Key Cases

The Alaska Airlines Case

Discrimination Doesn’t Fly

She’s not backing down from her beliefs

Alaska Airlines fired dedicated flight attendant Lacey Smith for expressing her religious beliefs. The firing was in direct violation of federal civil rights law which prohibits workplace religious discrimination. Woke madness is now governing our nation’s companies from the boardroom to the break room, and it’s forcing Lacey to choose between her job and her faith.

Pastor Chris Dad's Place | First Liberty Institute

Criminally Charged with Compassion

Backlash Against a Good Samaritan?

Pastor Chris Avell is facing criminal charges. His alleged crime? Ministering to the community of Bryan, Ohio 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

No matter the time of day, Pastor Chris wants to keep the doors of his church open as a refuge for those in need. But city officials are blocking him from helping the vulnerable. He has been hit with nearly two dozen criminal charges. And First Liberty will not let Pastor Chris stand alone in this battle.

Faith Under Fire Ron Hittle | First Liberty Institute

Faith Under Fire

Fire Chief Ron Hittle Fired for His Faith

Fire Chief Ron Hittle was fired because he went to a leadership conference that was held at a church. After 24 years of service, the city of Stockton, California terminated him for attending this world-class leadership conference even though it encouraged him to attend leadership training. We argued Ron’s case in federal appeals court in early 2023 saying that firing employees because of their religion is illegal.

Jace Yarbrough | Space Force | First Liberty Insider

Discrimination First

Punished for Encouraging Truth and Integrity

Jace Yarbrough is being punished by Air Force officials for a private speech he gave as a civilian at a private retirement ceremony. This could destroy his military career in the Air Force Reserve.

First Liberty won’t let that happen – not on our watch.

Scripture Cenored Rooks | First Liberty

Scripture Censored Across the Board?

Ordered to Stop Quoting Bible Verses

Since taking office on the school board Heather regularly cites Bible verses during her time for remarks. She takes her responsibilities seriously and finds quoting Scripture to be calming and encouraging to her.

A radical secular organization, however, sent a letter saying Heather must stop quoting “incendiary Christian verses.” The group threatened to file a lawsuit if members continued quoting Scripture. The Peoria governing board’s attorney also “advised” Heather and other members against quoting Scripture during public meetings.

Worship Not Permitted White Rock Church | First Liberty

Worship Not Permitted

Not In Our Neighborhood?

Two years ago, White Rock Chapel applied for building permits so it could make improvements to its property.

But the city refused to grant the permits. Hostile neighbors have also kept the church from making renovations.

We sent a letter to the city explaining the First Amendment and federal law protect the right of churches to operate free from unreasonable and intrusive government interference.

Valerie Kloosterman Bad Medicine | First Liberty

Bad Medicine

Physician Assistant Fired for Her Beliefs

The University of Michigan Health system fired Valerie Kloosterman, a physician assistant, because of her religious beliefs. She was terminated for seeking a religious accommodation from using biology-obscuring pronouns and from referring patients for “gender reassignment” drugs and surgeries. To fight this injustice, we filed a lawsuit against Michigan Health for violating federal law prohibiting workplace religious discrimination.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa

Sweet Cakes by Melissa

Can the government force Americans to choose between their faith and their livelihood?

Can the government force you to act against your conscience—to say or do something that directly conflicts with your religious beliefs? These are the questions at the heart of our case for Melissa Klein, award-winning cake artist and former owner of SweetCakes by Melissa. The state of Oregon imposed a $135,000 penalty and told her she needed “rehabilitation” for simply running her family business according to her religious beliefs. Now, almost 10 years later—after being forced to close her business and enduring violent death threats—she is still searching for justice, still waiting for the courts to recognize her constitutional right to stand by her faith as she runs her business.

Support the Navy SEALs | First Liberty

Punishing America’s Heroes?

Americans do not give up their religious freedom when they join the military

First Liberty represents 35 U.S. Navy SEALs who are being threatened with punishment, involuntary separation or even court-martial. Why? Because they are seeking a legal, religious accommodation to the military vaccine mandate. While the case is going back to the district court, that means we have an opportunity to keep fighting. First Liberty has won for the SEALs at every stage in the process, and we’re not backing down. We’ll keep fighting for the religious liberty of our Navy SEAL clients and all service members.

Robyn Strader | CVS | First Liberty

Robyn Strader

Discrimination is the Wrong Prescription

Robyn Strader—a nurse practitioner with multiple, advanced degrees—was fired from CVS Pharmacy after CVS had accommodated her religious beliefs without issue for six and a half years. Why? Because CVS wants to force its employees to prescribe contraception even when it violates the employee’s religious beliefs.

CVS taking adverse action against a religious employee isn’t just outrageous and unnecessary. It’s illegal. Federal law is clear: Employers may not fire, demote, refuse a promotion, or otherwise take adverse action against employees because of religious beliefs that they could accommodate. There’s no legitimate reason for CVS to now go back on its word and force Robyn out of her job.

Cambridge | Header Image

Prayer Out of Bounds?

State Officials Fumble Free Speech & Religious Liberty

First Liberty represents Cambridge Christian School, who was told by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) that it could not pray over the loudspeaker before kickoff of its state championship football game. Officials outrageously argued that prayer was an “endorsement” of religion since it would be taking place on government property. Their actions are illegal and unconstitutional—which is why we’re fighting in federal appeals court to bring justice to our clients.

Shields of Strength | First Liberty

Shields of Strength

A decades-old tradition of military members strengthening their faith with Scripture—now under attack by rogue anti-faith activists

Our service members love, want and have worn Shields of Strength for decades. That’s why we’re fighting to make sure this outside, anti-faith group doesn’t get away with such blatant religious discrimination.

Faith has a long history in America’s military. Forcing Shields of Strength to pull its dog tags isn’t just harsh and unkind—it’s illegal. The fact is, it’s perfectly constitutional for Americans who love their country to encourage military members with inspirational religious messages.

POW-MIA Remembrance Table | First Liberty

POW/MIA Remembrance Table

They picked a fight with the wrong veteran

For decades, service members and their families have displayed “Remembrance Tables” at various veterans’ facilities to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action.

First Liberty Institute–led by LtCol USMCR Mike Berry, FLI’s General Counsel–is fighting to stop a group of deceptively-named activists called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation who have filed a lawsuit demanding that a veteran’s Bible be removed from a POW/MIA Remembrance Table in Manchester, New Hampshire.

But they picked a fight with the wrong veteran, a beloved American hero who has the unwavering support of our firm—U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Herman “Herk” Streitburger, who graciously donated the Bible as a symbol of the faith that sustained him through a year in captivity at a German prison camp during World War II.

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