On Friday, I initiated the defense of a new case in federal court. In conjunction with our Atlanta-affiliated office, the American Center for Law and Justice has agreed to defend security personnel and police officers who have been sued in their individual and official capacities. All 50 states have statutes that protect the integrity of Christian worship services so that they are free from interruption. These statutes, designed to protect the integrity of a church worship service, have been enforced over the years when necessary. An attempt was made to disrupt a religious worship service taking place on property owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Of course, our ACLJ This Week program airs on TBN.
The reason we engaged in the defense of this case is that the security personnel and police officers were acting within their scope of authority in protecting the religious worship service from protests that would have taken place on the ministrys property. Georgia statutes protect this activity, as does the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. A group of protestors filed a federal lawsuit. This same organization has filed lawsuits in other parts of the country as well.
I have put together a senior legal team at the ACLJ in conjunction with our Atlanta-affiliate attorneys in order to ensure that these officers, who are simply doing their job to protect the religious worship service, are protected at law. The case has just commenced and discovery will be starting soon.
We will also be announcing in the next several days another major lawsuit in federal courtthis time in Virginia. This new case, which I will have more details on in the days ahead, involves a challenge to a federal statute designed to protect churches as well. This idea that religious institutions and churches are subject to unjust treatment is something we have been fighting against at the ACLJ for over 16 years. We will continue to protect the integrity of Christian witness through churches and other viable religious institutions. For updated information, please visit us at www.aclj.org.