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Another Case Involving Compelled Speech…This Time in the U.S. Supreme Court

 Yesterday, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission–the well-known case between a same-sex couple and a Colorado bakery owner–was heard in the U. S. Supreme Court.

In her first case before the High Court, Kristen Waggoner, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom defended the Colorado baker’s constitutional right not to be forced by the government to create a custom-designed cake in celebration of a same-sex marriage–that promoting this sentiment through his creative work violates his traditional Christian faith.

This case not only affects religious libertiesit effects all freedom of expression!

As Advocates for Faith & Freedom learned in our victory in the Scharpen case against California’s Reproductive FACT Act, the freedom NOT TO be forced to speak should be just as protected by our government as the freedom TO be allowed to speak.

“The Supreme Court has never compelled artistic expression, and doing so here would lead to less civility, diversity, and freedom for everyone, no matter their views on marriage,” said Waggoner.

And many Americans seem to agree, because while Advocates for Faith & Freedom and other religious organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Jack Phillips’ religious liberties, several others who actually support same-sex marriage realize the danger of a government that forces speech and also filed briefs in support of Phillips’ right to decline the customer’s order.

‘My bakery, my family, my life, the work I get to do, is a gift from God and I want to honor Him in everything I do,” says Phillips.

However, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is arguing that Phillips’ refusal to decorate the wedding cake demonstrated sex discrimination and intolerance–and since, with many of the cases before the high court these days, the decision may come down to the opinion of one moderate judge–all ears were on the questions and comments of Justice Kennedy.

Comments like this from 81-year-old Kennedy give us hope for a ruling in favor of fairness and equality:  “It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.  

“My hope is that the court will use this case as an opportunity to say, ‘We’re protecting the liberty of both sides,” said Waggoner.

We pray that the High Court heard the oral arguments for freedom of expression with clarity and validity. We also pray that the arguments were received by the justices without bias and through His wisdom.

Advocates for Faith & Freedom would like to thank all our supporters for their ongoing prayers and tax-deductible donations which allow our attorneys to continue their pro bono work defending life and religious liberty cases like Jack Phillips’ in the courts!

Celebrating 12 Years – Serving Courageous Christians In Their Fight For Religious Liberty

in Blog, Cases, Newsletters 0 Comments
“Who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…”
Hebrews 11:33 (ESV)

Dear Friends,

Since our founding 12 years ago, thousands of courageous Christians have partnered with Advocates for Faith & Freedom in the fight for religious liberties and to end the tyranny against Christianity. You may remember a few of our cases from over the years where, through God’s blessings, your faithful prayers and generous financial support, we have been victorious for His kingdom!

Pearlie Jenkins and Healing Hearts Outreach Ministry took on the Memphis Housing Authority!  Standing for free assembly and exercise of religion in 2007 when her Bible study was banned from her retirement home, Pearlie contacted Advocates.  Just 3 days after our complaint was sent, the MHA not only decided to permit the Bible study, they also adopted a policy protecting the religious liberties of all the residents!

High School student Chad Farnan “stood up for Jesus” against his teacher and the entire Capistrano Valley Unified School District!  In 2007, Chad exposed his teacher’s frequent hostility in the classroom towards religion and in particular, Christianity—once telling his students that, “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”  With the help of Advocates’ attorneys, in the first case of this type, a Federal Court initially found that some of the teacher’s comments of violated the Establishment Clause!

With a desire to bring “spiritual revival to a depressed area,” Lake Elsinore Christian Center and Pastor Jim Hilbrant fought City Hall…and won!  When City officials denied the church a building permit, they sought our help in the first-ever case of violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). In 2007, after a seven-year battle that was pending at the U.S.  Supreme Court, the City of Lake Elsinore settled, paying the church $1,205,000, in a precedent-setting victory for religious land use protection for churches all across the nation!

In 2008, Superior Court employee Mindy Barlow and her group’s six-year-long, lunch-time Bible study meetings were suddenly no longer allowed, while other groups were still permitted, so she contacted Advocates to file a complaint on her behalf.  Ms. Barlow “just wanted the judicial system to… apply the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.”  The Superior Court’s Administration agreed to settle, permitting Ms. Barlow and the Bible study group to resume their access to the free exercise of religion in the courthouse facilities!

In December 2013, two brave first-graders won the war on Christmas by fighting against religious bullying and intimidation in their schools! 

Little Isaiah Martinez was not allowed to share a Christmas legend with his classmates about a candy-maker who created candy canes to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ
.  His West Covina school teacher told him, “Jesus isn’t allowed in school.” After we filed a Federal Lawsuit, the School District agreed to craft a new district policy that accommodates religious liberties at all of its campuses!

That same month, Brynn Williams’ Temecula Valley school teacher prevented her from completing her class assignment to share her family’s Christmas tradition.  As she began describing the Bethlehem Star from atop her family’s Christmas tree, before she could quote John 3:16, her teacher interrupted with, “Stop right there! Go take your seat!” She later explained, in front of the entire class, that talking about the Bible or sharing its verses was not allowed in school. After receiving Advocates for Faith & Freedom’s demand letter, asking for an apology, the School District agreed to allow Brynn to complete her speech in her class and provide First Amendment training to its staff!

We are honored to have partnered with these inspiring Christian soldiers who have stood in the gap with us in the fight to protect and defend religious liberty across our nation. Because of your support, we have been able to represent all of these individuals without charge!

Advocates for Faith & Freedom has grown over the years and we now have eight Christian attorneys! Through their hard work, time and sacrifice, Advocates for Faith & Freedom is making a difference in our laws and culture!

But there is more work to do! We ask for your continued prayers and are thankful for your tax-deductible support for three important, precedent-setting court cases that we are litigating today:

  • The Scharpen Foundation v. CA Attorney General – defending free speech and the sanctity of life. We had a victory at our hearing in State Superior Court – October 30, 2017!
  • Calvary Chapel Bible Fellowship v. the County of Riverside – defending their religious land use rights. We are awaiting Riverside County Superior Court Judge’s decision by
    November 9, 2017.
  • Chino Valley Unified School District v. Freedom From Religion Foundation – defending the right to ceremonial prayer before school board meetings under the Establishment Clause. The judge will hear our oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeal on November 8, 2017.

We are grateful for your ongoing support of our vital ministry. Through God’s blessings, your continued prayers and your tax-deductible gifts, Advocates for Faith & Freedom will continue to be a strong Christian voice for justice in the courts!

  In His Service,
 Robert Tyler
General Counsel


Your Prayers Made All the Difference!

in Abortion, Advocates in Action, Blog, Cases 1 Comment
“Cast your burden upon the LORD, and he will sustain you
and uphold you;
he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 AMP
Your Prayers Made All The Difference!

On Wednesday, October 18, Advocates for Faith & Freedom attorneys, Bob Tyler and Nada Higuera, gave their final arguments on the Scharpen Foundation case, challenging the California law that requires pro-life clinics to advertise for abortion clinics.Your prayers were felt as attorney Higuera, who just gave birth to a healthy daughter last month, presented a well-researched and convincing case that we are optimistic resonated with the judge.

Judge Gloria Trask assured us she will issue her ruling by November 21 and we will let you know as soon as we hear. This will be Judge Trask’s last case, as following a 40-year career, she will be retiring.

We were grateful for the many pro-life supporters who filled the courtroom seats in theRiverside County Superior Court, including such well-behaved children, they even received a compliment from the judge!

And thank you to our faithful supporters at home! From the final preparations to the start of the hearing, to the closing arguments, your prayers made all the difference!

If you haven’t already done so, please LIKE us on Facebook and Share our posts. 

Your tax-deductible donations are what allows us to continue to fight these important cases!

Is Your High School Participating?

in Advocates in Action, Blog, Public Schools 0 Comments

What better way to seek God’s holy intercession than to encourage students around the nation to participate in SEE YOU AT THE POLE 2017  Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 AM!

        
Please make sure the students in your family know about this special day by passing the following information along to them:

What began in Texas in 1990, when a small group of students came together to pray, has, over 25 years later, grown Read More