Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit law firm and Christian legal ministry, has been a steadfast defender of religious freedom and conservative values for more than three decades. Founded in 1989 by Mathew “Mat” D. Staver and his wife, Anita L. Staver, the organization has made its mark on the legal landscape by combining advocacy expertise with a core commitment to advancing the Gospel. The advocacy group currently maintains offices in Central Florida, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., positioning itself as a prominent advocate for religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the institution of the family.
“Liberty Counsel, even though it’s a public interest law firm, has always had at the very core of it a pastoral heart and a gospel centrality to everything that we do,” said Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver. “Liberty Counsel is defending people of faith so that they can continue to advance the Gospel.”
Liberty Counsel’s origins can be traced to Staver’s pastoral background and passion for the pro-life movement. After watching the 1983 documentary “Assignment Life,” which explores the abortion issue from an investigative reporter’s perspective, Staver’s trajectory shifted toward law, eventually leading him to establish Liberty Counsel.
Staver maintained a private law practice from 1989 to 1999, with the proceeds serving as the primary funding source for Liberty Counsel. In 1994, Staver argued his first Supreme Court case, Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc, a lawsuit involving sidewalk counseling outside an abortion clinic in Florida. In 1999, Staver closed his private practice and devoted himself entirely to Liberty Counsel’s mission. Initially focused on religious freedom and the sanctity of human life, the organization later added a third pillar: championing God’s design for marriage and family.
Beyond its legal endeavors, Liberty Counsel has ventured into worldwide humanitarian efforts through Liberty Relief International and nurtures the spiritual needs of the nation’s youth with Faith and Liberty Ministry. The Liberty Church Council acts as a spiritual and doctrinal advisory body to Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel Action focuses on education and public policy initiatives, and the Liberty Prayer Network brings together believers in international prayer.
Liberty Counsel broadcasts daily radio programs aimed at informing listeners on critical issues surrounding religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the importance of family values. “Freedom’s Call,” hosted by Mat Staver and heard on 600 stations, delivers concise, 60-second segments that delve into key legislative and policy battles around the country. “Faith and Freedom,” also hosted by Mat Staver and heard on 130 stations, presents 11-minute daily episodes that dive deeper into public policy issues like the ministerial exception, opportunities for impacting the next generation in public libraries, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s detox from previous activist decisions. Liberty Counsel hosts a weekly television series, “Freedom Alive,” which airs on NRBTV and many other stations and platforms worldwide. The TV program informs viewers of current issues and equips viewers to confront the attacks on their faith and freedom. Through these informative programs, Liberty Counsel empowers its audience to stay informed and engaged in protecting the values they hold dear.
According to Staver, Liberty Counsel’s journey has been fraught with challenges, with an “activist” Supreme Court and media misrepresentations. However, Staver expressed pride in the organization’s resilience, which eventually led to significant milestones such as the landslide victory of Shurtleff v. City of Boston.
Liberty Counsel represented Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution, in Shurtleff v. City of Boston. Staver argued the case before the Supreme Court in January 2022, and the high court monumentally ruled 9-0 on May 2022 in Shurtleff’s favor.
Looking ahead, Liberty Counsel aims to expand its legal outreach, affiliate attorney base, and litigation strategies. The organization seeks to capitalize on its recent successes and continue reshaping the legal landscape to align with constitutional principles.
“We are looking at specific kinds of cases and strategies to continue the trend to reset the Supreme Court so that it is consistent with the Constitution and not an activist entity by bringing cases that we can build upon whether it’s sensitive to human life, free speech, free exercise of religion, or in defending God’s design for marriage and family,” said Staver.
Staver urged the NRB audience to remain vigilant in safeguarding religious freedom, given the increasing threats posed to worship and religious expression, particularly in light of threats posed during the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed concern of the swift and alarming shutdown and discrimination churches faced during the pandemic, leading to lawsuits filed on behalf of churches, resulting in two victories at the U.S. Supreme Court to halt some of the restrictions.
“The rapidity with which churches were shut down and discriminated against ought to be alarming and shocking,” Staver remarked. “We must never forget that and make sure we never go down that road again.”
Liberty Counsel’s unwavering dedication to defending faith and freedom has yielded remarkable accomplishments in its 30+-year presence. Under Staver’s leadership, the organization has made a profound impact in the judicial arena, fighting for a Supreme Court that acts with reverence for the Constitution. Liberty Counsel has been an NRB member since April 2023 and has been a frequent exhibitor at the NRB International Christian Media Convention. To learn more about the Central Florida-based legal organization, visit www.LC.org.