The Church is Being Silenced Across America
Growing government intrusion into the affairs of the Church is posing a serious threat to church autonomy and our most basic religious freedoms. Pastors are being censored, the proclamation of God’s Truth is being blocked, and churches are being discriminated against and threatened with punishment.
This was not the intention of our Founding Fathers, who established our country on religious freedom and who enshrined this precious God-given right in the U.S. Constitution. And throughout our nation’s history, churches have been recognized as the moral leaders of our society and Christians have enjoyed the freedom to express their religious beliefs.
“The Church’s assignment is to be the moral and cultural conscience of the nation.”Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.
Church of Hope in Beltsville, Maryland
But all of that is changing very quickly. At the urging of anti-Christian groups seeking to secularize America, courts and government are increasingly treating our churches more as nuisances than as pillars of the community. And some are treated not just as nuisances, but as criminals for exercising their Christian faith!
That’s exactly how Bishop Rick Painter of Christ the King Liturgical Charismatic Church was treated before Alliance Defending Freedom was given the opportunity to defend him. For years, he rang the bells of his church as an expression of praise to God – until the City of Phoenix wrongly determined the bells violated a local noise ordinance. As a result, a judge sentenced Bishop Painter to jail! After Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed suit, a federal court ruled the city’s noise ordinance could not be applied to churches. Eventually, the court reversed Bishop Painter’s criminal conviction.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the God-given right of pastors and churches to speak, act, and minister in accordance with biblical principles. In spite of this, our most fundamental freedoms – freedom to exercise religious beliefs, freedom of speech, and freedom of access – are being stripped away at an alarming rate.
By perpetuating the myth of the so-called “separation of church and state,” radical anti-Christian groups have been able to persuade public officials to silence religious expression. In a growing number of cases, government officials are seeking to revoke church tax exemptions…seize their land…stop their community outreach ministries…deny them equal access to public buildings…and restrain their pastors from preaching biblical Truth as it relates to “political” issues and candidates. In essence, by using fear, intimidation, and disinformation, the government is determining what your pastor and church can do and say.
For 18 years, Alliance Defending Freedom has defended against countless attacks on religious liberty and, with its alliance of more than 2,200 attorneys, has been successful in eight of every 10 cases litigated to completion. Here is a glimpse of the widespread attacks on pastors and churches across America:
- In New York, the school board has been trying for nearly two decades to block Bronx Household of Faith from meeting in a public school building for worship services on Sundays.
- In Michigan, the radical group “Bash Back” invaded Mount Hope Church and disrupted a worship service while showering the congregation with propaganda on homosexual behavior.
- In Montana, Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church faced election law charges after a volunteer passed out petitions to place a marriage amendment on the Montana ballot.
- In Arizona, Gilbert city officials ordered Oasis of Truth Church to stop meeting or holding Bible studies in its pastor’s private home.
- In Illinois, the City of Carlinville refused to allow Carlinville Southern Baptist Church to use a building it had purchased for worship services.
- In Louisiana, a federal contractor ordered Calvary Baton Rouge Church to stop feeding people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina because the group offered a voluntary prayer service and Bible study.
- In New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights issued a complaint against the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church for not allowing a “civil union” ceremony at their worship pavilion for people practicing homosexual behavior.
- Throughout America, the Internal Revenue Service is intimidating churches and pastors into silence on what Scripture says about candidates and elections.
Whether instigated by individuals, secular organizations, or government officials, these activities are too often prompted by a desire to intimidate pastors and other ministry leaders and to silence the Truth of the Gospel.
Unleashing the Voice of the Church
We must keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel. When the Church is silenced, the culture suffers. The future of religious liberty in America hinges in large part on the willingness of courageous pastors and ministry leaders to speak up boldly for the God-given freedoms protected by our Constitution.
“You can’t preach the Word of God truthfully without preaching with courage.”The Reverend Dr. John Guest
Christ Church Grove Farm in Sewickly, Pennsylvania
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is dedicating significant resources to defend the rights of churches and pastors like yours so they are free to speak, act, and minister in accordance with biblical principles, without fear of government censorship, punishment, or unlawful regulation.
By supporting Alliance Defending Freedom, you can make it possible for pastors and churches to take a stand for the Truth, so that our culture is transformed by the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
The doors of the Church must be opened. The voice of the Church must be unleashed.
Speak Up – Your pastor and church leaders need to know their constitutionally protected rights so they can stand boldly for the Truth. Encourage them to visit www.SpeakUpMovement.org to learn more and to download the free online resources provided by Alliance Defending Freedom.
Need Help? – Has your pastor or church faced aggressive actions by the government or anti-Christian groups? Contact our legal intake team today.