In 1994, some of our nation’s finest theologians banded together in defense of religious freedoms from the jaws of American courtrooms. Dr. James Dobson, the late Dr. Bill Bright, Dr. D. James Kennedy, and the late Dr. Larry Burkett and Marlin Maddoux founded the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and have been a thorn in the side of the ACLU and other destructive forces ever since.
Currently, ADF is involved in cases across the country- ranging anywhere from a Montana Senior Center, Maryland High School, and an Austin Children’s Hospital, to UNC-Wilmington and a school district in Illinois. Their monumental victories include the recognition of an Inter-Varsity Fellowship Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, successful defense of a New Jersey church from political attacks, allowance of “Day of Truth” activities at Danbury High School, and ability to disperse government funds to a faith-based, non-profit organization.
Encroachment on rights to free speech in our academic institutions has become an increasingly common issue that ADF is resolved to combat with full force. Mike Adams, a beloved nationally syndicated columnist and a Townhall readers’ favorite, has been backed by ADF in his lawsuit against UNC-Wilmington. As a professor who didn’t adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to his personal political beliefs, Mike Adams was an “outed” conservative voice on the Wilmington campus. For that, he asserts, Adams was denied promotion and subjected to harassment by his superiors and the university administration.
One needn’t delve deeply into Adam’s records of academic excellence at UNC-Wilmington to find more than sufficient evidence of discrimination with an undoubtedly political agenda. Adams produced ten peer-reviewed publications, the number UNCW department chairs established as the “safe” benchmark to merit promotion to full professorship. Adams applied for full professorship in 2004, but was denied because of concerns from a feminist colleague about his “political activity”. Not only was Adams refused the promotion, but he was also reprimanded for his weekly nationally syndicated column.
In 2005, Adams completed his eleventh peer-reviewed publication, but was once again denied promotion by new department chair, Kimberly Cook, who described her ideal teaching candidate as being “a lesbian with spiked hair and a dog collar”.
The assault on conservative professors like Mike Adams has spread to an assault on conservative Christian students on campuses across the nation, backed with the institutional support of university administrations. The majority of ADF’s current litigations revolve around freedom of speech cases at colleges and universities.
ADF’s arsenal of young, legal professionals receives internal training to litigate- and win- these crucial cases. Some arrive at ADF from allied organizations that are also involved in the support of free speech on college campuses. Moreover, all of those who join the ADF legal team are accompanied by the finest credentials and history of excellent academic performance.
To achieve victory in these intrinsically constitutional debates, ADF has developed a strategy to coordinate their legal endeavors across the country. They concentrate their efforts on the issues of religious freedom, sanctity of life, marriage, and family- resulting in a comprehensive and energized legal presence in key courtroom battles.
Take a look at some of the other cases that ADF will be litigating:
State of Florida vs. Simpson and State of Florida vs. Mirto
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have filed a motion to dismiss new charges filed by the state of Florida against two members of The Gideons International. Ernest Simpson and Anthony Mirto were arrested, charged with trespassing, and booked into jail after distributing copies of the Bible on a public sidewalk. Following the initial motion to dismiss filed by ADF attorneys, the state dismissed the charges but then filed new ones under a different statute. This statute prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of any school property, including on public sidewalks and streets, without having either “legitimate business” or permission.
ADF believes that Mr. Mirto and Mr. Simpson are “guilty of nothing more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights”.
Green v. City of Raleigh
On Aug. 23, 2003, Dennis Green, along with some members of his friends and family, began to peacefully communicate a pro-life viewpoint on a public right-of-way. Raleigh police officers approached Green, who was carrying a sign and attempting to distribute literature concerning the issue of abortion. The officers told Green and the other pro-life advocates to cease their activities and leave the area or face a citation for violating a law which prohibits picketing without a permit. The officers also told Green that his sign would be confiscated if he refused to leave.
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of Green, who was silenced for expressing pro-life speech on public property. ADF attorneys originally filed suit on his behalf in 2005, after officials threatened him with arrest for not adhering to the city’s so-called “permit process.”
Doe v. Wilson County School System
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against the Wilson County School System, complaining that the school’s celebration of religious holidays and the existence of a volunteer “Praying Parents” group violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
A federal district court magistrate judge has granted a motion filed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys on behalf of four parents seeking to stop the ACLU lawsuit that would silence the expression of religious faith in Wilson County public schools.
As these cases go forward, more will arise and ADF will find itself at the forefront of the battle between those who seek to tear down the American constitutional system and those of us who know what Thomas Jefferson really meant when he wrote about the separation of church and state in a letter to a friend: protecting citizens, churches, and personal values from government, not the other way around.