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Government Claims First Amendment Protects Only The “Right To Choose A Religion”

DENVER, March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit heard oral arguments in a case filed by Ms. Mary Anne Sause, a Catholic former nurse who was ordered by police officers to stop praying in her own home.

In court briefings, government attorneys defended the police officers’ actions by arguing that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause only “protects an individual’s right to choose a religion.”

Attorneys for First Liberty Institute, a national religious freedom law firm representing Ms. Sause, say the government’s argument could set a dangerous precedent for how the First Amendment protects religious freedom.

“The Free Exercise Clause protects an individual’s right to do exactly that – to freely exercise his or her faith,” Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The government’s attempt to redefine the First Amendment through this case could set a dangerous precedent for religious freedom.”

The case, Mary Anne Sause v. Timothy J. Bauer, et al., was heard before a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit. Bradley G. Hubbard, Associate with Gibson Dunn, argued the case as co-counsel with First Liberty Institute.

“Prayer is essential to my faith and everyday life,” Ms. Sause said following the arguments. “Not a day goes by when I don’t pray. It is concerning to see the government claim the First Amendment protects my right to choose my religion, but not my right to pray in the privacy of my own home.”

“The First Amendment guarantees the right for all Americans to freely exercise their faith,” Taub says. “First Liberty Institute is committed to defending that freedom for every American.”

Read more about the case and view legal documents at


Religious freedom restrictions thaw at Snow College

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attorney sound bite:  Travis Barham

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Snow College has changed several policies to restore greater religious freedom to its campus and settle an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed in October of last year
on behalf of a Christian student group. In light of the settlement and
corrected policies, the group has voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit.

officials banned the Solid Rock Christian Club from including religious
speech as part of a homecoming event. The college, located in the town
of Ephraim, also denied the club benefits that it extended to other groups.

are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” said Alliance Defending
Freedom Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “Snow College has done
the right thing in recognizing that the First Amendment protects the
freedom of all students to gather with those of like mind and to express their ideas, and that includes students of faith and religious ideas.”

College policies treated student organizations “associated with
religious institutions” very differently than other student groups.
While most groups could meet in campus facilities without charge,
advertise their events without fees, and seek funding for their
activities, Snow College prohibited religious student groups–including
Solid Rock Christian Club–from doing the same.

In addition, Snow
College officials prohibited Solid Rock from displaying a Christian
message and cross as part of the school’s “Paint the Town” homecoming
event, in which student groups decorated the front windows of participating local businesses.

Solid Rock began decorating its assigned window with a cross and a
message that incorporated the homecoming theme with the group’s
Christian message, school officials instructed the club to stop,
claiming the group was not allowed to “paint any religious symbols or
anything related to religion.” Later, college officials removed the
students’ message from another building, telling the students in an
e-mail that their Christian message “is in poor taste.”

According to the settlement,
the college has agreed “not to adopt or enforce the provisions of the
old policies…that deny student organizations ‘associated with religious
institutions’ the privileges afforded other student organizations.” The
settlement states that college officials “have already implemented [the]
revised policies…and have published them to Snow College students on
April 1, 2013.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed its voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit Solid Rock Christian Club v. Wyatt in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on April 10. Frank D. Mylar, one of more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, served as local counsel in the suit.

22 Arrested in Front of White House on Saturday Standing for Religious Freedom — More Expected at 4 PM Today, Sunday

Large “Stand up for Religious Freedom” Rally and praying the Rosary to be held across from the White House on Sunday, September 30 as part of Actsfive29
Contact: Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, 540-538-4741;
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — A Religious Freedom Rally and Rosary Service are being held in response to President Obama’s HHS Mandate which forces people of faith and conscience to violate their core beliefs and values.
The Rosary Service is expected to draw over 1,000 people, it will be held in Lafayette Park at noon on Sunday, September 30, and is being led by Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life.
The Rosary service will highlight the importance of the Catholic voting bloc in the Presidential election.
The “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” Rally is part of a national event which is being held in over 105 cities across the nation to speak out against the HHS Mandate. (Go to
There will also be arrests in front of the White House at 4:00 P.M. as people of faith and conscience tell President Obama they cannot comply with an immoral and unjust mandate.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states:
“For the faith community, we can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious freedom. As people of principle and faith, we must purpose in our hearts that we will never comply with an unjust or immoral government mandate which would require us to violate our conscience, the teachings of the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the Church.
“We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials that we would rather spend time in jail that to be forced into complying with a mandate that crushes religious freedom.”
The speakers at the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally include:
Father Frank Pavone: National Director of Priests for Life
Brandi Swindell: Founder and President of Stanton Healthcare
Lila Rose: President of Live Action
Rev. Rob Schenck: President of the National Clergy Council
Rev. Bryan Fischer: Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association
Kristina Garza: Campus Outreach Director for Survivors
Father Marcel Guarnizo
Bryan Kemper:  National Youth Director for Priests for Life
Note: There was peaceful civil disobedience in front of the White House on Saturday, September 29, resulting in 22 arrests.

ACLU distorts religious freedom in new public school intimidation campaign

Picture of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charle...

Picture of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. Cropped and levels adjusted slightly for brightness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alliance Defending Freedom sends letters to SC public schools to debunk misleading advice
Monday, September 10, 2012

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Sharp

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to South Carolina school districts Friday in response to a new ACLU campaign’s inaccurate, blanket statements about limits on the religious freedom of students and teachers.

“The Constitution should be the only permission slip students need to exercise their freedom of religion,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The ACLU’s ‘Religious Freedom Goes to School’ campaign paints a restrictive picture of the freedoms for students, teachers, and school administrators that the First Amendment protects. School districts in South Carolina should be wary of taking advice about religious freedom from an organization that frequently seeks to give that freedom a backseat to their own social and political agenda.”

According to the ACLU’s campaign, public schools should pattern their religious freedom school policies after a single settlement that the ACLU reached in a lawsuit against the Chesterfield County School District. The settlement put an end to various religious activities within the district.

But as the Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains, the settlement in that isolated lawsuit “does not accurately represent the current law on First Amendment rights” and “school districts have nothing to fear in permitting the free exercise of these rights.”

The letter also notes that the ACLU “has a long history of being on the wrong side of religious liberty.” Despite the ACLU’s claims, the letter explains the freedom religious student groups have to access school facilities and distribute literature on an equal basis with other groups and the freedom of students to lead prayer at school events. The letter also addresses the truth about the religious expression of teachers, coaches, and administrators and the objective use of the Bible and other religious texts at school.

“We hope our letter clarifies the true extent of the First Amendment freedoms of students and schools,” added Sharp. “Public schools are supposed to serve as institutions of learning where free speech is protected. They should not be places of indoctrination that are hostile to religion.”

Summerville, S.C., attorney P. Brandt Shelbourne, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, is assisting as local counsel.

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Alliance Defense Fund now Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defense Fund

Alliance Defense Fund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday, July 09, 2012

ADF attorney sound bite:  Alan Sears

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Alliance Defense Fund is changing its name to “Alliance Defending Freedom.”

“Our mission remains the same–defending religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Only our name has changed,” said Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears. “The change is to help more people easily understand the work that we do and why it matters.”

“The emphasis remains on the word ‘alliance,’” Sears explained. “Continuously building an alliance of attorneys and like-minded individuals and organizations is absolutely essential to our mission. ‘Defending Freedom’ communicates the essence of what the alliance does: legally defending and advocating for religious freedom.”

The new tagline is “For Faith, For Justice.” Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies work tirelessly to ensure that people everywhere can freely live a life of faith under laws that safeguard, rather than undermine, religious freedom.

 Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Cardinal Dolan Applauds Church Agencies as They Challenge HHS for Violating Religious Freedom


US-DeptOfHHS-Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With time running out, dioceses, agencies resort to the courts
Church united in defense of religious liberty
Diversity of church ministries at stake
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a May 21 statement applauded 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies for filing 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates religious freedom.
His statement follows.
“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress — and we’ll keep at it — but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate — ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”

IRD Hails New Appointments to Global Religious Freedom Watchdog

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Two religious liberty advocates appointed this week to serve as Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) are being met with sharply differing responses. Both Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton University and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracywere met with enthusiastic approval from the

Logo of the United States Commission on Intern...

Logo of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘s religious liberty director, while the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the liberal think tank Center for American Progress sharply criticized the appointments.

George has a high profile arguing for traditional marriage while Jasser is a critic of radical Islam. Both appointees are experienced in combating threats to religious liberty. George was appointed by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner. Jasser was appointed by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

George, who is Roman Catholic, is a board member emeritus of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Jasser is Muslim. His organization advocates ‘for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state.’

An independent U.S. government commission, the USCIRF was created by the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998. The commission was threatened in 2011 when re-authorization was held up in the Senate.

IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

“The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is critical to U.S. advocacy for those who are persecuted for their faith around the world. George and Jasser are both men of great integrity and courage. They will be tremendous assets to the Commission.

“George has been a leader in battling threats to religious freedom on the domestic front, but this has not led him to the myopia that sometimes appears to afflict those involved in that set of issues. George’s appreciation for and the value he places in the religious freedom guaranteed under our Constitution and universality of human rights as given by God makes him a passionate defender of international religious liberty.

“As a Muslim who seeks to confront ‘the ideologies of political Islam’ and openly counter ‘the common belief that the Muslim faith is inextricably rooted to the concept of the Islamic State (Islamism),’ Jasser will provide great insight as the Commission investigates human rights violations that stem from adherence to this very concept.”