Seventh-day Adventist have a long history of defending religious freedom through the courts. In fact, some pivotal First Amendment constitutional cases have had Adventist Church members as plaintiffs. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Sherbert v. Verner (1963), where a church member was denied unemployment benefits after she was fired for refusing to work on Sabbath. The Supreme Court eventually held that denying these benefits infringed on Sherbert’s right to the free exercise of religion.

Today, the Adventist Church continues to be involved in litigation defending religious freedom, not just for church members but for believers from many other faith traditions. One of the most frequent types of cases the church is involved with relate to Sabbath keeping in an employment context. But the church is involved in many more different types of religious freedom cases, including defending literature evangelists, and cases involving family law, asylum claims, prisoner cases, and religious land use issues. The church also files amici curiae (or, “friend of the court” briefs) in support of key religious liberty principles that come before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defending Religious Freedom in the Courts