Steps to protect religious freedom 
by Attorney Whitman Brisky
Religious liberty means a lot more than just being able to go, or not go, to a house of worship once a week. It also means being able to share and express your faith in public. It means being able to live out your faith without being required to act against your conscience by the government. And it means that the law does not treat religious expression, religious institutions, religious activities, and religious objections any less favorably than their secular counterparts.


For pharmacists, religious liberty may mean not being required to sell the abortion pill.  For churches it may mean being able to use a building for worship on the same terms as the building could be used for similar non-religious uses.  For wedding photographers it may mean being free to decline a job photographing a wedding ceremony which offends the photographer's conscience.  For evangelists, it may mean being free to hand out tracks and preach the Gospel on public streets.  Mauck & Baker has used, or expects to use, the legal system to help protect all of these aspects of religious liberty.  But with religious liberty seemingly under attack, many have asked me, "What can I do to help protect religious liberty?"  Some of the things you can do are:


1.  Pray for our brothers and sisters whose religious liberty is being obstructed, and that our courts and legal system will protect that liberty.  Pray especially for the Hobby Lobby case now before the Supreme Court.

2.      Stay informed about the issues.

3.     Be sure to have a defense of your faith, and of your religious liberty ready, but make that defense with gentleness and respect, 1 Pt. 3:15.  Share your concerns with your friends, and tell them what the loss of religious liberty could mean for you, and for them. It's always easier to sympathize with the challenges of someone you know than with an abstract concept such as religious liberty.

4.   Remember that your freedom to believe and act in accordance with your own faith depends on the freedom of those with whom you disagree to do the same.

5.     Encourage your pastor to address the controversial issues in preaching and teaching.  If we don't hear a Christian perspective on, for example, sexual morality from the pulpit even members of your congregation will begin to think that these issues are not clear, or not important for Christians, and begin to follow the broader culture.  Hearing it preached from the pulpit, or taught in adult education classes, can also encourage lay people to speak up in their neighborhoods and workplaces.

6.   Be wise in your spending and giving, Mt. 10:16.  Support those organizations, businesses and political candidates who support religious liberty.

7.  Live out your faith in your own life, and be prepared to be mocked, or worse, for doing so, Rom. 5:3-5.  Hypocrisy can be our worst enemy. 

8.      Share this article with others.


And don't forget to pray for those Christians around the world who are even now suffering imprisonment, torture and death for their faith in places like Iran, North Korea, Nigeria and elsewhere.


Whitman Brisky, a partner at Mauck & Baker, practices corporate and business law for businesses and professionals. He is a board member of the Illinois chapter of CLS  and an Allied Defending Freedom ally. 



Catch more through communications 
fishhook, a Indianapolis based communication and creative services firm specializes in developing brands, websites, and communications strategies for churches. Their team has answered a few questions about communication use and 
            why you should consider it a valuable part of your church.

When churches come to Fishhook for help, what are some common communications mistakes you see them making?

          Evan McBroom - Creative Director 

Often churches are reaching out for help or advice on how to improve their website or online strategy. Their opening comments are so consistent, I can almost predict what they will say:

  • Our elders/pastor/people have said, "we have to do something about our's embarrassing."
  • We're an older congregation and we know if we don't get a better website, we're not going to attract young families.
  • The volunteer who was running our website has moved/gone to college/gotten busy with other things and we can't make any updates, or it takes forever.


In most cases, these church leaders talk of wanting a more current looking website and one that's easier to update. What many of them are missing is that a website is just one part of a bigger communications picture. No matter the denomination, size or setting, many churches struggle to communicate clearly and effectively - to both their congregation and the community around them. 


 Here are the Seven Deadly Sins we see most frequently. 



How can communications be a ministry? 

          Lindsay Dudeck - Communications Strategist


Just as churches and organizations have directors, coordinators and assistants in place for individual ministries, we encourage churches to approach communications in a similar way. A healthy, functioning communications team centralizes all communications processes, tools and budgets for a church. Why is a youth pastor spending hours working on a postcard in PhotoShop, when he/she should be counseling a student who is contemplating suicide? Should an administrative assistant be spending five hours a week putting together a bulletin that most people throw away? A church would never ask a choir director to lead a junior high retreat, or the missions pastor to put together a craft for toddlers, so why do churches think it's okay to ask everyone to dabble in communications and marketing?

A church's communications ministry, like all church ministries, needs a strong leader and support team, with clear direction on priorities and expectations. The communications leader and team can work relationally and proactively with church and ministry leaders to determine what communications strategy and tactics are needed and when to connect with each target audience to move them to next steps.


The emphasis here is that this work and planning is in relationship and proactive, not reactive. The analogy we like to use is that too often communications leaders in the church function like short order cooks, where staff are the customers placing orders. Via the menu (the communications request form), they get in line and place their order for what they'd like. Behind the counter, someone cranks through the orders and hopes to get the right one to the right person. This transactional model often leaves the customer wondering when he/she will receive his/her order and if it'll be what he/she hoped for.




What do you advise a small church do if they lack the budget to hire a staff member to lead communications?

      Leah Norton - Lead Communications Strategist


Lay leaders/volunteers are key in every church environment. But in a smaller church environment - where communications leadership is needed - lay leaders 
can be instrumental! Building a volunteer team - that can work closely with the pastors/s

taff to guide a small church's communications ministry - can allow a church to maximize its communications efforts. These lay leaders can serve their church by helping with communications strategy and related planning - providing content/writing, doing graphic design, web programming and more.


Why should a church invest in a logo or website renovation? How can these things benefit the church?

            Meredith Erwin and Megan Cook - Graphic Designers



In our current culture, logos/branding have become a language of their own. Logos are conversation starters, where there may not otherwise be conversation.


A brand is fundamentally about communicating one's identity, visually. When churches organize themselves with a logo, they have the opportunity to communicate in a comprehensive way who they are and what they are about. In an increasingly visual culture, having a visual identity is becoming more important as a means for making meaningful, relevant connections.


We know through our own experiences in human relationships that consistency builds trust. When churches lean into their logo and use it consistently, they also have the opportunity to build trust. Trust is often just a few steps away from faith. In a world growing increasingly skeptical of the church, and established religion, it is all the more important for the church to be proactive in building relationships with their communities, which are built on trust.



Websites are absolutely necessary for communication as well. Searching on the web is now an extremely useful part of our lives. In a way, websites have become the new "front door/first-time experience." If you don't have a strong web presence (clear communication, excellent layout/design), then people will dismiss you before you have the opportunity to properly introduce yourself or build a relationship with them. Your website is now your first impression and first handshake - better make it strong and memorable!


In a culture rapidly dismissing the church or feeling it is irrelevant, the need to have strong branding and a strong website is very important. If the church can't be present in the evolving ways our culture communicates, then it will be obsolete/irrelevant. The church has the most powerful, hopeful and needed message ever to exist. Let's get the message out - through any means possible. (And right now, those means include branding and web!)


See some of our design portfolio.



We'd love to hear from you! Consider having a conversation with our team, or explore more resources that could help your church at 

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

Church Interest 

Power to the People 


Pastor Tom Nelson, author of Work Matters, shares his insight on the connection between Sunday worship and vocation
by Leadership Journal 

 Steve Green before Hobby Lobby and the legal battle ahead against the Federal government 

by The Religion News Service