Religious Freedom Issues Facing Churches Across America

Josh ChumleyAll Enews, Strengthening Team

With over 24 years of service, at all court levels, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has seen the cultural and legal trends clearly shift against the Church. In this article, ADF shares some of the current legal issues churches face and how you can help prepare and protect your church.

With the culture the way it is today, we at Alliance Defending Freedom get a steady flow of religious freedom legal requests from churches. Most of these will never make the news, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Why? Because each one could interfere with how churches minister—including yours.

Take the ministerial housing allowance for example. Did you know that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit to have it declared unconstitutional? But it hasn’t stopped there.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is now suing in an attempt to force all churches to file a Form 990 every year. This would force churches to spend substantial amounts of time, energy, and money to prepare and file detailed annual returns with the IRS. And churches would have to make sensitive and confidential information available to the general public. Failure to do so could result in the loss of the church’s tax-exempt status.

But it’s not just activist groups targeting churches.

State and local governments across the country are also testing the limits of the religious freedom of the Church.

  • A church in California has a legal issue with one of its employees who repeatedly violated the church’s code of conduct. The state government is ignoring an exemption in the law that protects the church.
  • Churches across the country are regularly harassed and fined by their local governments for noise ordinance issues (even though these churches are abiding by the laws).
  • And several churches are being sued – with six-figure penalties – for simply meeting in public schools.

Cases like these could be devastating for churches. Some cases go on for years – with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Few churches could afford that kind of legal help. But every church needs—and ought to have—legal protection.

That’s why we created the ADF Church Alliance – an affordable legal membership that prepares, advises, and protects churches throughout the country. A membership in the Church Alliance includes:
Regular access to attorneys

  • Church bylaw and policy reviews
  • Legal document samples
  • Focused resources
  • And even representation

Save your church from the high cost of litigation and become a member of the ADF Church Alliance today. We will ensure that your church has the legal defense it needs. And you can focus on what’s most important: shepherding your flock.

Through our partnership with MTSBC, your church gets a 20% discount on this already affordable program.

1) Join by completing the application here.
2) Enter promo code MTSBC2018 in step two of the application for your 20% discount.
3) Leave your legal burden behind today.

About the Author

Josh Chumley

Josh Chumley is Deputy Director of ADF Church Alliance, a membership initiative launched by Alliance Defending Freedom to provide focused, practical legal help to churches so you can freely minister.