Thursday, September 25, 2014

Liberty Institute Partners with Other Freedom Fighters at Values Voter Summit 2014

We’re proud to sponsor this national event on September 26-28, 2014 . . .

This year, Liberty Institute is proud to be a major sponsor at the annual 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., along with The Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, and five other leading conservative organizations.

Since its inception in 2006, Values Voter Summit has existed as a colloquium to
“inform and mobilize citizens across America” and to protect those values that form the foundation of our country, including:
  • Defense of traditional marriage
  • Religious liberty
  • Sanctity of life
  • Limited government
Each year, Values Voter Summit has featured the leading voices in the conservative movement, including past speakers such as Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Lt. Col Oliver North.  Along with these guests, this year Values Voter Summit will include speakers Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Sarah Palin, Gen. William Boykin, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar.


Additionally, this year Liberty Institute staff and clients will appear at various events, including:
  • Liberty Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford with Senator Rick Santorum in an afternoon plenary session.
  • A breakfast featuring Kelly Shackelford and Liberty Institute client Brooks Hamby concerning religious freedom in schools.
  • A breakout session featuring Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer, Senior Counsels Mike Berry and Jeremy Dys, and clients Dr. Eric Walsh (fired from his position at Georgia Department of Health because of statements of faith he made at church), Brooks Hamby (graduation speech censored for religious content), and Pastor Telsa DeBerry (told he couldn’t build a church because of discriminatory zoning laws).

Liberty Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford’s new book, Supreme Irony: The true story of two families’ courage, and the ACLU’s unintended opening of religious freedom in schools, will premiere at this year’s Values Voter Summit.

Expanded from a historic lecture given in the Supreme Court Chambers by Shackelford in November 2013, the book focuses on the aftermath of the case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District—the Supreme Court decision which ensured that school students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”  In Supreme Irony, Shackelford explains clearly and precisely how Tinker opened a door to student rights to express controversial views in schools, particularly religious views.

Liberty Institute staff will be on-site at Values Voter Summit with free copies of Supreme Irony, and Kelly Shackelford will sign copies at a special book signing on Friday, September 26 from 5:00-5:30 p.m.  You can also sign up to download a FREE e-book version of Supreme Irony here.


Along with Supreme Irony, the new 2014 edition of Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America will also premiere at Values Voter Summit.  An ongoing project, Undeniable documents past and present violations of our religious freedoms in four areas—the school, military, church, and public arena—in a case summary collection format.

Based on research by a team led by a Harvard-trained constitutional attorney, Undeniable is an “alarm bell” for the American people—a wake up call to the ever-increasing rate of religious liberties violations taking place in America.  The all-new 2014 edition available at  Values Voter Summit features more religious liberties cases than ever before, in a compact format compiled by Liberty Institute.


If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, please join Liberty Institute at this year’s Values Voter Summit, tomorrow through Sunday, September 28, 2014, by visiting to register online today.

As the nation’s largest legal organization committed solely to the protection of religious liberties, Liberty Institute commends the work of like-minded organizations present at this year’s summit, and their commitment to partner with Liberty Institute in the fight for religious freedom.  You, too, can partner with Liberty Institute to defend and restore religious liberty in America, by supporting our legal efforts with a gift today.

Liberty Institute has more than a 90% win rate due to our unique legal model of recruiting the “best of the best” volunteer attorneys for each area of the country and each specialized field of law.  Because our volunteer attorneys—who normally might charge more than $1,000 per hour—work free of charge on religious liberty cases, every $1 donated to Liberty Institute can result in as much as $6 worth of legal impact.  So thank you for supporting this cause today!

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit

Liberty Institute, The American Legion Continue Fight to Preserve Historic Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial

United States District Court for the District of Maryland grants motion to intervene in lawsuit challenging the World War I memorial’s constitutionality . . .

Last week, a federal Court granted Liberty Institute’s client, The American Legion, the right to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial from legal attack by the American Humanist Association.  The Court’s order allows The American Legion to join the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission as a defendant in the matter to protect the historic, cross-shaped memorial from the humanists’ lawsuit.

In February, the American Humanist Association sued to have the Memorial struck down as unconstitutional and removed.  The Memorial, erected and dedicated in 1925 by a local post of The American Legion, honors 49 American servicemen from Prince Georges County, Maryland who gave their lives in World War I.

We are grateful the Court granted our client, The American Legion, the right to intervene in this important lawsuit to protect its interests in the historic Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, which it erected almost a century ago to honor the county’s fallen,” said Jeff Mateer, General Counsel for Liberty Institute.


One of the oldest World War I memorials in the United States, the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial has been used from its inception for patriotic events by The American Legion and others to honor our nation’s veterans.  The memorial has stood without objection for 89 years.

According to an article by Richard Wilson published in Prince George’s Magazine in 1983, the Memorial Committee formed to raise money for the Memorial included ten mothers who had lost sons in the war.  In 1920, Mrs. Martin Redman, the mother of the first sailor from the county to lose his life in World War I, became the treasurer for the committee.  In a letter to Senator John Walter Smith, who had donated money for the cause, Mrs. Redman wrote:

“The chief reason I feel so deeply in this matter, my son, M.F. Redman, lost his life in France and because of that I feel that our memorial cross is, in a way, his grave stone.”

By 1922, a local American Legion post took charge of the effort, and the Memorial was erected in 1925.  It bears the names of 49 fallen servicemen from Prince George’s County, other commemorative words and dates, and a quote from President Woodrow Wilson:

“The right is more precious than peace; we shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest to our hearts; to such a task we dedicate our lives.”

The seal of the American Legion is on two sides of the monument, and the only other words inscribed on the memorial are “VALOR; ENDURANCE; COURAGE; DEVOTION” with one on each of the four sides of the monument.

Today the Memorial sits in a public area amidst several other memorials commemorating other conflicts in American history and honoring those who served.

We are thankful for the right to intervene in this matter and committed to ensuring this time-honored veterans memorial stands for another hundred years,” said Roger Byron, Liberty Institute Senior Counsel. “The men it honors, all others who have served, and those in uniform today deserve no less.”


As the Supreme Court held in Van Orden v. Perry (2005), simply containing religious imagery doesn’t make a display unconstitutional—history and context must also be considered.

In the military, the cross has historically served as a symbol of sacrifice, honor, and courage, as exemplified by the military’s numerous awards in the shape of a cross, such as the Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, and Distinguished Flying Cross.

If the American Humanist Association succeeds in their attack on the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, other memorials with religious imagery will be at risk, such as the word “God” on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and other memorials across America— including the Argonne Cross at Arlington Cemetery.


Liberty Institute is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of those who fought to preserve our freedom and fighting for those liberties our soldiers sacrificed so much to defend.

Please pray as we work to defend this historic monument that honors the sacrifice and courage of our armed forces.

In addition, please consider a donation today to help us in our fight to preserve religious liberty.  We win over 90% of our cases, and due to our volunteer attorney model, every $1 you give translates into approximately $6 of legal impact.

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About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit