MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMERICA! Here are the Gifts of Freedom You Gave Your Fellow Americans in 2015 . . .

December 23, 2015

by Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO & Chief Counsel

Just before I go home and celebrate Christmas with the family, as many are doing all over the country, I just want to stop and make sure I say thank you. Thank you for your support of First Liberty Institute, thank you for your partnership in these unbelievable victories this year.

When you look at our cases and the millions and millions of people whose freedoms were restored, understand that you had a part in that—know that you participated in each victory. 

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, in addition to the birth of our savior we can celebrate the freedoms we’ve been given, and the freedoms we’ve been responsible for stewarding, and the freedoms we’ve actually restored.

I want you to understand that you not only supported and partnered with us in these, but you helped make these happen. For example:

  •           This year, your support helped us save the career of heroic U.S. Navy Chaplain Wes Modder when his commanding officer tried to destroy him for counseling sailors from the Bible. In fact, your support helped us lead the legal counterattack against religious discrimination in the military.
  •           You helped win victories blocking the ACLU and others from tearing down veterans memorials with religious symbols, such as those at Mt. Soledad in California, and Bladensburg, Maryland.
  •           Your support successfully defended students like 9-year-old Mackenzie Fraiser, who was ordered to take a Bible verse out of a school assignment. Your support helped make sure the Bible verse went back in.
  •           You helped us defend ministries like Insight for Living, the teaching outreach of Dr. Chuck Swindoll, against government efforts to force them to violate their faith by providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs for their employees. 
  •          You helped us stand with pastors and houses of worship in New York, Houston, and elsewhere when government officials tried to force them out of communities that needed their ministry.
  •       And your support helped us win for a brave man like award-winning journalist Bob Eschliman, fired for expressing his religious beliefs about marriage . . . and to continue defending brave men like Dr. Eric Walsh and others persecuted for their religious faith in the workplace. You are helping us win for them.

Of course, this is just a sample of the cases we won this year. We handled more than 400 legal matters, and our caseload has almost doubled.

Yet we still win well over 90 percent of our cases.

By God’s grace, we have an innovative strategy with a nucleus of some of the finest attorneys in America. These 12 attorneys coordinate a vast and expanding network of volunteer attorneys from the most elite law firms in the nation—roughly 24 of the top 50 firms.

Lawyers within these top firms defend victims of religious discrimination at no charge, even though they would normally charge as much as $1,000 per our or more.

Every one of our staff attorneys can coordinate up to 20 of these top volunteer litigators. So for every staff attorney your donations help First Liberty Institute to employee, your donations are supplying up to 20 of the best attorneys in the nation to fight for religious freedom in their local areas around America—areas where they are known and respected by judges and the legal community.

That’s the unique strategy that gives Liberty Institute an edge. And that’s how we achieved the victories I mentioned above. If you have supported us this year, these are your victories!

It truly is a privilege to serve alongside you at such a time as this, protecting religious freedom for all Americans. Merry Christmas.

We still need your help this year! First Liberty Institute needs to keep on track with our budget projections. Generous friends have been helping all month to meet the $3.2 million goal we started with at the beginning of the month. But we still need approximately $1.6 million by midnight, December 31.

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