Interactive Map: Ten Critical Legal Battles We’re Fighting to Defend Your First Freedom

January 17, 2020
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by Jared Besse, Contributing Writer • 5 min read

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the ball dropped in Times Square and we ushered in 2020. It’s the beginning of a new year, a new decade, and what could be, if we continue to faithfully work together, a new era of religious freedom for America.

This is a unique year for the future of religious freedom. The unprecedented success we had in 2019 was the start of a roaring era for our First Freedom. But as we add more victories, one thing is certain: Attacks on religious freedom will be more frequent and more furious.

Our country is at a historic crossroads. Will our nation embrace the constitutional ideals of the Founders who believed that religious freedom is a God-given right? Or will our nation embrace the radical agenda of some who believe that religious freedom must be limited or even eliminated by government?

2020 could be our moment in history—our chance to right the wrongs that have chipped away at our religious freedom for over 50 years.

Enemies of religious freedom never thought we’d make such progress when it comes to reclaiming America’s First Freedom nationwide. But they’re aware of it now and will do all they can to halt our momentum. Their battle plan?

  • DISTRACT us from our shared vision to restore religious freedom in America.
  • DETRACT from our string of achievements in defense of the First Amendment.
  • DESTROY the personal reputations and livelihood of people of faith.

We cannot afford to let them succeed and that’s why we’re going ALL-IN to reclaim religious freedom.

Use the interactive map below to help you learn about 10 key cases that could have a profound impact on your first freedom in 2020:

1. California: Recently, the U.S. Court Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a horrendous decision that could force Catholic nuns (Little Sisters of the Poor) to violate their religious conscience and provide contraception, which their faith deems is the killing of a human life.

Because of the imminent threat this recent decision poses to religious liberty, First Liberty’s legal team recently filed a critical friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Little Sisters’ petition at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Learn more about this case here.

2. New York: In Airmont, NY, located just outside New York City, village officials have practically forced the local Orthodox Jewish community to practice their faith in hiding.

For more than 30 years, local officials have made it all but impossible for anyone who is an Orthodox Jew to live out their faith, demanding that they receive approval from the city to worship in their very own homes.

First Liberty’s legal team continues to fight one of the worst cases of religious discrimination we’ve ever encountered. The outcome of this case will have a profound impact on your right to live out your faith in your own home.

Learn more about this case here.

3. Texas: First Liberty is fighting an important case to stop the anti-faith activists at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), who won’t give up trying to deny our service members the freedom to find strength and courage in their faith.

First Liberty sent a letter to several branches of the military urging them to ignore the outrageous claims made by the MRFF. We’ve asked the military to allow private company, Shields of Strength, to keep making replica dog tags with inspirational Bible verses, something it has been doing without complaint for the last 20 years.

Learn more about this case here.

4. Oregon: First Liberty continues to fight what could be a historic, precedent-setting case, SweetCakes by Melissa. Early in 2020, our legal team presented oral argument in defense of Melissia Klein, a cake artist whose family bakery was shut down after state officials penalized her $135,000 for operating her business consistent with her faith.

The final outcome in this case will have a ripple effect on the foundational freedoms and values that we’ve upheld as Americans throughout our country’s history—especially the freedom to live out your faith wherever you may go, whether it’s at home or your place of work.

Learn more about this case here.

5. Washington: After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a rare statement and outlined a pathway to victory for Coach Joe Kennedy, our legal team has developed a game plan to vindicate Coach Joe’s right to pray on the field.

Right now, we are litigating his case at the district court level and it’s possible that it could be on its way back to the U.S. Supreme Court in the future. The outcome of this case will have a nationwide impact and possibly set a precedent that protects the right of coaches, teachers and public-school employees to continue living out their faith.

Learn more about this case here.

6. District of Columbia: In 2020, much work needs to be done in our nation’s capital to help fill more than 70 remaining federal judicial vacancies with pro-religious freedom judges.

With your ongoing support, First Liberty continues doing the critical work of providing expert legal analysis to the U.S. Senate and the administration, ensuring that nominees with a record of defending religious liberty are vetted for a seat in America’s federal courts.

Learn more about this initiative here.

7. New Hampshire: First Liberty Institute 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, N.H.

Learn more about this case here.

8. Maine: The state of Maine is refusing to pay for students’ tuition to religious schools, even though it will pay for students to attend any non-religious school under its school choice program.

That’s why the Institute for Justice, a leading law firm in school choice issues, partnered with First Liberty Institute, America’s premier law firm for religious freedom. Together, we’re fighting on behalf of three families and challenging the state’s blatant religious discrimination.

Learn more about this case here.

9. Nebraska: In Walthill, Nebraska, village officials refuse to grant necessary building permits to Light of the World Gospel Ministries, a small but growing congregation which seeks to help its community.

Right now, First Liberty is fighting in court so that the church can renovate its own worship space and also help rebuild other downtown properties.

Learn more about this case here.

10. Idaho: Jeremy and Kristy Morris were banned by their homeowner’s association from putting up Christmas lights and a holiday display on their own property. At one point, an HOA member bluntly stated that they were doing so “because someone in this association doesn’t like Christmas.”

First Liberty is fighting this case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse an Idaho judge’s decision preventing Jeremy and Kristy from decorating their home for Christmas.

Learn more about this case here.

By going ALL IN, we can continue making more history together.

With your support, First Liberty can reclaim religious liberty in 2020 and for years to come.

Will you consider making a financial gift today?

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