Winning Back Freedom, One Facility at a Time
- By Alan Sears
- Posted May 3, 2011
- 2 Comments »
I often make it a point during my public speaking engagements to talk about our determination – indeed, our directive – as a ministry to “win back the legal ground” Christians have lost, over the decades, to those who have worked so diligently to erode religious freedom.
Perhaps one of the best illustrations I can offer for what I mean by that is the success God has given us with an effort designed to impact more than 750 government-run facilities that have been using unconstitutional meeting policies to prevent Christians from legally gathering on their premises.
Last June, ADF sent 151 letters urging the governmental entities that oversee these hundreds of facilities – which include schools, libraries, parks, and community centers – to change the policies, which either have been or could be used to refuse or restrict churches, religious groups, or individuals from reserving places that are otherwise open to the public.
So far, 60 of the 154 government entities contacted by ADF have changed their discriminatory policies, with 19 others saying they are in the process of changing their policies – making for an outstanding success rate without any litigation required (so far). This is building a real return on the precedents you have allowed ADF to win in earlier battles.
Of the remaining government entities, eight entities refused to change their policies, while 61 have yet to respond and eight others have requested additional information.
“We hope the remaining officials will follow the lead of the others and uphold everyone’s First Amendment-protected right of free speech,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “Christians shouldn’t be excluded and restricted from using public meeting rooms and other facilities simply because they plan to express a Christian viewpoint.”
“The government officials who changed their policies have done the right thing,” he adds, “acknowledging that the Constitution prohibits the government from deciding who can and cannot use space based upon the viewpoints to be discussed at gatherings.”
By the grace of God, ADF and our allies have reopened more than 2,300 – yes, 2,300 – facilities once closed to the Gospel. This is miles of reclaimed ground, tangible space where tens of thousands of people can now gather, pray, and praise the One who made all this possible.
That’s a lot of lost ground regained. And while we still have a lot of territory to win back, we pause to give thanks for our Lord’s provision, and for all the Christians across this country whose religious freedom has been restored and who now have an open door for sharing the Gospel in their community.
We also give special thanks for all those whose gifts and support for ADF has equipped us to make these crucial interventions all over the country. May He continue to guide and bless our efforts, and may we gain back more and more lost legal ground for His glory.
Author: Alan Sears