We are about to enter 2020, and we’re already preparing to take on new challenges, as well as continue to fight those that will carry over, as we work tirelessly to defend Life, the Constitution, Religious Liberty, and persecuted Christians around the globe.
Before the New Year begins, we should pause to reflect on the diligent work of our ACLJ legal team in 2019, by highlighting some of biggest achievements, victories, and cases we’ve taken on.
America’s bravest heroes are under fire, and we stepped up, taking on the biggest international case in our history.
I traveled to the Hague in the Netherlands with a team of our senior lawyers from offices across the U.S., Europe, and even Jerusalem, Israel to defend the interests of the brave men and women of the U.S. military at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC Prosecutor is seeking to open up jurisdiction for potential international criminal investigations against U.S. soldiers and members of the intelligence community. They want to treat our heroes like terrorists. We can’t allow that.
As you know, defending the lives of persecuted Christians at home and abroad is one of our top priorities at the ACLJ. This past year we celebrated the news that Asia Bibi, the Christian mom who we helped save from a literal death sentence under Pakistan’s harsh, outdated blasphemy laws was finally able to leave Pakistan safely and has begun a new life with her family.
But for many Christians around the world, the danger is very real and very present.
Thousands of innocent Christians in Nigeria have been targeted by radical terrorist groups like Boko Haram – the Islamic militia that has pledged its loyalty to ISIS. Christians suffer abduction and murder for their faith. As many as 1,000 Nigerian Christians reportedly were killed in 2019 alone.
One member of Boko Haram publicly vowed to kill every Christian that they capture.
We’re continuing to aggressively advocate across the globe to defend Christians facing unspeakable persecution, submitting critical oral and written submissions at the U.N. and urging international intervention to protect Nigeria’s Christians, and to save young Leah Sharibu. Leah is the 16-year-old Christian schoolgirl being held hostage by Boko Haram because she will not renounce her faith, even as after the terrorists threatened to kill or enslave her.
Her unshakable faith in the face of true terror is humbling. We must keep fighting for Leah.
Even Christian Pastors are suffering persecution around the world. Pastor John Cao – a U.S. permanent legal resident – spent more than 30 years providing humanitarian aid and ministering to the poor of China and Burma (Myanmar), until his arrest and conviction, where he was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.
Pastor Cao just spent yet another Christmas in prison as the Chinese government continues its crackdown on Christian Pastors and Churches. The ACLJ will continue working diligently to bring Pastor Cao home to America in 2020.
American Pastor Bryan Nerren similarly was arrested and detained in India after ministering to the people of Nepal and India for more than 17 years. We are fighting to ensure that he can leave India and return to his wife and family here in America.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has suffered persecution upon persecution in Iran. He was reportedly beaten in front of his family and arrested. He was sentenced to ten years in an infamously harsh prison. This spring we filed a critical written submission at the U.N. in support of Pastor Youcef and his family. He must be freed.
The ACLJ celebrated monumental wins in our fight to defend innocent unborn babies in 2019.
We won a major lawsuit on behalf of pro-life free speech when a court agreed with our argument that an Iowa statute that was used to cite, prosecute, and even convict pro-life sidewalk counselors was unconstitutional.
This was a significant victory not only for our clients, but for pro-life advocates, free speech, and the defenseless babies we’re all fighting to save.
We also scored a massive pro-life victory when The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Trump ended a disgusting contract between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a California university that involved using aborted babies in medical research to create “humanized mice.”
We took action, obtaining over a hundred-thousand petition signatures demanding an end to these ghoulish practices, and filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to expose and put an end to this horrific experimentation.
And in a monumental victory for life, the new HHS rule blocking millions of tax dollars under Title X from abortion providers that we supported officially went into effect – despite multiple attempts by Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion states’ legal actions to block it.
Not only did the ACLJ submit public comments supporting the new rule, we asked ACLJ members to submit their own comments. In an astonishing response, our members submitted over 13,000 individual comments, accounting for more than 10% of all comments received by HHS. Together our voices were too loud to ignore.
But we still have major battles coming up quickly in 2020 to defend innocent babies.
The entire Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear a case that could decide whether babies can be aborted just because they may be born with disabilities such as Down Syndrome.
The ACLJ filed a crucial amicus brief in the previous hearing of this case which stands as part of the record for the rehearing, which is scheduled to take place in early 2020.
The ACLJ also just summitted critical records demands under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to expose who is behind newly proposed legislation that would force a pro-abortion amendment to the state’s Constitution, calling abortion a “right.”
Abortion is NOT and should never be a constitutional “right.”
None of these, or the many other victories we achieved in 2019 – like protecting the Bladensburg Cross War Memorial from atheist groups who sought to have it torn down or making certain that In God We Trust would remain on American currency – would have been possible without the support and prayers of ACLJ members.
You make the critical work we do possible. And now, because of you, we are preparing to charge forward into 2020 to defend the defenseless, our Constitution, and persecuted Christians worldwide.
On behalf of myself and the entire ACLJ team worldwide, I thank you for your continued support and prayer as we move forward. Happy New Year.
Take action with the ACLJ as we continue fighting for life and liberty. Make a tax-deductible gift today.
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