It’s not uncommon for the media to depict fathers as incompetent, clueless, and uninvolved.
But that wasn’t my experience.
My dad worked hard to provide for our family. He took time out of his day to drive me and my sister to after-school activities and to help us with homework. He sacrificed his weekends for our swimming competitions. It’s pretty rare that he doesn’t answer the phone right away when I call.
And he never hesitated to stand up for me when I needed defending.
Alliance Defending Freedom has the privilege of representing several fathers who are also doing just that – standing up for their children and their grandchildren. And by extension, they’re standing up for all of us, too.
Jay Smith is the pastor of Cedar Park Church in Washington. When he and his now-wife Sandy found out she was pregnant in high school, it took them by surprise. She briefly considered abortion. Instead, they decided to get married, and they had their first of four daughters together. They have no regrets – they consider their oldest daughter to be one of their greatest blessings.
That experience is what makes Jay and Sandy staunch pro-life advocates to this day. And they live out that belief in their church. Cedar Park Church hosts a special service to pray for couples facing infertility, partners with a local pregnancy center, created an embryo adoption program, and runs an annual summer camp for children in foster care.
But now, a Washington state law requires their church to pay for abortions through their health insurance plan – directly contradicting, and even actively working against, their pro-life beliefs. This is unthinkable to Jay and Sandy, which is why they filed a lawsuit to protect their freedom to operate consistently with their beliefs.
Carl and Angel Larsen own Telescope Media group, a filmmaking business that exists to tell great stories that glorify God. The Larsens are particularly passionate about marriage and want to start using their filmmaking talents to tell stories about the beauty of marriage as God intended it – as the union of one man and one woman.
But a Minnesota state law stands in their way. State officials are interpreting that law to mean that if the Larsens tell stories about marriage between one man and one woman, they must also tell stories that celebrate same-sex marriage. But this completely defeats the purpose of them entering the wedding industry in the first place.
The Larsens recognized that this state law doesn’t just threaten them, but also their eight children. If the Larsens don’t stand up for their right to run their business consistently with their beliefs, their children will not have that right in the future either. So they decided to take a stand and filed a lawsuit against the state.
Tom Rost owns and operates Harris Funeral Homes, a family-owned business that has been ministering to grieving families for over 100 years in the Detroit area. The funeral home has a professional code of conduct and a sex-specific dress code to ensure that the families and friends of a deceased loved one focus on processing their grief rather than on the funeral home and its employees. But it’s that dress code that has taken Tom all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, after the funeral home parted ways with a biological male employee who agreed to follow the sex-specific dress code at the time of hiring, then announced an intent six years later to start dressing in women’s clothes.
Here’s the kicker – the law allows small businesses to have sex-specific dress codes. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decided to take the law into its own hands – redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity.”
The EEOC has now changed position and agrees with the funeral home. But the ACLU, on behalf of the employee, continues to argue that the law should be rewritten. If unelected government officials and judges have the power to rewrite law and redefine sex, that threatens not only small businesses like Harris Funeral Homes but also the dignity, privacy, and equal treatment of women and girls.
Tom knew he had to stand up for his rights and the rights of his children and grandchildren. And he will do just that before the U.S. Supreme Court in the fall.
Thank you, fathers, for everything you do.
Each of these fathers are standing up for their rights – but they aren’t primarily thinking of themselves. They know if they don’t defend these freedoms now, their children’s freedom will be threatened in the future.
Join us in praying for these fathers and the countless other fathers who are striving to do what is best for their children.
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