Faith and Freedom Endure – Even in the Face of Some Terrible Storms
- By Alan Sears
- Posted Nov 6, 2012
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Watching the coverage of Hurricane Sandy last week – praying for those in harm’s way, and particularly for two of my own children in college in New York City – I remembered something I learned a long time ago … something I’m sure you and your family have come to know, too.
Storms pass. They do their damage. We brace, we prepare, we ride them out … we repair, rebuild, and with God’s grace, go on.
For several years now, I’ve been updating you on our progress in a case involving the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Christian organization located along the New Jersey coast that has come under heavy assault from those pressing the homosexual legal and political agenda. In 2007, a same-sex couple asked to hold their “civil union” ceremony at its beachside pavilion, one of the ministry’s privately-owned places of worship.
When the Camp Meeting Association, in keeping with its religious convictions, declined to make its facilities available, the women filed suit, charging the organization with discrimination and violating their civil rights. Alliance Defending Freedom stepped in to defend the organization, and the case has made its way through various state courts ever since.
Last January, a New Jersey administrative law judge recommended that the state’s Division on Civil Rights find the Camp Meeting Association in violation of a state nondiscrimination law. Last month, the director of the Division of Civil Rights opted to go with that recommendation, declaring, in effect, that the organization violated the law by being true to its faith.
“The government should not be able to force a Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its religious beliefs,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jim Campbell. “Both the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions protect the freedom of faith-based groups to use their property in a manner consistent with those beliefs. That freedom trumps any state law that conflicts with it. Our client will review the director’s decision and consider its options.” We are currently helping the Camp Meeting Association weigh those legal options.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey coast, with Ocean Grove right in her path. Days later, a Christian couple who worked at Camp Meeting Association back when we first took the case sent us a photo that shows the beachside pavilion a little battered, but still standing strong.
As I write this, the results of this week’s national elections still remain to be seen. So much is at stake, and whoever wins – not just at the presidential level, but in the races for Congress, for state and local offices, for judgeships – will have a far-reaching impact on you and your family and on the legal work and ministry of Alliance Defending Freedom.
Those results, and their impact, are in God’s hands, but this we know: like that beachfront pavilion in Ocean Grove … like the faithful Christians who have held to their faith in that case in the face of a legal hurricane … this ministry, by God’s grace, will still be standing for the Truth, for religious freedom, for the constitutionally protected rights of you and your children and grandchildren. Please join me in praying for His clear direction in all these things (John 15:5).
Author: Alan Sears