremist hate group like the ADF to instruct on the topic of religious tolerance is laughable at best, horrifying at worst. But hey, this is what that good ole’ system of checks and balances is for … right?

(featured image: ajr_images/Getty Images)


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