Who We Are    
 
Mauck & Baker, located in downtown Chicago is nationally known for representing churches, religious institutions, businesses and individuals. Our monthly newsletter covers topics relating to religious news and legal information relevant to our practice. Please forward our newsletter on to others interested in religious freedom.


Church Interest 
 
Mauck & Baker assisted in providing legal services to a 15-year old young woman being forced to abort her baby. Read the link to find out more about "Rachel's" story and Mauck & Baker's work on her case. 
                                                    
River Hills Community Church in Sauk City, Wis. purchased a new church building a few days  aftefiling a lawsuit against the Village of Sauk City over a restrictive zoning ordinance. Read the local news coverage to find out more.
 
 
Continue to pray for the Hobby Lobby case going to the Supreme Court before the end of the Supreme Court's term in June 2014. Follow Hobby Lobby on Twitter for updates @HobbyLobbyCase. 
 

 

Mauck & Baker News


Courtside Ministries' work in DuPage County was featured in the Daily Herald on Feb. 28 in Volunteers give spiritual help at DuPage courthouse

Mauck & Baker will be available to take Qui Tam (whistle-blower) actions against parties who have defrauded the federal government.  Mauck & Baker will also provide legal services in Crime Victim Comp. Act cases if you are a victim of a violent crime and have worked with the police following the criminal act. Your aid to officers can be compensated for up to $15,000. Please contact our attorneys for more information on the Qui Tam actions and the Crime Victim Comp. Act. 

 
Chicago Sunday Evening Club begins a new chapter   

Former academic David Dault moves to Chicago bringing awareness of religious work in the city

by Christen Gall, Communications Manager

The Chicago Sunday Evening Club sounds more like an exclusive association for socialites than what it really is--an organization highlighting religion in Chicago.

 

It began in 1908 as a ministry for Chicago business groups in the downtown Loop.  A place of business by day and shady activity by night, the Loop didn't have a reputation for moral nighttime entertainment, so business leaders decided to create a weekly Christian religious service to promote more virtuous conduct in the city. Bringing in religious leaders, business leaders, and politicians as speakers, the 3,000-seat auditorium of Orchestra Hall filled week after week making the Chicago Sunday Evening Club's program a popular event for city-dwellers and visitors at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

As technology advanced, the Chicago Sunday Evening Club changed mediums to radio in the 1920's and then to television in the 1950's. Its transition from an oral format to a visual one forced the directors to downsize to a studio setting, decreasing the live audience attendance significantly. Forward to the early 2000's--the Chicago Sunday Evening Club changed its television program name to 30 Good Minutes with a focus on an interview with a religious leader rather than a Christian service. But the Chicago Sunday Evening Club's place as a prominent religious organization connected with business leaders in the city had long since dissolved when viewers started watching more popular religious shows in the 1970's.

 

"Our demographic aged and our viewership declined and our relevance waned," said David Dault, the Executive Director of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. "We went from being an organization that was trying to make Chicago better... and we ended up becoming a pretty bad religious television program."

 

 David Dault stands with John Mauck during the Chicago Sunday Evening Club's open house in its new office space. 

 

Dault took on his current position as Executive Director in July 2013 hoping to refocus the direction of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. An academic for years, Dault holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary and a Masters and PhD from Vanderbilt University. Dault also brings a background as a radio host of a religious program to the table. Since 2012, Dault has been interviewing religious scholars, leaders and writers on their work and beliefs on a small radio program called Things Not Seen out of Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Figures such as Joanne Brooks, Rachel Held Evans, and Chris Steddman have all been featured on Things Not Seen. His program is something in between national public radio's distance from religion as a boutique phenomenon and religious groups reduction of faith to sounds bites, explains Dault. "From both sides we're failing our public discourse; there's a better way to talk about religion."

 

It was his work producing Things Not Seen that got him the attention of the board of directors at the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, also involved in religion and media. The board came to realize their desire to be a voice of religious influence in Chicago would require a dramatic shift in their presentation of faith.  

 

"They began a process of creative re-visioning of what the Sunday Evening Club could do with its history and its assets, both financial and media, to help to make Chicago better, to help people look at their own faith lives and how they could put their faith lives into the public sphere for the good of Chicago," said Dault. And that's when Dault joined the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. 

 

The past influence of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club doesn't seem to intimidate Dault, but encourage him in his work to return the organization to active participation in faith-based work throughout Chicago. Production of 30 Good Minutes has ceased, and 2014 will see a series of pilot documentaries produced by the Chicago Sunday Evening Club staff on religious groups' work on social issues in the city. 

 

"As I've been working with WTTW broadcast and the board to reshape it, I'm very excited about what the possibilities are," said Dault. An office move to LaSalle street has brought the Chicago Sunday Evening Club closer to businesses in Loop and Dault looks forward to creating programs with purpose, rather than out of obligation to the past. 

 

"We're no longer doing media to do media, we're doing media for the good of Chicago. We're getting back to our roots, said Dault. "I want to use this wonderful 100 year platform to making Chicago... better using faith as the bases." 


 
When civil liberties and nondiscrimination laws collide 
 
On Feb. 26, Arizona Governor Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062 after a week of controversy and conflict over whether businesses' religious liberty should be protected under Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Law.
 
by Attorneys Richard Baker and Noel Sterett 
 
Most Americans still agree that pastors and churches should not be forced to lend their services and sanctuaries to same-sex couples seeking to use them for a same-sex wedding. Most understand that a pastor's sermon and the church's sanctuary are vehicles through which their messages are communicated to the world--in short, their voice.

 

However, when it comes to Christians in the marketplace, whether they are videographers or bakers, there is currently a significant push to ignore, suppress, and hijack their voices. Yes, their voices. A videographer speaks through her videography, a photographer through her photography, and a baker his cakes. And while it is not unusual for them to lend their voice and skills to capture or celebrate benign messages not their own (e.g. "Happy 50th Anniversary Gladys") they are (or were) seldom asked to lend their voice to messages to which they objected on personal or religious grounds.

 

Times have changed. With the passing of same-sex marriage laws, same-sex couples have sought out and sued Christian videographers, bakers, and florists for refusing to lend their voices and signature services to the celebration of their same-sex ceremonies. In each case to date, the Christians in question had no problem providing their services regardless of the sexual orientation of those being served. The problem was never who they were being asked to serve but how they were being asked to serve. As an African American videographer would likely welcome customers of all races, he would likely object to preparing a celebratory video of a Klan rally. No one would doubt his conviction or force him to comply by filming what he believed was wrong. 

 

 

 

Nor does anyone really doubt the conviction of the Christians who believe marriage was ordained by God as between one man and one woman.  Indeed, it has been the teaching of the Christian faith for nearly two millennia. But now, those who hold these convictions before God are being told they must ignore those convictions in the name of tolerance and comply with Caesar's rule or leave the marketplace. Or as Justice Bosson of New Mexico's Supreme Court stated in Elaine Photography, LLC v. Willcock, upholding the conviction of the Christian photographer: "...I would say to the Huguenins with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."

 

Is it? As President Obama recently said at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2014: 

 

... as Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion.  And, yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too -- because religion strengthens America.  Brave men and women of faith have challenged our conscience and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to civil rights, workers' rights. ...And central to that dignity is freedom of religion -- the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear...So history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people -- including the freedom of religion -- are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful.  Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism.

 

It is this civil right, the freedom of religion, the right of every person to "practice" his faith that is at stake when those with religious convictions and objections are asked to participate in a same-sex marriage. And it was to protect this civil right that the Arizona legislature voted to amend Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration law. SB 1026's defeat is a warning that our Constitution will stand to protect men and women who are seeking to follow their faith in the marketplace only if our leaders,  judges and legislators have the courage of their convictions to uphold our religious freedom. If not, then I am afraid that Supreme Court Justice Scalia's chilling descent in U.S. v. Windsor will come to pass. In response to the majority's holding that struck down the federal government's definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, he said: "the only thing that will 'confine the Court's holding is its sense of what it can get away with.'"

 

     Richard Baker and Noel Sterett recently completed advance training in representing religious rights of business owners. Contact Mauck & Baker at info@mauckbaker.com for more information. 

 

  

Please forward our newsletter on to others interested in religious freedom.