By: Emily Conley
The entire Alliance Defending Freedom team wants to thank you for your faithful prayers and support as we seek to defend and protect the right of people to freely live out their faith. Your support has made possible:
Defending a floral artist at the U.S. Supreme Court
After the Washington State Supreme Court ruled against floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, ADF attorneys appealed Barronelle’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to preserve the First Amendment rights of all Americans. Pray for Barronelle and the Supreme Court, that justice will be served and that her freedom, and the freedom of other creative professionals, will be protected and affirmed.
Protecting 25,000 students’ free speech
Student group Turning Point USA (TPUSA) was told by school officials at Grand Valley State University that they could not talk to other students about the First Amendment or have them write messages on a large beach ball dubbed a “free speech ball” outside of one of the school’s two “speech zones.” The college students were threatened with arrest if they did not comply. A few weeks later, one of the students saw a large crowd of students protesting the presidential election results outside of the Student Services Center and noticed that school officials did not order them to stop, or require them to stay in the “speech zone.” After ADF got involved, Grand Valley agreed to revise its policy to respect the free speech of all students.
A victory for Trinity Lutheran Church at the U.S. Supreme Court
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the government cannot exclude churches and faith-based organizations from a secular government program simply because of their religious identity. ADF represented the church, which was excluded from a Missouri program that provides grants to purchase rubberized surface material (made of recycled tires) for children’s playgrounds. Although the state ranked the center as highly qualified for the program due to its preschool and daycare, it denied the center’s application solely because a religious organization runs the daycare. This decision set an important precedent that the government should never treat people of faith like second-class citizens.
Win at the Kentucky Court of Appeals for Christian printer
Blaine Adamson, the owner of Hands on Originals, won at the appellate court level; the court’s ruling affirms his freedom to decline orders that would require him to promote a message in conflict with his religious beliefs. Although the opposing party has since appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, this is an encouraging sign for religious freedom.
Defunding Planned Parenthood in Arkansas
On August 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a 2-1 opinion that permits Arkansas to terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract after videos surfaced of senior staff negotiating the sale of baby body parts. Because of this decision, Planned Parenthood’s ability to use federal courts in opposing other states’ defunding efforts is reduced, and the state will have more authority to determine which providers it chooses to participate in its state Medicaid program. For years, ADF has devoted resources to researching, reporting on, and litigating against Planned Parenthood’s waste, abuse, and potential fraud using taxpayer dollars and its violations of other state and federal laws. These efforts have provided our allies with a wealth of information in support of defunding efforts.
Read about more of the highlights from the past year in the latest issue of Faith & Justice.