Two Decades – And Looking Forward
- By Alan Sears
- Posted Sep 20, 2013
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Last week, the Alliance Defending Freedom team took a few moments for a small celebration of a big anniversary – the completion of 20 years of legal ministry, defending religious freedom in America. We looked at a few pictures, shared a few stories, marveled at some numbers … and gave heartfelt thanks to God for His extraordinary mercies and your faithful support.
Today, remembering those first days – in a one-room office, with no staff, little funding, mostly rented or borrowed equipment, and a still-congealing idea of where exactly to begin turning back 60-plus years of legal assaults on people of faith – I stand amazed at what God has done.
What began as one attorney is now a global alliance involving hundreds of other like-minded ministries and legal organizations, as well as nearly 2,300 Christian attorneys who work alongside us in every U.S. state and many countries overseas. (Between them, these attorneys have contributed more than 824,772 pro bono hours – worth more than $158 million – to defending the freedom of people like you and your family.)
Altogether, by God’s grace, we’ve had a critical part in more than 450 legal matters, including 40 at the U.S. Supreme Court – a success rate of over 80 percent. That means that, in many ways, on many fronts, your family’s constitutionally protected religious freedoms are stronger, now, than they were 20 years ago. It pleases us, to have been a part of that – but it’s not what excites us.
What excites us is the ongoing work that is making a real and lasting impact on America’s legal system. Overseas, we’re currently involved in more than 130 cases with profound implications for U.S. law. What happens there is coming here – as a growing number of federal judges are announcing their intention to follow not just U.S., but foreign legal precedent. That’s why we’re building the Alliance and working to assist so many cases in other parts of the world: to impact these critical decisions before they impact your freedoms.
Here at home, we’ve trained nearly 1,700 attorneys through our Legal Academy … 180 undergraduates through our Collegiate Academy … and more than 1,350 law school students through our Blackstone Legal Fellowship. These are the people who will shape what tomorrow looks like in America for your children and grandchildren. They will be litigating the cases, sitting on the courts, serving in the legislatures, writing for the legal journals, teaching in the law schools. In giving to us, you have invested in them – and in investing in them, you are preserving your own freedom, and that of all those you love best. You are part of this Alliance.
That is, I hope, the worst-kept secret about the work – past, present, and future – of Alliance Defending Freedom: that you, and all those who, like you, have given to us, prayed for us, believed in the vision, are vitally involved in all that God is enabling us to do to defend life, marriage, families, and religious freedom in America and around the world. Thank you for standing with us, across these first two decades. Join with us, please, in giving thanks – and in beseeching God’s continued blessings and direction on all the important work still to come.
Without Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But with Him, there’s still so much we can do.
Author: Alan Sears