President Donald Trump recently appointed anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ cable news pundit Jenna Ellis as a senior legal adviser to him and his campaign. Ellis has promoted harmful and ineffective conversion therapy; claimed that “Christians cannot follow God and accept or condone or participate in homosexuality”; and said gay and bisexual men have higher rates of HIV because “we cannot escape God's moral law and His supremacy.” She's also claimed that “Islam is not freedom. It's not peaceful. It is not Liberty. It is not American.”
Ellis previously worked as a director for the James Dobson Family Institute, which is named after and led by the anti-LGBTQ conservative commentator. She’s a regular contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog and frequently appears on cable television, including as a representative of the Trump 2020 campaign.
Ellis has also worked against bans against conversion therapy, a dangerous and discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2019, she testified at a Colorado House committee hearing against a bill protecting youth from the practice.
She has also posted anti-Muslim commentary online. After the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, the murder of singer Christina Grimmie, and other shootings around the same time in 2016, Ellis wrote: “Islam is not freedom. It's not peaceful. It is not Liberty. It is not American. Islam allows individuals to decide who and when and where to carry out capital punishment. Tolerance cannot be absolute because we CANNOT tolerate ideologies that give individuals the power to execute innocent people at whim.” From her post:
There is absolutely no excuse for the murders that happened this weekend. 50 people in Orlando, a young singer after concert, and the others that went underreported by MSM across the world.
Motive is always important to crime and gives us a glimpse into the moral failure of a tragedy. No one ever deserves to be targeted because of who they are. No individual has the right to take another's life.
Islam is not freedom. It's not peaceful. It is not Liberty. It is not American. Islam allows individuals to decide who and when and where to carry out capital punishment. Tolerance cannot be absolute because we CANNOT tolerate ideologies that give individuals the power to execute innocent people at whim.
Pray that this country will stand up for liberty and freedom. Not tolerance. Truth.
Ellis joined the Trump campaign as a senior legal adviser in November. Axios reported at the time that “Trump has said he's impressed by Ellis' TV appearances, according to a person close to him. He indicated that he wanted to give her a bigger job, and his team briefly discussed bringing her into the White House.”
The Daily Beast reported in late December that Ellis has issued “past jeremiads against ‘the homosexual lifestyle” and the “LGBT agenda.” From the article:
Much of her recent fire as a legal commentator has been aimed at the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. And while she couches those arguments in legal terms, Ellis has also exhibited some general antipathy to the gay community. Her book complains that the Supreme Court “told the LGBT community that their homosexual lifestyle was not just legal privately, but morally validated openly through government recognition and social celebration and therefore equally as valued as heterosexual unions.”
In the wake of a 2015 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead, Ellis penned a column that condemned the massacre, but bemoaned that it was being used to dignify homosexuality.
“I’m disappointed conservatives are acquiescing to the LGBT agenda,” Ellis wrote. “Let me be clear—the Orlando shooting was absolutely terrible and tragic. But the response to this tragedy should not be embracing and advocating for gay rights.” The piece was headlined, “Two Wrongs Do Not Make an LGBT Right.”
Media Matters further examined her past comments and found that she’s made other toxic remarks about LGBTQ people, especially on social media. Here’s a sampling of her remarks.
Ellis: “Whether or not homosexuals are nice, wise people, or misunderstood, or mean is not the issue. … Sin is always sin, even if nice people commit it.”
Ellis: “Christians cannot follow God and accept or condone or participate in homosexuality or adulterous behavior.” From a Facebook comment by Ellis:
Ellis on rates of HIV among gay and bisexual men: “We cannot escape God's moral law and His supremacy.”
Ellis: “If Pete Buttigieg is going to invoke the name of his Creator, he should read for himself what his Creator says about homosexuality in the Bible. Truth doesn’t change, regardless of the culture or the Dems’ identity politics.”
Ellis attacked J.J. Abrams for saying he wanted to add gay characters to Star Wars: “Why not also a Christian? Or a Muslim? Or a pedophile?”
Ellis claimed that a picture book portraying Santa as a gay man in an interracial relationship was “the latest in the war on Christmas, culture, and any common decency.”
Ellis: “‘Transgender’ has been around for the last 10 minutes. This isn’t a legitimate, biologically correct solution to the void—only God is.”
Ellis criticized the Food and Drug Administration for adjusting restrictions on gay men donating blood.
Ellis supported a doctor for supposedly “telling the truth about high-risk LGBT behavior to colleagues.”
Ellis promoted “reference material” falsely touting conversion therapy as safe and effective. In April 2018, Ellis wrote an Examiner piece claiming that a now-shelved California bill (AB 2943) categorizing conversion therapy as fraud was “one of the most serious attacks against freedom of speech ever contemplated in U.S. history this week.” She also quoted California Family Council President Jonathan Keller claiming that “every person experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction must be allowed to choose the services and resources to help them achieve their desired goals and outcomes,” and she linked to “reference material” that falsely portrayed conversion therapy as safe and effective.
Ellis recorded radio segment encouraging listeners to oppose conversion therapy protections, claiming that parents wouldn’t be able “to seek Christian therapy options for children who may be questioning their gender and sexuality.” In August 2018, she recorded a segment for Dobson’s Family Talk in which she relayed Dobson's “strong call to action” about voting in the midterm elections. Ellis stated:
Doctor Dobson issued a strong call to action in his August newsletter titled No Time to Go Wobbly. In his newsletter, Doctor Dobson encouraged families to get involved in the government process and understand why policy is so important to continue to protect and preserve our fundamental freedoms, like the right to teach our children Biblical values. These kinds of fundamental protections are at stake on both the state and national level.
For example, California is poised to pass Assembly Bill 2943, that would not allow parents to seek Christian therapy options for children who may be questioning their gender and sexuality. There are so many more examples on the state and national level, and it's imperative that families understand what we can do to continue to protect our freedoms.
Ellis claimed on Fox News that a 2019 Democratic presidential candidate town hall about LGBTQ issues “was a hate-based forum that is simply attacking the constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion.”
Update (1/13/20): On the January 10 episode of The Todd Starnes Show, Ellis and host Todd Starnes spent a segment responding to this article by defending Ellis, who stated that God has “established certain fundamental things” such as “the institution of marriage. And that’s between one man and one woman. And that’s very clear in the Bible. And so to advocate for that doesn’t mean that there’s any hatred or bigotry toward anyone else who shares a different belief or has any other type of lifestyle.” Starnes added: “One of the things that this Eric Hananoki, … clearly to me this guy is exhibiting anti-Christian, heterophobic tendencies. And it’s pretty troubling.” (H/T to Right Wing Watch for sending the segment to Media Matters.)