If there is one verse that has been running through my heart—indeed, through the hearts of many of us who serve at Alliance Defending Freedom—throughout this tumultuous year, it’s Esther 4:14b: "Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Some fundamental beliefs came under unprecedented attack in our country this year. Ideas that go to the deepest heart of why many of us here became attorneys, and answered the call to found this legal ministry. Yes, every year brings big cases, important wins, a few setbacks. We’re used to that. But this year brought something more: yet another turning point in American jurisprudence. And the year’s not over yet.
In June, the United States Supreme Court issued two rulings that sent shock waves through the nation’s legal system … and sounded an ominous and no-longer-veiled warning to those of us committed to preserving marriage and religious freedom (see story, p. 17). In ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, five justices took a long step toward rewriting the moral code of America. In refusing to review Proposition 8, they left democracy in California with a lot less leg to stand on.
Both decisions cut to the very heart of what you and I have always known and believed about this country: a) that it is deeply grounded on biblical principles of morality and an essentially Christian/natural law view of society, and b) that it invests the real power and authority of government in the people themselves, and to their written constitutions—not to those who walk through the revolving doors of temporary power. Incredibly, as of one day last June, both those ideals were brusquely dismissed by our nation’s highest court.
This month, our attorneys stand before those same Supreme Court justices to argue on behalf of another, equally critical tenet of American life: the right of each person to articulate his own conscience … to speak from the heart … to honor God as he knows Him, even in the public square. As you will read on the following pages, this is, on the surface, a case about the right of legislative bodies to open their meetings in prayer. Beneath that—and far, far beyond that—it’s about a profound threat to the most precious freedom Americans possess.
"If the foundations are destroyed," the Psalmist asks (11:3), "What can the righteous do?" More and more, that looks like the question whose answer will shape the rest of my personal and professional life. And that of my colleagues. And that of each of us who are called to stand for faith and religious freedom in "such a time as this."
John 15:5–Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.