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Supreme Court of the United States

Alan Sears: Culture Warrior and Servant Leader

October 28, 2019

By: Craig Osten

Last week, nationally known radio host and good friend of ADF, Hugh Hewitt announced that Alan Sears has been nominated for Salem Radio’s Culture Warrior of the Year Award.


Having worked with Alan Sears for nearly 20 years, I can attest first-hand to how deserving he is of this award – not just because he is a “culture warrior” whose passion for justice and religious freedom are unparalleled, but because of who he is as a person.


When I think of Alan, I am reminded of the words the late President Ronald Reagan once said of his trusted friend and confidant, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, “If Ed Meese is not a good man, there are no good men.”

For those of us who had the privilege to serve under the leadership of Alan Sears, we can say wholeheartedly that those words ring true of him as well, “If Alan Sears is not a good man, there are no good men.”

We witnessed, on a daily basis, his incredible dedication and commitment to pursuing justice. That dedication and commitment led ADF to where it is today – the largest legal organization in the world advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, free speech, and marriage and family.

But his dedication is more than just a commitment to a “cause” – it is the very fiber of who Alan Sears is.

Twenty-five years ago, Alan launched ADF with hardly any money in the bank. In order to secure a very small office, he and his wife Paula had to personally guarantee that the rent payments would be made. To ensure that ADF got off the ground, Alan hit the road and shouldered a travel schedule that even the most energetic road warrior would find exhausting.

Yet, regardless of how busy he was, he was never too busy to ask us, his fellow ADF team members, how we were doing, how he could pray for us, and to offer words of encouragement or express his appreciation for a job well done. And whenever I would travel with Alan for a speech or other event, I would witness firsthand how he treated everyone, from those in the highest echelons of power to those who had no power at all, exactly the same – with the utmost dignity and respect.  I also witnessed how he treated those who opposed ADF with the same dignity and respect since he saw each and every person Imago Dei – made in the image of God. As he always told us, “We do not have enemies, we have opponents” and he encouraged us all to show compassion and love toward those with whom we may disagree.

ADF would not be the organization it is today without Alan Sears’ dedication and servant leadership, along with, as Alan always reminded us, God’s grace (John 15:5). I can confidently say that serving with Alan Sears has made all of us better leaders, but even more importantly, better people.

I could recount a litany of statistics that show Alan’s incredible legacy: the law students trained through the Blackstone Legal Fellowship who are now impacting nearly every area of law, public policy, academia, and culture; the more than 3,000 Allied Attorneys advocating for justice worldwide; and the important roles that ADF has played in 55 victories at the U.S. Supreme Court, including serving as lead counsel in nine victories over the past nine years.

But as impressive as this legacy is, Alan’s most important legacy is the lives he touched along the way. This award would not just be honoring Alan for his dedication and commitment to religious freedom, it would be honoring Alan for who he is … a man who shows grace to others even in the face of incredible hostility; who cares deeply about his faith, his country, and those entrusted to his care; and whose life has touched, in a profound way, each of us who have had the privilege to serve with him.

That is why I encourage you to vote for Alan Sears to receive the “Culture Warrior of the Year” award. It is a small way that each one of us can say “thank you” to this humble servant who has touched so many while keeping the doors open for the Gospel worldwide.

Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith

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