America’s government was intended by our founders to rest on the stable support of a three-legged stool. One of America’s first laws as a new nation, passed in Congress at the exact time the Bill of Rights was being enacted, identified these three legs as religion, morality, and knowledge (education). This law, the Northwest Ordinance of 1789, was adopted to assist in the formation of new states and territories in the west. It declared that “religion, morality, and knowledge” were “necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind.”
Every day, the attorneys and staff at the NCLL deal with legal issues facing Christians, churches, homeschool families, and Bible-believing ministries all across the country. Yet we know full well that many of the issues facing you—and facing us—are not just legal in nature. They are personal. They are spiritual. They are emotional. And because of this, we have made it our mission to help real people with real problems. We believe that if you give people good information, they can make good decisions.
At no other time in American history have the rights of individual Christians been jeopardized to the degree they are today. Furthermore, churches and other Bible-based ministries are being challenged and sued like never before, and in many of these cases, the ministry’s doctrinal, social, and cultural positions are under attack. This is why it is so important for ministries to articulate in their bylaws their stance on these issues. When those positions have been clearly stated in writing and are made readily available to prospective and current members, the ministry will have a much stronger legal footing to defend itself if it is ever sued on the basis of one of those positions.