‘All-Out War’ On Religious Liberty to Come, Sears Tells NRB Board

Alan SearsORLANDO, Fla. (NRB) — The battles for religious liberty in recent years pale in comparison to those yet to come, Alliance Defending Freedom founder Alan Sears told the National Religious Broadcasters Board of Directors Monday (Feb. 27) during Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando.

Despite ADF’s many victories, those recent conflicts “are going to be child’s play compared to what’s coming, as those who seek to deny our religious liberty and our freedom of conscience wage all-out war,” Sears told the board members at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

“We must prepare our people for a long-term struggle with opponents who are as determined as never before, funded as never before, determined to extend the overreaches of the past administration into every believer’s life,” he said. “We must educate and prepare our people to know that every pretense of tolerance is over.”

ADF’s triumphs have included winning 300 cases against public colleges and universities that sought to limit either ministry or free speech, as well as the defeat of 70 sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws in 25 states the last two years, Sears said.

NRB has a share in those achievements, Sears told the board.

ADF publicly inaugurated its legal ministry 23 years ago at the NRB convention in Washington, D.C., he recalled. Three years later, the alliance returned to the annual meeting in an appearance that resulted in more than 1,000 radio and television interviews on NRB member programs, Sears said.

“Everything that God has allowed us to accomplish over these 23 years was launched through our friends at NRB,” he told the board. “So I would say, ADF’s successes are NRB’s successes.”

ADF’s approach in defending religious freedom and the sanctity of human life is “to foster and empower alliances using ... strategy, training, and funding for litigation and legal advocacy to stand against the legal onslaughts,” Sears explained.

With that method, he said, ADF has developed more than 1,900 allied lawyers in 45 countries and trained more than 1,800 law students through its Blackstone Fellows Program.

SOGI laws threaten freedom of conscience and religion, Sears told board members. Yet, he said, some Christian leaders are pushing such laws in an effort to strike a bargain for religious organizations. Sears urged the broadcasters to call for their constituents to oppose SOGI laws “loudly, often, and always.”

ADF is defending in court such victims of sexual orientation laws or regulations as:

  • Kelvin Cochran, the former Atlanta fire chief who was fired after writing a book in which he defended God’s standard on sexuality;
  • Barronelle Stutzman, a florist appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the State of Washington's mandate that she must violate her religious beliefs by using her artistic expression in a same-sex ceremony - or else suffer severe consequences.

Sears urged board members to call for President Trump to issue a proposed executive order to protect religious liberty.

 “We should stand with the president and his team, thanking them whenever, wherever we can,” he said. “And when we can’t stand with them, we should do all we can to persuade them reasonably and respectfully to our point of view.”

By Tom Strode

Published: March 1, 2017

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