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Leveling the Legal Playing Field for People of Faith

Alliance Defending Freedom
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An important distinction, and one that we cannot make often enough in explaining the work of our ministry to your family, friends, and neighbors: Alliance Defending Freedom does not exist to secure special freedoms, privileges, and protections for Christians.  Rather, we are a legal ministry that seeks to affirm the vision of religious freedom given to us by our nation’s Founding Fathers.  That vision was to protect our God-given freedoms so Christianity would be fully allowed to flourish, while protecting the liberty of other people of faith (or no faith) as well.

Two cases we were involved in just last week illustrate why those protections are so necessary:

In North Carolina, a local library that frequently makes its entryway display case available to various community groups (on a first-come, first-served basis) allowed a private organization to set up a Constitution Week display. The group’s display featured a variety of patriotic materials, including American flags, Betsy Ross flags, and a “God Bless America” sign.

A few days later, library officials removed the “God Bless America” sign, apparently fearing complaints about the religious nature of the message. (They’re all too young, perhaps, to remember the days when Kate Smith made Irving Berlin’s version a Top 40 hit.) They removed it despite the fact that, a) there had been no complaints, and b) the library maintains no written policies governing what can or cannot be displayed in the case. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys sent the library a letter on Sept. 26 explaining that, by removing the sign, the library had violated the very Constitution the display itself was celebrating. As a result, library officials quickly allowed the sign to be restored to the display.

“The library’s patrons were not just celebrating the Constitution; they were exercising the very freedoms that it protects,” says Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “Respecting free speech is always the right thing to do, so we commend the library for quickly correcting this constitutional violation by restoring the sign.”

In Arizona, our attorneys made available a legal memo that underlined and affirmed the freedom of students to participate in a “Fields of Faith” event. Sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Fields of Faith is an annual, student-organized, student-led gathering at school athletic fields where students read the Bible, hear testimonies, worship, and pray for each other.
The memo was a pro-active measure, designed to educate students about their legal rights to promote and participate in the event. Providing students with this legal cover is especially important considering that, in the past, some public school officials have unconstitutionally kept students and teachers from promoting and participating in the event, often citing – erroneously – the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs,” says Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Christian students should not be prevented from peacefully expressing their beliefs outside of class time. They don’t abandon their constitutional freedoms at the schoolhouse gate.”

So much of the work of Alliance Defending Freedom involves these day-by-day assertions of, and affirmations of, religious liberty, on behalf of people like you and your family. Please pray for our attorneys, as they work diligently to preserve for us the freedoms and the heritage we cherish.

Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom
Non-profit organization
ADF is the world's largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and parental rights.