The Battle For Religious Freedom Across The Nation – With Kelly Shackelford: This week we are sharing several important sessions from the ProFamily Legislators Conference. And today, Kelly Shackelford explains how we are in a war over religious freedom in this nation. Do most believers understand why religious freedom cases matter so much? What is the one thing totalitarianism never allows? How can we stop the marxist agenda in our nation? What message is being sent to woke corporations? Tune in to hear Kelly Shackelford share how we can win if we’ll just show up!

Air Date: 12/14/2021

Guest: Kelly Shackelford

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture


Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

You can learn more at That’s our radio site where you can get a list of all the stations across the country, where the program can be heard, as well as make that one-time or monthly contribution. When you contribute to WallBuilders Live, you’re helping us to add stations, reach more people, just do more to save America’s constitutional republic. So when you’re contributing to our program, you’re literally investing in freedom. Thank you to all of you across the country who do that on a regular basis.

If you want to do a one-time, last minute, end of year contribution, we would greatly appreciate it and it would help us to reach even more people in 2022. And when I say reach people, that means educate them, empower them, get them prepared to do their part in the communities. It also means all the work that we do training pastors and legislators and young people, there’s so much going on here at WallBuilders, and you can be a part of it by contributing today at

My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach, normally here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders, and also Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. But today, we’re actually going to take you out to the ProFamily Legislators Conference. We’re going to give you more of those incredible talks.

These are folks that are the best of the best on the front lines of this culture war in America, this fight over whether or not we’re going to just march all the way down the road to socialism and communism or we’re going to come back to the timeless principles of liberty that made America the greatest, most powerful, most benevolent nation in the history of the world. Will we come back to that secret sauce? Well, these folks that teach at this legislators conference, that speak, and share with these legislators, also, they want to share their message with you.

The ProFamily Legislators Conference

And we want their message to get into your hands and for you to share it with the people in your community. Because you’re hearing from people like Congressman Mike Johnson, from June Hunt, Kelly Shackleford, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, obviously, David and Tim Barton, a former Congressman Bob McEwen. I mean, these are people that really understand what’s at stake and what needs to be done to save our nation. And so we love sharing their presentations from the Legislators Conference.

The conference, if you’re not familiar with this, it’s an opportunity where state reps and state senators come together from across the nation, they exchange ideas. They hear from the speakers. They have great fellowship.

We have incredible worship services. We hear from a Pastor, Tim Brooks every year, just phenomenal messages there as well. And so anyway, we know it’s great for these legislators. But we also think it’s great for our listeners, and we want you to be able to enjoy these messages as well.

So for the next couple of days, we’re going to be hearing from Kelly Shackleford. He is, I mean, you talk about on the front lines. I mean, this guy argues before the Supreme Court on almost a regular basis. His organization, First Liberty is doing an incredible job, at first of all, defeating the encroachment on our religious liberty. They have won case after case across the country defending everyone from the coaches that can’t pray to the crosses they get taken down. I mean, you name it, just all kinds of incredible cases where they have had victory after victory after victory.

So we love Kelly, we love his perspective on these things. And his presentation at the ProFamily Legislators Conference was so encouraging. I mean, it highlights the fact that the investment in the judiciary, educating people about the judiciary, working hard to get good appointments during the Trump administration, working hard to prevent the packing of the court by Joe Biden, I mean, all of these things at First Liberty has been doing it’s paying off.

We’ve got a lot of great victories happening at the court level. So you’re going to enjoy this presentation. It’s going to take us three days to do this. So today, tomorrow in the next day, you’ll be hearing from Kelly Shackleford at the ProFamily Legislators Conference. Let’s jump in right now.

Welcome Kelly Shackelford


I want to give you sort of a feel for what’s going on in the battle for religious liberty across the country. So I’m going to start out with something that’s going to surprise you. When everybody’s talking about how dark it is. And it really is. I mean, we’ve just been blown away by God’s favor: four wins at the Supreme Court in the last four years. We’re about to argue another case in four weeks that I think is going to be a victory. That’d be five in 4.5 years. Like 16 wins in the last four months which is like for us a record, never had that this kind of success. Just really good. But let me step back, go over the basics.

I feel like that we can win if we’ll just show up, the target rich environment right now for what we’re doing. Well, let me step back start with the basics because there’s some people who might not know what we do or how we do it. First Liberty is the largest legal organization in the country, all we do is religious freedom.

So if you’re a Navy Seal, and you’ve spent years, in fact, maybe you got PTSD, and you suffered for your country, and you’re planning to continue to be one of the best warriors in the world, and then the military comes and says, we noticed that you asked for your rights under the law for a religious exemption from the vaccine, so we’re going to court martial you now, we’re going to tell you, you have to pay for all your training which is $2 million, we’re going to dock your pay, we’re going to take your trading away, and we’re going to start abusing your family, even though we don’t have any authority over your family.

What do you do if you’re a 25 year old kid or something? I mean, you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pull out of the bank and hire a great legal team. So we come in, we bring the best litigators in the country who all donate their time so that when we win the case, and we plan to win the case on behalf of these Navy SEALs, we won’t just win for them, but we’ll set a precedent that protect everybody in the military. So that’s kind of an example of how we do, why we do what we do.

Why Does it Matter?

Now, why is this important? Pretty much everybody in here probably is a person of faith. If you’re not a person of faith, I can understand why you say, you know, I don’t know, religious freedom. Religious freedom, if you lose religious freedom, you’ll lose all your freedom.

We have people that come to us that support us every week that aren’t people of faith at all. They’re from like Hungary or Czechoslovakia, or they saw it happen. They took down the religious symbols, and a month later, they all lost their political freedoms.

And it’s because the one thing that totalitarianism will never allow our citizens to own allegiance to one higher than the government. So whenever that type of an oppressive power comes in, the first flashpoint is always going to be religious freedom. And if you lose there, you’ll lose everything. And what I find though is most believers don’t understand the importance of religious freedom. They think, yeah, yeah, I’m for it because I want to be able to live out my faith; very small view of religious freedom.

If you lose religious freedom, incredible evil comes to your country. I mean, we’re starting to see this now, right? Marxism as it starts to seep in, what does Marxism have to do? The first thing it has to do, look at history, what happens when Marxism comes into the Soviet Union? You kill all the priests. Okay. You wipe out all the church because this is a competing ideology.

And there’s a great book out ‘Live Not by Lies’, if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you read it. It’s only 215 pages. It interviews people from like the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, people that went through communism, to a person, every one of these people say they’re terrified at what they’re seeing in the United States right now. And the question you naturally ask is what do you do? How do you overcome this? And the answer is ‘Live Not by Lies’. It’s Alexander [inaudible 08:35] since last essay before he was banned from Russia.

They Are Built on Lies

Entity says the one thing that all totalitarianisms, all the systems are, they’re all the same, they all exist on lies, and everybody has to go along with the lies. But if enough people, not a majority, just enough people stand and speak the truth. Even if they suffer, the system’s collapse. And he tells the story in each of these countries, guess who these brave people are who tend to want to stand up, speak the truth, even though they’re going to suffer. They tend to be people of faith. This is why religious freedom is so dangerous to these countries.

And so I really think that’s the time we’re in right now. This is a time where we all know, Americans know a lot of the stuff that’s being said, is just nonsense, right. I mean, I don’t know, is there a difference between a man and a woman? I think everybody knows that. But the question is who will say it? Who will stand up? And so that’s sort of the time we’re in right now. We’re in this battle for our country.

And so asking this, this has been at the center of whether your country is going to collapse, or whether you’re going to have all your freedoms taken away. How are we doing on religious freedom? I probably don’t have to convince you. We’re in a war right now over religious freedom. I was just at the table talking about this. 11 years ago, we had 48 cases. Last year, we had 321. I think this year we’re going to have over 700. So obviously, the attacks are increasing pretty dramatic. And I don’t have to go very far.

I think I’ve got a picture. Let’s start with COVID. You know, we were struggling with going into COVID. And by the way, interesting, what I just talked about, what happened when all of a sudden mayors and governors got power that they never had? What was the first flashpoint what issue religious freedom, right? It’s shut down churches and synagogues


Alright, friends, I got to interrupt just for a second here for a quick break, and then we’ll be right back. You’ve been listening to Kelly Shackleford teaching at the ProFamily Legislators Conference. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.


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This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. America is a special and unique nation. The average length for a Constitution in other countries is only 17 years. But we’ve had ours for over two centuries. And our 4% of the world’s population produces 24% of the world’s gross domestic product. And every year, we produce more inventions and technology than the other 96% of the world combined.

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For more information about American Exceptionalism, go to


We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. We’re going to jump right back in with Kelly Shackleford speaking at the ProFamily Legislators Conference about the courts, the religious liberty, the victories that have already happened in the last couple of years. Thanks to the appointments by President Donald Trump and the victories that Kelly thinks we’re going to see in the coming years as well. Here’s Kelly Shackleford at the ProFamily Legislators Conference.

No Precedent in History


We knew how hard it was going to be to win one of these cases: no precedent in the history of our country on this. If you’re a federal judge, and somebody walks in your court and says, hey, I want you to disagree with the governor here who says he’s trying to save 10 million people’s lives and I want you to open our church for an hour on Sunday? That’s a tough thing to win, right. So we prayed and we waited and we prayed. We had hundreds of churches, synagogues asking for help. And finally, we felt like this is the case.

We got a call about a year and a half ago, this is On Fire Christian church, they just wanted to have Easter and be together and be safe. And so they came with the idea of we’re driving our automobiles to the church parking lot, the minister will speak over a radio frequency. And I’m no CDC expert. Of course, I don’t know that the CDC is much of an expert either these days. But I’m pretty sure you don’t pass the Coronavirus through an automobile.

City of Louisville said that they would criminally prosecute any cars that went into the church parking lot. And then the governor said well, they’re going to send police officers on Easter Sunday to church parking lots, they’re going to write down license plates, and they would visit their homes and any of those people would be quarantined by the police for 14 days. We said, okay, we’re now in China. This is the case.

So we’ve filed for a federal injunction on Good Friday and we got a great judge by the name of Justin Walker. And he started off the decision saying, you ought to read this, it’s really easy to understand, and you can find it online just On Fire Christian church. He starts off by saying, you know, I’m writing something I never thought I would even read in a dystopian novel. An American city is criminalizing an Easter gathering.

He said, this is outrageous, it’s irrational, it’s unconstitutional, and this will never happen as long as I’m a federal judge in the United States of America. And so if you’ll remember what we were seeing at this time, the visuals were like a father throwing a baseball with his son being handcuffed because he was in a park; a guy coming off the beach with a surfboard all by himself, nobody else in the beach being arrested. And everybody was wondering is the Constitution suspended?

Tabernacle Baptist Church

And we call this the second shot heard around the world. This was the second American Revolution that said, yes, the Constitution is in place. This country was built on religious freedom and we don’t put the constitutional aside for anything. But our goal wasn’t to get churches back into cars into their parking lots. Our goal was to get people in church.

So what was the next case was Tabernacle Baptist Church, really in a rural area, few COVID cases in that county, big facility, plenty of room for social distancing. But you know the facts of time, right? You could go to the gambling parlor. You could go to Home Depot. You could go to a liquor store. But the one place you couldn’t go was to the church for an hour on Sunday. It’s just totally irrational. Right? So we filed a lawsuit.

Well, not only did we win an injunction for the church, but by the time we were finished, Daniel Cameron, the African American Attorney General of Kentucky joined us in suing his own governor on behalf of all the other churches in the state. And we ended up with a statewide injunction opening every house of worship in the state to be able to meet in a safe way if they so wanted to.

But the problem is none of these, and we won every COVID case we had; Washington DC against Mayor Bowser, that was one of my favorite. But the problem is none of these made the Supreme Court. So there’s no precedent that really binds the country. So we’re still in a battle over whether the government controls religious freedom in this country, which is really sad. But the cases weren’t just COVID cases, we’ve had, I think, the Brown case, I think that’s one of the next ones I have.

This one is a drawer dismissed after a federal jury. This is set through eight weeks of trial. And the jury deliberations said that they would rely upon the Holy Spirit and their determinations, and they were thrown off the jury by the Judge because you said you can’t rely upon outside sources.

Is God Allowed to Help

So you can say the oath, so help me God, but if you believe it, you’re now band from juries. We ended up having to go all the way, the federal court of appeals said, yeah, we agree with the Judge, I mean, so we ended up having to go on bond, meaning it’s very special, all 11 Judges at the Federal Court of Appeals in the 11th Circuit because this was going to ban basically any Christian who believes in the Holy Spirit from serving on a federal jury across the country. Now we won, and this is now clear you can never do that across the country. But it’s just unbelievable what we’re having a fight: church is being attacked.

I think Canaan Baptist, this is a small church. City comes and says we’re going to take your property. They said we’re going to build our sanctuary on their property. And they said, well, sorry, but we want to put our fire station there. Well, there’s a fire station across the street. Yeah, but we like your property better. Well, we brought in a bunch of top litigators, and they decided maybe they didn’t want the churches land by the time we were done.

But the pastor called us not too long ago and said, hey, we just wanted you to know we started our sanctuary and we’re going to name it after the lead attorney who donated his time on our case. So it ends well, but I mean, this is just an example of like tons of cases I can tell you about churches, just under attack, synagogues.


Alright, friends, got to take another quick break here with Kelly Shackleford from the ProFamily Legislators Conference speaking there to these legislators, we’ll be right back. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.


Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today.

And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things, like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.

Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people. But the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out,, The American Story.


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Let’s jump right back in with Kelly Shackleford from the ProFamily Legislators Conference.

Valedictorian Speach


We have synagogue cases in Irvine. And we had Houston we just won. We got a number in New York, where they’re just literally trying to keep them from being able to meet. I mean, these are things we usually didn’t have to fight. Schools, okay, there’s just tons of cases in schools. Probably the most well-known is our one with Elizabeth Turner valedictorian. You know, what is a valedictorian address, it means personal farewell. Okay.

People talk about all kinds of stuff: politics, left wing crazy stuff, everything. But her speech, she was told she couldn’t give because it was “inappropriate”. Why? Because she was going to mention God or Jesus. Well, good for Elizabeth, she’s not only smart, she learned well.

She said, the government can’t tell me I can speak, but I can’t talk about Jesus. So by the time we were done with the case, so, instead of her giving her speech to her audience, instead it was carried by Fox News and it reached a lot more people in the country. And they saw that we got a call from another young lady who said I’m the valedictorian, they’re doing this to me in my school district too. So we end up having to do two of these cases.

But this is the kind of, I mean, just kids, they’re supposed to be teaching them to come out and be great citizens, and instead they’re trying to teach them government censorship. So the kids know more than they do in these cases. So it’s crazy what they’re having to go through. Attacks by woke corporations, like this is becoming a real normal thing where citizens are getting abused all over the country.

An example of this is the case we just filed for Alaska Airlines. This is a massively woke corporation with lots of issues. They’re really sad because only eight or nine years ago they had scripture verses on their napkins. And anyway, we’ve been waiting for the right case to really send a message to these woke corporations to maybe get them to think twice about what they’ve been doing. And I think this might be the case.


Lacey Smith love being a flight attendant, the job was a perfect fit for her personality and her faith.


I mean, there’s of course adventure, that’s a part of it; there were so many places that I got to explore that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And in the same way, that’s the same thing with the people, right, you just have so many different people. And so just kind of being there and serving in a way when you think of Jesus and the servant leadership, just being able to serve in a way that just met their need, where they were at.

Alaska Airlines and the Equality Act


She worked for Alaska Airlines, a woke corporation. So she was not surprised when a notice appeared on an employee only page.


Oh, it just caught my eye because they had just posted it and the title was ‘Alaska Supports the Equality Act’.

Guest 1:

H.R. 5, the Equality Act.


That is a deceptively named bill in Congress. The large print may trumpet equality, but the fine print destroys important legal protections for people of faith.


What we’re seeing now in the name of the equality for people is equality for some, right, that it’s believed what I want you to believe or you’re cancelled.


So she posted a comment.


As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?


And that’s all she wrote. But there was a great deal of thought behind.


In terms of regulating morality, laws are all about regulation. That’s what they do regulating behavior. Morality, when you break it down, it’s just what is right, what is wrong the idea behind that. As a Christian, my morality comes from God.


She says first the airline wrote a response to her comment, then they deleted it, then they paused her work schedule. Then they called her in for a meeting, then they fired her.

The Battle For Religious Freedom Across The Nation – With Kelly Shackelford


They said if my asking the question, I was such a bad person that it merited firing me for my job. And I think that that’s the hard part about it. You know, like, what do people get fired for, right, like they get fired for being not caring and competent, lazy, whatever. And mine had nothing to do with performance. It had everything to do with my character. And that’s what they fired me for that, they said, my character was so bad that I shouldn’t work there anymore.


And the ultimate ironing what Alaska Airlines did perfectly illustrates why Lacey had questions about the so-called Equality Act.


I have the freedom to be who I want and less apparently I work for Alaska Airlines. And then all of a sudden I no longer have the freedom to be who I am because in order to keep my job, I now have to agree with everything company’s is into.


Alright, folks, we are out of time for today. We will jump right back in with Kelly tomorrow, that’s Kelly Shackleford from First Liberty. You can visit their website at Stay with us tomorrow because you’re going to enjoy the rest of this presentation. Always good to have Kelly Shackleford as a guest on the program, but this live presentation from the legislators conference is something you just don’t want to miss the rest up. So we got two more days of it. Be sure to tune in tomorrow. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.