Wesleyan Alumnus Helps Defend Case before U.S. Supreme Court
Wesleyan alumnus, Jake Warner (class of 03’) was asked to join the Alliance for Defending Freedom (ADF) a year ago; a non-profit Christian legal ministry that defends the First Amendment rights of their clients. After graduating in 2006 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in history and political science, Jake attended Regent University School of Law and graduated magna cum laude in 2011. Jake’s resume also includes working at a private practice in Kinston, NC where he specialized in criminal defense, and later served as a judicial clerk for Judge, Malcolm J. Howard in the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court.
Jake attended Wesleyan from Kindergarten through 12th grade. He feels strongly that the academy prepared him well for what he is doing now. According to Jake, one of the things that stands out most to him from his years at Wesleyan is not only being thankful for receiving a top-notch education, but the Christian worldview teaching he received. He not only developed a Christian worldview but learned how to incorporate his faith and how it applies to all of life – “It’s not just something you go to church and think about once a week; it impacts everything we do in life including our academics, vocation, everything!”
Jake works with a team of lawyers at ADF’s Center for Conscience Initiatives. His team defends the rights of business men and women who are being challenged for expressing their faith in the public marketplace. On December 5, Jake and his team traveled to Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Supreme Court where oral arguments began in the landmark case of the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. As some of you are aware, Jack Phillips, a cake artist from Colorado was asked to create a wedding cake for two men and declined because of sincerely held religious beliefs. He made this decision with the assumption that his First Amendment rights protected him from using his creative skills (not the act of selling) for something that was contrary to his religious beliefs.
Jake’s ultimate goal, beyond giving God the glory through all he does, is to defend people like Mr. Phillips so they can openly practice their faith and not be compelled by the government to abandon their personal belief system in order to successfully run their private business. He shared with us recently, “First Amendment violations are a growing problem. Modern public accommodation laws, for example, are being applied to force Christians to create expression they oppose. These laws have grown over time to apply to more businesses and impact more speech than ever before.”
The outcome of this case will likely have far reaching implications for people and businesses coming from any faith background. Jake asks for prayers from his Wesleyan family for the U.S. Supreme Court Justices who will be deciding this landmark case and for ADF as they represent Mr. Phillips and all their respective clients.
We are proud of Jake’s incredible gifts and the remarkable work he does on behalf of the Alliance for Defending Freedom and for all Americans. Join us in praying for him and the impact all of our alumni are having in their respective professions. If you are interested in learning more about Alliance Defending Freedom and the work they are doing, please click here to go to their website.
Dr. Rob Brown
Head of School