Protecting the Constitution’s Promise of Religious Freedom for America’s Everyday Heroes

January 29, 2021
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by Marlee Tomlinson • 6 min read

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” – Matthew 25:40

Many in today’s censorious cancel culture often forget that one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Constitution is its protection of viewpoints, speech and religious freedom for ALL—including those with unpopular opinions.

In fact, the First Amendment exists to ensure the protection of those whose voices would otherwise be silenced, or whose opinions would be censored at the whim of a tyrannical majority that deemed them socially controversial or “unacceptable.” It provides a shield for the “small and weak,” so to speak, those who otherwise may fall to the politically strong and powerful opinions of the current day and age.

That’s the core of our mission at First Liberty: To be the last line of defense for “The Least of These,” to defend those whose religious freedom is being trampled, to give the best legal representation for those who would otherwise be unable to afford a top-notch constitutional attorney, to speak for those who’ve been silenced and to protect the God-given liberties of people of all faiths.

America’s Everyday Heroes

First Liberty’s clients truly are America’s everyday heroes. They are people of faith from all walks of life, from diverse backgrounds and religions, who do incredible work in their communities. They are the ones who give back, who help their neighbors, who share their faith and seek to encourage others.

And when we achieve a legal victory to reclaim religious liberty for ONE of them, we’re helping secure freedom and the rights of ALL Americans:

Gail 300px Gail Blair

First Liberty successfully reclaimed religious freedom for Gail Blair, an elderly blind woman from Rhode Island, who was banned from a public park and threatened with arrest for sharing her faith and handing out a small tract of the Gospel of John to those who wanted one.

Jarvis 300px Dr. Jarvis Baker & Canaan Baptist Church

First Liberty attorneys are representing Dr. Jarvis Baker and Canaan Baptist Church, a small congregation that ministers to the underprivileged communities in South Dallas, TX. Despite the church’s ministry and outreach to the local community, city officials are attempting to seize the church’s property through eminent domain.

Kennedy 300px Coach Joe Kennedy

First Liberty continues defending Coach Joe Kennedy, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who wanted to continue serving and helping young men by becoming a high school football coach, but was fired from his job because he said a brief, personal prayer on the field after games. After nearly six years of litigation, a victory for coach is within sight…a triumph that could help ensure that no American is forced to choose between their faith and their job.

Eric2 300px Eric Walsh

First Liberty successfully resolved an issue with the State of Georgia on behalf of Dr. Eric Walsh, a public health expert who served on President Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council. Dr. Walsh, a lay minister at his church, was fired from his position as a health director because he preached about traditional marriage in a sermon. His victory was a key step in helping ensure that no American should be fired for living out their faith.

Toras 300px Congregation Toras Chaim

First Liberty reached a settlement to secure a victory for Congregation Toras Chaim, a small Jewish congregation who endured a five-year legal battle with city of Dallas, TX over alleged violations of parking regulations…even though members of the Orthodox Jewish faith do not drive on the Sabbath!

Barca 300px Daniela Barca

First Liberty successfully defended Daniela Barca, a 14-year-old high school freshman who wanted to form a club with other students who shared her Christian faith, but school officials refused to approve her club simply because it was religious. After our intervention, school officials reversed their position, allowing Daniela’s club to meet and give students an opportunity to encourage one another.

Point Of Connection 300px Point of Connection

Located in the remote village of Joseph, OR, Point of Connection is a faith-based nonprofit that serves its community by providing shelter, assistance, and training to men seeking to become more productive citizens. After county officials prevented the ministry from operating by denying a permit application, First Liberty’s intervention helped this ministry secure the permit it needed to fulfill its religious mission.

Everyone’s Free to Do Great Things

If you’re around First Liberty long enough, you’ll hear these words from our President and CEO, Kelly Shackelford, more than a few times: “Everyone’s free to go do great things.”

To Kelly, and all of us here at First Liberty, these words express our commitment to a shared mission and purpose that drives us forward each and every day: to protect and defend YOUR constitutional right to freely live out your faith. That’s the crux of why First Liberty exists, so that everyone, our clients as well as ALL Americans—whether religious or not—can go forth to do great things.

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