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January 16, 2024

National Rifle Association of America v. Maria T. Vullo

AAF Files Amicus Brief Defending Freedom of Association

January 16th, 2023

Advancing American Freedom filed an amicus brief with 34 other groups in defense of insurance companies’ freedom of association which was trampled on by New York’s Department of Financial Services when they investigated insurance programs offered by the NRA through insurance companies, and called on the companies to discontinue their arrangements with the NRA.

“No government or government official should have the power to deprive a lawful organization of a full range of financial services without facing constitutional review,” said J. Marc Wheat, AAF General Counsel. “New York’s actions in this case stand in violation of the first amendment and should be scrutinized. No government’s actions are above the rule of law.”

You can read the brief here.

AAF Coalition Letter to Secretary Blinken concerning Nigeria

AAF: “Acts of Evil in Nigeria Must be Held to Account”

January 16th, 2024

Advancing American Freedom led a coalition letter with over 20 cosigners to Secretary Blinken and the State Department calling on them to list Nigeria as a country of particular concern for severe violations of religious freedom after 200 Nigerian Christians were martyred.

“The fact that this slaughter happened over two weeks ago without action from the State Department is unconscionable,” said AAF Executive Director Paul Teller. “Either the Biden administration takes the massacre of innocents seriously, or it does not. Christians in Nigeria are under continuous attack, and the latest slaughter demands a response from the United States, and when we do not respond, evil expands.”

Individuals, with titles and organizations for identification purposes only, signing on to the letter:

  • Paul Teller, Executive Director, Advancing American Freedom
  • Tony Perkins, Former Chair, USCIRF
  • Frank Wolf, Former Member of Congress
  • Sam Brownback, Ambassador, The Brownback Group
  • Kristen Waggoner, President and CEO, Alliance Defending Freedom/ ADF International
  • Brent Bozell, Founder and President, Media Research Center
  • Rick Santorum
  • Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Director, Conscience Project
  • William Murray, President, Religious Freedom Coalition
  • Maureen Blum, Executive Director, Catholics Count
  • Kristen A. Ullman, President, Eagle Forum
  • Nina Shea, Director Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
  • McKenna Wendt, Advocacy Manager, International Christian Concern
  • Tom McClusky, Director of Government Affairs, CatholicVote
  • Richard Perle, Former Assistant Secretary, Department of Defense
  • Arielle Del Turco, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Family Research Council
  • Dick Patten, President, American Business Defense Council
  • Sarah E. Makin, Former Senior Director, National Security Council
  • Brian Burch, President, CatholicVote
  • Larry Cirignano, Children First Foundation
  • Jane Adolphe, Executive Director, International Catholic Jurists Forum
  • J. Michael Waller, Senior Strategy Analyst, Center for Security Policy
  • Greg Twedd, Founding Pastor, Ignition633 Ministries
  • Evans Nnamdi Nwankwo, President & CEO, Megen Construction Company
  • The Honorable George K Rasley Jr, Managing Editor,
  • Ben Nwankwo, President, A.W.A Organization

Read the full letter here.

Religious, human rights groups urge Blinken to punish Nigeria over mass killings of Christians

January 16th, 2024

The Biden administration is facing pressure from numerous human rights and religious groups for failing to designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (“CPC”) for the brutal killing of over 200 Christians last month.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, two dozen interest groups, led by Advancing American Freedom and including Alliance Defending Freedom, the Hudson Institute, former Ambassador Sam Brownback and former defense and national security officials, scolded the State Department for its “refusal” to designate Nigeria as a CPC – calling the lack of action “unconscionable.”

“Less than two weeks ago, almost 200 Nigerian Christians became martyrs while celebrating Christmas. According to one account, these Christians were ‘killed for sport.’ Just weeks earlier, the Christian Association of Nigeria received a letter threatening them against celebrating Christmas,” the letter sent Monday states.

“The international religious freedom community stands outraged at your refusal to hold these acts of evil to account,” it continues.

The letter notes that the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a Nigeria-based nonprofit, has found that more than 52,000 Christians have been killed and more than 14 million Christians have been forced to flee Nigeria since 2009.

Over that same period, Intersociety also found that 18,000 churches and 2,200 schools had been attacked, according to the letter.

On Jan. 4, Blinken announced that he’d designated a series of countries, including Iran and Russia, as a CPC, but Nigeria was notably left off the list.

The letter says that “within hours” of Blinken’s announcement, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called for a congressional hearing, and international religious freedom advocates “publicly criticized” his decision.

USCIRF is a federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and consists of commissioners who are appointed by the president and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.

Nigeria, which is a hub for Boko Haram, was added to the list during the Trump administration but has been left off the list since 2021.

According to the Pew Research Center, Nigeria has the largest Christian population of any country in Africa, with over 80 million believers.

“The eyes of the world look to the United States as a beacon of hope and freedom. Religious freedom is grounded in the American founding, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and quintessential to what it means to be an American,” the letter states.

“When the United States stands silent as evil runs amok, the world takes notice,” it concludes.