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Volume VII, Issue 1


A Washington florist finds that her commitment to Christ puts her at odds with the state attorney general

Volume VII, Issue 1




“You didn’t find God. He wasn’t lost. You were, and He found you.”

8 PREVIOUS ARRANGEMENTS “Why is what I’m doing unusual? Why isn’t ever yone doing this?”


6 SAME MESSAGE, NEW OPPORTUNITIES “The landscape of communications has radically, seismically changed in the last 10 years.”

14 THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER IN GREECE, NY “The privilege of opening our board meetings with prayer was open to everyone.”


– Barronelle Stutzman –

“The need to defend our faith goes hand in hand with our legal right to do so.”

Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom 15100 N. 90th Street

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

[Phone] 800-835-5233 [Fax] 480-444-0025


Alliance Defending Freedom would enjoy hearing your comments on the stories and issues discussed in Faith & Justice. Please direct comments/questions to, call 800-835-5233, or write: Editor, Faith & Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, 15100 N. 90th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85260.


Chuck Bolte

Senior Writer

Chris Potts

Design Director/Photography Bruce Ellefson

Contributors John Auberger, Jordan Lorence, Chris Potts, Alan Sears

Minutes With Alan

I Stand Amazed by Alan Sears, President, CEO and General Counsel

A not well-kept secret: I love the old hymns. I know

that choruses and praise teams have pretty well supplanted the grand songs and great choirs that used to be the hallmark of churches coast to coast, but my heart still holds a hallowed place for the beautiful, enduring music that I most remember from my earliest days: Amazing Grace, Just As I Am, How Great Thou Art. And one I’ve lately found myself humming, in my mind’s quiet corners: I Stand Amazed, whose chorus goes, “How marvelous, how wonderful / And my song shall ever be / How marvelous, how wonderful / Is my Father’s love for me.” I see so much to marvel at, these days. We recently celebrated 20 years of public ministry at Alliance Defending Freedom—a time for taking serious measure of the remarkable impact our gracious Lord has enabled us to make on our nation’s legal system over these two decades. I give thanks and marvel at what God has done, at the extraordinary ways He has shown Himself strong on behalf of those of us who trust in Him. I’m continually astounded at the faithful encouragement, prayers and gifts we receive from you, our Allied Ministry Friends. Twenty years ago, nearly every observant Christian realized something was terribly wrong with America’s legal system; not many believed a unique new form of legal ministry could do much about it. But those who did gave generously, and their numbers have been multiplied so many times over. Their gifts, your gifts, have made our work possible; their prayers, your prayers have

made it a success. I’m daily astonished at the extraordinary talent God has brought together at this ministry. Not only staff attorneys and more than 2,300 Allied Attorneys of exceptional skill and insight, but outstanding office staff, accountants, and experts in media, development, and the creative arenas—just a startling array of gifts and personal commitment to the work of preserving our nation’s religious freedom. Perhaps most of all, I marvel at our clients: the rare courage these men, women, and (as you see in this issue) even children display in taking their often lonely stands for freedom. In an age when many Christians trim their sails to the prevailing cultural winds, some still make a determined effort to steer by the Bright and Morning Star … and their heroism is saving our nation’s true legacy for my children and grandchildren—and yours. I have a unique vantage point from which to see all these things: as the first team member (before there was even a team), I’ve probably seen more of what’s happened here, at every level, than anyone. All I can tell you is that, from where I’m standing … I stand amazed. John 15:5–Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.

View a special message from Alan. Visit www.Alliance and click on “Faith & Justice.”

Alliance Defending Freedom



On The Square

Confronting ‘The Greatest Danger’ To People Of Faith How did you become a Christian?


Kirk Cameron Though perhaps most famous for his role on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron’s Christian faith has led him into widely different realms of the entertainment industry: as an actor in the Left Behind series and the inspirational film Fireproof, as producer and host of the popular documentaries Monumental and Unstoppable, and as host of The Way of the Master television series. He and his wife, Chelsea, are also the founders of Camp Firefly, which ministers to seriously ill children and their families. They live in California with their six children.



Alliance Defending Freedom

Many people think I probably grew up in a Christian home. The truth is, I’m a recovering atheist. I like to phrase it that way because I came out of a worldview where I denied the existence of God. I thought He was part of a different trinity: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus. When I was about 18, someone took me to church. I wasn’t looking for God or religion—I was looking for the girl that walked into that church. I followed her to the back pew … and heard a sermon that really captured my attention. I was looking at a man, standing in a pulpit, who was very intelligent and articulate—and holding a Bible in his hand. And he believed in the existence of God. I didn’t think those two things went together—intelligence and believing in God. But he captured my attention, my conscience was bothered, and I started asking a lot of questions. As I got answers to these questions—about God, the Bible, Jesus, evolution, science, philosophy—I started

going to church, reading the Bible, and became convinced that I needed to come to God on His terms, if I was ever to know that He was real, and that He cared about me. So I did that—in the front seat of my sports car, parked on the side of Van Nuys Boulevard. I prayed and asked God to reveal Himself to me and make me the man that He wanted me to be. And, as my pastor reminds me, he said, “Kirk, when people ask you how you found God, remind them that you didn’t find God. He wasn’t lost. You were, and He found you.”

What concerns you the most, about what you’re seeing in American culture today?

Kirk Cameron discusses same-sex unions during a March 2, 2012, appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight.

I’m still trying to figure out life … how God works in the world that He made, and reconciled, and is redeeming. I think the best clues are when we look at the beginning of the story, in the Old Testament, and we see how God works. I don’t think the biggest threat to America, or any nation, or group of people, is who’s [president]. I don’t think it’s atheism. I don’t think it’s Islam. The greatest threat is the people of God failing to be faithful to the One Who made them. This was always the greatest threat in the Old Testament to the people of God. God would say, “Don’t worry about your enemies. You need to worry about not being faithful to Me … because if you’re faithful to Me, I’ll take care of your enemies. I’ll make sure of your finances, your crops, your children. I will protect you. But if you’re not faithful to Me, I will bring discipline to you, and I will bring enemies to your front door. I will bring them, and they will enslave you, and then you will be in a position where you realize where your pride and your arrogance take you. And then if you call upon Me, I will still be here to hear you, and rescue you, and redeem you.” So the thing that concerns me is apathy in the church. It’s people who have been blessed so tremendously by God, thinking, “We can just coast on this. We don’t have to step up and be responsible, and steward the things that God’s given us—like our children, like our marriages, like the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” When we don’t do that, we’re now dishonoring God. That is ultimately the great danger: dishonoring the One Who made us.

You’ve been doing some work with Alliance Defending Freedom. Any impressions? Two things impress me about Alliance Defending Freedom. One: that they exist. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an alliance of Christians lawyers—people who understand and embrace Judeo-Christian values and the values of our Founders, and who really believe those values are important.

Who put their necks out there to help people, free of charge, who can’t afford the cost of litigating against the ACLU or organizations like that. That’s been a fantastic encouragement. Second, I’m impressed at the breadth of education this ministry offers to so many different people. For instance, with the Alliance Defending Freedom Academy, the ministry [offers] different tracks to educate not only lawyers and judges, but pastors, media professionals, and college students, even guys like me. [We learn] how we can all interface —have this fusion of talent and skill—like the Body of Christ ought to be, working to defend religious freedom and the right of conscience. These are the things that make America so unique, and I’m very impressed at the excellence with which this ministry has been teaching these principles and getting them out there.

Do you see creative arts and popular culture as more a friend or an enemy to people of faith? I believe culture is not something that we ought to just complain about, whine about, run and hide from. I believe God made this world. This is my Father’s world, and Jesus came in love to redeem the world, to reverse the curse. I love when I see people and organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom redeeming culture by using the gifts and talents and skill sets and relationships that they have to influence and create culture, to shine light in dark places. The arts, the media, entertainment, often capture the heart of people in ways that other things don’t. And if we can understand the importance of being in the driver’s seat with things like music and filmmaking … using TV, using film, using theater, for the purposes of advancing a worldview, now I think we’re in the game. Not running from it, but leading it.

To watch a video of the Alliance Defending Freedom Town Hall hosted by Kirk Cameron in October 2013, visit

Alliance Defending Freedom



Special Feature

Same Message, New Opportunities One recent afternoon, members of the Alliance Defending Freedom

team took a rare pause from their myriad responsibilities to celebrate, for a few minutes, an unusual—and unprecedented—accomplishment: a record 400,000 people had “friended” the ministry on Facebook.

The landscape of communications has radically, seismically changed in the last 10 years. —Anita Silmser

In the exponentially expanding world of social media, a “record number” changes fast. It also carries considerable significance—not only as a measure of people’s enthusiasm for the work of Alliance Defending Freedom, but as a way of gauging that interest against their engagement with the ministry’s most substantial legal opponents. On the day the ministry reached that Facebook milestone, for instance, the American Civil Liberties Union recorded 182,000 “friends”; Planned Parenthood logged 454,000. (Alliance Defending Freedom has since surpassed both, with more than 650,000.) That’s not the only number the ministry is tracking. Other figures indicate that, beyond affiliating themselves with Alliance Defending Free-



Alliance Defending Freedom

dom, thousands are regularly talking online about the organization and its issues. Those conversations are crucial to getting the ADF message out to new audiences and faithful Ministry Friends across the country and around the world. “Every ministry would like to find a way to communicate to a broad constituency—in our case, to let people know what’s happening in the legal landscape,” says Anita Silmser, chief marketing officer. That growing need to reach changing audiences, she says, is spurring the organization to cultivate a variety of new media forums for its messaging. “The landscape of communications has radically, seismically changed in the last 10 years, with the migration from traditional to electronic media,” Silmser says. “In the first few years, that shift reflected a mostly younger demographic. Now, even those 55 and older are increasingly engaged with all forms of social media.

site will also be easier to navigate, Tijerina says. “It will put the most important things we’re doing front and center for those who visit the site—giving them the information they need, when they need it. We’re really focusing on the issues our Allied Ministry Friends and visitors care about.” What’s more, he says, “we’re figuring out ways to explain complicated legal procedures in terms understandable to a public that is interested in knowing what’s happening. “We are not only showing visitors the legal work we’re doing,” he says, “we’re showing them what the broader alliance

Visitors [to the website] are getting the most complete picture of the worldwide battle for religious freedom. ­—Joshua Tijerina tive, a 60-second daily radio program featuring Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, California. Garlow drew national attention as a leader in defending California’s Proposition 8 (the voter initiative defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman), where he worked closely with Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. In the wake of that effort, he has been prominently featured in national media; his radio commentary now airs in markets coast to coast.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to have our attorneys speak on national and regional radio programs across “Obviously, people the U.S.,” Silmser says, will continue to de“but we’ve not had a @AllianceDefends pend on radio and consistent, daily presTV,” she says, “but the ence. Because of our long Alliance Defending Freedom electronic media will inrelationship with Jim, we creasingly be where peofelt it would be mutually adWatch the Alliance Defending Freedom page on Facebook for updates on the ple consume the most news vantageous for us to partner premiere of the new website at For a list of radio stations airing The Garlow Perspective, and information.” together. One, it makes ecogo to nomic sense; two, it’s a third party ith that in mind, the ministry is talking about our values; and three, it’s working on relaunching its own website, a good fit with our ‘alliance’ model.” culminating months of effort to reassess of like-minded legal groups and ministhe site’s purpose and greatly improve its tries is doing, and how that is shaping With religious freedom threatened more functionality for both devoted friends of the culture. Visitors are getting the most than ever before, she says, “it’s vital the ministry and casual visitors curious complete picture of the worldwide battle to communicate to Americans of every about the organization. for religious freedom.” age and background the importance of standing for their God-given, constiThe new site “will mark a big philosophy ven amid the flurry of online activity, tutionally protected rights.” The rapid, shift from what we have been doing,” though, the ministry is finding new ways strategic expansion of Alliance Defending says Legal Advocacy Communications to communicate its message through Freedom into every form of social and Director Josh Tijerina, who is leading the more traditional media. Beginning last electronic communication is multiplying reboot. “It will be more robust in teachfall, for instance, stories of the ministhe ability of the ministry and its suping who we are, what we do, why we try’s clients and cases have been feaporters’ ability to reach and impact these do it, and what we stand for.” The new tured regularly on The Garlow Perspecincreasingly diverse audiences.



Alliance Defending Freedom





Alliance Defending Freedom



A R R A NG E M E N T S She slips inside the way most people seem to come into a flower shop … like she’s stepped through the looking glass, out of the hard-edged world of traffic and asphalt into a small patch of jungle maintained by Hallmark. Stuffed bears blend with sunflowers, exotic vases with violets and petunias. Women in aprons scurry between the ferns in the hothouse and the roses in the cooler. One of the women, white-haired and wearing glasses, steps briskly over to the new customer with a sunny “Good morning” that belies the overcast skies outside. “May I help you?” A distant relative has died. The customer is looking for something appropriate to send by way of floral condolence. The woman behind the counter is helpful in the way you’d want a florist to be: warm but not demonstrative, polite but not intrusive. The customer has a hard time explaining exactly what she wants, but the florist quickly grasps the idea, and shows her an arrangement that she likes immediately. She writes down an address and pulls out her checkbook. “Aren’t you Barronelle Stutzman?” she asks. Barronelle’s eyes look up, just a little wary: “Yes, I am.” “My mother told me to come see you,” the customer says, smiling. “She heard about you on the radio. She said we need to support you.” Barronelle smiles, and relaxes a little. It’s a bit of an odd moment for her, because—until recently—she’s been the one who puts her customers at ease. For 35 years, they’ve been wandering into her shop to share

their hearts and mark their mortal milestones: a new baby, a prom, a wedding, a friend in the hospital, a funeral. They come to buy, but wind up talking. Around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, Barronelle hears more overflowing souls than a priest in the confessional. Her ability to listen and discern her customers’ floral desires— to produce beautiful arrangements that say what they don’t quite know how to say—has long been a point of professional pride for Barronelle. One spring day last year, though, that discernment required of her an especially painful decision … and became the turning point of her life.

With Barronelle, it’s not really about

selling flowers. That just pays the bills. Long years ago, making deliveries for her mom’s shop after school, she found that carrying vases full of flora around to offices, churches, and hospitals held little appeal for her. Sweeping floors and cleaning out buckets held even less. But then a manager quit, and Barronelle filled in, and soon enough, she made a wonderful discovery: florists don’t just sell the flowers … they create the bouquets, weave the wreaths, design the arrangements—and summon the emotions. Gradually, she found she had a subtle sense for what colors and kinds to mingle. It was her calling, her gift, and—to her surprise—her ministry. Ask her employees (10-12 on an average day, twice that during big holidays), and many will tell you how Barronelle took them in at a low point in their lives—after the divorce, the retirement, or the move to Richland from some other part of the country. She has a kind of sensible sensitivity for giving struggling souls the job, the environment, and the time they need to heal.



Alliance Defending Freedom



“She’s not just a boss, she’s a friend, and a sister in Christ,” says Janelle Becker, who’s worked with her for more than a decade. “One of a kind. When we need prayer, or someone to talk to, she’s always there.”

couples whose corsages she fashioned years ago. It’s also why a man named Rob Ingersoll kept bringing her his business.

Running the shop (named Arlene’s, for the original owner) “is just a real ministry,” Barronelle says. She likes “the people you meet, and the chance to serve them.” That, and the creativity.

creative bent flexes that creativity: for the sheer joy of it—and because someone else appreciates it. Lots of folks in Richland like what Barronelle can do with a handful of carnations and some delphiniums. Rob Ingersoll truly appreciated it.

Your father was a farmer, and you want a floral arrangement that suggests a tractor in a potato field? (This is small town, rural Washington.) Barronelle can do that. You want Goofy? She can do him better with petals than the Disney folk can with pens. You want flowers that look like animals? Angels? A fishing stream? A quilting bee? Barronelle can do that. “It’s all in my mind,” she explains. “I just … see it, and I do it. You want to do something out of the ordinary. Something that tickles somebody’s fancy, or makes them smile.” Which is why she’s been the go-to florist in her county for three decades, and why she’s now doing prom corsages for the children, and even grandchildren, of

There are two reasons why anyone with a

“He’s been a customer for years,” Barronelle says, “and he’s a great guy. He likes different, unique things. He’d come in and say, ‘I’m having a party,’ or ‘It’s a special occasion,’ or ‘I just want something fun,’ and he’d pick out really unusual things— a vase or something—and say, ‘Do your thing.’ It was really fun and enjoyable, because I got to use my creative side and make something off-the-wall. He always loved it. That’s just the kind of relationship we had.” The relationship was friendly enough for Barronelle to know something of Rob’s personal relationships, including the fact that he was in a same-sex relationship. It didn’t change a thing between them.



“I never ask anyone’s sexual orientation,” she says. “I’ve had designers who are gay, and I’ve had friends and other customers who [identify as] homosexual, and when they come in the shop, it doesn’t matter. Whatever color or creed or sexual preference they are, they get waited on just the same.”

But Rob was special. He understood how much Barronelle relished a challenge—and always delighted in all those little touches of creativity that made the difference between an arrangement that was “nice” and one that was wonderfully, beautifully perfect for the occasion.


So it caught Barronelle off guard, one day, when one of her store crew told her that Rob had been in earlier, looking for her. He wanted her to do the flowers for his same-sex wedding. Same-sex ceremonies became legal in Washington in 2012, and the new law had never impacted Barronelle. Now, the question was before her. As a Christian, she holds the biblical conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman—a holy symbol of Christ’s relationship to His church. Same-sex unions, to her, do not reflect that relationship. And yet … “It was very difficult,” she says. “My husband and I talked it over, and it basically boiled down to the fact that I could not do Rob’s wedding, because of my relationship with Christ.” She had no doubt at all, she says, about the right thing to do, but telling her friend … “it was hard.” The next day, Rob came into the shop eager to share plans for the ceremony and what he’d be wearing and—“before he could get any further, I put my hands on his,” Barronelle remembers, “and said, ‘Rob, I am so sorry. I cannot do

your wedding, because of my relationship with Christ.’

much of it vicious, unprintable. At last count, the stack was three feet high.

“He was very gracious. He said, ‘I understand,’ and we talked about his mom a little bit, and about how he got engaged. And then we hugged each other, and he left.”

“What went through my mind,” Barronelle says, “was how sad it all was. People were so hateful and intolerant and misinformed. It’s just very sad that those people are that angry.”

It was a few days later that the phones

began to ring. And ring. And ring. Turns out, Rob’s partner had posted on Facebook exactly what he thought of Barronelle’s refusal to do flowers for their wedding. Now, other people from across the state were dialing her shop to follow suit. They kept it up, nearly nonstop—on all five of her shop’s phone lines—for the next two weeks. “The calls were … not very nice,” Barronelle remembers. “Very hateful, very threatening, things you could not repeat. Things I had to look up, because I had no idea what they meant.

What did not go through her mind was the possibility that she had moved, overnight, to the top of the state attorney general’s litigation target list.

At least 206 murders were committed in the State of Washington in 2012.

There were more than 2,100 rapes, 5,700 robberies, 12,200 aggravated assaults. Somehow, none of those crimes seemed to raise the rancor of state Attorney

“I tried to answer most of the calls, because I didn’t want to put the others through that,” she says, but most of her team rallied to help her. “The only thing we said was, ‘Thank you. We appreciate your call.’ We never argued back … just tried to be as gracious as we could.”

General Bob Ferguson to anything like the intensity he focused on a great-grandmother who ran her own flower shop down in Richland.

The calls finally tapered off a little (she still gets at least one a day); then the hate mail began pouring in. Many dozens of letters, hundreds of threatening emails—all of it angry, most of it vile,

In April 2013, Ferguson—having heard something about the Facebook post—filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle, charging her with illegally discriminating against Ingersoll and his


Alliance Defending Freedom



partner on the basis of their sexual orientation. No one had asked him to do so. Not Ingersoll or his partner. Not the Washington Human Rights Commission, which is charged with initiating action in such cases. Not even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a group usually vigilant for the opportunity to file this kind of lawsuit. “This is the first time in the history of the Washington Attorney General’s Office that they have done something like this,”

and agreed to create floral arrangements for same-sex ceremonies. Inclined to do none of those things, she knew she would need an attorney—and called the Attorney General’s Office to request time to hire one. She was at home, waiting for an answer, when a friend called to tell her that the TV news was announcing a state lawsuit against her. Before she could turn on her set, there was a knock at the door. The man standing there served her with the attorney general’s lawsuit.


says Dale Schowengerdt, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The attorney general saw this in the news, plucked it out, and intervened without request from the plaintiff.” Despite the fact that any number of other local florists could easily have provided flowers for their ceremony, Rob and his partner, urged on by the ACLU, quickly filed their own legal action. (The two lawsuits have since been combined.) “This is definitely a political issue for the attorney general,” Schowengerdt says. “It’s unusual for him to go around the state talking so much about specific cases, but he has talked a lot about this, and when they filed the suit, he was the media point person for it.” Barronelle first learned of the attorney general’s concerns in a letter that threatened her with legal action unless she immediately paid a fine, donated $5,000 to a homosexual organization,



Alliance Defending Freedom


Some friends told Barronelle about Alliance Defending Freedom, and her inquiries to the organization resulted in not one, but two lawyers. The local one, Justin Bristol, is one of the ministry’s allied attorneys. He had been at his desk, he told her, “praying that God would use me for His good,” when an email popped up, telling him of Barronelle’s case. He called her immediately to

up for their beliefs, and what’s right.” Soon enough, it became apparent how much she would need their support. “We had a status conference with the state,” Schowengerdt says, “a no-frills hearing where we are basically getting together with the parties and the judge and figuring out where we are with the case. The other side brought a courtroom full of attorneys. That is unheard of. I’ve never seen that before. They’re loaded for bear. There’s no question that the ACLU and AG’s Office are going to see this to the end. They’ll pursue this lawsuit to the nth degree—and we’ll meet them every step of the way.”

Barronelle’s attorneys weren’t the only ones to be surprised by what they were up against.

Attorneys for both sides held a deposition, during which the lawyers could ask questions of each other’s clients. That meant Barronelle was on hand, of course—and so was Rob Ingersoll. It was the first time the two had met since that last visit in the shop.

As the legal army opposing Barronelle grew, Schowengerdt came on board. He and Bristol filed suit against the attorney general on her behalf, charging him with violating the state constitution in denying her religious freedom. Schowengerdt was quickly impressed with his client.

“It was awesome,” Barronelle says. “I asked my lawyer if I could hug Rob, and he said yes, and we hugged each other.” During breaks, she asked about his family, and his new business venture. “He’s worked really hard,” she says, “so I was really happy for him. It was great to see him.”

“She has got very deep faith,” he says. “She had to make a snap decision, out of the blue, and she made the right decision. She followed her faith and followed her convictions. She could make this go away, but she has taken a stand for her faith—and for the rest of us.”

Presumably, ACLU attorneys and attorneys general don’t see a lot of hugging between the parties of their lawsuits, but Barronelle didn’t mind that. She never gave them a thought. “We were just enjoying seeing each other,” she says.

Barronelle soon found that same determination in her new attorneys.

Opposing counsel may not have been prepared for how clear, unwavering, and selfeffacing Barronelle’s convictions are, either.

“I was just impressed, for one, that they belonged to the Lord,” she says, “and that it was not their intent to be hateful, or make money. They’re just standing

“What is at stake is so far beyond me,” she says. “It’s our personal rights that are being taken away—our relationship with Christ. Little by little, they are stripping

also still being decided. Schowengerdt says more than Barronelle’s rights are at stake.


us of any thought we might have, or any difference of opinion. This is our religious freedom at stake. I have every right to have Christ as my Savior, and to live my life that way. “I still don’t think of this as a big thing,” she says. “It is so simple to me: there is no discrimination. There’s nothing to dodge. Everything I have is Christ’s … so if He wants me to go under, then I’ll go under. If He wants me to succeed, I’ll succeed. I own nothing. It’s just my responsibility to be obedient and to stand up for Christ. He stood up for me.”

As it happens, He’s inspired a lot of

others to stand up for her, too. In the year since her decision became public, Barronelle has received phone calls, letters, emails, and encouragement from people throughout the U.S. and 66 other countries around the world. Just in Richland, churches of two different denominations have sponsored civic rallies that drew strong crowds to raise support and cheer her cause. A pastor in India calls every week to check on her; someone on a train told him her story. A man from her own state

“People for a long time have been saying that same-sex marriage and religious liberty can peacefully coexist,” he says. “Cases like this show why that’s just not the case. If Barronelle wins, it supports the fundamental right of Christians to exercise their faith, both in their private and their public lives. If she loses, it will further undermine that right.”

See an inspiring video of Barronelle’s story by visiting and clicking on “Faith & Justice.” contacted her once, offering generous financial support. He told her he himself was homosexual—but what was being done to her was wrong. A Michigan florist called to ask for prayer; she was facing similar intimidation. A church in a nearby town sent Barronelle a Bible, with highlighted verses and notes of encouragement from the whole congregation. “God is so faithful. He has done miracle after miracle in this … things that cannot be explained,” Barronelle says. “The attorneys that He has sent me, the support people He has sent me, the prayer groups that are praying for us … it is very humbling, and very overwhelming.” Day after day, week after week, the encouragement keeps pouring in. At a Christian school fundraiser, a roomful of people gave her a standing ovation, and tears rolled down her cheeks. “Why is what I’m doing so unusual?” she asked. “Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

As of this writing, Barronelle and her

attorneys are still awaiting a ruling from a Washington judge on the state’s lawsuit against her. The timetable for her federal lawsuit against the attorney general is

Whatever the outcome, Barronelle is convinced she has done the right thing. “I’m a grain of sand in a little spot, and why God chose what He did … that is up to God,” she says. “It’s a battle, but it’s a good battle to be in, and I’m glad I’m on this side of it. It’s an opportunity for me to be obedient, to show Christ’s love, to stand up for what I believe. “And it’s not a burden—it’s a joy,” she says. “I don’t mean that to sound ‘Pollyanna.’ It’s just that Christ has given me this peace. I’m sure there will be a lot more hate coming, but they’re not hating me, they’re hating Him.” She smiles. “And He can take care of Himself. “My wish is that, when this is over—win or lose—we can all walk out on the courthouse steps, and Rob and I can give each other a hug. And I hope there are a whole lot of reporters there, watching … and they’ll see it, and they’ll know: there is no hate here.” That’s the picture she sees, in her mind. Something out of the ordinary, that might make her Savior smile. Alliance Defending Freedom



My View

THE PROBLEM WITH PRAYER IN GREECE, NY Greece Town Supervisor John Auberger (left) listens as a local citizen prays before a town meeting.

John Auberger recently ended a 16-year tenure as town supervisor of Greece, New York—a town of 96,000 people on the shores of Lake Ontario. His four consecutive terms climaxed in a court fight to defend a policy Auberger himself introduced: an open invitation for citizens and local clergy to take turns opening town board meetings with prayer. The case worked its way to the U.S. Supreme Court last November, and the court is expected to render a decision any day now on whether or not these “legislative prayers” are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It all began with the idea of televising our town board meet-

ings. Like most town meetings, ours don’t draw that many spectators or participants, unless some especially controversial issue is up for discussion. It had been our long-standing practice to contract with a company to film our board meetings and air them on a local public television station, in order to make the people’s business a little more accessible to the people themselves. So, one evening, the board was preparing to make a decision regarding movement from our current vendor to a national cable company. And, as usual, our board meeting opened with one of our citizens leading in prayer.



Alliance Defending Freedom

by John Auberger

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have paid a chaplain to lead prayers at the start of their meetings for more than 220 years. I first experienced this kind of legislative prayer during my 10 years as a county legislator. It struck me as a thoughtful practice … a kind of humbling of ourselves, before making decisions that would ultimately impact our whole community. When I was elected town supervisor for Greece, I brought the idea along with me. The privilege of beginning our board meetings with prayer was open to everyone, whatever their religious convictions— or lack of convictions, for that matter. We specifically invited local clergy, but the opportunity was never restricted to religious officials. Over the years, our prayers have been led by everyone from evangelical pastors to Catholic priests, a Jewish citizen to a Wiccan priestess. However, as Greece is a town predominantly populated by Christians, the majority of those volunteering to pray were Christians. To say these people open in prayer is not to say that everyone stops and bows their heads. Nor is anyone directed to do so.

The prayers are frequently punctuated and half-muffled by people moving about the room, shuffling papers, taking their seats. No one is coerced into participating. For nearly 10 years, no one expressed any problem with any of this. Town leaders received no complaints or objections—if anything, people seemed pleased to see their elected officials adopting a valued American tradition. But then came the night of the cable presentations. An advocate for one of the local public television companies—a woman from another city—was taken aback that we would begin our night’s work with prayer. She expressed her dismay pretty openly and emphatically, before we politely reminded her that she was not of our community, and so how we choose to run things, in Greece, really wasn’t her concern. Not long after—and probably not coincidentally—we received our first complaint, from two women who are citizens of Greece. They said the prayers made them … uncomfortable. That’s unfortunate, but then it’s hard to imagine anything that happens in any aspect of public life and government that doesn’t make someone uncomfortable. If “discomfort” were the standard for abolishing aspects of civic activity, we couldn’t have any government at all. Representatives of the town met with the women to explain that anyone and everyone was free to offer an invocation—but they made it clear that wasn’t enough. They demanded that the prayers be ended or at least censored, saying they considered the intercessions a violation of the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment, which forbids the government to “establish” a religion. But, since our prayers were available to anyone, and no one was being forced to listen to, agree with, or participate in the praying itself, it was hard for the board

and me to see where any particular faith was being “established.” When we elected not to give in to their demands, the two women enlisted the legal support of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), which filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf. We, in turn, enlisted Alliance Defending Freedom to represent our interests.

We won the first round,

in district court. The two women chose to appeal that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which ruled that our legislative prayers constituted an establishment of religion. Given the directives of the court’s ruling, it seemed to our town board that our only options were to a) discontinue the praying, b) have those praying remove any reference to the Almighty or to the name of Jesus from their intercessions, or c) appeal the decision. (We rejected as impractical the court’s implicit suggestion that we bus in people of nonChristian belief from other nearby communities to balance our opening prayers.) Since a) and b) would mean surrendering our citizens’ religious freedom, we went with c), and appealed the appeals court’s decision … all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Interestingly, the high court has already ruled on this particular question. Back in 1983, in the case of Marsh v. Chambers, the Supreme Court decided that legislative prayer was perfectly constitutional and part of the “fabric of our society”; they even OK’d government funding for chaplains. That seemed natural enough,

November 6, 2013: At the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, protesters surround supporters of legislative prayer.

Visit, and click on “Faith & Justice,” to find the latest news on this case, and learn more about this ministry’s efforts to preserve religious freedom in the public square. since the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have paid a chaplain to lead prayers at the start of their meetings for more than 220 years. AU built their argument on the idea that while praying may be permissible, praying to a specific God, or in the name of Jesus, is not. Only generic prayers to a “higher power” are protected by the Constitution, they claim. An interesting idea, given that Founding Fathers as diverse in their religious convictions as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all endorsed legislative prayer, and invoked the Christian God in their own intercessions. What’s more, the writers of the Constitution themselves opened their sessions with prayer—to the Christian God—which hardly makes it likely they were opposed to the practice. The Supreme Court heard all those arguments last November; their decision is due any day. It’s my hope—my prayer—that they will come down in favor of letting their fellow Americans speak their faith openly, in their own words, even in public meetings … even

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Alliance Profile

Blake Anderson is Chief Operating Officer of Ratio Christi (“The Reason of Christ”), an international student ministry founded in 2008 to equip university students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ. Anderson says Ratio Christi partners with other campus ministries as a kind of “special forces unit” that complements those groups’ discipleship and evangelism efforts by training students in apologetics—giving them the intellectual confidence to defend God’s existence, the reliability of the Bible, and the fact of Christ’s resurrection. The ministry has 120 chapters on campuses throughout the U.S., and is launching others in Africa, Europe, South America, and New Zealand.

Blake Anderson

“We give students basic training in how to have a conversation … introduce people to the available evidence … and witness the enormous confidence they gain from that to go out and share their faith with others,” Anderson says. “One of the most interesting things to come out of this is that we have developed deep relationships with some of the most anti-Christian groups on campus—Secular Student Alliance, atheist clubs. We have some really solid dialogues with those who are against God—a unique chance to intersect with them and discuss evidence for the faith.”

Their determination to speak up for the truth puts Ratio Christi on a collision course

Visit and click on “Faith & Justice” to see more of what this ministry is doing to protect the rights of Christian students on college and university campuses nationwide, and go to to learn more about the work of Ratio Christi.

with school officials bent on silencing faith on campus. That, Anderson says, is where his group’s long partnership with Alliance Defending Freedom has proven crucial. The ministry’s attorneys assist Ratio Christi staff in drafting charters that can be reproduced with each new chapter, and train them in what to expect from administrators, “helping us shape language and responses that are direct but respectful, upholding our rights, not letting them push us around. “Alliance Defending Freedom has been absolutely essential to getting us off the ground and growing like we have,” Anderson says. “We are not attorneys. We are Christian apologists, trying to defend the faith, and have a firm belief in our right to be able to share the Gospel. But when it comes down to the legal ins and outs—knowing these guys are behind us, to give us advice on little things and big things, has been a huge help. Plus, they’ve saved us tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees that, as a young ministry, we could never have afforded. “They believe the need to defend our faith goes hand in hand with our legal right to do so,” he says. “Our ability to spread the Gospel is very much in line with our God-given right to express our religious and intellectual viewpoints.”



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In The News Vol. II, Iss. 1

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision last August by the New Mexico Supreme Court. It legally compels the Christian owners of a photography business to use their creative talents to take pictures at same-sex marriage ceremonies, even though such unions violate their personal religious convictions.


While recognizing that the owners “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” one of the New Mexico justices wrote in a concurring statement, doing so “is the price of citizenship” in America today. The petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court explains that the owners of Elane Photography “will serve anyone; they do not turn away any customers because of their protected class status. But they will decline a request, as the First Amendment guarantees them the right to do, if the context would require them to express messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.” A ruling on the petition is expected in time for the 2014 Supreme Court session.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S DECEPTION Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys presented oral arguments on November 20, 2013 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on behalf of Susan Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood facility director now suing that company for fraud and abuse. The lawsuit claims that Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/ or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid. Alliance Defending Freedom attor-

Vol. VI, Iss. 2

neys filed the suit on behalf of Thayer under both a state and federal law that allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors. The ministry has filed similar lawsuits against Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas and Washington.


review a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate filed by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania family-owned custom cabinet business. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the owners, who are Mennonite, in their lawsuit, which asks the court to declare the mandate illegal and unconstitutional. The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception—or face heavy financial penalties. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing similar lawsuits from nearly 20 other Christian groups and businesses. Eighteen states and other parties filed friend-of-the-court briefs asking the Supreme Court to hear the Conestoga case. The court also agreed to review a near-identical lawsuit filed by Hobby Lobby Stores, another family-owned business, which is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom ally, The Becket Fund. The high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in both cases in late March.

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In The Arena: Two Decades At The U.S. Supreme Court In June 1995, I was in the Supreme

Court’s courtroom every time the justices were. Our new ministry, then called Alliance Defense Fund, awaited rulings on two cases being reviewed by the highest court in the country. In those still-early days of the Internet, the only way to learn immediately what rulings the high court was handing down on a given day was to actually be sitting in the courtroom. The first ruling came in Hurley v. IrishAmerican Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston. Attorney Chester Darling was representing a group of veterans being sued for discrimination for not allowing a group with pro-homosexual messages to march in their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Chester had cashed in his last retirement fund to pay for the cert petition filed at the Supreme Court. When the court granted review, I called Alan Sears and suggested we offer to help Chester with the case. He agreed, and the ministry covered the ensuing legal costs. We also set up a moot court—a kind of courtroom dress rehearsal—to help Chester prepare. Former Attorney General Ed Meese ran the moot court, enlisting former Supreme Court clerks and attorneys from his Justice Department days to help Chester sharpen his presentation. He did well at the oral arguments, and now, two months later, came the ruling. I sprinted across the street to a Senate office building to call Chester on a pay phone (cell phones were not ubiquitous yet) to tell him we won, 9-0. The court said the First Amendment protected the veterans from government efforts to force them to communicate a message they could not, in good conscience, support.

Ten days later, our second ruling came

down, this time in Rosenberger v. Univer-



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sity of Virginia. Our ministry had provided funding to help Professor Michael McConnell represent students who challenged a university rule that excluded religious groups on campus from receiving funds to print Christian newspapers. Now, I sat listening as the high court said that the university violated the Constitution by denying funding to a paper simply because it expressed a religious view. Many groups work for years to be involved in a high court case. Just 18 months after opening its doors, Alliance Defending Freedom had already contributed to two significant wins. By committing to help others, we’d opened the door to what would prove to be a series of successes at the Court.

In November 1999, I had the privilege, as

a member of the Alliance Defending Freedom team, of arguing at the Supreme Court on behalf of Scott Southworth. Scott, a law student at the University of Wisconsin, was challenging the mandatory fee his school used to fund campus groups advocating ideas—like support for abortion—that he and other students opposed. An attorney representing the university reacted skeptically when, early on, I predicted the case would go to the Supreme Court. Now, three years later, as we stood waiting to present oral arguments to that Court, I reminded him of that conversation. In truth, I was thankful just to be standing there—72 hours earlier, I’d been stricken with a kidney stone. But, by God’s mercy, I recovered and argued that day. The following March, the high court issued a ruling that ultimately forced public universities to change the ways they raise and allocate student fees to fund advocacy groups on campus.

All in all, now, our ministry has been

part of 69 cases at the Supreme Court— many of them great victories, some of them painful defeats. I remember the thrill in 2011, when our attorneys defeated the American Civil Liberties Union in a critical win that has significantly limited the ACLU’s ability to sue over school choice programs around the nation. And I recall the sad disappointment as I sat in the courtroom listening to the 2010 decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (undercutting the rights of religious groups at universities), and last summer in two marriage cases we were involved with: Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. President Theodore Roosevelt famously praised “the man in the arena,” who, even when he loses, knows he has expended himself valiantly for a noble cause. We are so blessed to have won much more often than we’ve lost, and those victories have been sweet, protecting the liberties of all Americans from governmental intrusion. They inspire us to persevere in our continuing fight for religious liberty, life, and marriage. With our current cases—Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius this spring, possibly Elane Photography v. Willock, next term—I won’t have to run for a pay phone to spread news of a Supreme Court victory. And I pray that, one day, one of our own allied attorneys or Blackstone Fellows will be among the justices deciding these great issues at the nation’s highest court. Jordan Lorence is Senior Counsel and director of Special Initiatives for Alliance Defending Freedom.

Opposite page: The bronze doors opening off the west portico of the U.S. Supreme

“By committing to help others, we’d opened the door to what would prove to be a series of successes at the Court.”

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