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Frequently Asked Questions


  • Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

  • Recognizing the need for a strong, coordinated legal defense against growing attacks on religious freedom, more than 30 prominent Christian leaders launched Alliance Defending Freedom in 1994. Five exceptional men took a leading role in forming this legal organization, and set the high standard of excellence and good stewardship that we continue to abide by today. They are Dr. Bill Bright (Founder, Cru); Larry Burkett (Co-founder, Crown Financial Ministries); Dr. James C. Dobson (Founder, Family Talk); Dr. D. James Kennedy (former Senior Pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church); and Marlin Maddoux (former Host, “Point of View” radio program).

  • For decades, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies used the courts to drive out public expressions of faith and to radically change America into something the Founding Fathers never intended. Despite outstanding efforts by many Christians, our Founders saw that there was limited unity and no common strategy. There was also no organized method to recruit and train attorneys to defend our God-given constitutionally protected rights in modern legal challenges. And inadequate funding allowed much territory to be lost by default.

  • Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. As an alliance-building legal organization, we unite attorneys, ministry leaders, pastors, and like-minded organizations in a common purpose, a shared commitment to defending religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.

  • Alliance Defending Freedom exists to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.

  • Alliance Defending Freedom will never sell, rent, or make available your name for purposes not related to this organization. For a complete list of our Ministry Friend Bill of Rights, click here.

  • The most important way you can help us is with your prayers and financial support. We face well-funded opposition and would be honored by your prayers or gift of any amount. To stand with us financially, please click here and know that we will maximize every penny we receive to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

    We also rely on you to spread the word about our work. Please share the stories and information on our key issues –  marriage and family, sanctity of life, and religious freedom  – with others.

    Here are some additional ways you can help:

    • Sign up for email alerts to stay informed on cases and projects that impact religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.
    • Connect with Alliance Defending Freedom on Facebook and Twitter.
    • If you know Christian students attending law school who would be interested in a summer internship and leadership program, inform them about Blackstone Legal Fellowship.
    • Inform your pastor, elders, or church leaders about the Alliance Defending Freedom Church Project.
    • Refer college students you know to our University section, where they can learn more about their rights as Christian students on campus.
    • Be our eyes and ears in your community. If someone you know is in need of our legal assistance, tell them to fill out the legal help form or call us at 1-800-835-5233.
  • We appreciate your desire to join our team! In order to find the most current listing of job opportunities, please visit the careers section of our website.

Allies and Opponents

  • Alliance Defending Freedom, in coordination with our allies, has deployed projects that take the fight to the ACLU and its allies, and that are designed to remove oppressive legal barriers, and secure religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and marriage and family for future generations. Three excellent examples are our Church, Conscience, and Education Projects.

    The Church Project: We recognize the importance of the Church in communicating biblical truth, and we work vigorously to shape a legal environment in which churches and pastors are free to do so. That includes preemptively challenging laws that the government might use (or has said they will use) to punish churches and pastors for speaking biblical truth regarding human sexuality. We filed – and won! – lawsuits in Iowa and Massachusetts defending pastors and churches against these laws and securing their right to operate according to their faith. Learn more about the Church Project.

    The Conscience Project: Every American should be free to live and work peacefully according to their faith. But we have seen increasing legal attacks on Christians who run their business consistently with their beliefs, including Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, Kentucky printer Blaine Adamson, and Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips (who won his case 7-2 at the U.S. Supreme Court). That’s why our attorneys are working to file pre-enforcement challenges on behalf of creative professionals across the country, who will face the same legal attacks if they do not proactively challenge the unconstitutional laws that threaten their freedoms. You can learn more about these courageous clients at

    The Education Project: Students do not shed their constitutional rights once they set foot on a public school campus. Our attorneys understand this well and are actively seeking out and challenging the many unconstitutional speech code policies that exist throughout taxpayer-supported public schools and universities. As these policies are systematically toppled, more and more students are able to live out their faith on campus and advocate for important principles of freedom, life, family, and faith. We encourage you to read about the stories of university and K-12 students we've helped.

    Finally, Alliance Defending Freedom is also transforming the legal system by equipping Christian attorneys and law students to defend religious freedom through our world-class training programs. To date, more than 4,500 Network Attorneys have provided more than $346 million in free legal services to the body of Christ and more than 2,600 law students have graduated from the Blackstone Legal Fellowship leadership development program. 

    Alliance Defending Freedom directly engages the ACLU and its allies in the courtroom on a regular basis, and by God’s grace we are winning. In fact, we have a record of winning more than three fourths of all cases litigated to conclusion. The more we stop them, the more we build precedents that eliminate their ability to bring lawsuits that threaten religious liberty, demean life, or undermine marriage and family.

  • The ACLU boasts of more than 1 million members, activists, and supporters across the country, more than 2,000 volunteer attorneys, and about 100 staff attorneys. According to their 2020 financial statements, the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation had combined total assets of more than $901 million. The ACLU and its allies are incredibly well-funded to engage in legal intimidation and campaigns of fear and disinformation against people who want to freely live out their faith.


  • Gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Alliance Defending Freedom is recognized by the IRS as a ministry exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. We are not a private foundation, and we continue to operate as a publicly supported organization as described in IRC Sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi).

  • Alliance Defending Freedom is entirely dependent on the generosity of our Ministry Friends for our sustenance. We accept no government funds.

  • Alliance Defending Freedom is a “no-debt” organization, which means we only move forward with initiatives as people provide the resources in advance. We do not borrow operating funds, and we only implement our programs based on available funds already in the bank. We retain funds committed to grants we award for cases and projects in a designated account. An organization or attorney who is awarded a grant is not paid until the work or expenses are completed.

    Alliance Defending Freedom makes copies of its financial reports widely available in accordance with standards and guidelines established by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). View our audited financial statements and Form 990.

  • We are governed by a non-paid, independent board of directors which has adopted principles of financial accountability, including strict internal controls, external and board oversight, and a Ministry Friend Bill of Rights. Additionally, our annual IRS Form 990 and Audited Financial Statements are available here.

    We have been a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) since 1995, the year Alliance Defending Freedom first became eligible to join. More about ECFA and its standards for membership are available on the ECFA website. Alliance Defending Freedom complies with individual state charitable registration requirements and also submits to an annual audit by an independent accounting firm.

  • Access grant applications online or by contacting our Grants and Funding Department at [email protected].


  • Most details about our cases involve confidential information protected by the attorney-client privilege; we therefore cannot ethically respond to every question in full. An excellent source of information for most of our cases is our Alliance Defending Freedom news releases. If you have a general question or need further assistance, send us a message. You can also stay informed about our cases and issues through our blog, Facebook, or Twitter
  • If you think you might need legal assistance, please fill out our legal request form or call 1-800-835-5233.

  • America was founded on the pursuit of religious freedom, including the liberty to acknowledge God and to pray in the public square.

    This liberty originates in higher law, or “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God,” as the Declaration of Independence puts it. In the words of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the Founding Fathers modeled themselves “upon God's ancient people” and “wrote what they considered to be a modern-day interpretation of the basic biblical principles of government.”

    Those principles demand a place for religious expression in the public square. Unfortunately, radical advocates have long been trying to re-write the Constitution by making the First Amendment say something it doesn't. The First Amendment plainly forbids the creation of a national church, because that would be an “establishment of religion.” It says nothing about the so-called “separation of church and state,” a largely misunderstood phrase the Supreme Court used many years later to help explain the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

  • The free exercise of religion is America's First Liberty, and is both a fundamental and inalienable right. Because the principles of religious freedom apply broadly, Alliance Defending Freedom has assisted people of other faith traditions in the past when it advances our common cause for religious freedom. In extremely rare situations, Alliance Defending Freedom has assisted persons who claim no particular faith when the legal principle is crucial and prevailing in the case – and will advance the organization’s mission. Whether a particular case is accepted for representation depends on its alignment within our mission and the capacity of our team.

  • As a pro-life organization, Alliance Defending Freedom believes that God is the author and creator of all life and that we should all work together toward fostering a culture that recognizes human life as sacred – from conception to natural death. Alliance Defending Freedom unequivocally condemns any form of violence used to defend the sanctity of human life, as a contradiction of that God-given right to life and a denial of God’s sovereignty and authority.

    Learn More

  • We actively oppose, through legal action and advocacy, partial-birth abortion, dismemberment abortion, and all other forms of abortion on demand, as well as the public funding of abortion. We oppose methods of "research" or "family planning" that require the taking of human life and any efforts to legalize doctor-aided death or euthanasia. We defend rights of conscience to not be forced to assist in or facilitate the taking of innocent life, or life prevention or life-destroying drugs. We also defend the free speech rights of pro-life counselors and advocates, and support the legality of parental notification, informed consent laws, admitting privilege requirements, and other common sense regulations that protect the health of mothers.

    Learn More

  • The government’s overriding interest in recognizing marriage is to connect children to both their mother and their father by connecting mothers and fathers to each other.

    Learn More

  • Information and resources for your church and pastor can be found on our Church Alliance page

  • If you would like to invite Alliance Defending Freedom to come and speak at your church or gathering, complete the Speaker Invitation Request form  or call 1-800-835-5233.

  • Generally, yes. In cases won by Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies, it has been made clear that if a public school or other government building like a community center allows access to private groups, it cannot deny access to a religious group. For example, if a civic club is allowed to meet, the state can't deny a church the right to meet on the same terms. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal we filed, leaving in place a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which held that a Board of Education of the City of New York policy that prohibited school facilities from being used for religious worship services was constitutional. We are not currently aware of any other school districts that have such a policy, and New York City has indicated that it may revise its policy to allow churches to continue meeting for worship.

    If you are facing a circumstance that prompted this question, please call our office at 1-800-835-5233 or tell us more about your situation.

  • Yes. There is no legal authority that allows a public school to "ban" its students from possessing a Bible on campus – from kindergarten on up. Students may read their personal Bibles during non-instructional time and may use them as a resource for class assignments – when that use squarely meets the academic purpose for the assignment. Learn more about the freedom students have to live out their faith at school by downloading our free Student Rights Handbook.

    If you are facing a circumstance that prompted this question, call our office at 1-800-835-5233 or tell us more about your situation.

  • Yes. A student has the right to pray at school, and it is permissible for several students to pray together. Prayer – just like any form of speech – cannot be done in a way that causes a material and substantial disruption. But so long as student prayers are not disruptive, they are protected by the First Amendment.

    If you are facing a circumstance that prompted this question, please call our office at 1-800-835-5233 or tell us more about your situation.

  • Student-led prayer at public school graduation ceremonies is constitutional, so long as the student speaker is neutrally-selected, the school does not review the student’s remarks beforehand, the student is given the freedom to speak on the topic of his or her choice, and the school does not encourage a student to pray. Under these circumstances, student speakers, such as valedictorians or salutatorians, can incorporate a prayer or other religious sentiment into their presentations as part of their free speech right.

    If you are facing a circumstance that prompted this question, please call our office at 1-800-835-5233 or tell us more about your situation.

  • A primary and growing response to the anti-religious efforts of America’s government-run public school system has been the decision of religious parents nationwide to transfer their children to private schools or other public school options like charter schools, or in many cases, to take on the teaching responsibilities themselves through homeschool programs. The goal of Alliance Defending Freedom is to facilitate, promote, and defend religious liberty as it relates to the educational choices made by parents and lived out by students, regardless of the form or funding of their chosen school.

  • Yes. Voluntary Bible studies during non-work hours are usually permitted at the work place—this is especially true for government employees. Non-religious employers cannot generally require people to attend or base job performance evaluations on whether they are attending the Bible study.

    If you are facing a circumstance that prompted this question, please call our office at 1-800-835-5233 or tell us more about your situation.

  • Neither public nor private secular employers may discriminate on the basis of religion. Government employers are required to respect the First Amendment rights of their employees. Private employers must respect religious liberties under the law known as Title VII.

    If you are employed by a government entity and have experienced religious discrimination at your job, contact us at 1-800-835-5233 or complete our legal help form and tell us your story.

    If you are employed by a private employer and have experienced religious discrimination at your job, depending on the facts of your situation, we may be able to put you in touch with an attorney who could handle your case. For more information on Title VII and religious discrimination, visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.

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