ADF launches legal effort to protect churches from government intrusion

Church Project seeks to protect, promote legal rights of churches
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Wednesday, the Alliance Defense Fund officially launched its Church Project, a new legal effort to protect churches from excessive and unconstitutional government intrusion prohibited by the First Amendment.

“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government. That’s exactly why the Constitution protects religious freedom,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, who heads the Church Project. “Even erosions of religious liberty that seem small threaten the Church’s ability to be the Church. Historically, the Church has been the moral and cultural conscience of the nation. Every day the Church is intimidated into silence on issues like life, liberty, marriage, and the family is another day the cultural erosion continues unchecked.”

Theriot explained that the Constitution protects churches and their independence from undue government interference regarding internal church affairs, freely speaking from the pulpit, intimidation and harassment, equal access, land use, state regulatory schemes, and access to government programs.  The ADF Pulpit Initiative, which launched in 2008, has been integrated into the ADF Church Project as one part of the broader effort.

“The Church Project expands upon and focuses the ongoing efforts of ADF in all of these areas,” Theriot explained. “These threats are no less real for being outside the observation, imagination, and experience of many American congregations.”

The ADF Church Project will...
  • Help alert and educate pastors and ministry leaders nationwide about the powerful cultural and legal forces moving aggressively to limit religious freedom in America.
  • Equip these leaders with the legal information, resources, and support they need to successfully defend that freedom in their own community.
  • Help ensure that churches can remain free to govern themselves, enjoy access to public funds and facilities on equal terms with non-religious groups, teach and live out the full counsel of Scripture, follow their doctrine and teachings with regard to employment and other practices, and boldly proclaim the Gospel.
To learn more about the Church Project, visit
  • Pronunciation guide:  Theriot (Terry-o)
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.