I want to tell you the story of a small community in Joseph, Oregon.
I’ve traveled to Joseph a few times. It’s a remote community in the northwest; a charming town filled with brick buildings, surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks and lush green pastures.
But for all its natural beauty, there is a community of people in rural Joseph struggling to recover from drug and alcohol addictions, looking for an opportunity to get their life and families back. They long to put past mistakes behind and seek a clean start, a chance to become productive and involved members of their community.
But as they fight to rebuild their lives, many have found themselves homeless and alone.
In Joseph, winters are long and bitter – and potentially deadly for those who have no shelter.
Amidst this desperate need, a non-profit, faith-based organization, Point of Connection Ministries, has been more than willing to open its doors to provide support and a place to call home for those who have nowhere else to turn.
And beyond giving them a place to live, Point of Connection provides transformational assistance and help, including vital training on how to start life anew with a positive direction – all at no cost to the taxpayer.
Point of Connection, in fact, was founded with the support of county law enforcement, who understand the impact of the ministry in making their local community a safer and better place.
But this outstanding ministry is being held back from serving its community.
City officials shut down Point of Connection – and they’re making it practically impossible for the ministry to reopen its doors.
To this day, its founders, Neal and Corrine Isley, are embroiled in a legal fight with the local zoning board to receive approval to continue providing services and support to their community.
They founded Point of Connection ministries motivated by their Christian faith to help those in need. For Neal and Corrine, serving their community is how they live out their faith.
It’s why they have devoted years and personal resources trying to get the ministry up and running again. But their compassion, benevolence and desire to serve their community have been repaid with opposition and rejection.
Honestly, I wish I could say that Point of Connection Ministries is the only one to experience this kind of opposition.
But the truth is that faith-based ministries across America are constantly met with antagonism and rejection at the local level. Below are several examples of religious organizations we’ve defended and how we continue to fight for groups that do outstanding work in their communities:
Unfortunately, these incidents continue to occur despite the fact that federal law and the Constitution protect the rights of faith-based organizations, as well as the rights of those they serve:
In local communities throughout our country, you and millions of Americans give real, tangible meaning to your faith by serving those around you. And you often do so through ministries and religious organizations that do critical and oftentimes life-saving work in your local communities – such as Point of Connection in Joseph, Oregon.
By winning victories at the local level for houses of worship and for faith-based organizations – like Point of Connection, we are empowering you to go serve your communities, because serving your neighbors, friends and the people in need around you is a key part of how you live out your faith.
These legal victories often happen thousands of miles away from the U.S. Supreme Court, but they are where we see some of the most meaningful and personal impact.