Alliance Defending Freedom works to defend Christians across the country. But when those cases conclude, what happens to those individuals?
We revisited some of our past clients for the latest issue of Faith & Justice. Here’s where they are now and how their case impacted them:
- Julea Ward won a court decision declaring that her public university could not exclude her from the counseling profession simply because of her religious beliefs.
Now, Julea is a school counselor and has two young daughters of her own. Her case helps her and her husband prepare their daughters for the challenges they will someday face and reminds Julea to always be ready. “The case may be over, but looking at the big picture—it is far from over. As I look and see the direction in which our country and our world are going… I’ve got to step up my game. God may ask me to do something even harder next time.”
- Pastors Robert Hall and Jack Roberts for 20 years fought for the right of their churches to meet in public school buildings. And although the Supreme Court declined to hear their case, the mayor of New York suspended the policy, which cleared them to continue meeting in a school in their Bronx neighborhood.
“We just wanted to make an impact on the neighborhood—to be salt and light,” said Roberts. “And we have. We’ve seen lives changed and families affected. Even the court case has been a part of that. It’s not exactly what we envisioned, but in some ways… it’s better. I hope those who come after us will be able to fulfill even more of that vision.”
- Katie Ayers, at 10 years old, won the right to hand out invitations to her church Christmas party – and more importantly, the right to bring her faith with her to school.
Now 17 years old, Katie wants to be a medical missionary, inspired in large part because of her legal stand. “I really feel like it all started with the foundation of this case. It jump-started my relationship with God and my faith. It’s really shaped me to be who I am today. And shaped my future of who I want to be, taking me from that shy, back-of-the-classroom girl to someone who shares the love of Christ and tells people about Him. I want to bring hope where there is no hope, to be light in a dark place.”
- Eleanor McCullen took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge a law that limited her free speech outside of Planned Parenthood facilities, where she compassionately spoke messages of truth and hope to women seeking abortion. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, and she is free to continue saving lives.
Now in her 80s, Eleanor still stands outside of the local Planned Parenthood, helping the women going inside and their unborn babies. And she has this advice for her fellow sidewalk counselors: “Pray for courage. Stop ‘attempting to discern’ and start doing something. Speak the truth, not for your glory—but for God’s.”
- Clyde and Anne Reed went all the way to the Supreme Court on behalf of their little church in Gilbert, Arizona, where the local sign code held up political speech as more important than religious speech. The Court ruled 9-0 in their favor.
Now 82 years old, Clyde has decided to retire from ministry, but the church he planted will have a lasting impact. “After decades of ministry, I’ve learned that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. You get busy with your own little circle of Christians, your own denomination and its missionaries. Being involved in this lawsuit and working with ADF pulled us out of our circle and gave us a glimpse of how big our God really is.”