"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." - First Amendment
In their efforts to convince Americans that an impenetrable “wall” between church and state really exists, those pressing an aggressively secular agenda have persuaded many pastors and church leaders that their God-given right to freely worship, freely speak their faith, and freely assemble with other believers is at the mercy of bureaucrats.
In fact, those rights are clearly protected by the Constitution, and cannot be legally denied by any government official. As a pastor or church leader, then, knowing and understanding exactly what the Constitution says is critical to your ability to boldly speak the Truth of the Gospel to an increasingly hostile culture. And out of that understanding will come the confidence you need to preach to and encourage your members as they seek to live out their faith and – ultimately – transform their communities and their culture.
Alliance Defending Freedom recognizes the importance of keeping pastors and church leaders informed not only about their own legal protections, but about what is happening with other churches across the country and beyond. On this site, you will find the help, information, and resources you need to defend your church and assert your freedom to speak the full counsel of God’s Word.
Take advantage of the free online resources provided by Alliance Defending Freedom specifically to help pastors and church leaders like you understand your constitutional protections and how they can unleash your church to give a bold and faithful witness to your community.
The exercise and protection of four key freedoms are essential to your ability as a pastor or church leader to lead your congregation in standing confidently for the Truth. Each of these God-given freedoms is specifically protected by the Constitution. Click on each of the freedoms listed below for a more detailed explanation of your legal rights with regard to that liberty.
Freedom to Express Religious Beliefs – Churches cannot be compelled to participate in or approve of behavior or practices that compromise their biblical beliefs, and they are free to worship without intimidation or harassment.
Freedom of Speech – Pastors have the right to freely speak to their congregations on political matters from a biblical perspective without undue regulations by the government. Alliance Defending Freedom launched the Pulpit Initiative in 2008 to assert and reclaim this right.
Freedom of Access – Churches should not be discriminated against or excluded from gaining equal access to public facilities, land, or government programs because of their beliefs, and such access should not result in reprisals or retaliation. Burdens, restrictions, ordinances, and government programs selectively precluding religious organizations from communicating, meeting, renting, or accessing government funds are unlawful.
Freedom of Association – Churches have the right to keep the identity of members and donors private, as the government cannot force religious organizations to disclose lists of such persons unless it can show a compelling interest.
This website is for informational use and does not provide legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice regarding your situation, please contact us at 1.800.835.5233 or email the Alliance Defending Freedom legal team
Do you know someone who would want to learn more about his or her constitutionally protected rights as a pastor?