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Christmas Reflections on Causes for Thanks, and Challenges to Pray For

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

The coming of Christmas is always a time for prayerful reflection … on the year now closing, on the year now just ahead.

And there’s so much to reflect upon. So many major legal victories God blessed us with this year, in crucial cases like ACSTO v. Winn, where the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the ACLU’s challenge to the right of parents to determine the best education for their children -- including religious schools – through Arizona’s tuition tax credit program …

… or A, B, & C vs. Ireland, where the most powerful court in Europe reaffirmed that the European Convention on Human Rights does not contain a “right” to abortion – a decision that impacted 47 countries (and countless preborn children) across that continent and which will reverberate here in the United States.

Sometimes, though, it’s the faces, as much as the victories, we reflect on … like Brian Hickman, the 10-year-old boy who, with the help of ADF attorneys, took on the second-biggest school district in the country for the right to proclaim his Christian faith at an after-school talent show.  Or Angela Swagler, the college student whose pure faith shines so true despite the humiliation of a night in jail and the two invasive searches she endured just for quietly standing up for life.

And yet many of our most important wins will affect people whose faces and names we’ll never know – like the Arizona case that so affirmed protections for women and pre-born children that Planned Parenthood had to shut down seven abortion clinics around the state.  As a result, the number of infanticides in Arizona dropped to nearly half what it was the year before.

In every arena of our work this year, the Lord gave us success: defending marriage, life, and religious freedom.  But, of course, we reflect, too, on the setbacks – like decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court not to consider the case involving roadside memorials in Utah, where a simple cross memorializing fallen highway patrol officers somehow “offends” a handful of atheists.

Or the high court’s decision, earlier this month, not to give hearing to the right of churches to meet on weekends in New York City’s public schools … a decision with profound implications for the members of nearly 60 congregations and synagogues throughout the New York area.

Clearly, our work isn’t done. We have so much legal ground still to regain for religious liberty. But we find joy in the assurance than none of the events that surprised us this year, good or bad, caught our great God off guard. He knew and He knows the path before us, the challenges still to come, all the hundreds of court cases we’ll present and defend by His grace in the months ahead.

In spite of aggressive, well-funded opponents … some judges with their own agendas … the revelations and upheavals of the long election season to come … our God reigns. We stand with Him, confident and hopeful that He will encourage our clients, inspire our attorneys, strengthen and expand our alliances, multiply your gifts – and accomplish His good and perfect will.

We are so blessed to be a part of that … to have a front-row seat for so much of what He’s doing in our nation and around the world today to keep doors open for the spread of His “wonderful words of life.” Please join me in praying that we will be worthy of the trust, and faithful in His service, and to Him be the glory.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.


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