LANSDOWNE, Va. – The Colson Center for Christian Worldview presented Alliance Defending Freedom Founder Alan Sears with its 2017 Wilberforce Award at a gala at Gaylord’s National Harbor Resort near Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
According to the Colson Center, the annual award goes to “an individual who vividly exemplifies the passions and principles demonstrated by British 18th-century abolitionist and statesman William Wilberforce.” Established by the late Chuck Colson, the award “recognizes courageous leaders who are making an impact on the social ills of the day, showing perseverance and selflessness in combating injustice and making a positive change in the values and character of society.”
“It was a great honor to accept this award from the Center for Christian Worldview, established by my dear friend Chuck Colson,” said Sears. “William Wilberforce tirelessly stood against the evil of his day, and his legacy of faithfulness and perseverance is one that we all try to emulate. Like Wilberforce, we will not give in until once again every person can live in freedom and every life is valued and affirmed.”
Over the past 23 years, Sears built an ADF team committed to a comprehensive legal strategy that includes training, funding, and legal advocacy. That resulted in contributions to 49 victories at the U.S. Supreme Court and 14 victories at the European Court of Human Rights, and the training of more than 1,900 lawyers in 45 countries. Those attorneys have so far reported more than $200 million in pro-bono/dedicated time to pro-life, religious liberty, and related causes. In addition, more than 1,800 law students—representing 227 schools and more than 21 countries—have completed the ADF Blackstone Legal Fellowship leadership training program.
Sears earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and his J.D. from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, and continued his education with professional instruction at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and Pepperdine University. He served in both the Reagan and Bush administrations, working for the Department of Justice under Attorneys General William French Smith, Edwin Meese III, and William P. Barr. One of Sears’ most significant assignments in government was serving as director of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. He also served as associate solicitor with the Department of Interior under Secretary Donald Hodel.
“For a quarter-century, Alliance Defending Freedom has been the indispensable organization in the fight for religious liberty,” said Colson Center for Christian Worldview President John Stonestreet. “And it is hard to imagine an ADF without Alan Sears. His vision, his organizational skills, and his old-fashioned hard work and tenacity have turned ADF into one of the largest and most influential organizations in the country. To honor Alan this year, the year after Chuck Colson himself received the award and in the year of Alan’s retirement as president and CEO of ADF, is doubly appropriate.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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