ADF Helps Family Policy Advocate Bring Truth To The Public Arena
Julaine Appling radiates joy. After 14 years as leader of the Wisconsin Family Network (a policy group that combines education, advocacy, lobbying, and political action), the former classroom teacher still exudes more enthusiasm than a Green Bay cheesehead as she works to "educate the entire state on the issues that impact our families."
A dependable ally of the Alliance Defense Fund almost from its inception, Appling frequently secures ADF staff, funding, and resources for legal projects as diverse as enacting (and defending) her state’s marriage amendment, upholding the rights of government branches and agencies to open their meetings with prayer, and heading off state elections board efforts to silence Christian policy groups and lobbyists.
"I couldn’t brag enough about the work of ADF," Appling says. "I can’t think of a single time that we needed them when they weren’t here." When citing ADF legal insights to state officials, school administrators, church leaders, and fellow policy groups, "I get to say, ‘our attorneys,’" she says. "It gives us such credibility. They know there’s a legal coalition of fantastic people who’ve made lots of sacrifices on their behalf to protect the public’s First Amendment-protected rights."
"When I say that — ‘Our attorneys say this’ — everybody goes, ‘Whoa.’ And they look at what we send out a little differently." This is exactly what Appling wants them to do.
"We have a lot of good, solid-valued people," she says. "They just don’t always understand how that interacts with the political scene, and how important it is to reflect your values in your vote."
"Living out your faith in the confines of your home or church is one thing; taking it to the public arena, saying, ‘My faith impacts my community involvement, my involvement in the political realm’ — that’s something else. It’s not about politics. It’s about my government. Government is God-ordained; it’s not inherently evil. So I have a stewardship responsibility to be involved."
"We have to defend religious freedom," Appling says. "It’s foundational to everything we do. And to have ADF already out there, framing the language, making sure [our position] is rock solid and that we can stand firmly on it — that’s huge."