Ethics Articles

Articles: Anti-Life Organizations


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Summary: How the ACLU promotes immorality and anti-Christian attitude

(The Sins of) American Civil Liberties Union Position Papers

God Bless the ACLU! Where we’re going to (National Review Online, 040107)

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association Position Papers

ACLU accuses Salvation Army of religious discrimination (WorldNetDaily, 040225)





Summary: How the ACLU promotes immorality and anti-Christian attitude


Church and state


·           opposes school prayer

·           opposes the teaching of creationism

·           opposes any religious groups (such as Bible clubs) in schools

·           opposes voucher system in selecting schools

·           supports ban on graduation prayers

·           opposes the use of voting by the graduating class to decide on whether to include prayers

·           sues schools that include prayers

·           opposes distribution of free Bibles in schools

·           opposes judge led prayers




·           opposes tough punishment for criminals

·           opposes capital punishment




·           opposes the ban of obscenity from the Internet


Free speech


·           supports use of grants by National Endowment for the Arts for indecent arts

·           opposes hate speech yet supporting hate speech against Christians

·           opposes the ownership and maintenance of a cross by municipality

·           opposes voluntary prayer in schools




·           opposes the discussion of health and safety consequences of abortions

·           opposes mandatory AIDS testing




·           supports homosexual marriages

·           supports act against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation

·           supports works of art with homosexual themes




·           supports abortion on demand

·           supports all restrictions to demonstration in front of abortion clinics (including bubble zones)

·           supports partial birth abortions

·           opposes any restrictions on abortions (such as no public funding, parential involvement for minors, counselling)



·           opposes curfew laws for students

·           supports condom availability program for students

·           opposes teaching abstinence in sexual education


Unlimited liberty


·           opposes drug testing for employees




(The Sins of) American Civil Liberties Union Position Papers


(material from the ACLU Webpage)


(A Neo-Liberal Neo-Faminist Secular Humanist Organization)


Church and state


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” -- The First Amendment




The ACLU Celebrates Religious Liberty

[Kwing Hung: “liberty from religion”, just like what the communists claim.]


A special collection of materials about religion in the public schools and on government properties during the holiday season.


A federal appeals court has declared unconstitutional a New Jersey school district’s policy of allowing high school seniors to vote on whether to include a prayer in graduation ceremonies.


A federal judge ruled that a Mississippi public school system had violated the First Amendment rights of a mother whose children had to sit through religious teachings in the classrooms.




With more than 1,500 different religious bodies, and 360,000 churches, mosques and synagogues, the U.S. is the most religiously diverse, and one of the most devout countries in the world. Moreover, we enjoy unparalleled religious liberty, and sectarian strife is relatively rare. Today, however, religious extremists are attempting to impose their beliefs and practices on everyone else by enlisting the government’s support and aid. These efforts, if successful, will threaten each individual’s right to worship, or not worship, as he or she pleases.


Some people mistakenly believe that separation of church and state implies hostility to religion. But in fact, the opposite is true. The Constitution’s framers understood very well that religious liberty can flourish only if the government leaves religion alone. The free exercise clause of the First Amendment guarantees the right to practice one’s religion free of government interference. The establishment clause requires the separation of church and state. Combined, they ensure religious liberty.


3/13/96 -- ACLU Says Religious Liberty Sidelined In Suspension of Basketball Star


3/4/96 -- Mississippi Mother’s School Prayer Challenge Goes to Trial


2/29/96 -- Mother’s Challenge to Mississippi School Prayer Goes to Trial Before U.S. Judge on Monday, March 4th


2/26/96 -- “ACLU Argues Against State Funding of Religious Schools”


8/1/95 -- ACLU Challenges Public Funding of Religious Schools in Wisconsin; Suit Seeks to Stop Vouchers Before School Year


7/26/95 -- Jane Doe Discontinues Suit Over Peters Township School District’s Graduation Prayers


7/5/95 -- “ACLU To Sue To Block State Funding of Religious Schools”


6/6/95 -- ACLU of VA Warns Schools About Prayers at Graduation Ceremonies Says It will be Sue Those That do Not Follow The Law


5/25/95 -- The West Virginia Civil Liberties Union goes to court on Tuesday, May 30, in Clarksburg to argue that schools should not be used as a site for local merchants to distribute bibles.


5/15/95 -- First International Survey of Prayer in Schools Finds That World’s Major Countries Reject State-Sanctioned School Prayer


5/15/95 -- ACLU Launches; Letter to President Clinton against Christian Coalition


4/19/95 -- ACLU of Texas Files Lawsuit Defending Religious Freedom for Prisoners


4/4/95 -- ACLU of Texas Files A Complaint Against Santa Fe ISD


3/31/95 -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama -- Judge Led Prayer Is Unconstitutional


1/20/95 -- Federal Appeals Court to Hear Challenge to NJ Ban on Graduation Prayer




Criminal justice


“No better instrument has been devised for arriving at truth than to give a person in jeopardy of serious loss notice of the case against him and opportunity to meet it. Nor has a better way been found for generating the feeling, so important to a popular government, that justice has been done.” -- Justice Felix Frankfurter




The American Civil Liberties Union, leading criminologists, community activists and others presented testimony on May 14th at the Congressional Black Caucus Braintrust on Youth Violence, a day-long hearing that will examine the overlooked solution to juvenile crime: prevention.




Nov. 14, 1996 -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is asking a federal district court in Baltimore to hold the Maryland State Police agency in contempt of court and to impose a $250,000 “conditional civil contempt monetary penalty,” based upon a showing that state police are violating a 1995 court decree by continuing a pattern of race discrimination in drug interdiction activities carried out along the Interstate 95 corridor.




The American public is alarmed about crime, and with good reason. For the past generation, state and federal crime control policies have been based on the belief that law enforcement can solve the problem: more police, harsher sentencing laws, greater use of the death penalty. But today, with an unprecedented number of people behind bars, we are no safer than before. We are, however, much less free.


The rights guaranteed to criminal suspects, defendants, offenders and prisoners were not included in the Bill of Rights for the benefit of criminals. They are fundamental political rights that protect all Americans from governmental abuse of power. These rights are found in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. They include the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to reasonable bail, the right to due process of law and the right to be free from cruel and unusual treatment. This “bundle of rights” is indispensable to a free society.


1/25/96 Anti-Death Penalty Activist and M*A*S*H Star Mike Farrell


12/20/95 Roberta Richman, Warden, Rhode Island Women’s Prison


11/27/95 Eric Sterling, President National Drug Strategy Network


12/5/95 Chase Riveland, Secretary of Corrections, Washington State


10/31/95 Marc Mauer, Director, The Sentencing Project


10/25/95 Ethan Nadelmann on Drug Reform Policy


10/24/95 Tanya K. Metaksa, Director NRA and Laura Murphy, Director ACLU Washington Office


8/22/95 Criminologist Dr. James Fox


7/28/95 Dr. John Morgan on Drug Legalization


6/24/95 Wendy Kaminer on Crime




2/26/96 -- Litigation Analysis: United States v. Armstrong, ACLU Urges Court to Purge Criminal Justice System of Racial Bias


2/26/96 -- ACLU Says Court Case Exposes America’s Dirty Little Secret: The Criminal Justice System is Racially Biased


2/23/96 -- ACLU Names Two New Legislative Counsels


12/19/95 -- Civil Rights Groups File Suit Against Santa Monica And L.A. Police For Widespread Violation of Miranda Rule


9/27/95 -- Trends in Criminal Justice and Habeas Corpus Satement of Vivian Berger, ACLU General Counsel


8/1/95 -- ACLU Asks Congress to Create a National Commission to Review Federal Law Enforcement Policies and Practices


7/25/95 -- ACLU Plans to Appeal Reversal of Juvenile Hall lawsuit


7/24/95 -- ACLU “WEASELGATE” Suit Settled; State Apologizes


7/1/95 -- ACLU Challenges County Jail Conditions


6/18/95 -- ACLU of Southern California Report Reveals Pepper Spray Linked to 26 Deaths


6/16/95 -- ACLU Issues Major New Report Detailing 26 Deaths of People Who Were Pepper-Sprayed By Police


5/2/95 -- ACLU Background Briefing: Crime Bills Tread Heavily On Fundamental Liberties


4/19/95 -- ACLU of Texas Files Lawsuit Defending Religious Freedom for Prisoners


4/11/95 -- ACLU Urges Judge Ito To Unseal Transcripts of Jury Dismissal Hearings Held in Chamber in O.J Simpson Double Murder Trial


4/11/95 -- A Brave First Step: ACLU Commends U.S. Sentencing Commission For Equitable Decision; Says Congress Must Now End Disparity Between Crack, Powder Cocaine


3/6/95 -- Mugging the Constitution, Part II Senate Proposal on Exclusionary Rule Even More Radical


3/3/95 -- “One Down, Nine To Go” ACLU of Michigan Issues Dubious Honor to Seven Representatives


3/1/95 -- Supreme Court Justices Express Concern About Computer Privacy; Opinions Suggest Mounting Interest on Nation’s Highest Court


2/17/95 -- Mugging the Constitution: Exclusionary Rule Change Would Gut Americans’ Protection Against Abuses of Power






ACLU Files Supreme Court Brief in Reno v. ACLU Challenge to the CDA


ACLU Attorney Ann Beeson featured as C|Net’s Newsmaker


Internet Demonstration Held for Federal Judge in ACLU v. Miller, the Challenge to Georgia’s Internet Censorship Law


ALA v. Pataki - The Challenge to the New York State Internet Censorship Law


Supreme Court Accepts CDA Challenge for Review


ACLU Background Briefing: The Road to the Supreme Court


Online Censorship Threats from the States


Censorship and the Right to Petition: A Letter to South Dakota’s Governor Janklow


Protect Privacy Online: Join the Golden Key Campaign!


The ACLU is a member of the Golden Key Campaign supporting relaxation of encryption export restrictions that treat this basic technology as an armament.




Death penalty


“There will be no lasting peace either in the heart of individuals or in social customs until death is outlawed.” -- Albert Camus, Reflections on the Guillotine




The ACLU Abolitionist, A Newsletter on the Nationwide Struggle Against the Death Penalty Vol. 3 No. 1 January 1996


The Death Penalty Briefing Paper


Since our nation’s founding, the government -- colonial, federal and state -- has punished murder and, until recent years, rape with the ultimate sanction: death.




The death penalty, outlawed in most of Europe, Canada, Australia, and most other countries in the world, is still practiced in almost forty states, and currently enjoys broad public support. This was not always the case. In the 60’s and 70’s, a bare majority of Americans favored capital punishment. But mounting fear of crime, and the cynical manipulation of the death penalty issue by many politicians for their own political gain, led to a shift upwards.


The ACLU and other death penalty opponents, including many religious groups and individuals, and a growing number of prison wardens, maintain that capital punishment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Killing, whether carried out by an individual or the state, is immoral and ought not to be condoned. Furthermore, the death penalty as practiced in the U.S. is arbitrary and racially biased. It has no proven deterrent value. And many miscarriages of justice have been documented over the years in which people have been put to death for crimes they did not commit.


Today, there are more than 3,000 people on death row. Executions -- by hanging, electrocution, lethal injection, and even by firing squad -- have become almost commonplace. Regardless of which method is used, the death penalty is a barbaric anachronism and should be abolished.


04/18/96: NYCLU Files Suit Challenging Removal of DA in Death Penalty Case


1/22/96 -- Death Row Prisoner To Face Firing Squad In Utah; ACLU, Rights Groups Mobilize Opposition


3/10/95 -- Governor Weld ‘Perpetrating Fraud’ by Advocating Death Penalty; Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts Descries State Crime Proposals


2/16/95 -- New York Civil Liberties Union Says No to Death Penalty: ‘Immoral in Principal; Unfair and Discriminatory in Practice’




Free speech


“One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” -- Justice John M. Harlan, Cohen v. California (1971)




In Congress


Act Now!: Speak Out Against the Flag Burning Amendment Campaign Finance Reform and Legal Immigrants


Victory for the NEA 4 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules NEA Decency Requirement Unconstitutional


Acting in a longstanding, nationally significant dispute over artists free speech, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared unconstitutional a statute requiring the National Endowment for the Arts to take into account “general standards of decency” in making grant decisions.


ACLU et al. v. Reno Collection: THE Internet Censorship Case -- what more is there to say?


Banned Books Week, September 29 to October 5


Celebrating the Literature Others Have Tried to Suppress: Banned Books Week is a time to celebrate literature and art and examine the strains of intolerance and repression that continue to haunt our society.




It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Constitution’s framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society.


But historically, at times of national stress -- real or imagined -- First Amendment rights come under enormous pressure. During the Red Scare” of the early 1920s, thousands were deported for their political views. During the McCarthy period, the infamous blacklist ruined lives and careers. Today, the creators, producers and distributers of popular culture are being blamed for the nation’s deep social problems. Calls for censorship threaten to erode free speech.


The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the most offensive and controversial speech from government suppression. The best way to counter obnoxious speech is with more speech. Persuasion, not coercion, is the solution.


3/19/97 -- RENO v. ACLU: Supreme Court Hears Arguments Today on the Future of Free Speech in Cyberspace


Washington, D.C. -- One year after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a legal challenge to a law censoring free speech in cyberspace, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in a case that will likely determine the future of free speech into the next century.


3/18/97 -- Oklahoma Prisoner Wins Unanimous Decision From Supreme Court on Pre-Parole Program


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, today affirmed the right of Ernest Harper to leave his Oklahoma prison cell and return to the prerelease program he had participated in successfully for five months. (Harper v. Young, No. 95-1598).


3/17/97 -- U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear San Francisco’s Appeal in Mt. Davidson Cross Case


SAN FRANCISCO -- The United States Supreme Court today let stand the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the City’s ownership and maintenance of the cross on Mt. Davidson is unconstitutional.


3/14/97 -- Diverse Group Opposes Campaign Finance Bills; Statement of Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU National Washington Office


WASHINGTON -- Thank you Senator McConnell for allowing us to use this elegant room in the United States Capitol to advocate for the right of the average citizen to participate in democracy and electoral politics. I am proud to be here with this diverse group of colleagues who have come together to defend free speech in this nation, and who are also lobbying against Congressional efforts to unconstitutionally ration and regulate speech.


3/14/97 -- Ala. ‘Voluntary’ Prayer Law Ruled Unconstitutional; Federal Judge Upholds ACLU’s Challenge


MONTGOMERY, AL -- “Once again, the fundamental principle that government shall not involve itself in religion has been upheld and protected, despite the repeated objections and actions of the Alabama legislature,” said ACLU of Alabama Attorney James Tucker in response to the ruling by US District Judge Ira DeMent striking down Alabama’s so-called “Student Initiated Prayer Law.”


3/13/97 -- ACLU Opposes Chicago’s Move to Modify Consent Decree Governing Police Spying


CHICAGO -- Stating that the terms of the current consent decree governing police spying do not hamper the City of Chicagos ability to do sound police investigations, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has asked a federal district court judge to allow mediation as a first effort in trying to resolve the Citys motion to modify the 15-year-old, court-sanctioned agreement.


3/13/97 -- Federal District Court Bans San Quentin’s Secret Execution Procedures


SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has upheld the First Amendment right to view California’s executions by lethal injection in the case California First Amendment Coalition v. Calderon.


3/13/97 -- Settlement Ends Dispute Over Teacher Credentials


SAN FRANCISCO -- A settlement has been reached between two San Francisco school teachers and the State Commission on Teacher Credentialing, lifting the cloud of unfounded and exaggerated allegations that has haunted Edward Buckley and Martha Squaglia-Castell because of one parent’s complaint about a presentation on lesbian and gay issues in their family life class at Everett Middle School in 1992.


3/12/97 -- Radical Policy Initiatives Hidden Behind Laudable Goals in ‘Community Renewal Act’


WASHINGTON -- Responding to the reintroduction of the Community Renewal Act, the American Civil Liberties Union today cautioned that hidden behind the legislation’s laudatory goals are a series of radical policy initiatives that, if adopted, would drain some of the nation’s poorest public schools of their funding.


3/12/97 -- Louisiana Education Funding Lawsuit Dismissed; ACLU to Appeal to State Supreme Court


NEW ORLEANS -- A Louisiana appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union that seeks to enforce children’s constitutional rights to an adequate education in Louisiana public schools. The case was set for a nine-day trial beginning March 13.


3/11/97 -- ACLU Decries Anti-Abortion “Witch Hunts” by Congress to Divert Attention From Women’s Health and Safety


WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned anti-choice members of the Congress for holding “witch hunts” against pro-choice groups in order to avoid discussing the health and safety consequences of criminalizing an abortion procedure.


3/7/97 -- ACLU Opposes Chicago Police Efforts To Expand Spying Powers


CHICAGO -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today announced that it will oppose the city of Chicago’s effort to modify the consent decree which prevents Chicago Police from engaging in political spying.


3/6/97 -- ACLU Seeks Dismissal Of Lawsuit Threatening Women’s Health


ATLANTA -- The ACLU of Georgia today filed a motion to dismiss the Matria Healthcare, Inc. v. National Women’s Health Network lawsuit. In an attempt to use the legal system to silence their critics, Matria filed a SLAPP suit alleging that the National Women’s Health Network conspired to commit deceptive trade practices and interfered with Matria’s business relations when the Network filed a petition with the FDA against Matria.


3/6/97 -- ACLU Welcomes “Pro-CODE” Encryption Bill, Warns of Anti-Privacy Legislation Waiting in the Wings


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Civil Liberties Union today praised Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) for his leadership in protecting free speech and online privacy and welcomed the introduction of S.377, the “Promotion of Commerce in a Digital Era Act (Pro-CODE).”


3/3/97 -- ACLU Moves to Protect Netizens From Prosecution Under New York Cybercensorship Law


NEW YORK -- Despite two lower court rulings protecting Internet users from prosecution under the federal Communications Decency Act, “netizens” are still in danger of criminal charges under a New York law that restricts free speech in cyberspace, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.






“It is imperative that the American people realize that while all the heat and fury from the religious right and its eqally vocal supporters on the political right continue about the naughtiness of condoms and sex education and homosexuality and intravenous drug use, the virus continues to spread and kill.” -- Larry Kramer, “The Plague Years,” Newsday, May 31, 1987




Aids and Civil Liberties


Briefing Paper -- Ever since the emergence of AIDS in the early 1980s, our nation has been struggling to cope with this terrible disease.


ACLU AIDS Project 1996 Docket


Covers the work of the ACLU’s Aids Project in the areas of Access To Health Care, Confidentiality, Condom Distribution, Criminal Law, Education, Employment, Needle Exchange, Parenting, Prisons and Inmates, Reporting, and Testing


ACLU Position on HIV Testing of Newborns




“Would that 25 million people were not so frightened and not so invisible and had more courage to say out loud, and all at once: We are equal, whether you like it or not.” -- Larry Kramer, “Whose Constitution is it Anyway?”


The HIV epidemic is a health crisis. But since it began in the U.S. in the early 1980’s, the collateral social consequences of the epidemic have also been catastrophic. Over and over again, people with HIV disease were -- without medical justification -- denied access to employment, housing, schools, health care and other basic social rights, and the search for a cure was joined by a struggle for basic civil rights. AIDS forces American society to confront the conflict between individual and community interests in the formulation of public policy.


In dealing with the AIDS crisis, the government must be guided by three principles: (1) that public policy must be based on medical facts and realities, not ignorance and prejudice; (2) that the AIDS crisis must not become a pretext for unjustified violations of individual rights; and (3) that the least restrictive measures possible must be used to achieve public health goals.


05/01/96: ACLU Criticizes AIDS Funding Bill Phasing in Mandatory Testing of Babies


ACLU Says Clinton is Right Not to Defend HIV Provisions in Military Budget Bill


7/26/95 -- ACLU of Southern California Hires Stanford Law Fellow, Expert In Sexual Orientation and the Law, as Newest Staff Attorney


3/13/95 -- Mandatory AIDS Testing Ruled Unconstitutional in New Jersey




Immigrants’ rights


“Americans are not a narrow tribe. Our blood is as the flood of the Amazon, made up of a thousand noble currents all pouring into one.” -- Herman Melville




The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed suit today to challenge a policy of the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles that instructs low-level employees to confiscate immigration documents that they suspect are fraudulent.


In a ruling that affects thousands of immigrants nationwide who are facing deportation, a federal district court in Seattle issued a permanent injunction last week against the Immigration and Naturalization Service for failing to inform individuals of their right to a hearing prior to deportation.


The Rights of Immigrants Briefing Paper


Since the founding of the United States, more than 55 million immigrants from every continent have settled here. Indeed, with the exception of Native Americans, everyone in our nation is either an immigrant, or the descendent of voluntary or involuntary immigrants.


In Congress


Campaign Finance Reform and Legal Immigrants




The United States is in the midst of a major debate over immigrants and their place in our economic and political life. As during other times in our history, immigrants are being blamed for causing or contributing to the social, economic and political ills of our society. Politicians from both major parties, at both the national and state levels, are promoting a range of punitive legislative proposals that single out immigrants for adverse treatment by the government. Many violate basic civil liberties principles.


The Bill of Rights does not grant foreigners the right to enter the United States, but once here, immigrants are entitled to certain broad constitutional protections. Due Process -- the right to be treated fairly, whether in a deportation hearing or a criminal court proceeding -- applies to every person within U.S. borders. And Equal Protection prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin. An alien’s rights to free speech and religious freedom are protected under the First Amendment. The Refugee Act of 1980 gives certain aliens the right to political asylum in the U.S.


New immigrants to our country are not a scourge as some politicians claim. In fact, they can help solve many of our economic and social problems.


April 29, 1996 -- Immigration Bill -- DeWine/Feingold Amendment re: National ID


February 29, 1996 -- Document Abuse Provision of Senate Immigration Bill “Discussion Draft”


February 24, 1996 -- Opposing Proposed Expansion of Wiretapping in the Senate Immigration Bill S.1394


February 24, 1996 -- Wiretapping Bills on Immigration and Terrorism Move to House Votes on March 12-19




Lesbian and gay rights


We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. -- Justice Anthony Kennedy, from the Majority Opinion in Romer v. Evans




Freedom to Marry


Valentine’s Day Special on Lesbian & Gay Relationships


News Release 12/03/96 -- Hawaii Judge OK’s Marriage for Three Lesbian and Gay Couples


The ACLU blasted the Defense of Marriage Act passed by the 104th Congress; read the press release and the Testimony Regarding S. 1740 - Defense of Marriage Act, and other related materials.


News Release 1/28/97 -- Federal Appeals Court Debates Alabama Law Barring Gay Student Groups from Campus


In a closely watched case about the rights of gay students, a federal appeals court heard a challenge to an Alabama law seeking to keep lesbian, gay and bisexual student groups off university campuses. The ACLU’s brief for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals gives the details.


Gay/Straight Clubs Formed by Public School Students: Why School Officials Need to Treat Them Equally


A joint publication of the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights


Employment Discrimination


The ACLU is working to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) likely to be reintroduced in the upcoming Congressional session. This federal bill would bar discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation.


Military Ban


News Release 7/1/96: Ruling on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Ban on Gay Troops Sent Back to Federal District Court


Read the chronology, the fact sheetand our 2nd Circuit brief.


News Release 3/4/96: Naval Petty Officer Goes Before Federal Appeals Court Another ACLU Challenge to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”


ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project Docket Covers the work of the project for 1996, including: Anti-Gay Initiatives, Anti-Gay Violence, Boy Scouts, Civil Rights Law, Criminal Law, Domestic Partnership, Free Expression, Housing Discrimination, Job Discrimination, Marriage, Military, Parenting, Privacy, and Students & Schools


Fed up with being treated as a second-class citizen? Do you want your town to outlaw sexual orientation discrimination? Want your town to recognize domestic partnerships? Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, has the answers in a new book: Try This At Home




“The fact that individuals define themselves in a significant way through their intimate sexual relationships with others suggests, in a Nation as diverse as ours, that there may be many right ways of conducting those relationships, and that much of the richness of a relationship will come from the freedom an individual has to choose the form and nature of these intensely personal bonds.” -- Justice Harry A. Blackmun, dissenting in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)


Gay and Lesbian rights have moved to the center of the American stage. At no time in our nation’s history have gay men and lesbians been more visible, fighting for their rights in Congress, in the courts, in workplaces, in the community. Much has changed since the gay rights movement began in the late 1960’s: sodomy laws have been repealed or struck down in most states; nine states and many cities ban discrimination based on sexual orientation; and “domestic partnerships” are now recognized by growing numbers of corporations and universities. At the same time, anti-gay hostility has become more open and virulent, posing formidable challenges to gay rights advocates.


The struggle for legal equality for lesbians and gay men rests on several fundamental constitutional principles.


Equal protection of the law is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.  Freedom of speech and association, including the right to form social and political organizations, to socialize, to produce works of art with gay and lesbian themes, and to speak out, is guaranteed by the First Amendment.




National security


“History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.” -- Justice Thurgood Marshall, Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Assn. (1989)




Aviation Security


The Clinton Administration’s promise to improve aviation security in the aftermath of TWA Flight 800 disaster and other high profile accidents has opened the door to new technologies and more draconian security measures. Several of these cannot deliver wha they promise, and are severe threats to liberty as well.


2/14/97 -- ACLU Calls for Independent Oversight of Airport Security Profiles to Handle Abuses


2/3/97 -- Recommendations of the Members of the Civil Liberties Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security


1/14/97 -- ACLU Testimony Before the International Conference on Aviation Safety and Security in the 21st Century: Civil Liberties Implications of Passenger Profiling




3/6/97 -- ACLU Welcomes “Pro-CODE” Encryption Bill, Warns of Anti-Privacy Legislation Waiting in the Wings


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Civil Liberties Union today praised Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) for his leadership in protecting free speech and online privacy and welcomed the introduction of S.377, the “Promotion of Commerce in a Digital Era Act (Pro-CODE).”


The ACLU is a member of the Golden Key Coalition, opposing strict export controls on encryption software. The ACLU submitted comments on the revised export control regulations promulgated by the U.S. Commerce Department.


104th Congress


The House Terrorism Bill, HR 2768, will ultimately have its greatest impact on American citizens who will suffer grave invasions of privacy in the name of national security. (cont’d)


In a November 1995 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Louis Freeh assured a nervous Congress that his agency had no intention of expanding the number of wiretaps it uses.




Throughout this country’s history, the shibboleth of “national security” has often been used as a pretext for massive violations of individual rights. In the name of national security, President Jefferson countenanced internment camps for political dissidents; President Wilson authorized the round-up and deportation of thousands of foreign-born suspected “radicals” during the Palmer Raids; and President Franklin Roosevelt interned 120,000 Japanese Americans. The Cold War era brought loyalty oaths, blacklisting and travel restrictions; the Vietnam War era saw the government’s attempt to censor the “Pentagon Papers”. None of these measures were actually necessary to preserve national security; all of them violated civil liberties.


Today, although many of these abuses are behind us, “national security” is still invoked to justify government repression. The most recent example is the counter-terrorism legislation introduced into Congress after the April 19,1995 bombing in Oklahoma City. This terrible tragedy was thereby compounded by repressive -- and ineffective -- legislation


March 26, 1996 -- Re: Habeas Corpus Provisions in S. 735 and H.R. 2703


March 6, 1996 -- Provisions of Revised Terrorism Bill Threaten Civil Liberties and Damage Individual Freedoms


February 24, 1996 -- Wiretapping Bills on Immigration and Terrorism Move to House Votes on March 12-19


February 24, 1996 -- Opposing Proposed Expansion of Wiretapping in the Senate Immigration Bill S.1394


February 9, 1996 -- Executive Summary of the House Terrorism Bill, HR 2768




Racial equality


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” -- The Declaration of Independence




Act Now on Legislation Addressing ‘Driving While Black’ Traffic Offense


Scores of African-American males - including prominent athletes, Members of Congress, actors and business leaders - have experienced the humiliation of being stopped on the nation’s roads for no other reason than the alleged traffic offense derisively referred to as “Driving While Black.”


Congressman John Conyers has proposed legislation that would begin to address this unjust practice. The “Traffic Stops Statistics Act of 1997” would encourage police departments to keep detailed records of traffic stops, including the race and ethnicity of the person stopped. The Justice Department would be charged with collecting the data and determining the full scope of this problem nationwide.


ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser participated as a Grand Marshall in the Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Day parade -- his thoughts on the day can be found in a recent Visions of Liberty Column. Glasser highlighted the work of King and others who sought to deliver the promises of our Constitution to those it failed to reach in a 1991 essay:


How to Celebrate the Constitution


What we celebrate today is not only the paper on which our rights were written, but also the struggles of those who fought, and died, to make those rights a reality, to bring those “parchment” rights to life.


The role that race plays in the administration of criminal justice has yet to be seriously addressed by American society. A persistent and growing disparity between the way blacks and whites are treated exists at every stage of the criminal process -- at arrest, at prosecution and at sentencing. Nowhere is the disparity more glaring than in the administration of the death penalty, where race plays a defining role. For a compelling video treatment of this issue, order theACLU’s 19-minute VHS film, Double Justice.


Landmark ACLU Cases Affecting Racial Equality


1931 -- Patterson v. Alabama


The “Scottsboro” cases resulted in a strong decision from the Supreme Court that the denial of African Americans from a jury list resulted in the denial of a fair trial.


1944 -- Smith v. Allwright


An early civil rights victory that invalidated, under the Fifteenth Amendment, the intentional exclusion of African Americans from Texas’ “white primary” on the ground that primaries are central to the electoral process even though the Democratic Party is a private organization.


1952 -- Brown v. Board of Education


In perhaps the most far-reaching decision of this century, the Court declared racially segregated schools unconstitutional and overruled the “separate but equal” doctrine announced in its infamous 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.


1966--Loving v. Virginia


A civil rights landmark that invalidated the anti-miscegination laws of Virginia and 15 other southern states. The Court ruled that criminal bans on interracial marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and “the freedom to marry,” which the Court called “one of the basic civil rights of man.”




The legal barriers to racial equality have been torn down, and racial exclusion from the benefits of society and the rights of citizenship is no longer nearly total, as it once was. But discrimination still limits the opportunities and stifles the hopes of many black Americans and other minorities. In the realms of housing, employment, medical care, education and the administration of the criminal justice system, we are still, as the 1968 Kerner Commission Report on civil disorders warned, two separate Americas.”


At this moment in our nation’s history, it is critical that we move definitively forward in remedying the effects of discrimination. But tragically, the most successful civil rights remedies have come under attack from conservative politicians and pundits. Affirmative action, for example, which is to be credited with the creation of an increasingly diverse workforce, has come under intense criticism. Voting rights laws, which have begun to integrate the halls of Congress and state legislatures, are also under attack.


As long as our society is ridden with race-based problems, we will need race-based remedies. And while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.




Reproductive rights


“Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman’s decision whether to end her pregnancy. A woman’s right to make that choice freely is fundamental.” -- Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (1986)




3/11/97 -- ACLU Decries Anti-Abortion “Witch Hunts” by Congress to Divert Attention From Women’s Health and Safety


Another attempt to ban a medically necessary abortion procedure is at the top of the Republican leadership’s agenda for the 105th Congress. At issue is an abortion method known in the medical community as “dilation and extraction”(D&X) and “intact dialation and evacuation” (D&E) and misleadingly characterized by anti-choice legislators as “partial-birth abortion.” Take action now to stop this proposal by sending a email & fax to your representatives.


After the director of a national abortion provider organization told reporters he “lied” about the use of so-called “partial-birth abortions,” a media furor ensued. In a statement, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Director Catherine Weiss restated the facts.


As the 104th session of Congress ended, pro-choice forces succeeded in blocking the dangerous attempt to enact a ban on certain later abortion procedures, thanks to a courageous presidential veto (which Congress failed to override). However, it is clear that opponents of abortion have found a highly effective “wedge” issue that allows them to make inroads toward outlawing all abortions. Bans on procedures are certain to be proposed at the federal and state level in 1997. Take this opportunity to educate yourself about the issue and make your opposition to the bans known to your representatives in Congress and in state legislatures.


1/22/97 -- Catherine Weiss Named Director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project


ACLU Urges FDA to Approve Mifepristone for Early Medical Abortion: Statement of Janet Gallagher, Director ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project




The right to decide whether or not to bear a child was secured in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. But before the ink was dry, anti-abortion activists began a campaign to overturn this landmark civil liberties decision. Through a campaign of restrictive legislation, harassment of abortion clinics and providers, and mounting violence, the anti-choice movement continues to pose a threat to women’s reproductive freedom.


Today, in 84% of the counties of the U.S., not a single physician is willing to provide abortion services. Between 1977 and 1994, more than 2,500 bombings, arsons, blockades and episodes of vandalism took place at abortion clinics. And restrictive measures like bans on public funding, parental involvement laws for minors and biased counseling laws have been adopted in many states.




Students’ rights


“In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are ‘persons’ under our Constitution.” -- Justice Abe Fortas, Tinker v. DesMoines (1969)




The case of Pat Lee, a McQueen High student disciplined for publishing an underground newspaper, was settled on Wednesday, February 7, at a meeting between attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washoe County School District.


Our public education system exists to provide an education to all students, equally.




In spite of the Supreme Court’s ringing endorsement of students’ rights in the landmark Tinker decision, constitutional violations are far too common in public schools across the country. Articles about controversial subjects written for student newspapers are censored. Lockers and backpacks are searched without reasonable suspicion. Minority students are disproportionately shunted in lower track programs. Majoritarian religious practices are officially sanctioned by teachers and school administrators. Female students are excluded from certain extracurricular activities, and gay students are intimidated into silence.


Teachers and administrators have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the students that is conducive to learning. They also have a responsibility to respect each student’s individual rights. These two missions are not incompatible. Kids have rights too!


05/01/96: ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Conway Public Schools On Behalf Of Students Who Were Strip-Searched


2/23/96 -- Long Beach School Uniform Case Settled


2/8/96 -- School District Will Not Transfer Pat Lee, ACLU of Nevada and District Negotiate Settlement to High School Censorship Case


2/6/96 -- ACLU Challenges North Clackamas School District’s Policy of Censoring Student Speeches


11/2/95 -- ACLU to file Suit Challenging D.C. Curfew Law


10/27/95 -- ACLU Challenges Removal of “Huck Finn” From San Jose High School Reading Lists


8/25/95 -- Wisconsin Supreme Court Grants ACLU Request For Preliminary Injunction Against Milwaukee School Vocher Program


8/1/95 -- ACLU Challenges Public Funding of Religious Schools in Wisconsin; Suit Seeks to Stop Vouchers Before School Year


7/18/95 -- Highest Court in Massachusetts Upholds Condom Availability Program; ACLU Hails First Decision of Its Kind in Nation


6/26/95 -- Statement of Steven L. Shapiro, Legal Director American Civil Liberties Union On U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling Today in Veronia Schools District V. Acton


5/25/95 -- The West Virginia Civil Liberties Union goes to court on Tuesday, May 30, in Clarksburg to argue that schools should not be used as a site for local merchants to distribute bibles.


4/13/95 -- ACLU Endorses Joint Statement on Religion & Public Schools


3/22/95 -- Say What??!! 4:High School Students Speak Out At ACLU Student Conference Celebrating Freedom of Expression


3/15/95 -- ACLU Challenges San Diego’s Curfew Law; Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court on Behalf of Teenagers, Parents


3/15/95 -- Statement of Jordan Budd Staff Counsel ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties


1/20/95 -- Federal Appeals Court to Hear Challenge to NJ Ban on Graduation Prayer


1/20/95 -- Student Strip Searches: Lawsuit Filed Against Seattle School District; Settlements Announced in Two Other Washington Cities




Voting rights


“The right to vote freely for the candidate of one’s choice is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government.” -- Chief Justice Earl Warren, Reynolds v. Sims (1964)




The ACLU Voting Rights Project: A Report of Its 1996 Activities


The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the Supreme Court’s two decisions striking down majority-minority districts, saying that the Court’s continued assault on the Voting Rights Act will have a crippling effect on civil rights.




In 1965 Congress passed The Voting Rights Act, one of the most effective civil rights laws ever enacted. The Act immediately outlawed the worst Jim Crow laws in the South, such as literacy tests and other devices that kept black citizens out of the voting booth. Then gradually, through court decisions and Congressional amendments, more subtle schemes to disenfranchise minorities fell by the wayside. In Mississippi, for example, black registration rose from 6.7 percent in 1964 to 70.8 percent in 1986. Today, nearly 5,000 African Americans hold elective office across the South.


But in 1993, the tide shifted ominously when the Supreme Court delivered its decision in Shaw v. Reno and struck down a majority minority’s voting district in North Carolina as unconstitutional. Since Shaw, the Court has continued to chip away at voting rights. Today, the hard won gains of blacks and other minorities are in danger of being extinguished.


7/24/95 -- Ninth Circuit Sustains Order to Gov. Wilson to Implement ‘Motor Voter’ Law Statewide


5/24/95 -- Is It Over? ACLU Report Says Decades of Voting Rights Progress Endangered; Supreme Court Will Determine Fate in Pending Decisions


3/2/95 -- ACLU, Lawyers Committee Win Injunction in Motor Voter Case; State Indicates An Appeal


1/23/95 -- ACLU, Others Welcome Federal Lawsuit on Motor Voter Law




Women’s rights


“The most perfect social system can only be attained where the laws which govern the sexes are based on justice and equality.” -- Sarah Grimke, suffragist leader




In 1961 the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously upheld the constitutionality of a jury selection system that discriminated against women on the grounds that “women are at the center of home and family life.” The observation reflected dominant social values at the time, but the Court was unable then to see how such values thwarted the promise of equality for women implicit in the Constitution.


A history of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project


A history of ACLU Women’s Rights Victories


U.S., v. Commonwealth of Virginia, et al.


This case concerns the exclusion of women from VMI since its founding in 1839.


“Virginia’s separate but unequal education program for women falls far short of satisfying the test of intermediate scrutiny.”




The struggle to expunge all sex-based laws based on custom, stereotype and paternalism has been largely successful in this country. Sex discrimination has been banned, by federal and state law, in employment, education and housing. The right to abortion, while still under attack, is guaranteed by the Constitution. Paternalistic labor laws, that in the name of protecting women, served to keep them out of better paying jobs, have been abolished. As a result, women today participate in all realms of society on a more equal basis than ever before.


But legally sanctioned discrimination still persists. Women still earn far less than men for the same work. The “glass ceiling” is still a barrier to women’s advancement in the workplace. Women are excluded from certain educational opportunities. And poor women are trapped in a cruel Catch 22: effectively denied their right to reproductive freedom through state laws that prohibit medicaid coverage for abortions, while at the same time punished for bearing children under new welfare reform laws.


In spite of extraordinary progress, full equality for women remains an unfulfilled goal.


10/12/95 -- ACLU Files Sex Discrimination Suit Against Top NYC Catering Company


9/11/95 -- Congress Continues Attack on Equality


7/26/95 -- California Supreme Court Rules Private Clubs Cannot Discriminate Against Women


5/11/95 -- Statement of Janet Gallagher, Director, ACLU’s National Reproductive Freedon and Women’s Rights Projects on Violence Against Women’s Health Clinics


4/19/95 -- Janet Gallagher Named to Top ACLU Post; ACLU Continues Fight For Women’s Rights, Reproductive Freedom


1/31/95 -- ACLU of Maryland Charges Decades of Baltimore Housing Discrimination




Workplace rights


“Every time I passed through those plant gates to go to work, I left America, and my rights as a free man. I spent nine hours in there, in prison, and then came out into my country again.”




Campaign for Civil Liberties in the Workplace


“Despite a dramatic increase in workplace surveillance, most Americans aren’t even aware that they are being monitored, let alone that there are virtually no laws in place to protect them.”


In the Courts


McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.


Decided January 23, 1995. McKennon alleged that her discharge by Nashville Banner Publishing Company violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.


104th Congress


The TEAM Act Violations of Free Speech: The American Civil Liberties Union urges you to protect the rights of American workers to free association and free speech as reflected in their free choice of representation in the workplace




The Constitution does not apply to the private sector. In the 18th Century, when the Constitution was ratified, only the government was seen as a major threat to individual rights. Today, many if not most Americans are more vulnerable to violations of their rights by employers than the early Americans were by the government. Although some forms of discrimination are prohibited by state and federal laws, most other rights are not protected. Private sector employees, and especially those who do not belong to a union, can be fired for any reason, without due process. They can be compelled to submit to urine drug tests on pain of losing their job. They can be punished for their political views. And they can be subjected to secret computer and telephone monitoring.


People should not have to hang up the Bill of Rights at the time clock or the office door. Employees are not pieces of equipment. Treating them with dignity and fairness is not inconsistent with good, competitive, management.


11/16/95 -- ACLU Foundation of Utah Files Federal Discrimination Suit Against Ogden-Based Solaray, Inc


11/16/95 -- Workers At Hillhaven Charge Convalescent Home With Language Discrimination


11/9/95 -- ACLU Challenges Federal Employee Gag Law


10/30/95 -- Chicano Studies Leader Rudy Acuna Wins Civil Rights Suit


10/12/95 -- ACLU Files Sex Discrimination Suit Against Top NYC Catering Company




God Bless the ACLU! Where we’re going to (National Review Online, 040107)


In 2007, the ACLU was finally successful in getting Ten Commandments plaques removed from public buildings in all 50 states. In addition,


1. They forced the Ten Commandments to be expunged from the Supreme Court building;


2. They obliged the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to fire their chaplains;


3. They won a ban on official chaplains in the military;


4. They removed “In God We Trust” from all currency and public documents;


5. They removed “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance;


6. They removed all crosses, Stars of David, and crescents from the gravestones of American soldiers in military cemeteries around the world.


7. Finally, as a coup de grace, they succeeded in getting major revisions or deletions in the public use of American historical documents, including:


a. The removal from the Declaration of Independence of the words: “Nature’s God,” “Creator,” “Supreme Judge,” and “Divine Providence”;


b. Deletion from the public use of letters and speeches by America’s founders of any reference to God, Providence, the Ten Commandments, or religion in general, including numerous such references made by George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln;


c. Deletion — when sung in public — of the last God-laden Stanzas of “My Country Tis of Thee” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”


With the completion of this public-spirited contribution, the ACLU began criminal prosecution against any minister or priest who argued from the Bible in public fora to suggest that any given act might be judged morally wrong — contending that such judgment is discriminatory against anyone engaging in such an act, and serves to diminish his or her dignity and/or self-esteem.


A brochure published by the ACLU in mid-2005 argued that it is morally permissible to hate traditional religions for their discriminatory teachings. It is no violation of hate speech codes, the ACLU pamphlet argues, to express hatred of those who uphold the narrow teachings of Christianity and Judaism.


God bless the ACLU for cleansing the public life of the United States, at last, from discriminatory religious speech.


— Dr. John M. Templeton, M.D., has been the president of the Templeton Foundation since 1995; he was formerly a pediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.




British Columbia Civil Liberties Association Position Papers


(A Neo-Liberal and Neo-Faminist Organization)


Main Category Index


·           Privacy and Access to Information

·           Freedom of Speech and Association

·           Discrimination

·           Due Process: Legal Issues

·           Police and the Community

·           Administrative Decision Making

·           Patients’ Rights

·           Prisoners’ Rights

·           Children’s Rights

·           Private Offences

·           Political Rights




Creation Science Movement in B.C. [1984] FRSP-11


RECENT  YEARS have seen a number of attempts to introduce the teaching of “creation science”, the fundamentalist Protestant Christian doctrine of divine creation, in the public schools of British Columbia.


The Association’s brief argues that this movement does not warrant support on the basis of academic freedom when it takes the position that “creation science” is a scientific theory in the same way that the theory of evolution is. The brief says instead that the place of “creation science” and similar ideas in the curriculum is in courses in religious studies.


The positions taken by the BCCLA on the “creation science” issue are:


That the Association will not offer support to those arguing that a commitment to religious freedom or tolerance requires that “creation science” be taught in public school science classrooms; the Association opposes any legislation or educational policy requiring or encouraging the teaching of “creation science” as a scientific theory in the public school classes of B.C.


That the Association supports B.C. Ministry of Education policies [as of November 1981] which state that “teachers are not required to mention creationism when they discuss the theory of evolution, but should be prepared to discuss creationism if students raise questions about it.”




“The religious system “scientific creationists” presuppose, fundamentalist Christianity, which holds that Genesis is literally true, makes it impossible for Creationists to follow the scientific method, which does not recognise simple appeal to authority — be it Genesis or anything else — as a method for discovery of a scientific truth. Scientists must be in a position to discover empirical evidence, which is independent of religious or any other authority, for their theories. But, since members of the Creation Science Research Centre must honour the pledge, quoted above, to believe that the Bible is literally true, it is impossible for members in good standing of the organisation to discover a scientific truth inconsistent with Genesis. Thus, holding to that pledge makes it impossible for them to falsify their theory. But a necessary condition for a theory being scientific is that it be capable of falsification. So, by signing that pledge, “scientific creationists” make it impossible for themselves to do science properly.”




Hate Literature: Censorship [1968-69] FRSP-2


HATE  LITERATURE represents only one form among many taken by ideas alleged to be so dangerous, indecent, ugly, harmful or offensive as to require suppression. The argument against this reaction is to be found in our commitment to democratic government, and in an understanding of the role which free speech and a free press play in such a system.


Briefly, a politically free, self-governing people can rightly authorise its governments to do many things, often restrictive things, in its name; but it cannot authorise its governments to act as a censor. For to do this, even in one area, would thereby diminish the people’s self-governing capacity and render them less fit for their civic role. To have democratic choice it is a basic requirement that we have the freedom to express and hear all the ideas and doctrines; without this, we cannot claim to be free.


Other less basic arguments include:


It would be impossible to define the concept legally in such a way as to obtain agreement from many, far  less all, members of a community; Much of the best literature dealing with social, economic and political matters is often highly critical of individuals and institutions, and therefore decidedly offensive to some; and The very existence of “hate literature” implies sources of hate which run very deep in human nature and society. It is naive to think that this hatred can be eradicated simply by cutting off its written or vocal expression. It is not only naive, but dangerous to think so, for the censors’ actions would not only damage our democratic system, but would also hide the most harmless visible symptom of a serious social problem which should be recognised and treated.




“It is recommended that the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association establish as its policy:


1) principled opposition to all institutions and practices of censorship or suppression with regard to ‘hate literature’, and advocate the repeal of all laws supporting such institutions and practices;


2) that the Association make its position on this question known to the public, that it engage in appropriate action seeking the repeal of the relevant laws, that it take appropriate action to oppose steps to increase or widen existing law on the question, that it give its legal and other support to those who are subject to legal or extra-legal action as a result of these laws, institutions or practices; and


3) that the Association engage in such educational activity as is appropriate concerning the question of ‘hate literature’, in an effort to create the social climate within which this aspect of civil liberties will receive the kind of attention and concern which it, and all civil liberties, deserve.”




Religion in the Public Schools [1969] FRSP-03


THE BCCLA recommends that Section 167 of the British Columbia Public Schools Act be amended to prohibit the observance of any religious practices or exercises in the public schools. At the same time, the amendment should make clear that the academic study of religion — its part in history, philosophy, language and literature — should be permitted and encouraged.


The Association believes that official observance of the Christian religion alone in the province’s public schools violates the right of those British Columbians who do not subscribe to this particular faith. Even for Christian children, the automatic manner in which the present religious exercises are carried out is unlikely to have any beneficial result; the fact that the present legislation prohibits any comments on, or explanation of, the daily religious exercises makes it doubly difficult for them to benefit the pupil.


The present arrangement results in non-Christian children being singled out from their classmates if they do not participate in the observances of a faith not their own. This can do untold psychological damage to such children, as well as making them targets of ostracism or bigotry by their peers.


In any event, and most importantly, religion is a personal and private matter which should be of no concern to the state save in the state’s responsibility to guarantee that citizens are free to practice the creeds of their choice.




“Instruction in the history of religions should be given as part of man’s larger history. Religions themselves are as proper subjects of history as are the nation states. Each of the great religions should be familiar to the education man in the global village. The scriptures of each of the major religions are in themselves an important part of literature and deserve study on that basis. . . .


“The reading of scripture without comment as part of the religious exercise does not create the knowledge of scripture required to be a literate reader of much of English language literature. Of what meaning is Melville’s choice of the name Ahab, or his use of the simile of Rachel weeping for her child in Moby Dick, or of Faulkner’s Absolom, Absolom, or even the Beatles’ Hey, Jude without some awareness of the rich associations and relevance of these names to the use made of them?”




ACLU accuses Salvation Army of religious discrimination (WorldNetDaily, 040225)


NEW YORK -- Current and former Salvation Army employees sued the organization famous for its red Christmas kettles Tuesday, alleging the government-funded group preached religious and sexual intolerance to its staff.


The workers accused the Salvation Army of creating a hostile work environment for about 600 employees who provide social services for more than 2,000 children in New York state.


The charitable organization required employees to pledge to preach the Gospel, to identify their church affiliation and to authorize their religious leaders to reveal private information to the Salvation Army, according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union’s New York chapter.


The Salvation Army did not immediately return a telephone message for comment.


Martin Garbus, a lawyer for 18 plaintiffs, said the case exposes how President Bush’s faith-based initiative program blurs the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.


Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the Salvation Army may have a right promote its religion, but not with government money.


The organization receives $89 million, the bulk of its funding for child care, from the government.


One plaintiff, Margaret Geissman, said she quit her job as a human resources manager last year after she was harassed by her bosses for refusing to reveal staffers’ religions and sexual orientations.


“As a Christian, I deeply resent the use of discriminatory employment practices in the name of Christianity,” she said.


Another plaintiff, Mary Jane Dessables also said she objected to being forced to declare her religion.


“I feel it is my duty as a taxpayer to insist that the Salvation Army not be allowed to collect this information that may be used to discriminate against their employees,” Dessables said. She is the management information systems director for the Salvation Army’s Social Services for Children.


Garbus said the Salvation Army was requiring all employees to fill out statements revealing their religious histories by the end of February.