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September 2023 Update

Updated: Sep 22, 2023



2023 update 090623 WFFC
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2023 Update of Activities


Housed on the campus of Spring Arbor University, the Wagner Faith & Freedom Center serves as the nation’s academic voice for faith, family, and freedom.


Working daily to secure the future for freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, the center equips the next generation with strategies to transform the culture and preserve the freedom to educate. Contending for the faith, the center strategically works to ensure the next generation may share the Gospel free of persecution. From a local township board to the United States Supreme Court, we speak truth on behalf of the persecuted and most vulnerable. We champion the cause of the defenseless and oppressed, standing for faith and freedom all around the world.


The Center

  • produces media programs that inform and engage the culture, analyzing cultural developments and abuses of government power.

  • hosts inspirational lectures, conferences, and seminars on faith, family, and freedom, equipping key influencers to engage the culture.

  • hosts a discipleship / fellowship program that combines in-depth teaching on Biblical principles, mentoring, and a high-level internship experience, (e.g., assisting those speaking for the persecuted).

  • advocates for faith and freedom in public forums around the globe

  • promotes and preserves the freedom to educate, and the liberty of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children,

  • builds relationships with academic institutions, scholars, and policy experts from around the world.

  • provides a centralized place where individuals and organizations can visit to learn about the Christ-centered perspective on good governance.


As we seek funding to fully endow the center, we are extremely grateful for the over $3 million given during 2022. We thank God for this financial support and your prayers as we seek to fully endow this center to impact lives both now and in the future.


Attach please find an update of our recent activity and a summary of things to come.


Prof. William Wagner

WFFC Distinguished Chair


Faith & Freedom Activity Highlights: January - September 2023


U.S. Supreme Court Cases


Debra A. Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, N.Y. (23-74) (2023) (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center and Right to Life - MI). Brief filed in support of Petitioner challenging law making it a crime to express a pro-life viewpoint on the topic of abortion while on a public sidewalk in proximity to an abortion clinic. Whether the Court should overrule the holding in Hill v. Colorado that improperly enables government to prohibit and punishing speech with which it disagrees -- and why the doctrine of stare decisis does not require adherence to the incorrect holding of that case?


Brian Tingley v. Attorney General of Washington (22-942) (2023) (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center) Brief filed in support of professional counselor where state interfered with the counselor's First Amendment liberty by requiring him to renounce his Christian expression, conscience, identity, and beliefs, or face professional discipline. Whether the free exercise of religious expression is a fundamental constitutional right that limits generally applicable government laws?


College of the Ozarks v. Joe Biden, et al., (22-816) (2023). (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center and the American Association of Christian Schools), Brief filed in support of Christian University where state interfered with the free exercise of religious conscience by requiring Christian universities to allow biological men identifying as women to shower and room with biological women. Whether the government conduct here (failing to give statutorily required notice and hearing so as to allow citizen participation in the government’s rule-making) provides sufficient reason to challenge the government action?


U.S. Court of Appeals Cases


Littlejohn v. School Bd of Leon Co. FLA (23-10385) (11th Cir) Parental Rights Foundation amicus in support of parents. Whether the District Court erred in ruling that the right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is not clearly established as a

fundamental right?


Foote, et al. v. Town of Ludlow, et al., (23-106) (1st Cir.) Parental Rights Foundation amicus in support of parents challenging public school policy that prohibits school from informing parents in matters where the school is assisting child to permanently change their sex. Whether the government school’s policy unconstitutionally infringes on a Christian parent’s constitutional right to control and direct the upbringing of their child.


State Supreme Court Cases


Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc and Jack Phillips., (2023) (Colorado) representing members of the Colorado legislature in support of Christian baker repeatedly facing government sanction for exercising sincerely held religious conscience. Whether the government action yet again violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Non-Partisan Testimony/Gov. Presentations/ Written Evidence


HB 4474; HB 4475 Preserving Freedom of Speech, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to criminalize speech, before the Michigan House of Representative Criminal Justice Committee. (June 13, 2023)


SB 348; SB 349 Fighting for Freedom of Expression, non-partisan written testimony, on proposed SOGI censorship law for counselors, before the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee & Housing and Human Services Committee (June 7-8, 2023)


Proposed Amendment of Rule 1.109 of the Michigan Court Rules (requiring judges to use pronouns preferred by parties and attorneys, even when doing so requires the judge to lie and violate sincerely held religious conscience) – Appeared before the Michigan Supreme Court presenting the case for preserving freedom of conscience, expression, and constitutional governance. (June 7, 2023)


HB 4474; HB 4475 Preserving Freedom of Speech, non-partisan oral testimony, on proposal to criminalize speech, before the Michigan House of Representative Criminal Justice Committee. (June 6, 2023)


HB 4616; HB 4617 Fighting for Freedom of Expression, non-partisan written testimony, on proposed SOGI censorship law for counselors, before the Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Subcommittee on Behavioral Health (June 7-8, 2023)


HB 4474; HB 4475 Preserving Freedom of Speech, non-partisan written testimony, on proposal to criminalize speech, before the Michigan House of Representative Criminal Justice Committee. (June 6, 2023)

On Proposed Rulemaking: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male and Female Athletic Teams, written comment submitted to Department of Education, ED-2022-OCR-0143 (May 15, 2023)


HB 152: Preserving the Freedom to Educate and the Right of Christian Parents to Direct the Upbringing of their Children, non-partisan written testimony before the Louisiana House of Representatives, Committee on civil law and procedure. (May 8, 2023)


HB6: Preserving the Freedom to Educate and the Right of Christian Parents to Direct the Upbringing of their Children, non-partisan written testimony before the Alabama House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary (April 12, 2023)


Amending the Constitution - Empowering Christian Parents to Protect Children’s Education, Non-partisan presentions at various congressional offices at the U.S. House of Representative (March 28, 2023)

On Motion to the U.S. Supreme Court, appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, moving admission to the Court of eleven members of the Religious Liberty Law Section of the Michigan Bar. (March 21, 2023)


Concordat, Parental Rights, and the Problem of the Proportionality Doctrine, written brief to Members of Parliament (2023 forthcoming)


Proposed Amendment of Rule 1.109 of the Michigan Court Rules (requiring judges to use pronouns preferred by parties and attorneys, even when doing so requires the judge to lie and violate sincerely held religious conscience) – Written Comment Prepared for RLLS Section of the State Bar of Michigan, for the Michigan Supreme Court (March 2023)


SB 147 Forcing Christians to Participate and Pay For Abortions of Others is Wrong, non-partisan written testimony before the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. (March 15, 2023)


Proposed Recission of Religious Freedom Protections for Student Organizations in Higher Education, written comment submitted to Department of Education, ED-2023-OPE-0029 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Education, RIN 1840-AD467 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of HomelandSecurity, RIN 1601-AB02 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Agriculture, RIN 0510-AA008 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Agency for International Development, RIN 0412-AB10 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Housingand Urban Development, RIN 2501-AD91 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Justice, RIN 1105-AB64 (March 2023)


On ProposedRulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Labor, RIN 1290-AA45 (March 2023)


On ProposedRulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of VeteransAffairs, RIN 2900-AR23 (March 2023)


On Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Health & Human Services, HHS_FRDOC_0001 (March 2023)


Stop Harming and Start Protecting – Written comment to the Negotiators at the United Nations Commission on the States of Women (critiquing proposals advancing the sexualizing of children and unrestricted abortion) (2023)


Fix the Injustice – Written comment to the Port Wentworth City Council in support of Police Officer against whom the city discriminated based on the Officers exercise of religious conscience.


SB 4 -How Proposed SOGI Amendments Infringe on Constitutionally Protected Freedoms, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. (2023)


HB 4003 -How Proposed SOGI Amendments Infringe on Constitutionally Protected Freedoms, presented to the Michigan House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. (2023)


Sb 2, 37, 38, and 39 Protecting Human Life or Infanticide, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy (2023)


HB 4006, 4031, 4032 Protecting Human Life or Infanticide, presented to the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (2023)


SB 18 Remembering the Past – Korematsu, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety.


In re: J.R. nominated as U.S. Circuit Judge to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Written testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (2023)


In re: N.A., nominated as U.S. Circuit Judge to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Written testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (2023)




Corporate Communications


Fairness Requires Cessation of Censorship – Written petition to AT&T and Direct TV in response to the corporate decision to drop Newsmax, because its news coverage includes Christian viewpoints.



Christian Worldview/ Legal Counsel


Provided 546 instances (as of June 30, 2023) of confidential counsel to pastors, business leaders, students, public and private employees, academic leaders, etc.... Almost all this counsel related to government interference with the free exercise of religious conscience. (For example, Professor Wagner provided counsel to the Board of Directors of a key Christian 501(c)(3) on 2/14/2023 on how current public policy on gender issues will impact Christian ministries and churches.)


Building Relationships - Board of Directors Service


Appointed Chair CCCU Legal & Policy Counsel Commission


Appointed to the Board of Directors Parental Rights Foundation

Served as Council Chair, Religious Liberty Law Section of the Michigan Bar Association



Newly Published Book


Wagner, Wm, The Right of Parents to Direct the Upbringing of Their Children – Divine, Natural, and Common Law Foundations (Kindle Publishing 2023)


Conferences, Seminars


Go Local: Community Influencer Conference: Helped sponsor and presented at conference equipping local leaders to influence their communities via winsome persuasion promoting faith and freedom while understanding the practical ideals of good governance. (July 29, 2023)


A Coalition for Due Process - series of good governance seminars focusing on the constitution's due process requirement as a limit on the exercise of government power (July 24, June 30)


Wagner Faith & Freedom Center Townhall - Restoring the Republic, presented online worldwide (July 8, 2023)


Leaving a Legacy - Ten Year Celebration of SLG Hosted at the Country Mill Charlotte. (June 22, 2023)


Let Your Light Shine when Worldviews Collide Seminar - Sponsored with SAU a worldview conference on current threats to religious conscience in the culture. Hosted at the Mol Residence (May 23, 2023)


2023 INCH Homeschool Conference: Helped sponsor and provided speakers for state-wide home education conference (May 17, 2023)


Michigan Prayer Breakfast: Helped sponsor state-wide prayer breakfast. (May 17, 2023)


Go Local: Community Influencer Conference: Helped sponsor and presented at conference equipping local leaders to influence their communities via winsome persuasion promoting faith and freedom while understanding the practical ideals of good governance. (May 13, 2023)


Wagner Faith & Freedom Center Townhall - Current Public Policy Developments Impacting Christian People, presented online worldwide. (April 4, 2023)


Go Local: Community Influencer Conference: Helped sponsor and presented at conference equipping local leaders to influence their communities via winsome persuasion promoting faith and freedom while understanding the practical ideals of good governance. (March 2023)

Safeguarding Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in the Caribbean Nations: Helped sponsor and presented at conference focusing on contemporary cultural issues impacting faith, freedom, and the Christian life in the Caribbean nations. (March 1-2, 2023)

Wagner Faith & Freedom Center Townhall - Christmas and the Constitution, presented online seminar worldwide. (December 13, 2022)


Faith & Freedom Presentations

T

he Belt of Truth when Contending for the Faith, presented at South Church (July 30, 2023).


Limited Government, Separation of Powers, and the Constitution at the Local Level, presented to community influencers at a SLG conference hosted Lakeside Family Church in Stevensville, MI. (July 29, 2023)


How Much Process is Due, presentation with the Coalition for Due Process in Howell (July 24, 2023)


The Threat to Freedom of Speech and Religious Conscience from so-called Hate Speech Laws, presented at the National Press Club, Washington D.C. (July 20, 2023)


Parental Rights Update, presented at the Parental Rights Board Meeting (July 18, 2023)


Protecting your Christian Organization, presented to the Youth Haven Ranch Board of Directors (July 18, 2023)


Persuasive Appellate Advocacy - presented at the SSI moot court practice hosted at Spring Arbor University (July 12, 2023)


The WFFC -For Faith & Freedom, presented at the Student Statesmanship Institute hosted at Spring Arbor University (July 11, 2023)


Restoring the Republic, presented at the WFFC Townhall seminar (July 8, 2023)


How Much Process is Due, presentation with the Coalition for Due Process in Hillsdale (June 30, 2023)


Memory Stones and the Spirt of Liberty, presentation to SLG supporters on the occasion of its Tenth anniversary (June 22, 2023)


Faith and Freedom Narratives, presentation to legislators and legislative staff. (June 13, 2023)


Good Governance, Faith, Freedom, and Election Integrity, presentation to community influencers, held at the Stockbridge Activity Center in Stockbridge, MI (June 10, 2020)


Law and Policy Update on Faith and Freedom, presented to the Religious Liberty Law Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan (June 8, 2023)


Mission and Vision, presented to the national Board of Directors of the Parental Rights Foundation (June7, 2023)


Moot Court National Championship - Judged semi-final round of NCFCA Christian Speech and Debate League - Moot Court (June 7, 2023)


Controlling the Narrative when Standing for Faith, Freedom, and Family, presentation to community influencers held at the Leelanau County Government Center (June 1, 2023)


Contending for the Faith - Cultural Update, Presented to the Homebuilders Group at South Church in Lansing, MI (May 28, 2023)


A Review of the Michigan Judicial System, presented to prolife leaders at the WFFC in Spring Arbor, MI (May 25, 2023)


New Laws and Constitutionally Protected Liberty - Worldviews Collide, presented to community influencers at a WFFC conference hosted by the Mol family in Byron Center, MI (May 23, 2023)


Introducing the Wagner Faith & Freedom Center, presented to community influencers at a WFFC conference hosted by the Mol family in Byron Center, MI (May 23, 2023)


Limited Government, Separation of Powers, and the Constitution at the Local Level, presented to community influencers at a SLG conference hosted Haven of Hope Church in Traverse City. (May 13, 2023)


Faith & Freedom – the Permanent Things, Keynote presentation at the 2023 Kent County Spring Fling Gala


Good Governance and the American Constitution, presented to a group of Christian citizens hosted by Proposito in Holland, Michigan (May 8, 2023)


A Prayer for the American Judiciary, presented at the Capitol as part of the National Day of Prayer (May 4, 2023)


Good Governance and the American Constitution, presented to a group of Christian citizens hosted by Proposito in Grand Rapids, Michigan (May 1, 2023)


The United States Supreme Court and the Inherent Value of Human Life, Keynote Address presented at the annual Right to Life conference in Jackson County (April 18, 2023)


Freedom of Religious Conscience, Keynote Address presented at the 27th Annual Michigan State University Diversity Day event hosted by the Christian Legal Society and the Thomas More Society (April 16, 2023)


God, Government, and the Christian Citizen, Keynote Address presented at a statewide conference of culture influencers hosted at Capitol City Baptist Church. (April 15, 2023)


Proposed Supreme Court Personal Pronoun Rule and Religious Conscience, presented at a meeting of the Religious Liberty Law Council (April 6, 2023)

Current Public Policy Developments Impacting Christian People, presented online worldwide. (April 4, 2023)


Faith & Freedom Vignette: Citizen Statesmanship Lessons for Christians, shared with state leaders supporting parental rights (empowering parents to protect kids) (March 27, 2023)


Limited Government, Separation of Powers, and the Constitution at the Local Level, presented to community influencers at a SLG conference hosted by Grace Bible Church in Lansing. (March 25, 2023)


Faith & Freedom Vignette: Effective Rebuttal, shared with new members of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar (March 21, 2023)


On Character and Fitness – presented to members of the Religious Liberty Law Section, State Bar of Michigan at a program in Washington D.C. (Mar. 20, 2023)


Contending for the Faith, presented a live webinar via facebook and zoom world-wide. (March 15, 2023)


Principles of Good Governance – Faith & Freedom, presented to pastors, Evangelical Association of the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago Council of Evangelical Churches. (March 2, 2023)


Contending for the Faith, presented to pastors, Evangelical Association of the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago Council of Evangelical Churches. (March 2, 2023)


Principles of Good Governance – Faith & Freedom, presented to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain (Caribbean) (March 1, 2023)


Contending for the Faith, presented to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain (Caribbean) (March 1, 2023)


Preserving the Rule of Law, presented to lawyers and judges from Caribbean nations. (March 1, 2023)


Protecting Your Christian Organization, presented to the national Board of Directors of Youth Haven Ranch (addressing how current public policy on gender issues impact Christian ministries and churches.) (Feb 14, 2023)


State Abortion on Demand Policy – Where do we go from Here? Presented to state pro-life attorneys and policy experts at a roundtable working to protect individuals (especially children), preserve parental rights, and limit the expansion of abortion post Prop 3 where possible.(Feb 3, 2023)


The Character of Caleb during Cultural Opposition I, presented and exegesis on Joshua Chapter 14 at New Hope Church, Lansing (January 25, 2023)


The Character of Caleb during Cultural Opposition II, presented and exegesis on Joshua Chapter 14 at New Hope Church, Lansing (January 25, 2023)



Social Media - Prof WW Bringing the Heart of Jesus to the Culture


WFFC Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and newsletters reached 12, 112 people from 111 nations! (this includes Prof. Wagner’s personal accounts)


WFFC Faith & Freedom Fridays - Weekly social media presentations discussing current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview


WFFC Women’s History Month Tributes - Social media presentations about women of faith.


Weekly TV/ Radio Mini-Program – Culture and the Constitution on a Michigan-based, but national show - discussing current public policy and cultural topics from a Christian Worldview


· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (July 21, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (July 11, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 29, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 23, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 15, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 6, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 2, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (May 18, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (May 2, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (April 28, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (April 13, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (March 17, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (March 10, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (March 8, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (Feb. 10, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (Jan. 19, 2023)

· TV/ Radio interview - Culture and the Constitution - discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (Jan. 6, 2023)


Radio Interview – discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (July 8, 2023)


Radio Interview – discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (June 10, 2023)


Radio Interview – discussed current cultural topics from a Christian Worldview (Feb 23, 2023)


Prof. Wagner interviewed by World Magazine on the impact of SOGI policies on Christian institutions. (March 10, 2023) (circulation 100,000+)


William provided Biblical exposition for men January 25, 2023 Joshua chapter 14


Marilyn led a weekly Inductive Bible Study for Women

1. The Sermon on the Mount

2. The Book of Ecclesiastes .




Upcoming Activity



WFFC / Advancement Event


In November 2023, in conjunction with the SAU Office of Advancement, the WFFC hopes to hold a summit on education choice and the freedom to educate - reaching education and policy thought leaders.


WFFC / SAU Radio Program


The WFFC, in conjunction with SAU radio, is producing a regular program on Faith & Freedom


WFFC Resource


Prof. Wagner is working on his next book - with an eye toward providing another important resource for Christian people navigating the cultural realities of the day.


WFFC Wilberforce Society / Academic Support


We have prepared and will lead a discipleship opportunity for students interested in public policy, law, and service via a Christian worldview. We plan to meet once to twice per month.







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