The Evangelical Footprint | Mich. St. L. Rev. by Lisa Shaw Roy

Lisa Shaw Roy, The Evangelical Footprint, 2011 Michigan State Law Review 1235-1291.

What has been the impact of evangelicals on the law? If the first half of the twentieth century tells the story of how the legal advocacy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses shaped the law of religious freedom, surely the second half belongs to those who followed in their footsteps, including notably, the evangelicals.

Many books and articles have been written on evangelicals’ political influence over the last thirty years. This Article comes as some
commentators report that we have crested the wave of evangelicals’ political power and are witnessing its diminution. Yet few have evaluated the actual impact of evangelical legal advocacy on the law. Unlike the precedent set by Jehovah’s Witnesses, the changes associated with evangelicals’ legal victories in the courts have only recently been tied explicitly to their religious identity . . .

[n. 64-71]

Funding for evangelical advocacy received a boost with the formation of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) in 1994. Prominent movement lead-ers, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, formed ADF to fund litigation and to coordinate the efforts of Christian litigation firms.

ADF has been responsible for providing funding in several high profile cases, including Rosenberger, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. ADF also sponsors litigation firms with overlapping interests, such as the Christian Law Association, Pacific Justice Institute, the Home School Legal Defense Fund, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, to name a few. While ADF began solely as an umbrella organization to provide funds to individual lawyers and law firms, ADF now also takes its own cases.

Though its success as a funding organization seems apparent given, for example, the number of Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs that disclose ADF support, some opine that its success in coordinating evangelical litigation efforts has been mixed.