Introducing Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. Over the past 19 years, Alliance Defending Freedom has built alliances with thousands of Christian attorneys and hundreds of like-minded organizations to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel. Together, we work tirelessly to accomplish what none of us can do alone: protect and defend YOUR religious freedom.
For Faith. For Justice.
The enduring mission of Alliance Defending Freedom is to gain justice for those whose faith has been unconstitutionally denied in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.
Alliance Defending Freedom
A message from Alan Sears
Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel
ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM IS LEADING THE PRESERVATION OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
By God’s amazing grace, an exciting new chapter in the 19-year history of this alliance-building legal ministry is underway! After prayerful deliberations and much research, we changed our name last year from Alliance Defense Fund to Alliance Defending Freedom.
We pray this change will:
- open thousands of new doors for Alliance Defending Freedom
- strengthen our efforts
- attract additional Allied Ministry Friends
- make us even more effective at defending your religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family
We also pray this will allow us to do things this ministry has never done before — for the glory of God, and the eternal salvation of more and more people.
Alliance Defending Freedom and our hundreds of allies are continuing the crucial work envisioned by ministry leaders who launched this legal ministry in 1994. Our Founders saw the critical need to protect religious freedom from repeated attacks by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies. Thanks to the generous support of our Allied Ministry Friends, we’re winning nearly 80 percent of our court battles. With continued support, Alliance Defending Freedom and our Allied Attorneys will keep winning great victories to preserve the free exercise of religion.
President, CEO, and General Counsel
Alliance Defending Freedom
Defending Freedom Since 1994
1993 Free speech and religious freedoms ravaged
The Body of Christ in America was in big trouble. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies fought — many times unopposed — to crush religious expression. Without an effective battle plan, Christians were losing their history and heritage of religious freedom mostly by default.
January 31, 1994: ADF launches strike force for freedom
Christian leaders, alarmed by the legal attacks on religious freedom, launch Alliance Defense Fund with Alan Sears as president.
2 critical wins for religious liberty
1995 — ADF plays a critical role in two Supreme Court victories that set legal precedents for future victories. One affirms the right for organizations to not associate with groups with whom they disagree. The second faults universities for illegally denying funding to student activities by reason of their religious convictions.
Legal Academy established
1997 — First-ever ADF Legal Academy begins training Christian attorneys in constitutional law so they can provide pro bono/dedicated service to the Body of Christ.
Blackstone Legal Fellowship
2000 — The ADF Blackstone Legal Fellowship leadership development program trains some of the best and brightest Christian law students from across the nation.
Equal access to school property
2001 — U.S. Supreme Court rules that middle schools must provide equal access to after-school Bible clubs to meet on school property, thanks to precedent set by ADF.
2003 — The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today, by ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears and Vice President of Research Craig Osten is published.
Same-sex “marriage” challenged in
2004 — ADF attorneys successfully challenge the illegal actions of then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom when he directs the city and county clerk to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.
The ACLU vs.
2005 — The ACLU vs. America, by ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears and Vice President of Research Craig Osten is published.
U.S. Supreme Court affirms religious freedoms
2006 — In less than a month, the U.S. Supreme Court issues unanimous decisions affirming religious freedom in four ADF-backed cases.
“partial-birth abortion” case
2007 — The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal ban on so-called “partial-birth abortions” in the ADF-backed case, Gonzales v. Carhart.
2008 — ADF launches its new magazine, Truth & Triumph.
ACLU in school
2011 — The U.S. Supreme Court affirms in ACSTO v. Winn, the right for parents to choose the best educational option for their children through an Arizona tuition tax credit program. This includes provision of scholarship funds to private Christian schools. The ACLU loses the right to use its “offended taxpayer” strategy to challenge such programs.
religious liberty overseas
2012 — ADF opens its European office in Vienna, Austria.
From today forward Advancing For Faith . . . For Justice
Together, we can fight for faith and justice as we face significant attacks on religious freedom, such as the ObamaCare abortion pill mandate which forces Christian ministries, colleges, and businesses to purchase insurance coverage that funds the destruction of human life.
Be part of Alliance Defending Freedom!
Send a gift of support
Help us continue to impact religious liberty worldwide. Ensure that your right to freely live out your faith is protected today and for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Alliance Defending Freedom?
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
- Who are your Founders?
Recognizing the need for a strong, coordinated legal defense against growing attacks on religious freedom, more than 30 prominent Christian leaders launched Alliance Defending Freedom in 1994. Five exceptional men took a leading role in forming this legal ministry, and set the high standard of excellence and good stewardship that we continue to abide by today. They are the late Dr. Bill Bright, founder, Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru); the late Larry Burkett, co-founder, Crown Financial Ministries; Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus, Focus on the Family, and founder, Family Talk; the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, former senior pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; and the late Marlin Maddoux, former host, “Point of View” radio program.
- Why were you formed?
For decades, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies used the courts to drive out public expressions of faith and to radically change America into something our Founding Fathers never intended. Religious freedom was rapidly eroding and a twisted view of the First Amendment was being advanced through the ACLU’s relentless campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation.
Despite outstanding efforts by many Christians, our Founders saw a battlefield in disarray with inadequate resources to win. There were allies, but no alliance. There was limited unity of effort and limited common strategy. There was also no organized method to recruit and train Christian attorneys in modern legal challenges, and inadequate funding allowed much territory to be lost by default. One big myth also emerged during this period: many believed that the ACLU and its allies could never actually be defeated.
- What does Alliance Defending Freedom do?
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. Our Founders saw three primary areas where the battle was most aggressively being fought to silence Truth. Those three core areas are what make up our primary scope of work today: the legal defense and advocacy of religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Our work in these three areas involves a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation.
- What does Alliance Defending Freedom not do?
Alliance Defending Freedom was founded for a unique purpose: to build an alliance of thousands of attorneys and like-minded organizations that would work together to defend and advocate for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Therefore, we do not duplicate our allies' work, nor aid them in areas outside the scope of our mission.
- Why don’t you try to pass legislation or lobby government officials?
Alliance Defending Freedom was created to serve as an alliance-building legal ministry and not as a public policy organization, though we work with many excellent allied policy organizations on related legal issues. Many of our Founders were already involved in public policy and saw the special need for this ministry’s role in the judiciary.
Alliance Defending Freedom operates under the strict charter given to us by our Founders. We focus exclusively on legal cases and projects impacting religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. While there are many worthy causes outside of these parameters, we must concentrate on these areas to most effectively achieve our mission. This means that, while we defend legislative initiatives pertaining to our mission in court, and join forces with allies in many legal endeavors. Alliance Defending Freedom is not a lobbying organization, so its lobbying activity is insubstantial. ADF attorneys regularly engage in non-lobbying activities, such as providing advice and expert testimony on proposed legislation when requested. ADF also frequently comments in various forums on the effects of proposed and enacted laws. But we refrain from doing a substantial amount of lobbying government officials.
There are many fine organizations that focus on the legislative arena, and there is no need to duplicate their efforts. One of our founding ministries is Focus on the Family, which has established policy councils in almost every state. You may want to contact these organizations for help on state policy matters. On the national level, you may want to contact our allies with the Family Research Council.
- What is your mission statement?
Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.
- How are you different from other organizations?
Alliance Defending Freedom is a unique organization in many ways; most notably, we are an alliance-building legal ministry, not just a legal organization. As an alliance, we use the unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to accomplish our purpose. Though other organizations may have their own litigation teams, no other organization in the world is using strategy, training, and funding at the level in which we are operating.
- I don’t want too much mail.
We understand that many people are concerned about their general mail volume – and not just what they receive from Alliance Defending Freedom. You may be pleased to know that we actually mail much less often than many national ministries. We want our friends and supporters to be informed and equipped to knowledgeably pray about our efforts because we know that ”apart from Christ, we can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Normally, we send our prayer letters monthly and our ministry publication three times per year to all who give a gift, unless they specifically ask not to be put on the mailing list.
If receiving mail is not the most convenient way to keep updated on our cases and projects, please feel free to call our offices at 1-800-835-5233 or use our contact form to let us know your mail preferences.
- Do you share my name or contact information with anyone else or any other group?
Your concern is our concern: Alliance Defending Freedom will handle your personal information with the utmost care and confidentiality. This ministry will never sell, rent, or make available your name for non-Alliance Defending Freedom purposes or information related to your gifts.
- How can I help?
The most important way you can help us is with your prayers and financial support. We know that “apart from Christ, we can do nothing.” (John 15:5) So, we would greatly appreciate your prayers for all our efforts. You can find a regularly updated prayer request list here. We also face well-funded opposition and would be honored by your gift of any amount. To stand with us financially, please click here, and know that we will maximize every penny we receive to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Here are some additional ways you can help:
- Sign up for email alerts to stay informed on cases and projects that impact religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.
- Direct Christian attorneys you know to our world-class constitutional law training program called Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Academy.
- Tell Christian students you know who are entering or considering law school to learn about our summer leadership development program called Blackstone Legal Fellowship.
- Inform your pastor, elders, or church leaders about the Alliance Defending Freedom Church Project by referring them to http://www.speakupmovement.org/church
- Refer college students you know to http://www.speakupmovement.org/Home/University, where they can learn more about their rights as Christian students on campus.
- Order our pamphlets and materials and help spread the word about the work of Alliance Defending Freedom to those you know.
- Be our eyes and ears in your community. If you think someone is in need of our legal assistance, tell them to call us at 1-800-835-5233.
- I’d like to work for Alliance Defending Freedom.
We appreciate your desire to join our team! In order to find the most current listing of job opportunities, please visit the employment section of our website at http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/Careers. If there is a position that is of interest to you, please follow the instructions to submit your resume and cover letter.
- Trouble receiving or accessing email alerts?
To help us troubleshoot, please use the contact form to give us a brief summary of your experience and to answer the following questions?
- Which operating system do you have – Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X, etc?
- Which browser are you using – Explorer, Firefox, Safari?
- Do you have a high-speed Internet connection or dial-up?
Your feedback provides us with details that may be very important in resolving this situation.
- Trouble watching a video?
We are sorry you are having trouble viewing the video we sent to you.
Alliance Defending Freedom uses popular video sharing sites – like YouTube and Vimeo – to post most of the videos we share with our Allied Ministry Friends on our various websites. Here are some minimum system requirements that must be met on your computer in order to properly view these videos:
- Adobe Flash Player version 7.0+ must be installed on your system
- You can easily find out which Flash version is installed on your computer by going to http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/155/tn_15507.html
- If the version of the Flash Player is less than 7.0, you can download and install the most up-to-date version for free by going to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/?promoid=DXLUJ
- If your computer is a PC, you must be running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista. If your computer is a Mac, you must be running OS X 10.3 or higher.
- You must be using the web browser Internet Explorer version 5.0, Firefox 1.1, or Safari 1.0 – or more recent versions. If your browser does not meet these requirements, you can download the latest versions for free with these links:
- Internet Explorer: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx
- Firefox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html
- Safari: http://support.apple.com/downloads/#internet
A high-speed Internet connection is also recommended to download files with large sizes that are associated with watching a video.