faith&j ustice Volume VI, Issue 2
Members of the Defend Life “Face The Truth” tour display their signs along a Maryland highway, not long before they were arrested by state troopers on unspecified charges. (See story, p. 8.)
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Bruce Ellefson Glen Lavy, Edward and Lynn Padilla, Chris Potts, Alan Sears
Alliance Defending Freedom would enjoy hearing your comments on the stories and issues discussed in Faith & Justice. Please direct comments/questions to www. AllianceDefendingFreedom.org, call 800-835-5233, or write: Editor, Faith & Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, 15100 N. 90th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. © 2013, Alliance Defending Freedom. All rights reserved.
Minutes With Alan
Symbols Of Our Faith by Alan Sears, President, CEO and General Counsel
For beautiful buildings, you can’t beat the Greeks.
Leading some of our Allied Ministry Friends on a tour of Greece this summer – walking in the footsteps of the apostle Paul, seeing once-splendid edifices, like the Temple of Apollo and the Acropolis – I couldn’t help but marvel again at the skill of their great architects and the enduring grace of their Corinthian columns. You can see that same marvelous architecture all over Washington, D.C., in buildings like the one that houses the Supreme Court. You can see something else, too: that we have inherited something far more insidious than classical style from those Greeks. Reading through the book of Acts, we learn how so many of the leaders and philosophers of that long-ago culture made the tragic, deliberate choice to reject the eternal truth of the living Christ, so eloquently presented to them by Paul and others. Enamored of their own gods, sure of their own cultural and intellectual superiority, they failed to see the Light before them … and so led their people into darkness. In doing so, they lost their nation’s chance for enduring greatness.
I think of that, remembering what Chief Justice Charles
Evans Hughes said, at the dedication of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in 1932: “The Republic endures, and this is the symbol of its faith.” He seemed to be saying that
the Court, and its interpretation of our laws and Constitution, will always be the ultimate decider of what is right and good and best about America. Now, if I didn’t believe in the authority of law, I wouldn’t have devoted my life to practicing it, or to defending our Constitution. But the symbol of my faith is not a building in Washington, however beautifully designed it may be. Nor is my ultimate hope for justice invested in nine justices who are as vulnerable as those long-ago Greeks (and the rest of us) to being swallowed alive by their own egos and philosophies and the pressures of an increasingly pagan culture. No, the symbol of my faith – and my great hope for our country – is a cross, as the emblem of God’s unswerving commitment to justice, and to grace. Insofar as our highest court exerts its great influence to protect the freedom of those who would live out that faith, I will always recognize its dignity and honor its symbolic importance to the health and future of our republic. But you and I know our Lord has His own ideas on what makes good architecture.“You are God’s building,” Paul told the Greeks of Corinth. Each of us who humbly seeks to serve Him is a temple of His Holy Spirit … a symbol of our own faith, and proof abundant that His Kingdom endures. John 15:5 - Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.
View a special message from Alan. Visit www.Alliance DefendingFreedom.org and click on “Faith & Justice.”
Above: Alan and Paula Sears at the Parthenon Alliance Defending Freedom
On The Square
D r. A n t h o n y B r a d l e y An acclaimed scholar and popular commentator on economics, education, race, and popular culture, Dr. Anthony Bradley is associate professor of theology at The King’s College in New York City and a research fellow at the Acton Institute. His writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in the Atlanta JournalConstitution, The Detroit News, and World magazine,
and he has appeared on NPR, CNN / Headline News, Fox News, and Court TV Morning Radio. He is the author of Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and
International Development and Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America.
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You have written that “the real ‘opiate of the masses’ is not religion, but the lack of it.” How does the erosion of religious values in America relate to the growth of government? We are living in a context of religious, social, and moral pluralism that we have not experienced in this country – ever. For the first time, religious leaders are having to lead their congregations to think about their role as men and women of God in a culture that is increasingly godless. When a society becomes increasingly secular, people look for something outside of themselves to help make the world make sense. In the West, we have cultural and social mores that have benefited from a commitment to God – and less reliance on institutions like government to define what is right and wrong and what constitutes human flourishing. Unfortunately, we have arrived at a point in our society where God has
been replaced with the State. Now, what is moral is what is legal. Now, the state decides what constitutes a flourishing business and economy.
To hear more from Dr. Bradley about the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, visit www. AllianceDefending Freedom.org and click on “Faith & Justice.”
In some respects, it is simply an idol: we use government to define everything else. Government defines the family [and] the economy. Government tells churches what they can and cannot do. Government defines marriage [and] what we should eat and not eat. Government becomes the surrogate decision-maker for all the things free people used to do when they were grounded more securely in a personal faith that actually encouraged them to live out those virtues in public.
What do you say to your Christian students who feel helpless against that secular tide?
Change occurs from the aggregate work of lots of people doing little things, locally, in their particular context. We need young people in all levels of local, state, and federal government. We need [them] inside the public education system, inside the world of business, inside the world of music, inside Hollywood, inside journalism, inside banking, inside Wall Street, inside the church. They need to be everywhere. You single-handedly aren’t going to change America – but an army of young people in multiple spaces, in multiple contexts, in this country and around the world, can make a massive, massive difference … and we have seen that historically.
That describes the guiding theme of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a program you’ve been actively involved with. What do you like about Blackstone? Blackstone provides an opportunity to engage some of the brightest young law students in the country
We are living in a context of religious, social, and moral pluralism that we have not experienced in this country – ever. – Dr. Anthony Bradley who “get it” and are looking for ways to assume their role in making things right. [It’s] a community of women and men who not only care about the issues of our day but about moral virtue. People come out of Blackstone with this powerful double-edged sword of being a person of integrity, but also understanding the principles and values that made America the most free and prosperous nation in recent world history. The opportunity to have a small part in encouraging and inspiring these young people to go into spaces and places where I won’t get to go is a real delight. I look forward to seeing the fruit that will be born in generations to come from the hard work, vision, dedication, perseverance, and sense of mission that I find with those who participate in the Blackstone program. It is also exciting for me to see the ways in which Blackstone alumni see themselves as partners with one another in a mission to make a difference. They recognize that we are in this together for the long haul. You can see their long-term commitment to encourage and support each other in this mission … to really begin to call our country to remember those things that made it great.
Beyond Blackstone, how do you see Alliance Defending Freedom impacting culture? As someone who has, over the years, served on various nonprofit bo ards across the country, it has been particularly encouraging to see the work of Alliance Defending Freedom in supplying the types of support and counsel to organizations that often are completely overwhelmed by the opposition. In fact, I would argue that Alliance Defending Freedom is uniquely positioned to remind the entire nation that religious liberty is a value our nation was founded upon. We need organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom.
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If you saw an opportunity to save hundreds of thousands
of lives a year – every year – just by exposing the alleged crimes of one huge international corporation … would you take it? So would the attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom. That’s why we are compelled to expose the truth about Planned Parenthood. “Our objective is to drive Planned Parenthood out of the abortion business,” says Steve Aden, Senior Counsel and head of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Life, “by causing them to lose public funding and public support. As we reduce their capacity to wage war on children, we can save hundreds of thousands of lives a year.” Behind a carefully cultivated mask of respectability, Aden says, “Planned Parenthood is a mammoth, billion-dollar-plus organization, whose business model depends on killing babies in the womb. They’re actually America’s largest abortion provider, effectively controlling the market. There is no close second. They are the movement leader for the abortion industry.” As such, “Planned Parenthood works harder to promote abor-
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tion than any other organization in the country,” says Erin Brownback, of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Life Project. “They bring enormous resources to bear – politically and financially – that no one else can.” And a major source of that formidable economic power is … well, you.
Last year, taxpayer dollars accounted for 45 percent – a staggering $542.4 million – of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. What do we get for our money?
Among other things, Brownback says: children’s textbooks, openly promoting underage sex – often with graphic illustrations. Websites that encourage promiscuity by challenging students to use Planned Parenthood condoms, then post online “Where Did You Wear It?” Media campaigns featuring smiling celebrities wearing T-shirts that read, “I had an abortion.” “The Planned Parenthood business model is a three-legged stool,” says Aden. “One, get kids involved in dangerous sexual behavior early. Two, promote underage and illicit sex, which brings on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), cervical cancer, and pregnancies. Three, make money by screening for STDs and cervical cancer, treating STDs, and – when contra-
Marketing Abortion — Gloria Steinem was one of several celebrities who participated in a campaign encouraging women to be proud of their abortions. This is part of the Planned Parenthood business plan to use abortion for profit and business growth.
ception fails – performing abortions. Their goal is to make money, regardless of the devastating consequences for young people.” Or women. Multiple studies suggest that Planned Parenthood often puts profits before health and safety, with many Planned Parenthood affiliates having been called out by health agencies for exercising low medical standards in inadequate facilities with poorly sterilized equipment. “They have a callous disregard for even the most basic health and safety standards designed to keep women safe,” Aden says. One example: the organization’s enthusiasm for “webcam” abortions, which allow an onscreen Planned Parenthood doctor at a remote location to authorize a woman’s pharmaceutical abortion without physically examining her. That’s the kind of low-overhead, high-profit turnaround Planned Parenthood likes to see from its facilities. The drive for ever-increasing profits probably not only limits the corporation’s interest in adoption referrals (it makes about one for every 145 abortions), but (according to former Planned Parenthood staffers) has prompted a quota system that requires all employees to push preg-
nant women to end their pregnancies – and resulted in a record for Planned Parenthood of 334,000 abortions in 2011, and nearly a million over the last three years.
Alliance Defending Freedom is be-
ginning to turn that brutal tide. The ministry has litigated over 45 cases involving Planned Parenthood so far, “and, working with many allies in the pro-life movement, is increasingly taking on Planned Parenthood in the courts,” Aden says. With the help of former Planned Parenthood employees, he says, “we’ve been gathering solid evidence of nearly $8 million in waste, overbilling, and abuse by Planned Parenthood facilities all over the U.S.” “Alliance Defending Freedom’s success comes by the the grace of God and the power of the alliance,” Aden says. “We have so many cases in place against Planned Parenthood that we could not prosecute without the help of our Allied Attorneys. With them, we’re doing all we can to hold Planned Parenthood accountable in the courts.” And not just in the courts: the ministry has presented its evidence to members of Congress and to state legislators and law enforcement officials across the country.
The results, Aden says, are increasingly tangible. “Alliance Defending Freedom works with allies to track every abortion facility in America, and we know that in the first four months of this year alone, 25 abortion businesses have closed, most of them because of regulatory actions against dangerous and unsanitary conditions. As abortionists have gone out of business and the Church has responded to mothers in crisis by raising up pregnancy resource centers, America now has three times as many pregnancy resource centers as abortion businesses, and the demand for abortions has dropped by one-third.” Perhaps death-as-big-business is a dying industry, at last.
Visit www.AllianceDefendingFreedom.org and click on “Faith & Justice” to view a video and receive a booklet detailing the threat posed by Planned Parenthood to your children and your community, and to learn more of what Alliance Defending Freedom is doing to eliminate that threat. Alliance Defending Freedom
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Standing in profile for her first mugshot, Angela Swagler decided to smile.
And, curiously, they let her. Police photographers generally discourage smiling, but then these officers had already made some exceptions for Angela â€Ś bringing her oatmeal instead of pizza, getting her lip balm when she asked for it. Maybe it seemed the least they could do, considering. But Angela had no illusions that these small indulgences changed anything. On this hot summer night, in a strange town, several of these police officers were still determined to humiliate her. Vested with defending the law, they had already shown themselves more than willing to shove the law aside to silence her and the rest of her small group of Christian young people. Angela was afraid, but she wouldnâ€™t let them see it. So she looked at the camera and smiled.
All Dr. William Swagler ever wanted for his oldest girl was to see her
grow up strong in her faith. He and his wife did their part: praying with their six children every night before bed, taking them to daily mass, enrolling them in Catholic schools near their Erie, Pennsylvania, home. The schools, though, were not all he had hoped. As an elementary student, gentle Angela was often bullied by other children. In high school, she was bullied by the faculty, too many of whom turned out to be
the sweetest people in my life” to “incredibly hostile” people who “seemed to forget their rationality and let their emotions take complete control.” By Friday of that week, her team of mostly other new high school graduates had made 18 stops – one for every member of the group – with only one more to go before retiring to a nearby park for an end-of-tour picnic. Next day, most of them would head for Baltimore to fly home. Now, as they all piled out of their vans along a Maryland highway, Angela had her hands full. Her dad had urged her to carry a video camera and record the demonstrations, in case someone harassed them. She also held a sign that read: Jesus forgives and heals.
The team had barely taken their antagonistic to the faith they were supposed to be teaching. “She really went through a lot of mental turmoil for being faithful to her beliefs,” Dr. Swagler says. “But she never let [it] defeat her. She always struggled on.” He recalls teaching her, early on, the words to The Impossible Dream – the classic song of the hero’s call to fight unbeatable foes, right unrightable wrongs, and “be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.” Even during tough times, he told her, it’s important “to be faithful to yourself, to the church, and to the truth.” The lesson took. “She’s always done that. She’s a very faithful person. Responsible, humble, faithful to Christ, and very strong in her beliefs.”
It wasn’t until her senior year of high
school, though, that Angela found her “heavenly cause.” A trip to Washington, D.C., for the national March for Life quickened her awareness of abortion, and deepened her convictions on the issue. The following summer, a friend
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invited her to come along on a five-day “Face The Truth” tour with an organization called Defend Life. The tour involved standing along roadsides while holding signs with pro-life messages, photos of children in the womb, and graphic pictures of aborted babies. (Some distance before the abortion pictures, group members held up signs warning those passing of the images to come.) Angela says people often asked her how she and the others could hold up such “disgusting” signs. “But the thing is,” she says, “if you’re disgusted by these signs, then you should be even more disgusted by the actual act of abortion. These signs merely illustrate the act.” Such an “in-your-face” approach impacts some more than others, she concedes. “God touches people’s hearts in many ways. The important thing is to bear witness and reach out to people, and God will work through you as His instrument to bear witness against abortion.” During a five-day tour across Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, Angela encountered everything from “some of
places when a state trooper pulled off the road and approached their leader, Beth Walsh, telling her that if the group didn’t have a permit, they’d have to leave. Walsh asked what permit was needed to present a peaceful demonstration along a public road. The trooper ignored that, again ordering them to leave or be arrested. Walsh replied that the First Amendment gave them every right to do what they were doing. Take it up with the people at the nearest police station, the trooper said. The team reloaded their vans. Walsh phoned her supervisor, who suggested taking the team across the county line for their last demonstration. So the group moved two miles down the road to Harford County, just inside a town called Bel Air, and once again took up their signs and places along the road. Almost immediately, patrol cars pulled up. Twelve officers – state troopers, deputies, local police – walked straight to Walsh and began handcuffing her. “What am I being arrested for?” she asked. None of them would tell her, but they moved quickly to arrest the others on the team.
They took away Angela’s sign and camera, handcuffed her, and placed her at a roadside railing. A helicopter whirred overhead. Drivers slowed to gape and jeer at the prisoners. Some of Angela’s friends began to cry. Most came from homeschooling backgrounds, and like her, had never seen the inside of a principal’s office, much less been arrested on a public road. After half an hour on the roadside, the prisoners were driven to the Bel Air police station and lined up in the parking lot, where – with the male officers watching – a female officer “stripsearched” the girls, looking down the front of their shirts, digging her hands inside the waistline of their pants. Surrounded by their male teammates and the policemen, the girls blushed with embarrassment … and noticed that none of the guys were searched at all. Inside the station, officers placed the young women in one cell, the men in another, apart from all other prisoners. No one was read their rights, told the charges, or informed how long they’d be held. No one was allowed to make a phone call. No one was told that an attorney they’d met the night before had heard what happened and sent a lawyer to help. Officers refused to let him talk to anyone on the team, or give him numbers to call the prisoners’ families. Standing in her cell, Angela tried to convince herself she was still in the United States of America. Nothing in her life had prepared her for anything like this. But then it soon became apparent that nothing had ever prepared the Bel Air police for anyone quite like Angela.
The toilet was a problem. It was right
there, in the cell, in the open, with a ceiling video camera pointed at it. If someone had to go, other girls tried to surround her in a circle, facing outward. Angela held out a long while, then prayed, called the jailer, and asked for a private bathroom. He did a double take. She repeated her request. Bemused, he
arranged her escort to a private room. Feeling a little stir-crazy by the time they came to take the prisoners for their mug shots, Angela prayed she might go first, and sure enough, hers was the first name called. In front of the camera, she asked if she could smile. (“Smiling showed that you rose above the situation,” she says, “and still retained your humanity and dignity.”) By now, a few of the officers were smiling back. Back in the cell, Angela suggested that, like Paul, they could sing! No one else was enthusiastic, but Angela says her
solo was so bad the others laughed and joined in, if only to drown her out. They warbled through a few hymns before realizing that the guys from the team, on the far side of the wall, were singing along. “Boys, you choose one!” Angela yelled, and a sing-off began in earnest. It ended when a jailer complained that officers couldn’t hear their phone calls. Come midnight, Angela was trying to sleep on a pizza-box pillow when the jailer called for her. She was being moved to Harford County Detention Center. An officer handcuffed her, put her in an unmarked car, and drove to an ominous-looking edifice, inside a barbed-wire fence. “Is this where you keep dangerous criminals?” Angela asked. Yes, the officer said. “I’ve never
had detention before,” she said, smiling. “Actually, I’ve never been grounded before.” He didn’t smile back. Inside, they placed shackles around her ankles and began moving her through a series of automatic doors. The shackles were painfully tight. “Officer,” Angela said, “you’re hurting me.” “Then you can’t run away,” he said. Reconsidering Angela’s size (she is just five feet tall), he actually decided to tighten the shackles. When he finished, she could barely walk. Shuffling
down the hall, she thought of Saint Paul, so often in chains for his faith. “Please make me faithful, passionate, and useful like St. Paul,” she prayed. “Use me here as Your instrument.” Officers fingerprinted her again. Angela asked if they knew at what stage babies in the womb develop fingerprints. She told them a little about what she and her group were doing, and why. “What, is God with you?” they laughed. “Whenever they mocked me, I pretended I didn’t notice,” Angela says. “I always tried to respond respectfully.” That became harder when a female officer escorted her to a bathroom and ordered her to lift her shirt and bra. Tired and bewildered, Angela stared at her. “No,” Alliance Defending Freedom
be wary of. As the other girls from Defend Life joined them, they prayed with Megan, who also told them what she’d heard several officers saying, earlier in the day … about a group of pro-lifers they wanted to arrest, if they could think up any charges. she said. The officer waited. “No,” Angela repeated. “I’m not going to do that.” She reminded the officer that she’d already been searched at the other jail. Clearly, though, she wasn’t getting out of the room until she cooperated. So she did as the officer demanded, and was led back to another cell. She was lucky. With the other girls, the officer didn’t even bother to close the bathroom door.
As the first of her group to be moved,
Angela thought she might be alone in her new cell. Inside, though, she heard a sound and turned to face a disheveled young woman, barely older than herself, with dyed hair, ragged clothes, and some remarkable tattoos. She seemed uncomfortable, so Angela averted her eyes. Soon, though, the woman came over. Her name was Megan, and she was intrigued by Angela’s T-shirt, with the words “Pro Life” on the front and “Defend Life” on the back. Megan herself had gotten pregnant as a young teenager, she said, and had gone to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. But she didn’t like the way they treated her – like abortion was “an everyday experience.” She also noticed that they urged her toward abortion without offering other options. So she left without aborting the baby. Now, pregnant again, involved with drugs, and jailed for passing bad checks, Megan warned Angela which officers to
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Two hours later, the commissioner had Angela brought to her office, where she charged her with loitering, disorderly conduct, and failure to obey the law: a $2,000 fine, and up to 10 months in jail. She said nothing about their not having a permit – the only charge the earlier officers had mentioned. She pushed some papers toward Angela, and told her if she wanted out, to sign them. Exhausted, Angela signed. Minutes later, she was out on the street. It was 3 a.m. Turning on her phone, she found a text message from her dad: “Call me at any hour.” Astonished (“I didn’t even know he could text”), she phoned home. For the first time since her arrest, she really felt nervous … it’s hard for a girl who’s never been grounded to tell her parents she’s been jailed. “I was so grateful she was alive,” Dr. Swagler says. Angela had been checking in with him every evening about 5. On Friday, she didn’t. As hours went by, he and every other parent of a young person on the team began making calls … and, ominously, no one was answering.
parents right away. She did, then began pacing and praying herself, until, one by one, the other team members were bailed out and released ... the last at 11 a.m. Angela just had time to make her flight home.
A few days later, Dr. Swagler sat in on
a conference call with other parents and their lawyers, as the district attorney for Harford County recommended that the defendants all plead guilty to the charges leveled by the police, and assured them that if they could keep from being arrested for the next three years (by avoiding things like demonstrating against abortion), those charges would be dropped. To Dr. Swagler’s dismay, nearly all of the others agreed to that deal. “I think most of the parents felt like, ‘Thank God my kid is alive, let’s just get this over with,’” he says. For Dr. Swagler, that wasn’t enough. “Isn’t there one lawyer here,” he demanded, “who has the [guts] to defend my daughter?”
We don’t need constitutional protection for speech everybody agrees with, because nobody’s ever going to try to restrict that. – Kevin Theriot
He’d spent a long night pacing and praying. Now, hearing Angela’s story, he was outraged at what her team had been put through. “They did everything they could to humiliate them,” he says. Justice, though, could wait. For now, it was enough that they were all alive and okay.
“Yes, sir – I will,” answered Kevin Theriot, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. He’d been told about the case by one of the ministry’s Allied Attorneys, Scott Whiteman, the lawyer who’d tried to represent Angela and the others on the night of their arrest. (Despite his interest, Whiteman didn’t have the resources to take on what would clearly be a long and complicated case.) Theriot knew that the teens had been arrested not for anything they’d actually done, but simply because someone on the Bel Air force resented their graphic pro-life message.
“Blessed are the persecuted,” he told Angela, and urged her to call the other
“The Supreme Court has recognized again and again that you cannot restrict
speech because of the content or because of what the people are saying,” he says. “We’ve been able to make some progress in the pro-life area because people who are dedicated to the life issue have refused to let Planned Parenthood and their allies sweep the reality of abortion under a rug. That’s why it’s important that this kind of speech be protected. We don’t need constitutional protection for speech everybody agrees with, because nobody’s ever going to try to restrict that.”
Theriot introduced the Swaglers to
Daniel Blomberg, a young Alliance Defending Freedom staff attorney who helped them file suit against the City of Bel Air and the state troopers. His support proved crucial, especially during Angela’s grueling three-hour deposition. Opposing counsel focused in uncomfortable detail on the strip searches, often laughing derisively as she told what happened. Several times, Angela excused herself to go to the restroom; each time, she came back more solid and confident. The opposing attorneys finally demanded to know if Blomberg had other attorneys coaching her during these intervals. “No,” Blomberg said. “She’s praying.” Her prayers were answered resoundingly. After a four-year legal battle, Angela won a decisive legal victory. Harford County and the state troopers formally acknowledged that the officers’ behavior was unconstitutional, and agreed to train officers about First Amendment and free-speech issues. Angela stood in front of the Bel Air station as the settlement was announced, fielding reporters’ questions and publicly forgiving the officers who had abused her. “The legal reality is, whenever you sue the police, there are protections,” Blomberg says of the long-delayed ruling. “Necessary protections, for they have a very difficult job. Prosecuting a case of this nature is very expensive, very timeconsuming, and very challenging. Most lawyers simply can’t do it – they can’t af-
ford to. Alliance Defending Freedom has the incredible, sacrificial support of Ministry Friends that enables their lawyers to do the work that they do.” It’s work Angela thoroughly appreciates. “Coming to Alliance Defending Freedom was a very encouraging, exciting, exhilarating experience for me,” she says, “knowing there was an organization out there that was going to speak up for me and fight for my beliefs.” In fact, the ministry made such an impression on her that Angela attended its firstever Collegiate Academy in 2012, and decided on a career in law. Now in her second year at Ave Maria School of Law, she’s also completing an internship this summer as part of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship program. Angela is also still active in student prolife organizations, and after working with her for four years, Blomberg says the courage she and others show in tak-
ing such a public stand for their beliefs – beliefs many Christians play “close to the vest” – still impresses him. “These are people who deeply care for those who need it most in our society,” he says, “children in the womb and their often-frightened mothers, who are victimized daily and need to be saved. We have a responsibility, as Christians, to find ways to speak out and support them. People like Angela are just remarkable in their willingness – and their bravery – to step up to the plate.” “You don’t have a light and bury it under a bushel – because it’s only with light that we can take out the darkness,” Angela says. “It was a blessing that I was able to bear witness to the evil of abortion, and take a stand against it.” Some people might laugh at that – the idea of being arrested and stripsearched, as a blessing. But Angela just smiles. Alliance Defending Freedom
Edward and Lynn Padilla cuddle with their children (l-r): Samir, Mouhcine, Maggie, and Ezra.
Not to worry, the director told us: it
was just a routine government inspection. Each staff member was questioned at length, and the interviews went all day and into the night. An officer wrote down our responses, and required us to sign the statements.
In Morocco, being born out of wedlock is often a death sentence for the child. Men don’t acknowledge their illicit progeny, and women who want to keep their babies risk banishment from their families and society. That’s why the work of one Christian ministry, Village of Hope (VOH), has been so crucial – offering a community of foster homes where unwanted children can be taken in by couples from around the world who agree to live in Morocco and raise these babies as their own. Edward and Lynn Padilla met in 1996 while preparing for a mission trip to work with Moroccan children. Ten years later, they moved there with their newborn daughter, Maggie, to learn Arabic and become house parents with VOH. Their son Ezra was born in Morocco, and they soon took in two other boys, Samir and Mouhcine, and enveloped them with the love of Christ. Happy in their work for VOH, and delighting in their growing family, the Padillas hoped to live out their lives in Morocco. But that dream was dashed one Saturday morning in early 2010, when a slew of police cars pulled up in front of Village of Hope.
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Next day, though, the police were back … this time, searching our home and that of some other families (we rented a house down the road from the VOH compound). They questioned our children, looking for evidence, apparently, that we privately mocked Muslim beliefs. Late that night, our director came to see us; the police were demanding our passports and residence cards. Reluctantly, we handed them over. After he left, a police car pulled into our driveway and blocked it. He was still there the following noon. We called the American Embassy in Rabat to report what was happening. They just told us to stay alert and keep them posted. Edward was called in for more questioning, and then, late in the afternoon, both of us were summoned to the VOH compound. We left our children
with some good Moroccan friends, and went down to join the other VOH staff in the big community room.
them in someone else’s arms – perhaps never to see them again.
A government official was there with the police. He read a statement accusing us of breaking the national laws against proselytizing minors. That accusation immediately invalidated our right to remain in the country. We were being deported – without our adopted Moroccan children.
The police herded us onto a bus and rode with us to a hotel, where we waited a few hours for the first flight out of the country. The officers escorted us right up to the gate before handing back our passports. More than 40 of us were deported that day. We left 33 adopted children behind.
At that moment, in a nearby building, other officials were telling that to the little boys and girls. Many of them be-
To see an emotional interview with the Padillas and footage of the day they were evicted, visit www.AllianceDefendingFreedom.org and click on “Faith & Justice.” gan to cry hysterically, and their parents rushed out to find and comfort them.
We drove up the road to our home in
tears. We immediately called the embassy again, but this time they already knew what was happening, and told us we would have to comply. They did ask for more details of what had happened, and we hoped someone might be able to secure us a few days to pack and better prepare our boys for this radical change in their lives. But the next phone call told us a bus would be on hand shortly, and we’d have to leave right away. Samir was barely 2 years old; Mouhcine was only 1. How do you explain to two toddlers that the only mother and father they’ve ever known are about to vanish – and it isn’t their fault? Would they even remember us? Would anyone care for them, love them, as we had? What would the people they grew up with tell our young boys about us? Those were some of the thoughts crowding our hearts and minds as we hastily packed what few things we could carry, hurried down to the VOH, hugged our little boys goodbye, and placed
Although it was a privately funded
institution, VOH had full government permission to take in children and provide for all of their needs – housing, medical care, education. The children we adopted would otherwise have been left to die in hospital wards, smothered in trash bags, or abandoned to the streets. VOH always took the greatest possible care to follow the strictest letter of Moroccan law: keeping meticulous files, working with local family courts, keeping birth certificate records and (where possible) the names of each child’s natural mother and father. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska represented our VOH families in an appeal to the Moroccan courts, but that appeal was denied. (Time magazine reported that what happened to us was part of “a widespread crackdown on Christian aid workers in Morocco.”) Mr. Kiska also helped us as we testified before the International Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress. In both settings, he pointed out that none of the preconditions set out under Moroccan law for lawful deportation were met by the government officials who evicted us. Sadly, at no time during any of the legal proceedings in Morocco did authorities show any real concern about the needs of the children themselves. For officials there, this is entirely a religious matter – by keeping us out, they hope to remove any chance that Christian-
How do you explain to two toddlers that the only mother and father they’ve ever known are about to vanish – and it isn’t their fault? ity might somehow take root in their culture. Forcing these youngsters to be abandoned a second time is apparently a small price to pay for theological dogma.
So now, here in the U.S., we wait, and
hope, and pray. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, we are pursuing every possible avenue for bringing Samir and Mouhcine here to join us. For us, the memory of our boys is so painfully clear, and yet we know that after three years, memories of us are fading from their minds. News of them is hard to come by, but we have been told that Samir still asks for “Mommy” and “Daddy” when he sees the car we left at VOH. Our little boy Ezra was too young to remember much about his brothers, but our girl, Maggie, still grieves the loss of Samir and Mouhchine. Like her, we love and miss our boys, and all of those 33 children we knew so well. We are thankful that some kind Moroccan workers are trying to care for them … we just know they can’t be parents to the children, as we were. Our family and so many others have been torn apart. It is our prayer that someday God, in His grace, will bring us back Alliance Defending Freedom
Since almost their first meeting in 2009, Greg Terra and Stephen Casey have been working together to save lives in the womb. As co-founders of the Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL), the two Alliance Defending Freedom Allied Attorneys share a profound commitment to “aggressively defending the sanctity of human life” and a surprising strategy for accomplishing that defense – one that has so far enabled them to win every case they’ve taken at the TCDL. Terra and Casey go where the action is. Since founding TCDL in
2011 (on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade), the two have de-
fended demonstrators, health care professionals, medical school students, pregnancy centers – anyone trying to make a stand for
life in Texas. They specialize, though, in interceding for women being pressured against their will to have an abortion.
“About 60 percent of women feel their abortion was in some way forced on them,” Casey says. In the name of “parents’ rights,”
many families believe they can use coercion – even violent physical force, he says – to compel an underage daughter to abort the
child in her womb. He and Terra, though, have found an all-butfoolproof legal defense for such cases: Roe v. Wade.
“Roe v. Wade goes both ways,” Terra says. The U.S. Supreme Court,
by making abortion a matter of each woman’s personal choice, has made not having an abortion a matter of choice, too. “We‘ve taken
Roe v. Wade, turned it around, and used it against the pro-abortion side,” he says.
The success of that defense has drawn considerable media at-
tention: foreign reporters from Italy to Mexico have profiled their efforts, as have Good Morning America, Piers Morgan Live, and 20/20 in the U.S. Fellow Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys
from across the country have consulted with them on their own life
cases. Helping them, Terra and Casey say, is a way of saying thanks
Visit www.AllianceDefendingFreedom. org and click on “Faith & Justice” to learn more about the work of this legal alliance, and visit www.tcdl.org to find out more about the work of Terra, Casey, and the Texas Center for Defense of Life.
for the extraordinary investment the ministry continues to make in their calling.
“It’s empowering to me,” Casey says, “when I’m in front of a judge,
arguing why this girl shouldn’t be forced to have an abortion, to know
I’m not the only person who believes that. There’s a network of people around you, supporting you – the time, investment, and resources of
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and staff … all the Allied Min-
istry Friends who contribute to give me the professional development
that helps me save lives. (They provide) a community, encouragement, and professional development. To me, it’s just the total package.”x
Alliance Defending Freedom
In The News Volume II, Issue 4
In the wake of a ruling early last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) agreed in December to settle a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of former graduate student Julea Ward. EMU officials agreed to pay Ward a sum of money to settle her claims and to remove the expulsion from her record. Ward – an honors graduate student in her last semester at the university – was expelled from the EMU counseling program after she inquired whether she should refer a potential client
PRICE OF VALUES
to another counselor because the counseling he sought conflicted with her religious convictions. Given the ruling by the court that “Tolerance is a two-way street,” this case has nation-shaping implications for religious freedom on college and university campuses coast to coast.
Volume III, Issue 2 agreement with hospital officials exempting her from such procedures.
In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) completed its investigation of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom had requested the investigation on behalf of Cathy DeCarlo, a highly respected nurse at the facility, after she was compelled to participate in an abortion despite a written
The OCR investigation determined that the hospital was out of line in its treatment of Ms. DeCarlo. As a result, administrators were required to implement extensive policy and procedural changes designed to ensure that neither she nor any other medical personnel are ever again forced to participate in abortions. The changes were in addition to a new policy Mount Sinai had already adopted after a 2009 federal lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Ms. DeCarlo. A state lawsuit in the case is still
Describing the ministry as “a global
force and a great Scandinavian partner,” the Scandinavian Human Rights Committee presented Alliance Defending Freedom with its 2012 Human Dignity Award, in recognition of its “special contribution to human rights.” “Alliance Defending Freedom … has encouraged action to overcome infringements of human rights in Europe and has promoted a greater understanding of and respect for human dignity,” the Committee said, honoring the ministry for “battles fought in courts and legislatures to promote the dignity of the human person, the rights of conscience, and other fundamental human rights.” “The protection of freedom, life, and family are essential to human dignity in any society,” said Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska, in accepting the award last November. “The work we do worldwide to protect and preserve religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and marriage and family is a great honor and responsibility. It’s a passion we would not be able to pursue without the many supporters who share this passion with us.”
Alliance Defending Freedom
Glen Lavy, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
It would be hard to compose a clearer snapshot of the tragedy engulfing our nation’s culture today than what happened February 26 in the City Council chambers of Phoenix, Arizona.
That night, by a vote of 5-3, the Council passed the so-called “Bathroom Bill,” allowing any man or woman (who claims to be a different gender than the one he or she actually is) admission to all public toilet facilities, whatever their demarcation. The vote drew a noisy, passionate crowd, despite efforts by the Council to keep its agenda under wraps. (The bathroom ordinance was not even made available online until shortly before the meeting.) The hearing room was packed with people from their early 20s to their late 70s wearing “Yes” stickers, many of them strident and belligerent. The “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” – a San Francisco-based group of men wearing nuns’ habits – were on hand, clamoring for popular endorsement of homosexual behavior. One huge man angrily raised his fist and voice in support of every speaker who supported the measure. Of course, those in favor of open bathrooms didn’t have a corner on the anger market. Across the street from the City Council building, opponents of the measure wielded signs and screamed, “God hates men wearing
Alliance Defending Freedom
women’s clothes.” Sadly, even inside the hearing room, too many of those speaking against the bill were more interested in callously pushing their opinion than in “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
But if anything, the gender-confused
people who had pushed so ferociously for this measure were hurt more by their “friends” than their opponents. Several pastors from various denominations lent their vocal support to the bill, explaining that some members of their own congregations share this sexual confusion, so they felt they should be on hand to show these people “that God loves and accepts” them. Two Council members explained that their faith “required” them to vote yes, to show love rather than discrimination. Many of those who spoke up in opposition – including Alliance Defending Freedom staff and Allied Attorneys – pointed out that, whatever the sensibilities of the transsexual crowd, opening up women’s bathrooms to any man who claims he’s really a woman poses considerable danger to women and girls of all ages. Would a sexual predator hesitate for a moment to present himself as someone of the opposite gender, if it would gain him ready access to his victims at their most vulnerable moments? Those arguments, though, were roundly, loudly booed by most of
What I felt most that night was not outrage, or frustration, but a kind of weary sadness. those in the room, who refused to accept opposition as anything but religious bigotry. The fix was in; Council members had consulted only activists from the other side in drafting the language of the bill, and there were just too many political points to be made by supporting their agenda.
Still, what I felt most that night was
not outrage, or frustration, but a kind of weary sadness. Listening to some of those pressing for the bill, I could sense how genuinely hurt and beatendown they felt. And how desperate they were to assuage their pain and guilt and confusion by forcing this bill, and their views, on the public. But, of course, no legislation will free them from that anguish. Only Christ can. And then only if pastors and public servants alike are willing to invoke His truth, as well as His love, in their decisions. And their rhetoric. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the bathroom doors are open. And it’s open season on young girls and grown women now forced to risk their privacy – and their safety – for our society’s increasingly warped sense of tolerance.