“But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” ~ Luke 2:10
This week we gather with our family and friends to honor the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, and celebrate the “good news” that the angel proclaimed.
At the ACLJ we have been blessed with many legal victories this year for which we are thankful as well.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” ~ Galatians 4:4-5
As we fight tirelessly to defend human rights of Christians and put a stop to unjust persecution around the world, we also reflect on the victories we won for believers.
Asia Bibi, the Christian mom of five, who was convicted under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and sentenced to execution by hanging was acquitted last year, but she was forced to remain in hiding, free but still captive, because angry mobs were calling for her death. We aggressively advocated across the globe to help secure Asia’s freedom and save her life. Finally this year, Asia Bibi’s 10 year nightmare ended for good as we were able to report she arrived safely in Canada to begin a new life with her family.
We also intervened on behalf of a Christian family in Pakistan who had been forced into unpaid labor – essentially slavery – and subjected to cruel working and living environments. When court representatives and authorities went to the farm, they found the father and his young daughter chained to a bed. Our attorneys on the ground in Pakistan helped to win their liberation. Now they are free and their children can go to school rather than toil long hours under harsh conditions.
But this Christmas we must also remember the persecuted Christians who are still suffering in cruel captivity for their faith. Pastor John Cao is a U.S. permanent resident who we are fighting to free from wrongful imprisonment in China. Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains imprisoned in Iran.
And brave Christian teen Leah Sharibu remains in the clutches of Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, enduring untold hardships, because she refuses to renounce her faith in her savior Jesus Christ.
They’ve all been ripped away from their families, and will spend our most sacred holiday in dismal settings. We ask that every ACLJ member pray for them this Christmas as we continue to fight for their lives.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . .” ~ Isaiah 9:6
As we celebrate the birth of the Christ child who saved us all, we also prepare for the coming battles to save countless unborn babies in the new year – both ongoing fights, and new ones that are sure to arise.
Every innocent unborn baby deserves the God-given opportunity to be born and a chance for a happy, healthy life.
This year – despite multiple attempts by Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby to block it in various courts – the new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule blocking millions of tax dollars under Title X from abortion providers went into effect immediately.
Rather than comply, planned Parenthood Withdrew from the program, forfeiting roughly $60 million dollars in annual funding.
This is a huge victory, ensuring Title X funding will no longer be used to subsidize the abortion industry and will go entirely to those entities that only provide real comprehensive family planning services for women and children in need.
We also helped to score huge wins for pro-life medical professionals, ensuring that they can never be forced to participate in assisting with abortions or else risk losing their livelihoods. This year HHS finalized a rule we filed public comments in support of, protecting the conscience rights of pro-life doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
And we stepped in when a pro-life nurse in Vermont was willfully misled and pressured to assist in an elective abortion procedure by her superiors. HHS sided with us and now that hospital has to prove it has taken steps to ensure this never happens to another employee, at the risk of losing federal funding if it violates the rule.
No pro-life medical worker should ever have to choose between their job and their deeply held belief that life is sacred. The ACLJ will not stop fighting for defenseless unborn babies and for the rights of the pro-life medical workers and volunteers who dedicate their lives to defending them.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ~ Luke 2:10-12
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Lord as it was described in the Bible, born in the humblest of circumstances. We must never forget how Jesus entered this world in order to save it. That is the promise and hope Christmas morning brings.
And that’s why the ACLJ continues to fight for the sacred rights of believers to not only proclaim their beliefs but to display them, even on government property. An atheist organization proclaimed a “victory” after a Nativity scene was moved from the lobby of an unnamed military facility’s “HQ building” to the installation chapel grounds, following the organization’s demands for this change.
We sprang into action to defend the rights of Christian military personnel. Our legal team sent letters to each of the Judge Advocates General of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard (including a copy to each Service Chief), explaining their flawed and erroneous legal reasoning and that the Nativity scene did not need to be moved.
This Christmas we celebrate every imprisoned and persecuted believer that has been set free, as well as every single precious life – born and unborn – that has been protected. And we ask for the gifts of your steadfast prayer and support as we prepare for the coming year and the challenges it will no doubt present.
From my family and everyone at the ACLJ, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
May God continue to bless you and your loved ones in the new year.
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