Becket Fund for Religious Liberty



Washington, DC

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $6,157,717
Expenses: $6,071,288
Assets: $3,379,415




Religious liberty-focused public interest law firm


William P. Mumma

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The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit public interest law firm that is focused on defending religious liberty. It has successfully argued numerous cases at various levels of the U.S. judiciary system, including several before the Supreme Court.

Founding and History

The Becket Fund was founded in 1994 by Kevin “Seamus” Hasson to conduct First Amendment litigation defending believers from all religions from government actions, but also in support of the government if governments were sued for being too friendly to religious exercise. It has represented clients from Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Santerian, and Zoroastrian traditions, among others.1

It is named after Thomas Becket, a 12th century English chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred for maintaining church independence from King Henry II. Becket files most cases in U.S. federal courts, but since 2004 has also filed lawsuits in international tribunals as well. Becket claims an average 85 percent win rate since its inception. 2

Financial Information

At the end of fiscal year 2018, The Becket Fund had $6,982,105 in revenue, of which $6,247,519 was derived from contributions and grants and $933,079 was derived from program service revenue. Becket had $6,375,309 in expenses, of which $4,143,558 were spent on salaries and benefits. Becket ended the fiscal year with $2,905,162 in assets. 3

Notable Cases

Becket has been involved in numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases in various capacities. It has won five Supreme Court cases in which it served as a counsel to a party.

New Mexico Association of Nonpublic Schools v. Moses (2016)

A New Mexico program that loaned textbooks to public and private schools to decrease the state’s illiteracy rate was challenged in state court and struck down based on a provision in the New Mexico Constitution known as a “Blaine Amendment” that was originally instituted to discriminate against Catholics. Becket took the case to the Supreme Court, which vacated the decision and ordered the New Mexico Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. 4

Zubik v. Burwell (Little Sisters of the Poor) (2015)

Becket defended religious ministries from being forced to provide health care coverage that violated the respective groups’ religious beliefs under the Affordable Care Act’s mandates. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the religious institutions and vacated the lower courts’ rulings against the religious institutions and forbade the IRS from levying fines against them. 5

Holt v. Hobbes (2014)

The Supreme Court ruled in Becket’s favor involving a case where the Arkansas Department of Corrections had forbidden an inmate from growing a half-inch beard for religious reasons. The court unanimously decided that the Department had not demonstrated that its policy was the least restrictive way of furthering its interests. 6

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013)

In a case that dealt with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring businesses to provide contraceptive drugs and devices that violated their religious beliefs, the Supreme Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected businesses like Hobby Lobby and decided that the Affordable Care Act mandate violated the act. 7

Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC (2011)

Becket won what it identifies as the “most significant religious liberty decision in the past half-century” when the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that religious organizations have the right to choose their own ministers, and further held that this protection includes any leader or teacher in the community, not just clergy. 8


Kevin “Seamus” Hasson founded the Becket Fund and served as its president until his retirement in 2011. Hasson, who sits on the organization’s board as of 2021, liked to say that Becket defended believers of all faiths “from Anglicans to Zoroastrians.” He personally argued many cases that Becket took on. He authored the books The Right to be Wrong: Ending the Culture War over Religion in America and Believers, Thinkers, and Founders: How We Came to Be One Nation Under God. 9

William Mumma has been the CEO and Board Chairman of Becket since 2011. Prior to this role he worked as the CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities for 30 years. 10


  1. Becket. “History.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  2. Becket. “History.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  3. The Becket Fund, IRS (Form 990), 2018, Part 1.
  4. “Supreme Court Briefs.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  5. “Supreme Court Briefs.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  6. “Supreme Court Briefs.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  7. “Supreme Court Briefs.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  8. “Supreme Court Briefs.” Accessed February 6, 2021.
  9. “Kevin ‘Seamus’ Hasson.” Accessed February 8, 2021.
  10. “William P. Mumma.” Accessed February 8, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1994

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Sep Form 990 $6,157,717 $6,071,288 $3,379,415 $1,293,911 N $6,194,659 $276,285 $160 $309,862
    2015 Sep Form 990 $6,396,572 $5,708,752 $2,850,787 $688,959 N $5,061,480 $1,331,037 $1,185 $250,838 PDF
    2014 Sep Form 990 $5,016,058 $4,552,542 $1,977,206 $502,736 N $4,539,502 $478,465 $152 $203,711 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $4,752,560 $4,672,475 $1,521,591 $533,041 N $4,805,372 $74,640 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $4,268,119 $3,628,662 $1,581,138 $672,673 N $3,915,965 $166,746 $0 $2,004,529 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $2,684,403 $2,463,620 $1,813,563 $742,845 N $2,413,916 $57,974 $210 $209,224 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

    Washington, DC 20036-6827