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1968 People Prayed
6554 People have read this article

CASE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE SUPREME COURT

Lord, we pray that our fundamental freedoms of speech and religion would be honored in this land, and may those who violate them be held to account.

When organizations as diverse as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) join in common cause before the U.S. Supreme Court, that catches my attention.

And that is what happened this week in the case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski pitting a young man against his alma mater — Georgia Gwinnett College — because it had unlawfully abridged his free speech.

Chike Uzuegbunam is an evangelical Christian who wanted to spread the Gospel on his campus, a public college near Atlanta. However, while he was handing out literature outside the school’s library in 2016, a police officer told him he was violating the college’s policies that force such expression to be exhibited by appointment only in two small “speech zones.”

You may already be alarmed by that, but wait…

When Uzuegbunam dutifully reserved one of those slots, another officer stopped him and indicated he was violating a “disorderly conduct” ban. The student complied with the officer, but later began a lawsuit against officials of the college — again, a public institution — for its policies that flew in the face of the First Amendment. He wanted a prohibition on the school’s policy and nominal damages (usually something symbolic like $1).

Now, after the suit was filed, Georgia Gwinnett College changed its unconstitutional policy and Uzuegbunam later graduated. In light of that, a federal district court didn’t think the pursuit of nominal damages was enough to keep the lawsuit going, so it dismissed the case as moot.

Uzuegbunam wasn’t satisfied though. “Colleges and universities are supposed to be places where we are free to explore and debate ideas, but my college silenced me,” he said and lamented the college could be “getting away with it.”

His attorneys at ADF were also adamant and, ultimately, their efforts landed them at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued the case for Uzuegbunam, said in a statement, “When government officials treat our rights as worthless, those rights disappear. Changing unconstitutional policies is an important first step. But policy changes alone do not remedy the harm done to those whose rights were violated by the government.”

That is a compelling position — one that draws an unlikely coalition together. In addition to the ACLU, a number of groups as diverse as Americans for Prosperity, American Humanist Association, Christian Legal Society, Cato Institute, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission,Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, National Association of Evangelicals, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops all supported Uzuegbunam.

Waggoner welcomed their efforts. “They all agree that government officials should not get a free pass for violating constitutional rights on campus and elsewhere,” she said.

“When these officials trample those rights but face no consequences for their abuse, it tells the victim that his rights don’t matter and emboldens the government to engage in future violations.”

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8)

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. He reflects on faith, technology, and the public square at FTPolicy.com. (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)

Will you pray for wisdom as the justices consider this case? Particularly in the midst the COVID-19 pandemic, we need state authorities to be more sensitive to free speech and religious freedom concerns, not less.

1968 People Prayed
6554 People have read this article

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11 Replies to “CASE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE SUPREME COURT”

  1. Lord I pray that state authorities be more sensitive to free speech and religious freedom concerns and not less. Once we lose these freedoms it will be very difficult to get them back, if not impossible. We should not take these freedoms for granted, these are blessings from You, O God. And I thank You for them. Help us to continue to fight for our freedoms and liberties. In Jesus name, Amen.

    Amen! 2
  2. Guide almighty God direct fill the Supreme Court with all wisdom and discernment! May they have the mind of Christ in all decision making and Your heart holy God in every challenge they face! Righteousness and justice be their guide! Protect him and Jesus precious name amen🙏🏻📖♥️🇺🇸🔥

    Amen! 1
  3. Heavenly Father, I thank You for the life of Uzuegbenam. He is a man after Your heart, please guide and bless him. May we all be willing to spread Your great news of Jesus. I also ask for wise counsel concerning the joining of hands between these different groups. For some have continued to persecute Your beloved flock. Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.” Please give insight that only the Holy Spirit can provide to the US Supreme Court and to those who truthfully desire to do Your will. Thank You that Your word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our paths. Be glorified LORD!

    Amen! 46
  4. Aaron-great article about one of our sacred rights in America-freedom of speech. I ask the Lord to awaken the Supreme Court, give them Godly conviction to uphold our rights. Religious persecution is going to be progressively worse in our nation in the days that are coming. We need the Judicial branch of the government of America to be steadfast in protecting our rights. Lord, please give them Holy Spirit wisdom in each case that comes before them in the coming days. In Jesus’s name we pray.

    Amen! 44
  5. I pray for wisdom for the SCOTUS. For righteousness and justice to prevail, for constitutional freedom of speech and religious freedom to be upheld. I pray for boldness for the counsel and Mr.Uzuegbunam and for the finances to cover the cost of this suit and I pray for peace for all involved,
    in Jesus Name

    Amen! 46
  6. We must continue to pray for Freedom of religion. Plus Freedom of speech. If we don’t all of our other freedoms could change. We must trust in the Lord to protect us.

    Amen! 58
  7. Father, You are a God of mercy and justice. We ask that true justice be given in this case – that our freedom to speak not be hindered by man’s laws. We thank you for the unity of the various groups who stand together on this issue and thank you for the boldness they have to overcome any differences in ideology and choose to protect our right, our freedom, to speak. Open the eyes of the justices to see truth and punish those who violate that freedom. In Yeshua’s name, Amen.

    Amen! 86

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