Advancing Religious Liberty
4/2/12 at 06:41 PM 0 Comments

Alaska’s Pastors: Do Not Be Intimidated into Silence

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A lot of national attention has been drawn to the Proposition 5 vote on Tuesday, particularly due to the recent TV ads. This has raised many questions concerning freedom of speech and religious freedom among pastors and churches in Anchorage, that we at the Alliance Defense Fund would like to address.

All Americans are guaranteed the right to the free exercise of their religion, as well as their conscience. Unfortunately, Proposition 5 threatens to strip these rights from the citizens of Anchorage. Christians should not be forced to render unto Caesar that which belongs to God and be forced out of participation in society or the marketplace because of their deeply held religious beliefs. And when God created us “male and female,” He created the two complementary and wonderful halves of humanity. We order our society around the fact that we are “male and female” and demonstrate reverence for God’s creation in all aspects of our lives. Proposition 5 stands for ideas that run completely contrary to these founding principles of our country.

I write to assure you that the Alliance Defense Fund will make every effort to ensure that Christians may speak freely and forcefully in the battle for religious liberty and to uphold humanity as we were created.

You should expect that individuals and groups that favor Proposition 5 will threaten churches with the loss of tax-exempt status. The comments on this blog from March 28 demonstrate that fact. This is an old scare tactic, designed to silence Christians. The truth is that federal tax law will allow a church to spend from a minimum of 5% up to 20% of their total resources on direct political lobbying for legislation (often called “issue advocacy”). If you require legal advice on specific issues, or desire counsel before undertaking a particular project, please contact us.

The effort to stop churches from expressing their faith will succeed only if pastors succumb to fear and stand mute in the face of those threats. But pastors can (and should) exercise their faith and their First Amendment rights by speaking directly and forcefully in defense of the moral virtues which are foundational to any civilization.

If you are contacted by any government official or private activist group on such issues, please call our legal intake department at 1-800-835-5233 or fill out the “get legal help” link on ADF website. The Alliance Defense Fund attorneys will promptly review your situation and make every effort to defend your church’s legal rights to speak freely about this profoundly important issue. This is not mere rhetoric: we have litigated such issues many times, and are well versed in defending churches and Christians in the exercise of their first freedom, religious liberty.

May God bless you in this crucial battle for religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

Watch the full presentation about Prop. 5 to Alaskan pastors by ADF attorney Austin R. Nimocks.

This post originally appeared here.

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