A good name is important.
Without it, individuals, businesses, ministries, and churches face an uphill battle. This is why smear campaigns are so often seen in politics, and it’s why opponents of ideas may use personal attacks when there isn’t much traction in the reason of their argument.
We at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have been the target of such a smear campaign from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labels ADF as a “hate group” simply for believing marriage is the union of one man and woman. While many have written and acted in support of ADF – speaking to our reputation as the largest legal organization in the world dedicated to the defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family – it’s a claim that we regularly have to address.
If you have ever been falsely accused or smeared, as we have, you might understand what One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu are experiencing.
For years these two Hawaiian churches have been falsely accused of defrauding the government – merely for being included among all the community groups that are allowed to use empty school buildings after hours.
Two atheists have filed a lawsuit against these churches in a blatant attempt to close them down. ADF has been representing these churches in court for the past six years.
Atheists Mitchell Kahle and Holly Huber have used a “whistleblowers” law intended to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors, but the churches’ actions directly contradict any claim of fraudulent behavior.
Beyond paying the required rent payments, One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu went out of their way to improve the school that they were renting. The churches have been good neighbors by mentoring students. And they’ve volunteered time and resources by performing landscaping and maintenance of the school campuses, replacing the floor of an auditorium stage, helping remodel school bathrooms, and removing graffiti from the schools.
This apparently wasn’t enough. The two atheists claim that the churches should be doing more to pay the government.
But the churches were paying more than other nonprofits to use the facilities. So instead of abusing the system, as the atheists claim, the churches were being treated unfairly by paying more than their fair share.
What’s more, these two atheists have created a completely arbitrary list of all the “offenses” that the church has committed. Among them is the claim that the churches have been using the air conditioning too much. Remarkably, the two atheists are seeking millions of dollars in penalties against the churches. That’s more than enough to bring their ministries to a halt.
Churches should be free from the harassment and bullying that One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu have experienced over the course of the past six years. We at ADF are honored to represent these two churches, which are bravely standing against false accusations.
As Jesus says in Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”