by Scott Mosley, 2017 ICLRS Student Fellow
Jeremiah Morgan, General Counsel to the Supreme Court of Missouri, discussed the importance of working as a team when defending religious freedom. He shared his experience when he was assigned to defend the Missouri Constitution’s definition and provision that marriage was between a man and a woman in a same sex marriage case in Missouri. He asked other attorneys if they would help him but they did not want to work on the case. Eventually he found someone who would if their name was left off the case. He learned in the courtroom when he was the only attorney at his table that going it alone is not the way. And while we may want to go it alone like Captain America, it is not the way we can accomplish the greatest good. Teamwork is what is needed.
So, what would a religious freedom/liberty team look like? Every team needs a leader, a strategist. Additionally, every team needs a face for the organization, to work with the public. But every team needs hard workers, grassroots individuals who are not interested in being the leader or face of the team but are willing to work every day to get things done. We all have talents that we can use and give to protect religious freedom, whether we help in organizing, being an educator, a social media specialist, writer, researcher and observer, fundraiser, volunteer, or connecting with people in influential positions.
We do not have to start our team from nothing. There are many different teams and organizations already established that are capable and have the resources to help move the work of protecting religious freedom forward. You can find them online, and use them. You do not need to go it alone. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Once we have found our team, the most effective work that can be done for religious freedom is to stand up for the rights of other people. And one of the best ways we can do this is by putting ourselves in a position of influence. Reach out and connect with decision makers, or become a decision maker yourself. Know city counselors, those who run social media groups, sit on a board, there are many things that we can do.
Ultimately the outcome is less important than the change that occurs in us. Regardless of the outcome, our efforts to stand up and protect religious freedom is itself important and valuable. In protecting religious freedom, we should work together as a team. Each of us has the ability to do so.