Advancing Religious Liberty

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Posted 9/17/14 at 12:44 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

A Call to Enlist Pastors in Defense of Religious Freedom

free speech
Photo: Flickr/John Morton - Creative Commons

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

It is, and has been for 60 years now, a most peculiar and extraordinary point of view: a government established on the principle of religious freedom contending that people who actually exercise religious freedom should not be allowed to discuss their government in a religious setting. Or else.

The notion is patently unconstitutional – and yet it’s been enforced as federal law and has galvanized considerable political activity by the supposedly apolitical Internal Revenue Service. Worse, it’s come to be accepted as gospel by pastors, church leaders, and Christian laity all over the country, who – subjected to this campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation – are being compelled to forfeit what could be their best opportunity for impacting an increasingly secular and politically hostile culture.

In 1954, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson ramrodded an amendment through Congress that reversed, overnight, every U.S. legal precedent regarding the government’s relationship with churches. The law he crafted – which passed with perhaps the most cursory examination of any legislation ‘til Obamacare – stated that non-profit tax-exempt entities could not “participate in, or intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distributing of statements) on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” FULL POST

Posted 9/11/14 at 11:15 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Is Same-sex Parenting Better for Kids?

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain


AUTHOR: Senior Fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture Mark Regnerus

NOTE: Mark Regnerus will be one of the speakers at the ERLC National Conference: “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” The conference is designed to equip Christians to apply the gospel on these issues with convictional kindness in their communities, their families and their churches. This event will be held at the iconic Opryland Hotel on October 27-29, 2014.

Imagine if evangelical sociologists set out to document how the children of evangelical Christian parents fare in life. Imagine that they begin their effort by recruiting parents of children who attend Sunday School classes at places like Wheaton Bible Church outside Chicago and Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, Calif.—both located in prosperous communities with above-average social capital and support for families, children, and faith. They choose this approach because churchgoing, self-identified evangelicals with children under age 18 comprise less than three percent of the population of American adults (this is true), and the researchers figure it will be easier to recruit participants than to evaluate those who might show up randomly in a population-based sample. They know a random sample is best, but they cite “cost constraints” and “difficult research constraints” in justifying their decision to use a convenience sample. FULL POST

Posted 9/10/14 at 12:03 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Political Sermons In American History

American pastors have historically addressed politics from the pulpit, offering Biblical context to the controversial political issues of the day. In fact, churches often served as a catalyst for change in America – playing a dominant role in the abolition of slavery, for example. It was also not uncommon for pastors to publicly oppose candidates they saw unfit for political office, including presidential candidates such as Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, and Al Smith.

Pastors’ sermons, speeches, and writings on political subjects – such as the following – can be found throughout American history:

Photo: Wikipedia - Public Domain
Charles Finney

On Christians’ Role in Politics

[L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust… [L]et the wise counsel of Jethro… be your guide. Choose ye out from among you able men, such as fear God, men of truth and hating covetousness’ [Exodus 18:21] and set them to rule over you. – Rev. Matthias Burnett, 1803, Keys to Good Government: According to the Founding Fathers (pg. 21)

The church must take right ground in regard to politics… Politics are a part of a religion is such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God… [God] will bless or curse this nation according to the course [Christians] take [in politics]. – Rev. Charles G. Finney, 1835, Keys to Good Government: According to the Founding Fathers (pg. 41) FULL POST

Posted 9/10/14 at 11:59 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

On Storms and Society

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom Creative Team

You may have heard about the “once in a thousand years” storm that hit our home office earlier this week. If you’ve seen the images on the news you know: it was surreal.

Highways transformed into rivers, homeowners sandbagging desert dwellings, twenty year olds paddle-boarding in parking lots, cars drowning in dirty water.

It was a mess.

Since we’re headquartered in the sprawling desert city of Phoenix, we rarely get rain. And when we do, it’s practically a cause for celebration. Our weathermen get twinkles in their eyes; a break from the purgatory of blue sky, sunny days.

The irony here wasn’t the storm. Most Phoenicians knew it was coming. What caught us off-guard was just how bad the destruction would be.

Simply put, the average Phoenix resident didn’t see fit to prepare for something they thought was a near-impossibility. Sure something like this could happen in a place like New Orleans, but not in our backyards.

Now we’re exchanging Toyotas for gondolas. FULL POST

Posted 9/9/14 at 11:21 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

ADF Pays Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Truett Cathy

While we grieve the loss of our friend and brother in Christ, S. Truett Cathy (Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Chick-fil-A), we know there is great rejoicing in Heaven today.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife of 65 years, his two sons and daughter, 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Truett Cathy will be remembered for far more than pioneering the original fast food chicken sandwich. He will more importantly be remembered for living the values he cherished most, which were displayed in activities such as:

  • teaching Sunday School for over 50 years;
  • providing various programs through the WinShape Foundation that have touched the lives of so many young people;
  • providing scholarship opportunities to his employees who would not otherwise be able to afford college; and
  • blessing hundreds of children with long-term foster care solutions to provide a more stable family environment.

Some of our ADF attorneys and staff had the privilege of meeting Mr. Cathy, and reflected on his life and legacy: FULL POST

Posted 9/8/14 at 11:18 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

4 Stories: Woman Euthanized for Depression, State Wants to Let Abused Baby Die, and More

Not a lot of positive news this week, unfortunately. Here’s the 4 stories that caught our attention this week that we think you should know:

1. Woman Killed by Doctor for “Untreatable Depression”

Tom Mortier’s mother, a Belgium citizen, was put to death by a doctor for “untreatable depression” even though she was not terminally ill. Tom didn’t find out what had happened until he received a phone call the day after her death. We filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights on September 3rd on Tom’s behalf, challenging Belgium’s laws that allow doctor-prescribed death.

Wim Distelmans – an oncologist, not a psychiatrist – killed Tom’s mother, Godelieva De Troyer, after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous involvement with her care. No one contacted Tom Mortier before his mother’s death, despite the fact that he says her depression was largely the result of a relationship break-up and feeling distant from her family.

Another twist to the story: her doctor had refused to end Godelieva’s life before, but changed his mind after the organization he co-founded, Life End Information Forum, received a hefty donation. Find out more about this troubling case from our press release. FULL POST

Posted 9/5/14 at 6:11 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Mr. Weinstein, meet Rocky Raccoon

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom & Chief Solicitor & Executive Vice President of Strategy Implementation Gary McCaleb

It’s not too often that an old Beatles song solves a Constitutional question. But since Mr. Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation furiously denounced the Gideons’ time-honored practice of leaving Bibles in hotels, motels, and inns across America as violating the “Establishment Clause,” it is to the Beatles we turn for answers.

Mr. Wienstein—or Mikey, as he prefers—slams the Gideons’ practice as a “twisted and vicious perversion” when their Bibles appear in U.S. Navy lodges which host transient service members and their families. Mikey is given to many adjectives, so it’s hard to distill his real complaint. But perhaps the rhetorical question he posed will serve:

“That said, how in the hell could DoD endorse one fundamentalist version of extremist Christianity over all other Christian denominational sects, not to mention non-Christian and non-faith communities?” FULL POST

Posted 9/4/14 at 12:17 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis

AUTHOR: Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

NOTE: Dr. R. Albert Mohler will be one of the speakers at the ERLC National Conference: “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” The conference is designed to equip Christians to apply the gospel on these issues with convictional kindness in their communities, their families and their churches. This event will be held at the iconic Opryland Hotel on October 27-29, 2014. Use our discount code to get 10% off!

Western society is currently experiencing what can only be described as a moral revolution. Our society’s moral code and collective ethical evaluation on a particular issue has undergone not small adjustments but a complete reversal. That which was once condemned is now celebrated, and the refusal to celebrate is now condemned.

What makes the current moral and sexual revolution so different from previous moral revolutions is that it is taking place at an utterly unprecedented velocity. Previous generations experienced moral revolutions over decades, even centuries. This current revolution is happening at warp speed. FULL POST

Posted 9/3/14 at 5:33 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

When it Comes to Free Speech, Not Everyone Is a Good Sport

It would be wonderful if, amid the culture wars, our families’ playgrounds and playing fields could be declared “neutral territory” – places dedicated to healthy recreation and spirited competition, free of the political maneuverings and agendas that increasingly crowd every arena of our public life. Unfortunately, that’s not the case … as witness two cases where even the most basic freedoms of speech and faith are being oppressed by the absurd sensibilities of political correctness:

In Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, the president of Victory Through Jesus Sports Ministries, along with his wife and two sons, stood out on a public sidewalk in front of the city’s soccer complex, handing out fliers promoting a Christian soccer camp for children.

City officials and police approached the family and ordered them to stop distributing the fliers – or face arrest. Astonished, the family bowed to that demand, but later enlisted attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom to file suit on their behalf in federal court. FULL POST

Posted 9/3/14 at 1:19 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

How to Make a Difference in 140 Characters or Less

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom , VP of Digital Communication Joshua Tijerina

Last week I got the following tweet:

@Joshua dontcha think its funny that ALL of u at ADF don't have anyone following you?? I think its very telling!!!

To which I replied:

Ha! Nice! Well, I like my followers. I'm grateful. Wouldn't trade em for a million. #JustGettingStarted.

But, he brings up a good point. If we are to transform culture, then we need to get the message out.

“One word of truth outweighs the world.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn might have been surprised to learn just how prophetic his words would become. In a social mediated world governed by the expediency of communication, the struggle for truth is often played out in 140 characters or less.

Take for example, the rise of ISIS through its terrorist propaganda. Their rapid expansion has in part been fueled by Twitter, a platform they’ve tactfully used to recruit supporters in their murderous cause. FULL POST

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