Ethics News

News: Anti-Life Organizations, mostly ACLU

Subtitle: How ACLU is an instrument of the Devil


>> = Important Articles; ** = Major Articles


>>ACLU: A Devil in Wolf’s Clothing (much worse then a wolf in sheep’s clothing)

>>Decades of Shame, ACLU History

>>Policies of The American Civil Liberties Union

>>ACLU’s War on Organized Religion

>>ACLU’s Agenda

>>More Danger From the ACLU (Foxnews, 050331)

**Appeals Court Refuses to Rehear Ky. Commandments Case (Christian Post, 100516)

School Board Passes Pro-Christmas Policy (Christian American, 970300)

Court Checks ACLU, OKs School Bible Distribution (Christian American, 970400)

ACLU Lawsuit Intends to Stop VMI Dinner Prayers (CNN, 010510)

ACLU Sues Four Kentucky Counties for Ten Commandments Displays (010000)

High Court Considering Online Porn Law (011128)

ACLU Goes to Bat for Satan Against Florida Town’s Edict Banning Evil One (Foxnews, 020125)

ACLU Sues Louisiana Over Abstinence Ed (020516)

ACLU Sues Over Evolution Disclaimers in Textbooks (Foxnews, 020822)

Supreme Court Rejects ACLU Terror Court Appeal (Foxnews, 030324)

ACLU: Double Standards Galore (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)

ACLU Sues Judge Over Ten Commandments, Prayer (Coral Ridge Ministries, 950701)

ACLU May Sue VMI Over Dinner Blessing (Coral Ridge Ministries, 010417)

More Schools and Communities Back Public Prayer and Ten Commandments, In Spite of ACLU Threats (Coral Ridge Ministries, 011011)

Chief Justice Roy Moore Sued by ACLU, Americans United for Separation (Coral Ridge Ministries, 011105)

Titus Explains ACLU Plan to Sue Judge Moore (Coral Ridge Ministries, 020102)

ACLU: Pro-Child Molester Rights, Anti-Ten Commandments (Coral Ridge Ministries, 020913)

ACLU Cheers Over Defeat of Pro-Life, Pro-Family Law (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)

ACLU: Religion Out, Nudity In On Public Property (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)

New Task Force to Monitor ACLU Activity, Impact (Coral Ridge Ministries, 021230)

The Lies of the ACLU (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030307)

ACLU vs. Homeland Security (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030314)

Muslim Woman Sues to Wear Veil in Driver’s License Photo (Foxnews, 030528)

Ten Commandments Monument Removed From Montana Courthouse (Foxnews, 030925)

Defending Christmas (Washington Times, 031128)

ASSORTED ACTION by ACLU (Foxnews, Tongue Tied Column)

‘Prison Fellowship’ Program Violates Constitution, Group Charges (Crosswalk, 040112)

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

Religious Symbol Erased in California (Foxnews, 040505)

No Boy Scouts: The ACLU defends NAMBLA (National Review Online, 040227)

ACLU May Sue L.A. County Over Seal (Foxnews, 040526)

Gay Marriage in Massachusetts (Washington Times, 040630)

Pentagon Agrees Not to Sponsor Boy Scouts (Foxnews, 041116)

ACLU loses Christmas case (WorldNetDaily, 041116)

Keillor: Born-agains should not have right to vote (WorldNetDaily, 041115)

View homosexual film, or school faces lawsuit (WorldNetDaily, 041128)

ACLU Leads Suit Over Federal Watch List Policy (Foxnews, 041110)

Citizens mobilized to stop ACLU: Website seeks to consign group to ‘ash heap of history’ (WorldNetDaily, 041120)

Keep America safe and free from the ACLU! ( site, 041120)

ACLU threatens abstinence program (WorldNetDaily, 041119)

Petition: Get ACLU off taxpayer dole (WorldNetDaily, 041125)

Thanks Be to the Great Pumpkin (American Spectator, 041129)

ACLU subjected to Christmas carols (WorldNetDaily, 041208)

ACLU Files Suit in Pa. Over Evolution (Foxnews, 041214)

Rein in the ACLU (Washington Times, 041214)

The ACLU Confronts the Military (Foxnews, 041216)

Evolution ruling gets cheers from scientists (CNN, 050114)

ACLU behind Illinois’ forced hiring of ‘gays’ (WorldNetDaily, 050126)

ACLU shuts down coach’s prayers (WorldNetDaily, 050121)

Thou shalt have no others gods before the ACLU (, 050311)

ACLU threat drives Scouts out of schools (WorldNetDaily, 050311)

The ACLU vs. America (, 050330)

Senators pledging to help Boy Scouts (WorldNetDaily, 050317)

ACLU: Punish officials for ‘un-American’ prayer (WorldNetDaily, 050407)

ACLU smoking dope at border? (WorldNetDaily, 050419)

‘To support and defend... So help me God’ (, 050527)

Court: ‘Merry Christmas’ ACLU: Rejects suit by woman claiming holiday display was offensive (WorldNetDaily, 050708)

Senate Approves Boy Scout Events on Military Bases (Foxnews, 050726)

Caught on Tape: The suicidal otherworldliness of ACLU-style civil libertarianism. (National Review Online, 050726)

The ACLU’s 30 Years War (Weekly Standard, 050808)

Backing up the Boy Scouts (, 050802)

Planned Parenthood superhero terminates Christian protesters (WorldNetDaily, 050809)

Praying school board likened to terrorists: ACLU boss compares officials to ‘people who flew the airplanes into the buildings’ (WorldNetDaily, 050817)

ACLU backs Wiccan suit (WorldNetDaily, 050810)

‘Anti-ACLU’ Fights for Religion in Public Life (Foxnews, 050814)

School Daze I (Tongue Tied, 050921)

100,000 back bill to curb ACLU: Petition urges Congress to act on legislation (WorldNetDaily, 051012)

ACLU targets tiny cross on seal: Group takes on town of 500 over 30-year-old image (WorldNetDaily, 051025)

All dolled up and no place to go (, 051108)

ACLU challenges Bible tax exemption: Calls state statute unconstitutional endorsement of religion (WorldNetDaily, 051116)

Group wants to see humans extinct (WorldNetDaily, 051117)

ACLU threatens school for ‘altar call’: Looking for lawsuit plaintiff against prayer at grad ceremony (WorldNetDaily, 051124)

The ACLU Endangers You and Your Family (Foxnews, 051209)

ACLU challenges menorah display at Capitol (WorldNetDaily, 051221)

Ex-ACLU attorney: Group ‘terrorizing’ U.S.: Activist praises bill that would keep taxpayer funds from organization (WorldNetDaily, 051228)

Democrats don’t need hearings (, 060123)

ACLU ‘falsely’ boots out abstinence program: Accused of spreading distortions that got curriculum barred by state (WorldNetDaily, 060406)

The ACLU’s war on the Boy Scouts (WorldNetDaily, 060406)

Decalogue trumps ACLU again: 6th Circuit rules 19-5 in favor of county’s Commandments display (WorldNetDaily, 060424)

The most obnoxious group in America (, 060523)

ACLU Threatens Another Lawsuit Over a Cross (, 060811)

Lawyer: ACLU wants to destroy vets’ memorial: Saga of Mt. Soledad cross extended with new federal claim (WorldNetDaily, 060829)

Five years after 9/11, the ACLU considers Christians the terrorists (, 060911)

Who Is Funding Attacks on Christians? Bankrolling Hostility (Christian Post, 060912)

Hazelton: The people vs. the ACLU (Washington Times, 060919)

ACLU targets removal of prayer (, 061114)

ACLU: The Abolishing Christian Legacy Union (WorldNetDaily, 061211)

ACLU Opposes Plans to Hold Graduation at Megachurch (Christian Post, 061215)

ACLU Plays Ring-Around-the-Rosie With Its Pro-Abortion ‘Logic’ (Christian Post, 070302)

Why Does the ACLU Think Sexual Predators Have More Rights than Children? (, 070322)

U.S. Judge Blocks Law Criminalizing Web Porn that Reaches Kids (Christian Post, 070323)

FCC Suggests Framework for Regulating Violence on TV (Foxnews, 070426)

ACLU Sues N.C. to Allow Quran for Oaths (Christian Post, 070510)

ACLU Seeks to Censor Religious Content from La. Graduations (Christian Post, 070515)

ACLU Sues Texas School District to Halt Bible Classes (Christian Post, 070517)

ADF Accuses ACLU of Bullying Florida School District (Christian Post, 070613)

Lousiana ACLU: Take Picture of Jesus Out of Slidell Court (Foxnews, 070621)

Jesus Portrait in Lousiana Court Will Stay Up Despite Outcry From ACLU (Foxnews, 070624)

ACLU sues city over Jesus painting (Yahoo, 070704)

Amnesty Affirms New Abortion Stance; Catholics Urged to Cut Ties (Christian Post, 070820)

Amnesty International endorses abortion (Washington Times, 070823)

Court Backs Ban on Bible Distribution at Elementary Schools (Christian Post, 070824)

ACLU Unmoved by Jesus’ Court Companions (Christian Post, 070906)

Jesus Court Painting Survives ACLU Attack (Christian Post, 070910)

IRS Vindicates Focus on the Family (Christian Post, 070911)

Get the ACLU Out of Our Bathrooms (, 070926)

The ACLU and Its Allies: Standing in Need of Prayer (, 071122)

Parents Defend Religious Freedom in School Prayer Suit (Christian Post, 071214)

Ala. Schools Asked to Ban ‘Facing the Giants’ (Christian Post, 080117)

Texas School District Settles Bible Class Suit (Christian Post, 080306)

Indiana Judge Dismisses ACLU Challenge, Upholds ‘God’ License Plate (Foxnews, 080418)

The End of Freedom in America? (Christian Post, 080428)

ACLU Sues Over Arkansas Ban on Adoption, Foster Care by Unmarried Couples (Foxnews, 081230)

Why not fire Peter Singer? (Ann Coulter, 090401)

Christian Educators Group Stands Up to ‘Goliath’ ACLU (Christian Post, 090707)

Florida Principal, Athletic Director Could Go to Jail for Prayer Before Lunch at School (Foxnews, 090815)

Legal Group Accuses Church-State Watchdog of Covering Partisan Tracks (Christian Post, 090703)

Students, Legal Groups Stand Against Anti-Religious Court Order (Christian Post, 090606)

Legal Group Accuses Church-State Watchdog of Covering Partisan Tracks (Christian Post, 090703)

Amnesty International Pushes “Gay Marriage” Down Under (C-Fam, 091112)

ACLU Loses Donor, One-Fourth of Yearly Donations (Foxnews, 091209)

ACLU Presses Gov’t to Ensure Faith-Based Hospitals Provide Emergency Abortions (Christian Post, 100702)





>>ACLU: A Devil in Wolf’s Clothing (much worse then a wolf in sheep’s clothing)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would like you to believe that their singular goal is the unbiased, non-partisan defense of your civil liberties as defined by our honored Bill of Rights.


They claim that they defend the freedoms established in our Constitution in order to ensure, most especially, your First Amendment Rights.


They do not. They seek to replace the democracy the Founding Fathers fought for with their own atheist vision.


Never before in the history of this nation has any organization done more to promote moral decay as has the ACLU. For over 75 years the ACLU has steadly blurred the clear distinction between liberty and license and feverishly worked to undermine the Christian and moral heritage of our nation.


This brief exposé reveals the real nature of this organization that hides behind the guise of preserving liberty.




>>Decades of Shame, ACLU History


1920’s and 1930’s

- Founded by Roger Baldwin, 1920

- Several crucial leaders of the ACLU were members of the Communist Party. Earl Browder, then General Secretary of the Communist Party, said the ACLU functioned as “a transmission belt” for the party.


1940’s and 1950’s

- In 1945 the ACLU opposed laws requiring prostitutes to submit to examinations or vaccinations, saying these violated the women’s rights to “medical liberty.”

- In 1957 the board of directors declared that it was not the business of the ACLU “to evaluate the social validity of laws aimed at the suppression or elimination of homosexuals.”



- The ACLU’s increasing success in the courtroom brings it a growing notoriety and increasing access to powerful financial and political resources.

- In the late 60’s American culture’s increasing hostility toward Christian values frees the ACLU to make aggressive legal assaults on organized religions.

- In 1967 the ACLU adopted a “pro-choice” position on abortion.



- In 1975 the ACLU came out in favor of special rights for homosexuals.

- In 1977 the ACLU initiated its “Reproductive Freedom Project” that, over the next 16 years, utilized 17 full-time employees and a budget of $2 million.



- In 1986 the ACLU created its “Lesbian and Gay Rights” project.

- September 1986 - The ACLU successfully sues fifth grade public school teacher Kenneth Roberts, forcing him to remove his personal Bible from his classroom desk. Roberts kept the Bible on top of his desk, and he read from it during his class’ silent reading time. He never read it to his students or told them they had to read it. (Contrast this to the ACLU’s actions in February and March, 2001, in Anaheim, California. This time, the ACLU threatened to sue the public school board if they did not put pro-homosexual propaganda on the shelves of the high school library.)

- In 1988 the ACLU barred a doctor from telling a Kansas man’s former wife that her ex-husband had tested positive for AIDS. In the words of the director of the ACLU’s Privacy and Technology Project, “The benefits of confidentiality outweigh the possibility that somebody may be injured.”

- In 1989 the government granted tax exemptions for Satanists - a position the ACLU has supported.



- In 1992 the ACLU persuaded a judge to approve adoption of a young boy by his mother’s lesbian partner.

- In 1993 in Pennsylvania the ACLU successfully opposed parental approval for teaching about substance abuse or human reproduction and forbade any discussion of morality and violence.

- In 1995 the ACLU spoke out against the Flag Amendment which would have banned burnings and desecrations of the American flag.

- March 1995 - The ACLU files a lawsuit against Alabama Circuit Judge Roy Moore to force him to discontinue prayer in his courtroom and remove a Ten Commandments plaque from the wall behind his bench. Judge Moore countersued, asking a state court to resolve the constitutionality of official acknowledgements of God. This was the beginning of an ongoing, on-again off-again series of legal battles between the ACLU and Judge Moore.

- In 1996 the ACLU convinced the Supreme Court to overturn Colorado’s “Amendment Two,” regarding homosexual special rights.

- In 1996 the ACLU worked with senators to defeat legislation providing federally-funded cash vouchers to students in Washington D.C.’s religious schools.

- In 1997 the ACLU successfully beseeched the Supreme Court to protect the rights of pornographers on the Internet - including the right to show their images to children.


2000 - Present

- May 2000 - Arizona Governor Jane Hull issues a proclamation celebrating the birth of Buddha. An ACLU spokesperson said, “Although we may think proclamations are inappropriate, they may not violate the Constitution.” (In 1998, when Governor Hull issued a proclamation declaring a “Bible Week,” the ACLU sued, claiming a violation of the so-called “separation of church and state.”)

- Janurary 2001 - At a press conference co-hosted by Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt, ACLU President Nadine Strossen lambasted Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft. Strossen claimed he had a “fundamental disdain for the Constitution,” simply because he is pro-life, pro-family, favors common-sense restrictions on virtual (Internet) child pornography, and questions the notion of the so-called “separation of church and state.”

- April 2002 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down a Colorado law requiring parents be notified when their underage daughters sought abortions. The ACLU supported the suit to have the law struck down.

- April 2002 - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down major portions of the Child Pornography Protection Act, which prohibited Internet porn hawkers from making “virtual” child pornography. The ACLU immediately declared victory, calling it a triumph for “free speech.”

- January 2003 - The Hawaii branch of the ACLU filed suit to remove a requirement from a public school honor code that students pledge their “love for God.” Without going to court, the school backed down.

- February 2003 - A federal district judge prohibited Florida officials from blocking an anti-war demonstration at a public park that featured a peace symbol at a public park, comprised of nude bodies. Said an ACLU attorney, “For these demonstrators, nudity is an essential part of their political expression.”


Sources: Donohue, William A. Twilight of Liberty: The Legacy of the ACLU. Transaction Publishers, 1994.




>>Policies of The American Civil Liberties Union




Legalized Child Pornography

Legalized Optional School Prayer

Legalized Drugs

Sobriety Checkpoints

Tax Exemptions for Satanists

Tax Exemptions for Churches

Legalized Prostitution

Religious Displays in Public

Abortion on Demand

Medical Safety Reporting

Mandatory Sex Education

Parental Consent Laws

Ideological Tests for Court Appointees

School Vouchers and Home Schooling

Automatic Entitled Probation

Government Ethics Committees

Public Demonstrations by Nazis and Communists

Prison Terms for Criminal Offenses

Legalized Polygamy

Public Demonstrations for Direct Action by Pro-lifers


Teaching “Monogamous Heterosexual Intercourse within Marriage” in Public Schools



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




>>ACLU’s War on Organized Religion


For decades now, the ACLU has worked to undercut the impact and influence of religious faith in American life.


Although they declare themselves defenders of tolerance - and cloak themselves in the Constitution, whose Bill of Rights forbids any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion - the ACLU, in fact, actively promotes intolerance when it comes to religion.


Among the “free exercises” the group opposes and would outlaw if they could:


* The public singing of “Silent Night” and other Christmas carols.


* Displays of nativity scenes, crosses, and other Christian symbols on public property.


* The posting of the Ten Commandments in classrooms or courtrooms.


* The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins.


* Chaplains in prisons and the military.


* Prayer in classrooms, locker rooms, sports arenas, legislative assemblies, and at graduation exercises.


* Census questions regarding an individual’s religious affiliation.


* Accreditation for science departments at Bible-believing Christian universities.


* Voucher programs and tuition tax credits.


* Public funding for Christian schools.


* “Blue law” statutes.


* Voluntary Bible reading in public schools ... even during free time or after classes.


* Tax-exempt status for churches (though the ACLU favors this status for certain occult groups - and themselves).




>>ACLU’s Agenda


In state after state the ACLU is on the offensive, barring even the mildest expressions of decency or faith in an effort to cement an idealized liberal agenda of highly selective tolerance and civil rights for a carefully chosen few.


Here are just a few examples of what the ACLU is really trying to accomplish via the litigation they perform in the name of liberty:


* In Chicago’s crime-racked inner-city housing projects, ACLU lawyers managed to stop drug searches ... saying that they violated the tennants’ constitutional rights.


* In Mississippi, the organization secured a court order against student-led prayer in public schools - while in New Jersey they won a ruling banning any official prayer by any individual at any public high school graduation.


* In Idaho, the ACLU had restrictions on abortion funding declared unconstitutional ... and in Virginia, defeated a bill requiring teens to notify their parents before getting an abortion.


In fact, nationwide, the ACLU claims to “do more litigation” in support of abortion than any other organization in the country.


* The ACLU also claims major credit for the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the Communications Decency Act, which would have restricted the display and availability of pornographic materials on the Internet.




>>More Danger From the ACLU (Foxnews, 050331)


More danger from the ACLU: that is the subject of this evening’s “Talking Points Memo.”


As you may know, the American Civil Liberties Union wants Terri Schiavo to die saying it believes she did not want to live with a feeding tube and if you don’t believe that, you are violating Terri’s privacy rights. Once again, the ACLU comes down on the progressive side of an issue as it does 100% of the time these days.


On Monday, the ACLU won a big victory when the Supreme Court allowed the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out an Idaho law requiring parental consent for under age abortion. That of course undermines American parents which is exactly what the ACLU wants.


Want more? OK...


• The ACLU believes any and all abortions should be legal.


• It believes American borders should be open. And it may sue a citizen’s group called the Minutemen which will begin patrolling the southern border on Friday.


• The ACLU believes child pornography should be available on the Net. And it is also representing NAMBLA in a civil lawsuit in Massachusetts saying the North American Man-Boy Love Association has a right to print instructions on how to rape children.


• The ACLU believes pornographic outlets should be located wherever they want — in your neighborhood, next to a church, next to a school, no restrictions.


• It believes the military can’t stop open displays of homosexuality within its ranks.


• It believes gay marriage and polygamy should be legalized.


• It is suing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over torture allegations.


• And just today the ACLU criticized General Ricardo Sanchez for the rough interrogation of some captured terrorists.


Are you getting all of this? Getting the picture?


It’s quite apparent the American Civil Liberties Union wants a brand new America, where the gratification of the individual is paramount. In order to achieve that, the ACLU opposes all displays of religion on public property. It champions the secular and attacks judgment-based faith.


Finally, it is worth repeating a famous quote by the man who founded the ACLU, Roger Baldwin. This quote can be found in Baldwin’s biography written by Peggy Lampson. Quote, “I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek social ownership of property and the abolition of the propertied class.”


I hope everybody understands just how dangerous this well-funded ACLU is to your freedom. These people say they’re looking out for Terri Schiavo. They say they are looking out for you. Don’t believe it.




**Obama Administration Rewrites Conscience Protections for Health Workers (Christian Post, 110221)


According to a new rule released by the Obama administration Friday, health care workers can still refuse to take part in abortions if they find it morally objectionable but they cannot refuse to give contraception.



After years of debate, the Department of Health and Human Services rewrote the Bush-era Conscience Clause, essentially rescinding most of the rules that protected the conscience of medical workers.


“The Department supports clear and strong conscience protections for health care providers who are opposed to performing abortions,” said the HHS.


But it added that the 2008 conscience rule that went into effect on the last day of the Bush administration was too broad and caused confusion. It was interpreted to allow medical workers to object to providing contraception, particularly emergency contraceptives that pro-lifers say cause abortion, and to refuse performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women, among other things.


The Obama administration weighed whether to change the conscience protection rules or rescind it altogether. Though the HHS said the new rule maintains and builds upon provisions of the Bush administration rule, it limited the protections to just let workers refuse to perform abortion.


“The federal provider conscience statutes were intended to protect health care providers from being forced to participate in medical procedures that violated their moral and religious beliefs,” said the HHS.


“They were never intended to allow providers to refuse to provide medical care to an individual because the individual engaged in behavior the health care provider found objectionable.”


Protesting the new rule, Dr. J Scott Ries, a family physician and part of the Christian Medical Association, said the changes were made without any evidence or justification.


“The administration, for example, contends that a rule change is necessary to protect access to contraception, but absolutely no evidence is presented to justify any such concern,” he said Friday.


“In the process, the administration blatantly ignores the scientific evidence that certain controversial prescriptions that abortion advocates promote as contraception are actually potential abortifacients, ending the life of a living, developing human embryo. This is a critical concern for pro-life patients, healthcare professionals and institutions.”


He went on to contend that the Obama administration’s new rule “diminishes the civil rights that protect conscientious physicians and other healthcare professionals against discrimination.”


“Losing conscientious healthcare professionals and faith-based institutions to discrimination and job loss especially imperils the poor and patients in medically underserved areas,” Ries argued. “We are already facing critical shortages of primary care physicians, and the Obama administration’s decision now threatens to make the situation far worse for patients across the country who depend on faith-based health care.”


The new rule goes into effect in 30 days.




**Appeals Court Refuses to Rehear Ky. Commandments Case (Christian Post, 100516)


A court of appeals on Friday denied the request of the American Civil Liberties Union to rehear a case on the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments display in Kentucky.


The Sixth District Circuit Court of Appeals upheld their January ruling in the case of ACLU v. Grayson County, Kentucky, in which they said Grayson County’s courthouse could keep a display that included the Ten Commandments.


The display, located on the second floor of Grayson County’s courthouse, is titled “Foundations of American Law and Government” and includes the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, Star-Spangled Banner, National Motto, and a picture of Lady Justice. [KH: see how ACLU just attacked the 10 Commandments]


The display is meant to be an educational tool that shows some of the documents that played a significant role in the development of the legal and government system of the United States.


In 2001, however, the ACLU of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Grayson County, arguing that the government should “not endorse any one form of religion but [endeavor] to accommodate a plurality of ideas and beliefs.”


Though a federal judge ruled against the display, the appeals court later reversed the ruling.


“The Ten Commandments is as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are in the American flag,” said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, who delivered the oral argument for Grayson County in April 2009. “The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law. It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law.”


Staver added, “The ACLU might not like our history and might run from it, but the fact remains that the Ten Commandments shaped our laws and may be displayed in a court of law.”


In 2005, Staver argued a similar case involving Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky’s McCreary and Pulaski Counties before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled them unconstitutional. He also defended several other Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky counties in recent years.


Since 2005, every federal court of appeals that has addressed Ten Commandments displays has upheld their constitutionality. The ACLU has not won a Ten Commandments case at the court of appeals level in five years.




School Board Passes Pro-Christmas Policy (Christian American, 970300)


(Clifton, N.J.) - Sixteen city schools allowed their students to learn about the real meaning of Christmas - and even display Nativity scenes - despite grumblings from the American Civil Liberties Union. The Clifton Board of Education passed the policy expecting an ACLU challenge. “We researched the policies of two nearby school districts and adapted that to our schools,” Stefan Tatarenko, the board’s vice president, told Religious Rights Watch. Tatarenko has served on the board five years and has children in the schools. “I remember going to ‘holiday’ events at school and coming away without having heard or seen anything related to Christmas,” he said. “The kids never even sang, Silent Night.” The ACLU threatened action against the school board, but no suit had been filed at press time.




Court Checks ACLU, OKs School Bible Distribution (Christian American, 970400)


(Upshur County, W.Va.) - A U.S. District Court has ruled that voluntary Bible distribution programs in public schools pass constitutional muster. In 1994 the Upshur County School Board approved an offer from a local church to make Bibles available to the community’s more than 4,000 students.


The Bibles, purchased with funds raised from community businesses, would be placed in boxes and made available to students who wanted them. In response to the plan, the West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union quickly obtained a court injunction squashing the plan. “Kids are intimidated,” argued a local ACLU spokesperson.


“We want to see a table in a predetermined location in each school that is accessible to students who can freely pick up a Bible or any religious materials,” said the Rev. Ed McDaniels as the case went to court in 1995. “If that’s illegal in America today, then we’re in trouble.”


Now, a U.S. District Court has ruled in favor of the school district, overturning the previous decision that stopped the voluntary Bible distribution.


“The ACLU engaged in a knee-jerk reaction - kind of a when-in-doubt-throw-it-out type of thing,” said Rutherford Institute attorney David Melton. “Religious literature is to be treated the same as any other kind.” He said that the school board had already approved the distribution since the federal court ruling. Rutherford Institute argued that the school acted neutrally in permitting religious materials to be made available under the same conditions as materials that are specifically non-religious in nature.




ACLU Lawsuit Intends to Stop VMI Dinner Prayers (CNN, 010510)


ROANOKE, Va. — The American Civil Liberties Union sued Virginia Military Institute on Wednesday in an attempt to end prayers at its evening meals.


The ACLU filed the lawsuit at the U.S. District Court in Lynchburg on behalf of two cadets, Neil Mellen and Paul Knick, whose complaints about prayer were rebuffed by officials at the state-supported school in Lexington, said Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU’s Virginia chapter.


“VMI places heavy pressure on these students to participate,” Willis said. “Those who don’t want to pray are perceived as breaking the conformity that the school expects.”


Evening prayers have been a tradition at VMI since at least the 1950s. Every night, cadets march into the VMI mess hall in formation. Before they’re served, a member of the corps usually reads a non-denominational prayer thanking God but not Jesus Christ, said VMI spokesman Mike Strickler.


Attorney General Mark L. Earley said he will vigorously defend VMI’s tradition of saying grace before supper.


“Cadets are not compelled to participate, remain at attention or bow their heads during these blessings,” Earley said in a statement.


Neither Mellen nor Knick immediately responded to e-mail requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.


In March, Mellen wrote in an editorial for The Cadet, a student newspaper, that the mess hall prayer “promotes religion over non-religion and fosters an environment in which non-participants can feel like or be treated as outsiders.


“If VMI claims to produce honorable citizen-soldiers it seems only reasonable that those future leaders of America should live by the Constitution,” he wrote.


Mellen said many have complained about the prayers, but have been cursed when they do.


“Other members of the Corps have thrown things at them. This is clearly the persuasive and threatening environment that the courts have warned us about.”


The ACLU lawsuit asks the court to find that the VMI prayer violates the constitutional protection of religious freedom and issue an injunction to stop the prayer. Mellen and Knick are also asking for nominal monetary damages.


The lawsuit marks the second time this week the ACLU has acted in a Virginia school prayer case. On Tuesday, the group asked a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the state’s new minute of silence law, which requires public schools to designate 60 seconds each day for meditation, prayer or other silent activity.




ACLU Sues Four Kentucky Counties for Ten Commandments Displays (010000)


LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — A civil-liberties group sued four counties Tuesday for posting the Ten Commandments in courthouses, extending a campaign that brought down the religious text from government buildings in other Kentucky towns.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed separate federal lawsuits Tuesday against Garrard, Grayson, Mercer and Rowan counties.


Named as defendants are the counties and their judge-executives. The ACLU and a handful of residents in each county are plaintiffs.


The suits contend the courthouse postings represent an endorsement of religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Garrard County also was singled out for posting the commandments in the county-owned hospital.


In each suit, the ACLU asks for a court order to force the counties to take down the commandments in government buildings. The organization is not asking for damages but wants the defendants to pay its attorneys fees.


David Friedman, general counsel for the ACLU, said it was an appropriate time to file the suits. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many people have found solace in religion, he said, but it’s wrong to extend that fervor to government sanctioning of religion.


“It’s not a small measure of irony that these four governments, among others, are seeking to impose their religious views on the nation at the same time the nation is fighting those overseas who would impose their religious views on others,” Friedman said.


One of the defendants, Rowan County Judge-Executive Clyde Thomas, also thought the timing remarkable but for the opposite reason.


“I believe it couldn’t come at a worse time in view of Sept. 11 and the fact this county had the first casuality of this war on terror,” Thomas said in a telephone interview from Morehead. He was referring to Edward Thomas Earhart, a sailor killed when a hijacked jetliner crashed into the Pentagon.


Friedman said other local governments that post the commandments could also be sued unless the religious documents are removed.


“Some governments, including these four, have elected not to follow the clear decision of the courts ... and have instead insisted on getting sued before taking down their unlawful displays,” he said.


“We wish it didn’t come to that, but if it does we will file suit. And this won’t be the last round of suits.”


Two years ago, the ACLU went to court to get the commandments removed from schools and courthouses in McCreary, Pulaski and Harlan counties. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman has preliminarily ruled that the postings violated the Constitution. Appeals by the counties are pending.


The ACLU won a related challenge when U.S. District Joseph Hood struck down a state law calling for creation of a monument inscribed with the commandments outside the state Capitol in Frankfort. That ruling also is on appeal.


The latest suits were filed in federal courts in Ashland, Lexington and Owensboro. Friedman said the ACLU did not approach the four counties before taking them to court. He said the group was willing to consider halting the suits if the counties permanently removed the commandments.


Thomas, the Rowan County judge-executive, said the Fiscal Court allowed some citizens to post the commandments in its meeting room about three years ago.


“We have no apologies to make for that. We didn’t feel bad about doing it. Personally, I feel if an equivalent document was presented to us from the Buddhist, Islamic or Jewish faith, we probably would have done the same thing,” Thomas said.


In its four latest suits, the ACLU said the commandments were not part of “any larger educational or comparative religion display.”


In Harrodsburg, Mercer County Judge-Executive Charles McGinnis said he had received just one complaint — from Bart McQueary, now a plaintiff in one suit — about commandments being posted in the courthouse. Some citizens last summer asked to be allowed to put the commandments up, and the Mercer County Fiscal Court obliged, he said.


Each of the four courthouses features a framed copy of the commandments, but what accompanies them varies, according to the suits.


In Garrard County, the commandments are surrounded by documents citing an 1863 Day of Prayer, an Abraham Lincoln quote about God, the Mayflower Compact and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence and the state Constitution. The text of the commandments is several times larger than the other documents, the suit said. At Garrard County Memorial Hospital, the commandments are displayed alone, the suit said.


American political and patriotic documents surround the commandments in Grayson and Mercer counties, while in Rowan County it’s surrounded by subdivision plans and framed certificates, the ACLU said.


The number of plaintiffs also varies. McQueary is the only plaintiff from Mercer County. Two people joined the ACLU as plaintiffs against Garrard County, two more in Grayson County and 10 in Rowan County.




High Court Considering Online Porn Law (011128)


WASHINGTON — Log on to Mitch Tepper’s Web site and he will tell you how to make “hands-free whoopee.” Such explicit how-to sex advice is not for everyone, but it’s not illegal.


At least not yet.


The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Tepper, other Web site operators and the American Civil Liberties Union, which claim that the government went too far with a law aimed at protecting children from online smut.


The law, which is on hold pending the court challenge, would unconstitutionally restrict adults from reading some of Tepper’s offerings, along with those of gay bookstores, abuse counselors and legal pornography, the ACLU claims.


“I would have to worry constantly about material as I publish it,” Tepper said. “We would have to self-censor all the time.”


Passed in 1998, the Child Online Protection Act would make it a crime for commercial operations to knowingly place objectionable material within the unrestricted reach of children on the World Wide Web.


Posting material deemed “harmful to minors” could mean fines and six months behind bars.


The question for the Supreme Court is whether it is possible to wall off certain online material for children without also placing it out of reach of adults who have a constitutional right to see it.


The court has already overturned one version of the same law as a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. The ACLU claims that Congress’ second try is no better.


“The constitutional flaws in this law are identical to the flaws that led the Supreme Court to strike down similar legislation four years ago,” ACLU lawyer Ann Beeson said.


Sexually explicit words and pictures that are deemed indecent but not obscene are protected by the First Amendment.


The Bush administration and backers including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and the conservative Family Research Council claim that the new version of the law provides important protection for children.


“Minors today can search the Web as easily as they can change television channels,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in court papers. “Thus, in the privacy of their homes or those of friends, unsupervised minors can, with the click of a mouse, visit one pornographic site after another.”


The law would put Internet pornography and other explicit material on the same footing as material offered for sale in bricks-and-mortar bookstores or sex shops, the government argued.


Children are not supposed to see pornography in such establishments, so it comes wrapped in paper or is displayed behind a screen, the government said.


Age restrictions are trickier online, as the court observed in its first ruling striking down a major portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.


Filtering software is one option, but even some supporters of that technology say it is not fail-safe. Special access codes or registration systems for adult users are another option, and the one Congress settled on in 1998.


The law requires commercial Web sites to collect a credit card number or an access code as proof of age before allowing Internet users to view online material deemed “harmful to minors.”


In an attempt to clear the Supreme Court hurdle, the second law defines indecency much more specifically. It also limits prosecution to commercial material found on the World Wide Web, as opposed to the wider online terrain of e-mail and some chat rooms.


Lower federal courts in Pennsylvania found the law was probably unconstitutional, and blocked its enforcement pending a final court ruling.


The case is the second involving online pornography and children that the court is hearing this fall. A case argued last month tests bans on computer simulations that only appear to depict children having sex.


The current case is Ashcroft v. ACLU, 00-1293.




ACLU Goes to Bat for Satan Against Florida Town’s Edict Banning Evil One (Foxnews, 020125)


INGLIS, Fla.  — The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened a federal lawsuit against the mayor of a Florida town for her proclamation banning Satan within the town limits.


The ACLU has sent a letter to Mayor Carolyn Risher that said it will file a federal lawsuit unless she removes anti-Satan proclamations from four posts that sit at the town’s entrances.


The group also wants the town commission to pass a resolution repealing Risher’s edict and demands Risher reimburse the town for any costs of printing it.


Risher, citing advice from the town attorney, declined comment, a local newspaper reported.


Risher, the mayor for nine years, wrote the proclamation on Halloween night. It was typed on town stationary, signed by Risher and Town Clerk Sally McCrainie, and affixed with the town seal.


Risher, reportedly a devout Christian, put a copy on her office wall and then placed others at the town entrances. She has contacted Liberty Counsel, a nationwide religion-based organization that offers legal help, for possible assistance.


ACLU attorney Gary S. Edinger said in the letter his group is acting on behalf of Polly Bowser, a resident of this town of 1,400 people about 75 miles north of Tampa.


Bowser said she was outraged when she saw a copy of the proclamation on the door to the community center.


Bowser started a petition drive to remove Risher but has backed off the issue, saying she and her family are suffering for it.


Bowser said Wednesday she contacted the ACLU in early December but hadn’t spoken with anyone there since. She said she’s not sure if she backs the potential lawsuit, but Edinger said the ACLU will act as plaintiff should Bowser decline involvement


“We have constitutional protections against the establishment of religions,” Edinger said. “When it is not followed, and in fact rubbed in the nose of the public, it becomes a little more important.”




ACLU Sues Louisiana Over Abstinence Ed (020516)


BATON ROUGE, La. — The head of Louisiana’s abstinence-before-marriage program, Dan Richey, believes in the curriculum. But the question for some: Is he teaching or preaching?


Richey said it’s the former, pointing to the 10,000 students who are getting the lessons in school.


“We’re teaching. We’re in the classroom,” he said. “It’s been a great message of hope to teen-agers all throughout Louisiana.”


But the American Civil Liberties Union strongly disagrees, calling the program blatantly religious. The organization has filed a lawsuit.


“He’s abusing our tax dollars by preaching religion at these abstinence-only education programs,” said Joe Cook of the ACLU.


The lawsuit calls the curriculum unconstitutional for blaming an alleged increase in sexually transmitted diseases on the removal of prayer from public schools and proclaiming that sex outside marriage is offensive to God.


“It’s a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution to have religion involved with a state-funded message,” Cook said, adding the program would be OK if the references to God and religion were left out.


Richey said the charges levied in the suit are gross exaggerations.


“This is just a frivolous lawsuit based upon half-truths and distortions,” he said. “It’s typical ACLU balderdash.”


President Bush wants to boost federal spending on abstinence education like Louisiana’s by $80 million. The ACLU suit is seen as an opening salvo in a war over the abstinence-only message in some of the Bush-backed programs.


Louisiana lawmakers say they have morality on their side; the ACLU says the Constitution is on theirs. Both are preparing for what looks to be a long court battle ahead.




ACLU Sues Over Evolution Disclaimers in Textbooks (Foxnews, 020822)


MARIETTA, Ga. — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force the Cobb County school board to remove disclaimers on evolution from thousands of middle and high school textbooks.


The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, just one day before the board was to discuss whether teachers should be allowed to teach faith-based ideas along with evolution as explanation for the variety of life.


The stickers, placed in new science books this month after requests from parents opposed to evolution on religious grounds, say evolution is a theory, not fact, and should be critically considered.


Jeffrey Selman, the father of an elementary school pupil, initiated the lawsuit. He said placing advisories in science texts is an attempt to inject religion into public schools.


“It singles out evolution from all the scientific theories out there,” Selman said. “Why single out evolution? It has to be coming from a religious basis, and that violates the separation of church and state.”


The board discussion Thursday night was to focus on whether to allow science teachers to cover opposing concepts, such as intelligent design, which argues that a “higher intelligence” is responsible for the breadth of life on Earth.


The lawsuit claims the disclaimers are a “fundamentalist Christian expression” that promotes religion in public education.


Though the printed labels use vague language, the intention is clear, said Michael Manely, a Marietta attorney who is representing Selman on behalf of the ACLU.


“What it does is promote the establishment of creationism in public schools,” Manely said. “Why are they singling out evolution? Because from a creationist’s standpoint, they don’t have a problem with the theory of gravity.”


Some parents in the county feel differently.


Acworth resident Bruce Horacek, whose children graduated from Cobb schools, said students are not being told of the faults in evolution. “You cannot prove or disprove that evolution or inert materials created the diversity we have,” he said. “Evolution and creationism are both philosophies.”


The issue appeared before the school board in March, when several dozen parents asked that alternatives be taught. They presented a petition signed by 2,000 county residents, demanding accuracy in textbooks.


The board adopted the labels, which say: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”


School board chairman Curt Johnston said the concerns of the community need to be considered in Thursday’s meeting.


“The whole purpose of this discussion is to try to clarify what can be taught and what should be taught,” Johnston said.


Similar debates have occurred elsewhere.


Ohio is considering state science requirements that would allow teaching of alternatives, including intelligent design. Kansas adopted standards that struck references to evolution, then reversed that stance after a new state board was elected in response.


In Georgia, Clayton County put evolution disclaimers in its science books in 1996, but has since removed them. Alabama put stickers on all biology books about the same time.




Supreme Court Rejects ACLU Terror Court Appeal (Foxnews, 030324)


WASHINGTON — Groups challenging the government’s broader use of surveillance powers for post-Sept. 11 law enforcement lost a major battle Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal.


The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations wanted the high court to consider whether the government’s new federal telephone eavesdropping and e-mail surveillance powers were going too far in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.


The groups were attempting an unusual move: to bring the suit on behalf of unnamed plaintiffs, people who did not know if they were being monitored by federal law enforcement. The court would have to give special permission for such a move, which it soundly rejected without comment in its ruling Monday.


The decision did not judge the merits of the case against the government. The issue is expected to return to the court in the future.


At the center of the debate is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, which meets behind closed doors to approve wiretaps and secret property searches of people suspected of espionage or terrorism. Under the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which was passed after the terrorist attacks, the criteria for the so-called spy court’s powers were expanded to include secret searches and wiretaps of criminals not necessarily connected to terrorism or espionage.


That has sparked concern among civil liberties advocates and some members of Congress who say the Justice Department is making a grab for more power without regard to American citizens’ rights.


Last year, a review panel of the FISA court ruled that the administration did not misinterpret the Patriot Act in extending its surveillance powers to suspects not necessarily connected to terrorism.


Meanwhile, Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced that 170 emergency warrants have been approved by FISA since the 2001 attacks, more than triple the number of total warrants received by the court in the last 23 years.


In addition, more than 1,000 total warrant applications were requested to FISA in 2002, including the emergency warrants, according to Ashcroft.


While acknowledging that the use of such surveillance is important in the war on terror, some members of Congress said the court should disclose as much information as possible about the suspects and their cases. Under FISA, suspects do not know they are being monitored and they do not have access to the evidence against them once they are prosecuted. Furthermore, there is no public access to the proceedings.


Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, are sponsoring legislation that would require the Justice Department to publicly account for the use of FISA warrants.


The ACLU had filed challenges in Michigan and New Jersey, on behalf of media organizations seeking access to hearings involving foreigners swept up in the terrorism probes, and hopes to push the issue of disclosure on a number of levels.


“Disclosure of basic information about FISA surveillance is not going to hamper our anti-terrorism efforts, nor will it hamstring Justice’s law enforcement efforts,” said Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “What it will do ... is go a long way toward assuaging growing public mistrust of the government.”


So far, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the attorney general has the right to close the hearings for reasons of national security. The ACLU appealed the decision. The government has until next month to appeal an Appeals Court decision that went the other way.


“The courts continue to have a critical role in ensuring that the government’s efforts to protect national security are done in a manner that is consistent with protecting civil liberties,” said Steven Shapiro, the ACLU’s legal director.




ACLU: Double Standards Galore (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)


By Greg Hoadley


The ACLU claims to take absolutist stances on issues, especially on freedom of religion.


“Some people mistakenly believe that separation of church and state implies hostility to religion,” the ACLU claims on its website. “But in fact, the opposite is true … The free exercise clause of the First Amendment guarantees the right to practice one’s religion free of government interference.”


While that sounds well and good, the ACLU does not apply its own rules fairly when it comes to Christians.


Case in point, with former Arizona Governor Jane Hull. In 1998, then-Governor Hull issued a proclamation, declaring a “Bible Week” for her state. The ACLU immediately threatened to sue, claiming a violation of the so-called “separation of church and state.” Rather than face a drawn-out legal battle, Hull backed down.


Two years later, the same Governor Hull issued another proclamation—this time commemorating the birth of Buddha. While many anticipated another threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU, none came. This time, an ACLU spokesperson said, “Although we may think proclamations are inappropriate, they may not violate the Constitution.”


“There you have it,” said Dr. Kennedy. “When Christianity was being promoted, the ACLU came out in full force. But when it was another religion being promoted, suddenly it was no longer a problem.”


Or take the case of Kenneth Roberts, a fifth grade elementary public school teacher from Denver, Colorado. In 1986, Roberts was quietly reading his Bible while his students participated in their daily silent reading time.


When the principal, Amy Madigan, saw this during a routine inspection, she was furious. She demanded he stop, and even keep his Bible out of his students’ sight during school hours.


Roberts, whom even Madigan acknowledged never read the Bible to his students, or told them they had to read it, refused. The case eventually went to court, and it wasn’t long before the ACLU got involved. But whose side did they take?


The ACLU has made the following past statements of principle, indicating that they should side with Roberts:


* “The free exercise clause of the First Amendment guarantees the right to practice one’s religion free of government interference.”


* “[T]he teacher has the right to identify and express his or her own point of view in the classroom as long as it is indicated clearly that it is the teacher’s own.”


* “[T]he ACLU has earned a reputation as the nation’s foremost protector of the rights of individuals to practice their religion.”


But they didn’t side with Roberts. Instead, they sided with Madigan, who eventually prevailed in court.


“Based upon this case, the ACLU is apparently so hostile to Christianity, it is willing to go against its own established principle, just to keep the Bible off a teacher’s desk,” said Kennedy.


As author and law professor F. LaGard Smith noted, “If there is anything the ACLU hates more than censorship, it is any form of public religious expression. When you realize how much the ACLU hates censorship, it tells you more than you really want to know about its anti-religious, and particularly its anti-Christian, bias.”


Smith added, “What was more harmful—Roberts silently reading his own Bible in the presence of this students, or students being told through Madigan’s actions that the Bible is so threatening, it needs to be censored from their very view?”


Finally, it was reported in January 2002, that a blatantly pro-Islam curriculum was being used in at least one California public school. According to World Net Daily, this three-week course “mandates that seventh-graders learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own jihad.” In addition, “students must memorize many verses in the Koran, are taught to pray ‘in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful’ and are instructed to chant, ‘Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation.’”


The California-based Pacific Justice Institute filed a complaint with the public schools, and has been involved with this issue since the story broke. According to the Institute, the ACLU has done nothing to remove these Islamic teachings from the public school.


As one teacher, Elizabeth Lemings, pointed out, “We can’t even mention the name of Jesus in the public schools, but … they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and how to pray to Allah. Can you imagine the barrage of lawsuits and problems we would have from the ACLU if Christianity were taught in the public schools, and if we tried to teach about the contributions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Apostle Paul? But when it comes to furthering the Islamic religion in the public schools, there is not one word from the ACLU, People for the American Way or anybody else. This is hypocrisy.”




ACLU Sues Judge Over Ten Commandments, Prayer (Coral Ridge Ministries, 950701)


He’s a West Point graduate, a Vietnam veteran, a karate champion, and a believer. So last July when the ACLU announced it planned to sue Judge Roy S. Moore to force him to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall and stop court prayers, he wasn’t intimidated.


“I’m not taking down the Ten Commandments plaque,” Judge Moore said at the time. And should the ACLU take him to court, he vowed “they’re going to get in a real fight.”

That fight commenced March 31 when the ACLU filed suit in federal court, alleging that Judge Moore violates the “separation of church and state” by allowing prayer and by hanging the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall.


Laws “Founded Upon God”


Judge Moore, 47, disagrees. “I believe it’s a proper display of the foundations of our law and government. Our government was founded upon God. Our laws are founded upon God ... I think it is all fitting and proper that they [Ten Commandments] should be displayed in a court of law.”


As to the ACLU’s notion of the “separation of church and state,” Judge Moore told The Birmingham News that America’s Founding Fathers “never intended to take God out of everything we do. I think that’s the purpose of the ACLU.”


So far, Judge Moore has enjoyed enormous public backing. A reported 2,000 people showed up for barbecue, music, and speeches at a rally on his behalf in Gadsden, the city in northeastern Alabama where Moore serves as an Etowah County Circuit Court Judge. Alabama Governor Fob James spoke at the outdoor event, telling the crowd that the judge’s stance is “morally right, legally proper and constitutional.”


ACLU Intimidation


But that support does not extend to Alabama’s Supreme Court which distributed an ACLU letter warning judges they may be sued unless court prayers were discontinued. “I understand some jurisdictions did [discontinue prayer],” said Moore. “I think that through intimidation the ACLU has been allowed to accomplish a lot of things.”


Judge Moore is committed to fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and is optimistic about the final outcome. “I think that if it is taken to the extreme proposition of whether a public official can acknowledge God in the exercise of his duties, then the answer has got to be ‘yes.’


Dr. Kennedy A Resource


One resource Judge Moore has drawn on is Dr. Kennedy. The sermon, “Church & State,” which details the many explicit evidences of America’s Christian heritage, has proven quite helpful. He expressed appreciation for Dr. Kennedy’s teaching and said he was surprised to learn from the sermon that the constitutions of all fifty states contain an appeal or prayer to Almighty God.


Judge Moore stressed that the legal contest is not his alone. The outcome, he noted, will affect all believers. “We’re all in this,” he said. And while legal expenses are mounting, he specifically asked for prayer. “That’s probably what I need most.”




ACLU May Sue VMI Over Dinner Blessing (Coral Ridge Ministries, 010417)


The Virginia Military Institute has long enjoyed a reputation for being one of the outstanding military schools in the United States.


But during the past decade, the school has come under fire: first from feminist groups, who successfully persuaded the Supreme Court to force VMI to enroll women in 1996, and now from the ACLU, over a “non-sectarian” prayer given prior to meals at the campus mess hall.


This recent controversy over pre-dinner prayers started when two students complained that the blessing of the meal – which mentions “God,” but not “Jesus Christ” – violates the so-called “separation of church and state.”


Ironically, one of the suing students was raised Catholic, and the other is a churchgoing Lutheran, according to the Roanoke (Virginia) Times.


A letter from the Virginia branch of the ACLU claimed that cadets are “coerced” into accepting the prayer as a “captive audience,” as “the only alternative to going to the mess hall for dinner is going hungry.”


An ACLU spokesperson added that litigation is “a good possibility.”


“The Constitution does not prohibit our saying grace before supper,” VMI Superintendent Josiah Bunting responded. “And we shall continue to do so.”

“Once again, the ACLU goes too far,” said Virginia State Attorney General Mark Earley, whose office is the legal counsel for VMI. “The Supreme Court has never said adults assembled for an official meal on a college campus may not hear a blessing offered for the meal.


“If the ACLU insists on taking VMI to court, we will vigorously defend the Institute and the tradition of saying grace before supper.”




More Schools and Communities Back Public Prayer and Ten Commandments, In Spite of ACLU Threats (Coral Ridge Ministries, 011011)


Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, local governments and schools are returning to public acknowledgement of the God of the Bible.


For instance, students at a high school football game in Waxahachie, Texas, recited the Lord’s prayer prior to a recent game.


“If we want to pray, we ought to be able to pray,” Martha Howell, whose son is a football coach for the local team, told Fox News. “And we sure do need it.”


Likewise, the school board in Maryville, Tennessee, voted to bring back a custom that ended in 1998 and open its meetings with prayer, because “we need to take a stand for what is right,” one member said.


In Chattanooga, Tennessee the County Commission voted to post the Ten Commandments in city and county buildings.


The town of Ringgold, Georgia, approved the posting of three plaques – one with the Ten Commandments, one with the Lord’s Prayer, and a blank one “for those who believe in nothing,” a councilman told Fox News.


But after laying low in the days and weeks following the tragedy, the ACLU, and other like-minded groups, like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, are now renewing their demands that the so-called “separation of church and state” be enforced.


For example, the ACLU sent a letter to Breen Elementary School in Rocklin, California, demanding that they “immediately” remove a sign proclaiming “God Bless America.” According to the ACLU, this is “a hurtful, divisive message.”


“Just how far does the ACLU have to go before the American people realize how hurtful and divisive they have been to our culture?” asked Janet Folger, national director of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA.


An ACLU attorney said that now “is a time when we need to promote unity among Americans of all faiths. … By displaying a religious message, the Breen Elementary School is dividing its young students along religious lines.”


Mark Forbes, president of that school district’s board of trustees, said he was “disgusted” with the ACLU’s demand.


“I would like someone to explain how ‘God Bless America’ hurts anyone,” he told the Sacramento Bee newspaper.


The school has so far refused the ACLU’s demands to remove the “God Bless America” sign, and they have been strongly backed by the local community. According to he Bee, as about two hundred and fifty concerned citizens gathered for a Friday night rally to protest the ACLU’s demands.


“I think you’re going to see more Americans not putting up with those secularists trying to make the public square a religion-free zone,” said Dr. Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.




Chief Justice Roy Moore Sued by ACLU, Americans United for Separation (Coral Ridge Ministries, 011105)


The wait is over. Nearly three months to the day Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore placed a 5,280-pound monument to the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the state Supreme Court building, two so-called “civil liberties” groups filed suit.


On Tuesday, October 30, the ACLU of Alabama and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. These two groups are demanding that the granite monument, which also featured quotes from Founding Fathers on our nation´s Christian heritage, be removed from the Court building.


The suit contends that Moore´s monument—which did not cost the taxpayers of Alabama any money—”sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular.”


“Unfortunately, these groups have forgotten the truth that American law was founded upon Christianity,” said Janet Folger, national director of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA.


As proof, she cited just a few of the many quotes attesting to this fact:


“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

-John Adams, second President of the United States


“The sanctions of the Divine law ... cover the whole area of human action... The laws which regulate our conduct are the laws of man and the laws of God.”

-DeWitt Clinton, introduced the 12th Amendment, governor of New York, U.S. Senator


“[I]t pleased God to deliver, on Mount Sinai, a compendium of this holy law and to write it with His own hand on durable tables of stone. This law, which is commonly called the Ten Commandments or Decalogue ... was incorporated in the judicial law.”

-William Findley, Revolutionary War soldier, U.S. Congressman


“The Ten Commandments ... are the sum of the moral law.”

-John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence and university professor who educated many of the Founding Fathers, including James Madison, father of the Constitution.


“It is sad that the ACLU and Americans United for Separation have, instead, decided to sweep these and other historical truths under the rug,” Folger added.


Trying to Halt the Ten Commandments Nationwide


Alabama isn´t the only place fighting the ACLU to keep God´s law on display. As the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA has previously reported, there have been movements all across the country to bring back the Ten Commandments within the last year. However, the ACLU and the Courts have fought this every step of the way:


In North Carolina, the General Assembly (state legislature) approved legislation allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in the public schools. “We oppose the amendment allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in the schools as a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment,” said Deborah Ross, head of the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU.


In Plattsmouth, Nebraska, a city of 7,000, the ACLU is attempting to force the city to get rid of a Ten Commandments monument that has been in a public park since 1965. The State Attorney General, Don Stenberg, has intervened on behalf of Plattsmouth. “I am very concerned that the lawsuit potentially threatens the architectural integrity of the Nebraska state capitol building,” he said in a statement. (The capitol building features drawings of Moses taking the Ten Commandments down from Mt. Sinai, a biblical prophetess judging Israel, and King Solomon passing judgment on two women arguing over a baby, according to CNS News.)


In Kentucky, U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman ruled that displays of the Ten Commandments in the public schools and courtrooms must go.


In Illinois, the ACLU condemned a bill in the state legislature that, if enacted, would ban “content-based censorship of American history or heritage based on any religious references contained in the documents, writings, or records.” According to the ACLU, this violates the so-called “separation of church and state.”


In Johnson County, Iowa, the city´s Board of Supervisors caved in to demands from the ACLU to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse lawn.


The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Cleveland, Ohio, demanding the removal of a Ten Commandments plaque from a local county courthouse.


Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling forcing a small town in Indiana to remove a monument in front of City Hall featuring the Ten Commandments.


More recently, the ACLU filed suit on October 16 to remove a Ten Commandments plaque in Chester County, Pennsylvania, that had been in place for more than 80 years.

The ACLU had demanded the plaque´s removal in August, but Chester County officials have stood firm, seeking to protect the religious liberties and Christian heritage of their community.


Finally, over one hundred citizens attempted to rally the Rockingham County, North Carolina Board of Education to place the Ten Commandments and other historical documents in the public schools. (The other documents include the Declaration of Independence, and the Magna Carta.)


Even though there is a great deal of community support, a local newspaper reported that “board members have cited a couple of concerns [about posting these historic Christian documents], the biggest being the potential for getting sued.”


“It just goes to show, if you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough, people will start to believe it,” Folger pointed out. “This is all part of the ACLU´s strategy of intimidation, and censoring of our nation´s Christian heritage. Fortunately, we have great Americans like Chief Justice Moore, the county board members of Chester County, and Christian stalwarts all across the country who are taking a stand for the Ten Commandments.”




Titus Explains ACLU Plan to Sue Judge Moore (Coral Ridge Ministries, 020102)


Herbert Titus, one of three attorneys defending Chief Justice Roy Moore, knows firsthand about the ACLU and its aims. A Harvard Law School graduate who served in the U.S. Justice Department under Robert Kennedy, Titus taught law at the University of Oregon Law School. And he pursued legal activism, signing on to serve as an ACLU attorney.


He knows better than most what the ACLU´s true objectives are and what is at stake in the lawsuit filed against Chief Justice Moore. Titus, who came to Christ in 1975, later taught law at the Oral Roberts University School of Law and served as the founding Dean of the College of Law and Government at Regent University.


Promote, Not Establish


A highly regarded constitutional scholar, Titus said Moore´s Ten Commandments display does not violate the First Amendment´s ban on the establishment of religion. To establish religion, he said, is to use the “coercive power of the state to enforce duties that God Himself has reserved to Himself.” When Moore installed the Ten Commandments, he “did not in anyway coerce anybody to do anything.”


But doesn´t the monument promote a particular point of view? Yes, said Titus. It promotes the same point of view espoused in the Declaration of Independence, namely that law comes from God. If Moore´s enemies are right to claim that he, as a public official, cannot have that view, then, said Titus, “we better tear up the Declaration of Independence, because that´s the view of the Declaration of Independence.”


“Moore´s opponents won´t go that far because they know it´s not politically popular to do that—not yet,” said Titus. “But, that´s where they will go if they’re allowed to get away with this.”


The ACLU, says Titus, wants nothing less than to scrub the American landscape clean of all “vestiges of the religious foundation of law and liberty in America.” And it seeks vulnerable targets in its campaign to purge religion from public life. “Chief Justice Moore,” he said, “is a vulnerable target, just as cities and town and states across the country have been vulnerable targets to this assault on America´s Christian tradition.”


Small victories, he said, build precedents for larger cases. Given enough courtroom conquests, the ACLU will go on to challenge “any reference to God in any public place, in any public ceremony of any kind.” That includes, he said, “In God We Trust” on our money, and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.


The Plan


“I know,” he said. “I used to be an ACLU cooperating attorney. In the 1960s there was a definite plan to rid this nation of all public displays of any religious symbol of this nation’s founding.” The case against Moore, he said, is “just part of that plan,” and the reason why the outcome is so critical.


“What´s at stake in the case involving Chief Justice Moore and the monument that contains the Ten Commandments is the very future of the nation,” said Titus.


“Are we going to be a nation under God with liberty and justice for all? Are we going to be a nation that rejects God and says that God belongs only behind the four walls of the church or the four walls of our home? That´s the issue in this case.”




ACLU: Pro-Child Molester Rights, Anti-Ten Commandments (Coral Ridge Ministries, 020913)


“The ACLU continues its assault against America’s Christian heritage,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and president of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA. “This can be seen in what they favor and oppose.”


For instance, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU), the Indiana branch of the ACLU, is suing on behalf of a convicted child molester. A Michigan City, Indiana ordinance bans convicted child molesters from visiting city parks.


In 1995, Robert Brown was convicted of child molesting. According to police, he routinely stalked children, peering at them through binoculars and taking their pictures while driving slowly past the park in his motor home.


Now that Brown is out of jail, he apparently thinks he should still have the right to go to the city park. So he contacted the ICLU, who took his case.


ICLU director Ken Falk said the law unfairly targets one group of people: child molesters.


“If I murdered or raped someone, I could go to the parks,” Falk reasoned.


A county prosecutor responded, “Parks are to be designed and offered in a way that promotes and enables the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”


Meanwhile, World Net Daily reported that a federal judge in Lexington, Kentucky ruled that the Ten Commandments can remain on display at the Mercer County courthouse. The ACLU sued, based upon their definition of the First Amendment’s supposed “separation of church and state.”


The Ten Commandments are being displayed along with other historical and legal texts, including the Kentucky State Constitution.


U.S. District Judge Karl Forrester declared in his ruling that the historical significance of the commandments was beyond “rational dispute,” even though “plaintiffs might wish it were so…But plaintiffs’ wishes cannot change history.”


“Finally, a federal judge has said, in plain language what is wrong with the ACLU’s attempts to muzzle our nation’s Christian heritage,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and president of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA. “The Ten Commandments, and the Christian faith of our Founding Fathers is so obvious that it cannot be missed. The ACLU may try to take a scalpel to the history books, but as Judge Forrester wisely ruled, wishing something was true does not make it so.”




ACLU Cheers Over Defeat of Pro-Life, Pro-Family Law (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)


In April 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down a Colorado law requiring that parents be notified when their underage daughters sought an abortion.


According to the ACLU, “The Colorado Parental Notification Act makes it a crime for a physician to perform an abortion for a minor unless the doctor notifies a parent and delays the abortion by at least 48 hours.”


“For some strange reason, the ACLU calls this a ‘danger,’ to young girls,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and president of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA.


“Ask yourself this question,” Dr. Kennedy added.

“Who has the best interests of a young girl in mind? Her parents, or an abortionist who stands to gain financially from her decision?”


Kennedy then referenced the case of Eileen Roberts, whose 13-year-old daughter got an abortion without her knowledge. Roberts noticed that her daughter seemed depressed for a few weeks, but attributed it to teenage moodiness. But shortly thereafter, she found out the truth when she saw a questionairre from the abortion clinic under her daughter’s pillow.


Once she found out, Roberts rushed her daughter to the hospital. She was later diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease, and it cost Roberts and her husband $27,000 in medical bills.


In 1999, Roberts testified before Congress, “I am horrified that our daughters are being dumped on our driveways after they are seized from our care, made to skip school, lie, and deceive their parents to be transported across state lines, whether it be two miles or 100 miles away. Where are these strangers when the emotional and physical repercussions occur? They are driving away to once again seize and transport other teens for secret abortions, and thus the malicious activity occurs again and again. Besides, strangers are not responsible for the financial or emotional costs that occur with secret abortions - parents are.”


“It was Mr. and Mrs. Roberts who paid those medical bills,” said Dr. Kennedy. “The ACLU didn’t have to pay, and neither did the abortionist. Thanks to the persistence of the ACLU, how many more parents will have to suffer what the Roberts’ went through with their daughter?”




ACLU: Religion Out, Nudity In On Public Property (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030226)


The ACLU is consistently opposed to allowing religious symbols on public property. They have been active participants in the lawsuit to remove the monument from the Alabama Supreme Court that contains the Ten Commandments, as well as quotes from America’s Founding Fathers that confirm our nation’s Christian heritage.


However, there is one type of display the ACLU does favor: public nudity.


A Florida “artist” wanted to present an anti-war demonstration at a state park. His presentation features a peace symbol, which is made up entirely of nude people. Florida officials were rightly concerned and asked the supporters of the display to reconsider.


However, the ACLU stepped in and filed suit, demanding that the demonstration continue. On February 13, a federal judge agreed. Randall Marshall, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida declared victory, saying, “For these demonstrators, nudity is an essential part of their political expression.”


“This is all too typical of the kind of ‘speech’ the ACLU favors,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder and president of the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA. “While they are adamantly opposed to displaying items like the Ten Commandments, which are revered by millions, they are just as passionately in favor of trash like this.


“I know I speak for millions of Americans when I say, as one ACLU attorney once said, ‘I would not want to live in a world where the ACLU won all its cases.’”




New Task Force to Monitor ACLU Activity, Impact (Coral Ridge Ministries, 021230)


The American Civil Liberties Union claims in a just-launched national ad campaign that it has “led the fight to defend your freedoms” over the last 80 years.


Never shy about self-promotion, the ACLU says elsewhere that it is the “nation’s guardian of liberty,” and “in many ways,” America’s “most conservative organization.”


Such claims contrast sharply with radical ACLU policies on abortion, homosexuality, and pornography. The Christian Liberties Task Force, a new Coral Ridge Ministries initiative, starting this month, will give the facts behind glib ACLU assertions.


ACLU Accolades


It is much needed. After all, ACLU accolades are passed out from some surprising quarters.


It’s not unexpected, of course, that Hollywood echoes ACLU claims. In the 1995 movie, The American President , Michael Douglas boldly declares, “Yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.” Douglas, who plays President Andy Sheppard, tells his electoral opponent that “This is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights.”


But not only actors, actual occupants of the Oval Office have praised the ACLU. Harry Truman credited the ACLU with having “performed outstanding service to the cause of true freedom.” Lyndon Johnson said it was engaged in an “unremitting fight against injustice and intolerance.”


Even the authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica puffs the legal group, informing readers that the ACLU “works to protect Americans’ constitutional rights and freedoms . . . .”


Defending Pornography


Well, not exactly. The ACLU, since its inception in 1920, has worked to apply the Bill of Rights in ways that America’s Founders would never have dreamed of by, among other things, defending the rights of pornographers.


The ACLU argues that even child pornography is constitutionally protected free speech while, ironically, seeking to censor religious expression in the public square. It has successfully argued in court to ban school prayer and Bible reading, a moment of silence in public schools, the teaching of creation science in public schools, nativity displays on public property, public high school graduation prayer, and the posting of the Ten Commandments.


For the ACLU, “the establishment of a free society is predicated on the idea that religion must be surgically removed from culture,” according to William Donohue, author of The Politics of the American Civil Liberties Union.


“They have kind of a religiophobia,” he said in an interview. “They have a notion that if there’s too much religion publicly expressed in our society, somehow we’re going to be less well off as a result.”


The ACLU is also one of the nation’s most active litigants on behalf of abortion rights and supports homosexual rights, including homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption. All this, while claiming to be a “neutral political organization,” as former ACLU executive director Ira Glasser once asserted in a Coral Ridge Hour interview. Donohue scoffs. “They’re not non-partisan,” he said. “They are the legal arm of the liberal left.”


Going on the Offensive


This month Coral Ridge Ministries begins a new initiative, the Christian Liberties Task Force, to uncover and publish the truth about ACLU activities. The Task Force will be created within the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA to research, monitor, and report on the lawsuits and other legal actions taken by the ACLU. These reports will be disseminated to the media, the courts, and leaders in Congress.


In addition, the information uncovered will be produced for quarterly update broadcasts on Truths That Transform and The Coral Ridge Hour. The effort kicks off this month with a series of special Coral Ridge Hour features on the ACLU and the one-hour documentary, Taking Liberties: The Legacy of the ACLU that airs March 30.


“We are going on the offensive,” said Dr. Kennedy. “We are going to expose the ACLU for their true anti-God, anti-America, anti-family stance.”


It is a tall task. With some 60 staff attorneys, 2,000 volunteer attorneys, and nearly 300,000 members, the ACLU handles 6,000 cases each year. It claims to be the nation’s largest public interest law firm and appears in the U.S. Supreme Court more often than any other organization, save the U.S. Department of Justice.


ACLU Victims


It is also an important task. The ACLU claims to “defend the rights of every man, woman, and child in this country” but its litigation can create victims. Sandra Cano walked into a legal aid clinic in 1970 seeking to divorce her husband and regain custody of two of her children. She wound up talking with an ACLU attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, who twisted Cano’s request into a legal action to abort the child she was carrying. Cano never wanted an abortion, but she wound up the lead plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion to term legal in America.


“Young, uneducated, and naive, I was taken advantage of by an aggressive self-serving attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, the legal-aid attorney. I never wanted an abortion; I just wanted my children back,” Cano said in a sworn affidavit in 2000.


For the ACLU, free expression is paramount, regardless of who gets hurt. That is why the ACLU is defending the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) against a $200 million lawsuit filed by the parents of a 10-year-old boy who was raped, murdered, and dropped in a river. The parents charge that NAMBLA’s website, which advocates the right of men to engage in sexual relations with young boys, encouraged two men to assault their son. One of the killers wrote in a diary that he visited the site just before the boy’s life was ended. The web site is just “free speech,” according to the ACLU.


Answering the ACLU


“For too long, the ACLU has hidden behind a claim to fight for people’s rights, while it actually takes them away and subverts the will of the American people,” said Dr. Kennedy.


“Now, with the Christian Liberties Task Force, we are responding. We are going on the offensive. We are going to reclaim territory that has been stolen.”




The Lies of the ACLU (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030307)


“Perhaps no group has used lies more effectively and devastatingly than the American Civil Liberties Union,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, on The Coral Ridge Hour program that will be broadcast this March 8 and 9. “This organization has pushed numerous lies to advance its anti-Christian agenda.”


There are at least four types of lies the ACLU has pushed. First, it claims that America’s Founding Fathers wanted a nation that was entirely secular. However, numerous statements and writings from those great men have proven otherwise.


“The Constitution of the United States was not just a man-conceived document,” said David Gibbs, president of the Christian Law Association, and co-author with Coral Ridge Hour producer Jerry Newcombe of the forthcoming book, One Nation Under God. “It was a document men put together based on solid biblical truths.”


He continued, “When our Founding Fathers embarked on founding this country, their chance of success was almost zero. They realized they needed God’s blessing and help. That is why they prayed and wrote the things they wrote.”


Second, the ACLU claims that unborn children are not worthy of legal protection.


“The most dangerous place to be in America is not on the battlefield protecting America,” said Gibbs. “The most dangerous place to be in America is in the womb.”


Ever since the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, some 42 million Americans have been killed by abortion. While the ACLU claims the Constitution is broad enough to legalize this so-called “choice,” the Founding Fathers would not agree. Gibbs points out that from the earliest days of our Constitutional Republic, unborn babies were granted legal protection.


Third, morality is not something that can be legislated, according to the ACLU.


“If that is true, the ACLU would be in favor of slavery,” said William J. Federer, author of America’s God and Country , a volume full of quotes from America’s Founding Fathers. “When the Civil War ended, Congress passed the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit slavery. These were based upon a moral system that says slavery is wrong.”


Gibbs added, “The notion that law and morality can be divided is an utter fantasy. All laws are based on a presumption of something that is right or wrong. Both liberal and conservatives have views of right and wrong they want legislated.”


Fourth, the ACLU says that it is politically neutral. This would be a surprise to one scholar, William Donohue, who did a dissertation on the ACLU, has written several books on the organization, reviewed its publications, and read the minutes of nearly every one of its meetings, dating back to their founding in 1926. Based upon his research, Donohue calls the ACLU “the legal arm of the liberal left.”


The blatant bias of this organization can be seen in the postures it takes. For instance, at Klein Independent School District in Texas, a sixteen-year-old girl, who thinks she is a lesbian filed a request to start a pro-homosexual club on campus. Because the school board did not make a decision quickly enough, the ACLU stepped in and filed suit on the girl’s behalf, demanding immediate action. Under pressure of an expensive lawsuit, the school board approved the club.


This incident is easily contrasted with several incidents where they have demanded the removal of Good News Bible Clubs from public schools, even though the Supreme Court said in a 2001 decision that their presence is constitutional.


“The ACLU is a deceitful and dangerous organization,” said Dr. Kennedy. “For seventy-five years, it has used the courts to force its extreme agenda on America. Most disturbing of all, it has done so under the guise of the First Amendment. What a perversion of the original intent of our Founding Fathers!”


To watch The Coral Ridge Hour this weekend, which will include a passionate sermon from Dr. Kennedy on the sanctity of human life, check your local listings for time and station.




ACLU vs. Homeland Security (Coral Ridge Ministries, 030314)


“The ACLU is a foe of religious freedom and an advocate for legalized pornography,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy. “But did you know they are also working against our government’s efforts to protect our nation from terrorism?”


This March 15-16, The Coral Ridge Hour will take a look at how the ACLU is undermining our national security, even in light of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


The Problem Explained


While there were many factors that contributed to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, one was the huge American bureaucracy, where certain federal agencies had trouble communicating effectively with each other. For instance, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) combats terrorism within U.S. borders, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) combats it internationally.


As can be seen after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, there are instances where the two would need to work together to prevent terrorist attacks. This is the main reason President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security: to streamline communications within the federal bureaucracy.However, the ACLU has vehemently opposed this new department and poured $3.5 million into a campaign to oppose it.


One advertisement, placed in several news magazines, depicts Attorney General John Ashcroft as attempting to “edit” the Constitution, purportedly to strip people of their basic civil liberties. But as many experts on national securities and personal freedoms note, nothing could be further from the truth.


“There is no truth that this is an assault on the Bill of Rights, or that this is an assault on individual freedoms,” said Dr. Lee Schinasi, professor of National Security and Law at the University of Miami, Florida. “Look around. Is anything different? Has your freedom to travel been curtailed? Has your freedom to speak been curtailed? No. And that is not going to happen.”


Victoria Toensing, an expert on international terrorism, added that the ACLU claims that people are being detained that have nothing to do with the crime of terrorism. But what is the rest of the story?


“These people are people detained for having false identification, using credit cards in somebody else’s name, and a number of these people have immigration violations—exactly the same kind each of the terrorists had on September 10, the day before the hijacking,” she said. “Right now, the government still does not have all the programs in place, so it makes sense for them to stop people from countries who have the radical Muslim sects.”


Terrorist’s Rights?


Among the ACLU’s strangest actions was that they spoke out against the imprisonment of terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, after U.S. forces liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban. “It is interesting to note, if not amazing, that the ACLU is conducting a campaign on behalf of terrorists,” said Frank Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice. “You have to wonder what [the ACLU”s] priorities are.”


Toensing demonstrated the absurdity of defending the rights of international terrorists: “The U.S. Constitution does not apply to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. They are not U.S. citizens, and they are not on American soil. They are unlawful combatants.”


According to Toensing, this means they are worse off than prisoners of war under international law because, “This means they even cheated on the rules of war.


“I think it is very dangerous when organizations like the ACLU say things like, ‘This is an assault on the Bill of Rights!’ without telling the specific measure they oppose, and why they oppose it, and offer some kind of alternative.”


In spite of the ACLU’s onslaught against President Bush’s attempts to defend America from future terrorist attacks, a Newsweek poll revealed that 73% of Americans approve of his efforts.




Muslim Woman Sues to Wear Veil in Driver’s License Photo (Foxnews, 030528)


ORLANDO, Fla.  — A Muslim woman suing to keep her veil on for her driver’s license photo took the stand Tuesday, saying Florida’s insistence on photographing her face violates her religious rights.


“I don’t unveil ... because it would be disobeying my Lord,” said Sultaana Freeman, 35.


Both sides planned to call experts in Islamic law at the nonjury trial, which was to continue Wednesday. A copy of the Quran was entered into evidence.


Freeman, a convert to Islam previously known as Sandra Kellar, wore her veil for the photo on the Florida driver’s license she obtained after moving to the state in 2001.


Nine months later, she received a letter from the state warning that it would revoke her license unless she returned for a photo with her face uncovered.


Freeman claims her religious beliefs require her to keep her head and face covered out of modesty and that her faith prohibits her face from being photographed.


Her attorneys argued that state officials didn’t care that she wore a veil in the photo until after the Sept. 11 attacks, an allegation the state denies.


“This is about religious liberty. It’s about whether this country is going to have religious diversity,” said Howard Marks, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.


Assistant Attorney General Jason Vail argued that having an easily identifiable photo on a driver’s license is a matter of public safety.


“It’s the primary method of identification in Florida and the nation,” Vail said. “I don’t think there can be any doubt there is a public safety interest.”




Ten Commandments Monument Removed From Montana Courthouse (Foxnews, 030925)


MILES CITY, Mont.  — A monument displaying the Ten Commandments has been removed from a courthouse lawn, ending a six-year dispute over a religious display on public property.


Workers in this community in eastern Montana on Wednesday moved the stone to the city’s Range Riders Museum, which is privately run.


“I’m pleased that the issue has been resolved,” said County Commission Chairwoman Janet Kelly, who voted to move the monument. The stone’s removal effectively ends a 4-year-old lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which contended the monument violated the principle of separation of church and state.


“We had no choice. They had to be moved,” said Commissioner Duane Mathison, who was among those who favored keeping the Ten Commandments in front of the courthouse.


The Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the stone to Custer County in 1968. In 1997, several people complained about the monument and a nearby Nativity scene.


Two years later, the ACLU sued. In 2000, a consent decree was signed that offered the county the options of removing the monument, or making it part of a display at the courthouse on the evolution of law. However, commissioners decided such a display would be too expensive.


In Montgomery, Ala., the state’s top judge was suspended for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building’s rotunda after he was ordered to do so by a federal judge. That 5,300-pound monument was wheeled out in August and put in a storage room.


The judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, faces a misconduct charge and could be removed from office.




Defending Christmas (Washington Times, 031128)


The December holiday season used to be simple — when Americans could call it Christmas without offending anyone. A 2000 Gallup poll found that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas but that such festivities have become more problematic in recent years.


The “December dilemma” over how much religious meaning can be allowed in public acknowledgement of the holiday has turned into an all-out legal battle that pits baby Jesus against an army of elves, reindeer and singing Christmas trees.


Misconceptions about the “separation of church and state” complicate the issue, says a nonprofit legal organization that is fighting to keep the Christ in Christmas.


The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has signed up more than 700 lawyers to defend the public celebration of Christmas this year.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has led the campaign against the holiday, says ADF President Alan Sears.


This year, ADF is leading the first national effort to “stand up to ACLU’s censorship of Christmas,” said Mr. Sears, who served as assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration before going into private practice. “The ACLU continues in legal terrorism by raging war against 96% of Americans who want to celebrate Christmas.”


The Gallup survey found that 90% of Americans are familiar with “the reason of the season” — the Christian faith’s commemoration of the birth of Jesus — and three out of four Americans say there is not enough emphasis on the religious basis for the holiday.


Yet there is no peace on earth or good will toward men for the Scrooges who say “bah, humbug” to Christmas.


In rural Elizabeth, Colo., the Colorado ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have threatened to sue Elbert County Charter School for refusing to cut religious songs from its holiday concert.


Bruce DeBoskey, regional director of the ADL, said a Jewish family expressed concern that “religion has taken dominance in the school” and that “the children felt unwelcome and unsafe.”


Principal Les Gray said the parents objected to “any and all Christian references in the program.”


“What is absolutely crystal clear is the ACLU has an agenda of radical secularization of all institutions,” said Barry Arrington, legal counsel for the school. “Schools should know they don’t have to buckle under the bullying of the ACLU.”


But the ADL’s Mr. DeBoskey said, “In no circumstances are we attempting to censor Christmas. ... The idea of separation of church and state is to let religion flourish.”


In Hanover Township, N.J., some parents were angered to learn that no religious songs would be included in holiday concerts at their public schools this year.


Salvatore Sansone, school superintendent in Hanover Township, said officials worried about “what was perceived as imbalance of religious music that would be counterproductive to children.”


The school was “seeking to censor Christmas,” said Demetrios Stratis, a lawyer allied with the ADF who sent a six-page letter to township school officials explaining the relevant laws so that the officials could “ensure that the Hanover Township School Board is in compliance with the law to avoid litigation.”


Mr. Stratis said some officials wrongly think that “separation of church and state” — a phrase not found in the Constitution, he and others note — requires a ban on religious expression in schools.


“There’s nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court cases that says schools are supposed to censor Christmas. Actually the contrary — schools have been successful in promoting Christmas.”


On Nov. 18, the Hanover board reversed its unwritten “consensus decision,” reinstating Christmas music — chiefly because of the overwhelming parental sentiment, the superintendent said.


“School systems are supposed to reflect our culture and heritage, not [be] purged in favor of secular humanism,” said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, which supported the Hanover parents. He called the township’s decision “a real victory of maintaining religious expression.”


The ACLU did not respond to requests for comment, but its Web site states: “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.”


The Supreme Court has not been entirely consistent in its rulings on religion in public schools, said Sarah Barringer Gordon, who teaches history of law and religion at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.


“The establishment clause is really where the problem is.” she said. “If [officials] pretend Christmas has no meaning, they have denied something fundamental about the holiday. It’s a religious and secular holiday.”


School officials, she said, often do not know what religious aspects of Christmas are allowed. Some decide to remove all religious references, thinking that will avoid problems.


It was in a 1947 case that the Supreme Court first used Thomas Jefferson’s phrase “wall of separation between Church and State” (written in a letter 12 years after the First Amendment was ratified) to interpret the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”


But in that same 1947 case, the court declared, “State power is no more to be used to handicap religions, than it is to favor them.”


Mr. Sears of the ADF said no court has ordered school officials to censor Christmas carols or eliminate all references to Christmas.


Congress had proclaimed Christmas to be a legal public holiday, Mr. Sears noted, and said celebrating Christmas is “part of being an American.”




ASSORTED ACTION by ACLU (Foxnews, Tongue Tied Column)


Treasurer Rita Cline of Shawnee County, Kan., shrank the word “God,” but the American Civil Liberties Union is still not happy. When the treasurer put up an 11- by 14-inch sign in her office proclaiming, “In God We Trust,” the ACLU sued in U.S. District Court. The message went beyond the national motto because the word “God” was printed in red letters bigger than the letters of the rest of the phrase, the ACLU said. The new sign is 16 by 20 inches, includes the bald eagle image from the $1 bill and uses uniform lettering similar to that on U.S. currency. Still no go.


The Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said it would sue to block the “Partners in Prayer Program” in the Beauregard Parish schools because it is unconstitutional. As part of the program, the Associated Press reports, parents are sent release forms asking if their children’s names can be used in “Partners,” which allows churches and other groups to adopt classrooms and pray for their students. The head of the school board says he will not drop the effort.


The Olathe, Kan., public library is taking off labels that mark particular books as suitable for Christians after complaints from the ACLU. The group says the labels are unconstitutional. David Ahlstrom, president of the Library Board, said the labels were not meant to offend anybody — but were just intended to provide a service to patrons, according to the AP.


The American Civil Liberties Union is bragging about its success in forcing the removal of a cross from a World War I memorial at the Mojave National Preserve in California. The ACLU claims the cross represents an illegal endorsement of religion on public land. Peter Eliasberg, a lawyer for the group, said the cross “promotes Christian beliefs over others, which is not the role of the government. Federal park land is for all of us.” But John Sandleman, who saw service during World War II and regularly visits the cross, lamented the Park Service’s decision: “Many thousands of men and women have died in war to protect the civil liberties of Americans. It is very sad that we cannot remember them the way we wish to.”


The ACLU has put Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster on notice that if he proceeds with plans to build three new chapels in state prisons, the state may find itself in court. Foster and his wife, Alice, through the Louisiana Prison Chapel Foundation, have raised $1 million in private funds to build the chapels and want to raise $6 million more to build or refurbish 21 more. After they are built, the chapels will revert to control of the state Department of Corrections. But Joe Cook, executive director of the state ACLU, tells the Associated Press that the group would look at the complaint of any inmate who feels he is discriminated against by the presence of the chapels. “It raises some issues of separation of church and state and favoring one religion,” Cook said.


Ohio state officials and the ACLU were in the same court last week, the former defending the state’s motto, “With God all things are possible,” against the latter, which considers it unconstitutional. In a rare, full-court session, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard from the state that the motto is no different from the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency and from the ACLU that in invoking the words of Jesus to his disciples, the state is illegally advocating Christianity. The court is not expected to rule for several weeks, reports the Associated Press.


The Easter sunrise services are OK. The 190-foot carvings of Confederate generals are OK. But when the managers of Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Ga., mention their Christian values and ethics on their Web site, the American Civil Liberties Union comes calling. Officials with Silver Dollar City Inc., which manages the park under a 30-year lease from the state, tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they never intended to use park attractions as a platform to preach. All they wanted to do is communicate their commitment to operate the park “all in a manner consistent with Christian values and ethics.” But Robert Tsai, a Georgia ACLU lawyer, said advertising the fact that a public park is being run in a Christ-like manner crosses the line. The offending statements were removed from the Stone Mountain Web site.


County officials in Kentucky could face jail time or fines if they don’t remove the Ten Commandments from their courthouse walls, reports the Associated Press. The officials are arguing a motion filed by the ACLU that they be held in contempt for hanging the documents despite a judge’s order. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman ruled in May that displays in McCreary and Pulaski counties and in the Harlan County schools had the “overwhelming effect of endorsing religion.” She ordered them removed and forbade any similar displays.


A Rhode Island state senator has drawn the ire of the ACLU for suggesting that school kids in that state recite the preamble to the state’s constitution, reports the Providence Journal-Bulletin. Democrat Daniel J. Issa wants students to begin the day by saying: “We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.” Too religious, and therefore unconstitutional, says the ACLU. But Issa wonders: “How could it be unconstitutional to recite part of the Constitution?”


The American Civil Liberties Union is objecting to two proposed bills in Virginia, one that would require public-school students to learn and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms displaying the U.S. flag, and another than would require schools to display the phrase “In God We Trust” on campus. The latter bill, says the ACLU, violates students’ First Amendment rights and sends a message to non-Christians that they’re “outsiders.” And the ACLU objected to the former even though students with religious objections could get an exemption by providing a note from a minister, rabbi or priest.


The image of a historical landmark, a local Baptist Church, will be removed from the Chester Township, Ohio, Police Department’s new emblem after complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union that it may cross the line separating church and state. Township officials told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the 131-year-old church near the center of town was chosen since it is regarded as a recognizable local landmark. Its presence on police department patches, alongside the town’s gazebo and an old school, was not meant to offend anyone, they said. But the ACLU said the design may be interpreted as a “favorable nod” to the Baptist church, and is in violation of the Constitution.


The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the Virginia Military Institute to end yet another institutional tradition — its dinner blessing, The Associated Press reported. Rebecca Glenberg, legal counsel for the Virginia ACLU, said Tuesday that complaints from two VMI cadets prompted her to write the school asking that the dinner prayer be stopped. The ACLU is considering filing a lawsuit, she said. State and college officials are vowing to defend the prayer. “The Constitution does not prohibit our saying grace before supper,” VMI Superintendent Josiah Bunting III said in a letter to the ACLU. “And we shall continue to do so.”


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Ohio families challenging the Columbus School District’s practice of having student choral groups perform Christian music, the AP reported. The suit says the practice is “effectively endorsing, promoting and sponsoring religion over non-religion and the Christian faith over other faiths, all in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.”


The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened a federal lawsuit against the mayor of a Florida town for her proclamation banning Satan within the town limits, reports The Associated Press. The ACLU told Inglis, Fla., Mayor Carolyn Risher that it would sue unless she removes anti-Satan proclamations from four posts that sit at the town’s entrances. The group also wants the town commission to pass a resolution repealing Risher’s edict and is demanding that Risher reimburse the town for any costs of printing it. Risher wrote a proclamation casting Satan out of the town on Halloween night last year. It was typed on town stationary, signed and affixed with the town seal. She then put a copy on her office wall and then placed others at the town entrances.




‘Prison Fellowship’ Program Violates Constitution, Group Charges (Crosswalk, 040112)


Senior Staff Writer


( - The use of government funds for a program that seeks to rehabilitate Iowa prison inmates is unconstitutional because it promotes fundamentalist Christianity, a national advocacy group said in two federal lawsuits filed this week.


The InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), a program run by Charles Colson’s Prison Fellowship, indoctrinates prisoners in religion and discriminates in hiring staff on religious grounds. Therefore, the program should not receive federal funds, Americans United for Separation of Church and State said.


“A program that has religious conversion as its central goal can’t be funded in any way with public dollars,” said Robert Boston, assistant director of communications for Americans United, which filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.


“The objective to reduce recidivism and get these inmates to turn their lives around may be laudable, but that doesn’t mean that it should be funded by the government or supported by the government,” he said.


The IFI program is currently in operation in Iowa, Kansas, Texas and Minnesota. President Bush helped bring the program to Texas when he served as governor. He later cited it as the kind of faith-based program that could serve as a model for his faith-based initiative.


“This is in federal court, so we’re hoping to set a national precedent. It’s also an important challenge of President Bush’s whole faith-based approach,” Boston said.


Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, which are spiritually based, are different than programs like the IFI, which require inmates to immerse themselves in a fundamentalist lifestyle and convert to a certain religious tenet as a measure of success, he said.


According to the lawsuits, about 200 Iowa prisoners pray and memorize Bible verses under the guidance of Christian staff members. In return, the prisoners are granted special privileges, including better cell accommodations than other prisoners.


Jerry Wilger, national director for the IFI program, said it was designed to help the state reduce recidivism, increase public safety and reduce the burden of government.


The state has come out with requests for proposals to accomplish that task over a number of years, and the IFI program responded to those, he said.


The states decided to use what IFI had available to accomplish that task and to cover part of the cost for the secular portion of the programming, Wilger said.


A study recently completed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the Texas Legislature showed a 63% reduction in recidivism among inmates who had completed the IFI program and had been out of prison for two years or more, compared to those who had qualified to come to the program but did not, Wilger said.


“The effect of what the IFI program is providing is a substantial reduction in recidivism. It is a Christ-centered, Bible-based program. The inmates volunteer to come to the program after they’ve gone through a six-week orientation as to what the program is about,” he said.


“They don’t have to be Christian, they don’t have to be of any religion. People come to the program from all religions, and they don’t have to convert to Christianity, and they can leave anytime they want. The only requirement we have is that they have to participate in all the classes and all the programming,” Wilger said.




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.




Religious Symbol Erased in California (Foxnews, 040505)


REDLANDS, Calif. — For the past 40 years, the cross has been a part of the city logo of Redlands, Calif. It appears on government buildings, official stationary and police uniforms, but according to the American Civil Liberties Union, it has to go.


“For a city seal to contain a sectarian religious symbol that reflects the views of only one segment of the community reflects an endorsement of a religion, and it’s not constitutional,” said Ben Wisner of the ACLU.


Faced with the threat of a lawsuit, the city backed down, covering the cross with blue tape and erasing it from business cards.


“The city council has a budget crunch, it could run up to 50 to 60 thousand dollars in costs so the city council made the decision that the manager ought to continue removing the cross. It was just not worth the money or the effort,” said Dan McHugh, Redlands city attorney.


This case is just one of many similar battles the ACLU is fighting around the country, forcing cities to remove religious symbols from civic life.




No Boy Scouts: The ACLU defends NAMBLA (National Review Online, 040227)


Deroy Murdock


An old friend of mine once said this about the American Civil Liberties Union: “They’re a bunch of whale-saving, criminal-loving pinkos — and thank God for them.”


This remark nicely summarizes the ambivalence with which many people regard the ACLU. Few organizations dance closer to the very edge of the loony-Left precipice than it does. There seems to be no thug too hardened nor any cause too exotic for the ACLU to champion. At the same time, if America ever were unlucky enough to face a president who decided to remain in the Oval Office past her expiration date, the ACLU would battle her and her junta with every sharp courtroom argument, pointed legal filing, and well-aimed briefcase it could muster.


That said, the ACLU lately has stained the dark side of its reputation through its actions in two cases involving the treatment of vulnerable, young Americans. The ACLU is defending those who abuse children while attacking those who give them moral guidance. This contrast reveals the priorities of today’s ACLU.


The Manhattan-based public-interest law firm is defending the North American Man-Boy Love Association in a $200 million civil lawsuit filed by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Curley. The Curleys claim that Charles Jaynes was driven by the literature and website of NAMBLA, an outfit that advocates sex between grown men and little boys, reportedly as young as age 8.


Jaynes did not simply read NAMBLA’s materials and ponder its message. He and Salvatore Sicari actively sought a boy with whom to copulate. They picked 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley of Cambridge, Massachusetts. They lured him into their car as he played outside his home in October 1997. When Curley resisted their sexual advances, they choked him to death with a gasoline-soaked rag. Then they took the boy’s body across state lines to Jayne’s apartment in Manchester, New Hampshire. They molested the cadaver and stuffed it into a cement-filled Rubbermaid container. Finally, they crossed state lines again into Maine, whereupon they tossed Jeffrey Curley’s remains into the Great Works River, from which it was recovered within days. Jaynes and Sicari were convicted of these crimes in 1998, for which they are serving life sentences.


So why blame NAMBLA? Is it any more responsible for this atrocity than is Vintage Books, the publisher of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita? Imagine that Jaynes and Sicari had read that 1955 novel about a middle-aged intellectual’s affair with a 12-year-old girl. What if these two men found an equally young female who they abused and killed, just as they murdered Jeffrey Curley in real life? Putting aside the fact that Lolita is a work of fiction, would Vintage Books face civil justice?


Probably not, nor would NAMBLA if it limited its output to fictional depictions of “man-boy love.” It is difficult to pin imaginary crimes on actual criminals who turn make-believe into mayhem.


Within the realm of nonfiction, as revolting as its ideas are, NAMBLA certainly has a First Amendment right to argue that America’s laws should be changed to permit sexual relations between adult men and third-grade school boys. Most Americans would disagree vehemently, as well they should. That’s called debate. It’s the American way.


As ACLU of Massachusetts Legal Director John Reinstein sees it: “Regardless of whether people agree with or abhor NAMBLA’s views, holding the organization responsible for crimes committed by others who read their materials would gravely endanger important First Amendment freedoms.”


However, as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly noted, there is more at play here than pamphleteering. “According to lawyers familiar with [NAMBLA’s] website,” O’Reilly explained, “it actually posted techniques designed to lure boys into having sex with men and also supplied information on what an adult should do if caught.”


NAMBLA is “not just publishing material that says it’s OK to have sex with children and advocating changing the law,” says Larry Frisoli, a Cambridge attorney who is arguing the Curleys case in federal court. NAMBLA, he says, “is actively training their members how to rape children and get away with it. They distribute child pornography and trade live children among NAMBLA members with the purpose of having sex with them.”


Frisoli cites a NAMBLA publication he calls “The Rape and Escape Manual.” Its actual title is “The Survival Manual: The Man’s Guide to Staying Alive in Man-Boy Sexual Relationships.”


“Its chapters explain how to build relationships with children,” Frisoli tells me. “How to gain the confidence of children’s parents. Where to go to have sex with children so as not to get caught...There is advice, if one gets caught, on when to leave America and how to rip off credit card companies to get cash to finance your flight. It’s pretty detailed.”


“In his diary, Jaynes said he had reservations about having sex with children until he discovered NAMBLA,” Frisoli continues. “It’s in his diary in 1996, around the time he joined NAMBLA, one year before the death of Jeffrey Curley.”


The practical, step-by-step advice Jaynes followed goes far beyond appeals to sway public opinion in favor of pedophilia. Such language aids and abets felonious conduct. If such conspiracy results in homicide, it is reasonable for NAMBLA to face civil liability if not criminal prosecution.


Ohio’s Court of Appeals found NAMBLA complicit in an earlier child-rape case. NAMBLA’s literature, discovered in a defendant’s possession, reflected “preparation and purpose,” according to the Buckeye State’s top bench.


The ACLU has offered material support to those who openly preach pedophilia and arguably encourage kidnapping, rape, and murder. Yet this legal group is energetically hostile to an organization that tries to turn boys into men, with sex alien to the process.


Since 1915, the Boy Scouts have managed land within San Diego’s Balboa Park. It has built a swimming pool, a 600-seat amphitheater, and a camping facility that accommodates 300. Camp Balboa serves some 12,000 Boy Scouts annually through daylong events and weekend sleepovers. The Scouts’ tie to this land is a 50-year lease offered by the San Diego City Council and signed in 1957. In exchange for their stewardship — including private investment for maintenance and development — the Scouts hand the city an annual lease payment of $1.00.


This arrangement is too much for the ACLU to swallow. It sued the City of San Diego to expel the Boy Scouts from Balboa Park. The ACLU contends that the Scouts are a religious organization and thus should be dislodged from the facility. Never mind that the Scouts did not bar other groups from using the park. In fact, according to Hans Zeiger, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout who has written about this controversy, Balboa Park hosted last summer’s San Diego Gay Pride Festival.


Clinton-appointed U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones deemed the Boy Scouts a religious organization last July and declared that their involvement with Balboa Park violated the separation of church and state. The ACLU used this ruling to secure a settlement wherein the City of San Diego cancelled the Scouts’ lease on the park, even though it did not expire until 2007 and, in fact, was extended in 2001 for 25 years. The ACLU also scored $950,000 in attorneys fees and court costs, thus fleecing taxpayers and deepening its pockets.


San Diego’s Boy Scouts are appealing Judge Jones’ ruling. A federal judge someday may decide whether or not the Scouts’ good deeds will go unpunished.


The ACLU’s supporters should contemplate where this organization has placed itself vis-à-vis NAMBLA and the Boy Scouts. The ACLU seemingly believes that everyone deserves a lawyer, no matter how odious his case. Perhaps, although it would be nice to see NAMBLA siphon its own bank account rather than the ACLU’s to justify its evil ways. The ACLU decides for itself where to devote its finite resources. Hence, its leaders freely chose to stand with cheerleaders for pederasty while torpedoing those who mentor rather than rape little boys.


Today’s ACLU makes one wish it would find some whales to save.




ACLU May Sue L.A. County Over Seal (Foxnews, 040526)


LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union plans to sue Los Angeles County if it does not remove a cross from its official seal.


County officials say the cross represents the Spanish missions, which are part of California’s history.


They add that it would be expensive to redesign the county seal, which was designed in 1957 and appears on most official county property: walls, documents, water bottles, uniforms, cars and trucks.


On Friday, the ACLU gave the county two weeks to eliminate the seal.


“What is the message that it sends?” said Ramona Ripson of the ACLU. “What that message is to everyone in California is one of Christianity, and we are a state of diverse people.”


Last month, the threat of litigation by the ACLU forced the city of Redlands, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, to redesign its 40-year-old logo, which also included a cross.


“Here you have this radical left-wing organization whose own symbol should be the hammer and sickle,” said Mike Antonovich, one of five Los Angeles County supervisors. “They are using pressure tactics trying to rewrite history.”


Some local officials argue that the cross simply reflects history. The ACLU says that shouldn’t matter because some members of the public find it offensive.


The county has asked its lawyers for a legal opinion on whether to fight the ACLU.




Gay Marriage in Massachusetts (Washington Times, 040630)


According to a Boston Globe survey, conducted during the week of May 17, at least 2,500 same-sex couples “married,” including 164 from out of state.


The licenses to out-of-state couples have sparked another legal battle.


Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, backed by state Attorney General Tom Reilly, told town clerks that they must not issue licenses to nonresident same-sex couples because a 1913 residency law says nonresidents cannot be married in Massachusetts if they cannot be married in their home states.


No other state recognizes same-sex “marriage.”


On June 17, GLAD and the American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits challenging the 1913 law on behalf of eight out-of-state homosexual couples and 12 municipal clerks.


“We believe [the 1913 law] violates both the liberty and equality provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution,” Miss Bonauto said. “Plainly stated, the constitution trumps [the 1913 law] under the Goodridge decision,” she said.


“The 1913 law is a law we vigorously enforce, as we do all the laws of the commonwealth that I know of,” Mr. Romney said a few days later at the Heritage Foundation, where he spoke after a Senate appearance.




Pentagon Agrees Not to Sponsor Boy Scouts (Foxnews, 041116)


CHICAGO  — The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops, partially resolving claims that the government has engaged in religious discrimination by supporting a group that requires members to believe in God.


The settlement announced Monday is part of a series of legal challenges in recent years over how closely the government should be aligned with the Boy Scouts of America, a venerable organization that boasts a membership of more than 3.2 million members.


Civil liberties advocates have set their sights on the organization’s policies because the group bans openly gay scout leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God. The American Civil Liberties Union believes that direct government sponsorship of such a program amounts to discrimination.


“If our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs,” said ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz.


The Pentagon said it has long had a rule against sponsorship of non-federal organizations and denied the rule had been violated. But it agreed to send a message to posts worldwide warning them not to sponsor Boy Scout troops or other such groups.


The rule does not prevent service members from leading Scout troops unofficially on their own time, and Scouts will still be able to hold meetings on areas of military bases where civilian organizations are allowed to hold events.


The settlement does not resolve other ACLU claims involving government spending that benefits the Boy Scouts, such as money used to prepare a Virginia military base for the Boy Scout Jamboree and grants used by state and local governments to benefit the Boy Scouts, Schwartz said.


He said the Pentagon spends $2 million every year to prepare the Virginia base for the jamboree, held once every four years. He said the Defense Department also makes annual allocations of $100,000 to support Boy Scout units on military bases overseas and $100,000 to improve Boy Scout properties, such as summer camps.


Attorney Marcia Berman, who represented the Defense Department, declined to comment on the settlement Monday. But Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the message that will be sent to bases represents “a clarification of an existing rule that DOD personnel cannot be involved in an official capacity.”


The original ACLU lawsuit named as defendants the Department of Defense, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Chicago Board of Education. The schools settled, agreeing not to engage in official sponsorship of scouting activities.




ACLU loses Christmas case (WorldNetDaily, 041116)


City hall can have religious displays on front lawn


The Constitution allows a Rhode Island city to have private religious holiday displays on its front lawn, a federal judge ruled yesterday in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.


“The ACLU long ago decided it wanted to be Uncle Scrooge and expend its energies saying ‘bah humbug’ to public Christmas displays, but they are out of touch with the 96% of Americans that celebrate Christmas,” said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund.


McCaleb said the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island “ruled consistently with the law,” noting that “time after time the courts have ruled such displays to be perfectly constitutional.”


The ACLU claimed the city of Cranston, R.I., erected religious displays along with secular displays in violation of the so-called “separation of church and state.”


But the court said the city can continue to open such forums to the public as long as it revises its policy to establish objective criteria for allowing the public to set up the holiday displays.


In his opinion, Judge William Smith wrote that nothing in the city’s public statements or in its implementation of the policy for its Christmas displays “reveals or even remotely supports an inference that a religious purpose was behind the creation of the limited public forum,” as the lawsuit alleged.


The case centered on Cranston’s 2003 opening of its city hall front lawn to private “seasonal and holiday displays,” which resulted in various citizens making contributions, both religious and secular.


The city clearly posted disclaimers stating, “The public displays are strictly from private citizens or groups. They in no way represent an official view of the City of Cranston, nor are they endorsed by the city.”


The Alliance Defense Fund has a “Christmas Project” featuring more than 700 trained attorneys “ready to combat continuing efforts to censor Christmas.”




Keillor: Born-agains should not have right to vote (WorldNetDaily, 041115)


Popular radio host says Christians’ citizenship is really in heaven


Speaking in the aftermath of the presidential election, Democrat radio host Garrison Keillor says he is on a quest to take away the right of born-again Christians to vote, saying their citizenship is actually in heaven, not the United States.


Keillor, host of the popular National Public Radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” made the comments during a speech at Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and during his radio monologue the Saturday after the election.


According to a transcript of the show, Keillor said, “I am now the chairman of a national campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to take the right to vote away from born-again Christians. [enthusiastic audience applause] Just a little project of mine. My feeling is that born-again people are citizens of heaven, that is where there citizenship is, [laughter] is in heaven, it’s not here among us in America. ...”


During the Chicago speech Nov. 3, Keillor described his reaction to the re-election of President Bush.


“I am a Democrat – it’s no secret. I am a museum-quality Democrat,” Keillor said. “Last night I spent my time crouched in a fetal position, rolling around and moaning in the dark.”


According to a report in the University of Chicago’s Chicago Maroon, Keillor told the audience: “If born-again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?”


The speech was part of a celebration of the opening of University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. The facility is named after Gary Comer, who donated $21 million to the building of the $130 million state-of-the-art pediatric facility, the Maroon reported. Comer is founder of the clothing company Land’s End, which sponsors “A Prairie Home Companion.”


Though Keillor’s comments about disenfranchising born-again Christians apparently was made in jest, posters on were not amused.


“Replace ‘born-again Christians’ with ‘black people’ and Keillor should get a sense of the depths of his bigotry,” said on post.


Said another: “[Keillor] still has a radio program? I thought that his only gig was to put people into a deep state of sleep at hospitals just prior to major surgery.”




View homosexual film, or school faces lawsuit (WorldNetDaily, 041128)


ACLU tells district: Force students to watch ‘tolerance training’ video


If administrators of Kentucky’s Boyd County school district can’t find a way to force all students to attend sexual orientation and gender identity “tolerance training,” the American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to take them to court – again.


Ten months ago, the district settled a lawsuit with the ACLU over the right of a student group, the Gay-Straight Alliance, to meet on campus. The year-long litigation strained relations in the conservative northeast portion of the state. In addition to allowing the group to meet on campus after school, district officials agreed that all students, staff and teachers would be required to receive “tolerance training.”


The agreement stipulated all would attend “mandatory anti-harassment workshops,” including the viewing of an hour-long “training” video covering sexual orientation and gender identity issues for middle and high school students.


But ten months on, one-third of Boyd County students have failed to see the video, and that has the ACLU threatening court action.


“It sounds like the training can’t possibly be done,” James Esseks, litigation director for the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, tells the Louisville Courier-Journal.


District figures show 105 of 730 middle school students opted out of the training video and 145 of 971 high school students did likewise. On the day scheduled for training, 324 students didn’t show up for school.


The current legal snag arises from the fact the original consent decree had no provision for parents exempting their children.


“The schools have great latitude in what they want to teach, including what’s in training programs, and the training is now part of the school curriculum,” Esseks says. “Parents don’t get to say I don’t want you to teach evolution or this, that or whatever else. If parents don’t like it they can homeschool, they can go to a private school, they can go to a religious school.”


“Where are the parental rights in this whole thing?” asks Rev. Tim York, president of the Boyd County Ministerial Alliance and head of Defenders Voice, a community group formed to contest the decree.


According to the group’s website, Defenders Voice “incorporated due to the need for protection of both the physical and mental health of our students and citizens.” Its members place blame for their current distress squarely on the ACLU:


“We have seen an onslaught of aggressive homosexual activism sweep across our country. In many cases, these activists are supported by the ACLU in their attempts. ... Defenders Voice believes that an organization like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) should not be allowed to tell parents what their children must learn.”


The Alliance Defense Fund, a religious-liberties public-interest legal group, has signed on to help Defenders Voice, pledging to sue the school district unless it adopts an opt-out policy for parents this week. Alliance was formed in 1993 with the guidance of several well-known Christian conservatives, including the late Dr. Bill Bright, the late Larry Burkett, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. D. James Kennedy, and the late Marlin Maddoux.


Joe Platt, a Cincinnati attorney representing Alliance, says mandatory training on tolerance for homosexuals violates the right of conscience of parents and students who believe such behavior immoral.


But school district attorney, Winter Huff, insists to the Courier-Journal the decree does not violate parental rights: “Students certainly have the right to believe in what they want to believe, but they don’t have the right to act out in inappropriate ways. The point is you don’t treat people disrespectfully, you don’t pick on people, you don’t bully them, you don’t make them afraid to come to school.”


Meanwhile, only one of the seven plaintiffs in the 2003 lawsuit still remain in school. Six have graduated, and the teacher-adviser for the Gay-Straight Alliance club asked to transfer to another campus.


The ACLU’s Esseks is now questioning whether the mandatory video meets the decree’s required hour of anti-harassment training. Like one-third of the students in Boyd County schools, he has yet to view it.




ACLU Leads Suit Over Federal Watch List Policy (Foxnews, 041110)


WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union and a dozen nonprofit groups are suing the government over new rules requiring organizations that receive money from a federal employees’ charitable drive to check their staffs against terrorist watch lists.


The lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management disputes a policy in the agency’s Combined Federal Campaign that requires participating charities to certify they don’t knowingly employ people or contribute money to organizations found on the terrorist watch lists of the United States, the United Nations or the European Union.


The CFC allows federal employees to have deductions taken from their paychecks and given to designated charities. It is the nation’s largest workplace charity drive.


The fund raised almost $250 million for charities last year from about 1,345,000 federal employees. The money went to more than 10,000 participating nonprofits that support the country’s health and education systems, the arts, the environment, children’s services and religious institutions, the ACLU said.


The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges the new requirements are unconstitutional.


The ACLU says the government didn’t follow appropriate procedures in instituting the policy and argues the new rules are vague — not specifying, for example, how often participating charities must vet their employee and donation lists.


“Forcing charities to check their employees’ names against a watch list will not make Americans any safer,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. “The CFC policy threatens to disrupt a crucial network of charities that are dedicated to promoting and protecting American lives and values.”


OPM spokesman Edmund Byrnes said the agency would not comment and referred calls to the Justice Department, which is handling the lawsuit. The Justice Department also declined to comment, saying it had yet to review the case.


The lawsuit also charges that the government is trying to turn charities into an arm of law enforcement.


“The charities of America are not qualified and do not have the resources to be police agents,” said Kay Guinane, an attorney with OMB Watch, a government accountability advocacy group. The group joined in the lawsuit.




Citizens mobilized to stop ACLU: Website seeks to consign group to ‘ash heap of history’ (WorldNetDaily, 041120)


A Chicago man has launched a website to mobilize millions of Americans to consign the American Civil Liberties Union to the “ash heap of history.”


The ACLU, says the website StopThe, is “relentlessly and fiercely assaulting America’s foundations by feverishly working through activist court systems to impose same-sex marriage and remove all vestiges of the Ten Commandments wherever they may be posted.”


            WND Exclusive Citizens mobilized

to stop ACLU

Website seeks to consign group to ‘ash heap of history’

Posted: November 20, 2004

1:00 a.m. Eastern


© 2004


A Chicago man has launched a website to mobilize millions of Americans to consign the American Civil Liberties Union to the “ash heap of history.”


The ACLU, says the website StopThe, is “relentlessly and fiercely assaulting America’s foundations by feverishly working through activist court systems to impose same-sex marriage and remove all vestiges of the Ten Commandments wherever they may be posted.”


Nedd Kareiva says his two main goals are to send 1 million letters to the ACLU’s headquarters in New York and to coordinate a march of 1 million Americans at each ACLU office in the nation.


As WorldNetDaily reported, an ACLU lawsuit against the Pentagon resulted in an agreement announced this week to ensure military bases do not sponsor Boy Scout troops.


Kereiva told WorldNetDaily in an e-mail that while there are public-interest law groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defense Fund standing up to the ACLU in court, citizens can do little apart from making financial contributions.


“In this past election,” he says on his website, “the ACLU and its activist allies were sent a clear message not to tamper with the institution of marriage” with the passage of 11 out of 11 amendments defending traditional marriage.


But that didn’t matter to the ACLU, Kereiva says, as litigation already is challenging measures passed in Georgia and Oklahoma.


“The ACLU wants same-sex marriage imposed upon America through radical activist judges,” he says.


His website exists for one purpose, he said, “to mobilize millions of God-fearing, patriotic Americans to stand up to the ACLU agenda and consigning it to the ash heap of history (or export it to Communist regions).”


Kereiva’s site shows “how the ACLU is reconstructing civilization” and outlines the agenda with information from the group itself.




Keep America safe and free from the ACLU! ( site, 041120)


There are many great legal organizations working to stop the ACLU’s attempts to radically change the America’s landscape as listed in the margin.  Thank God for the work they have done and the cases they have successfully litigated.


However, outside of donating to and praying for these organizations, there has been little the average American has been able to do to make their voice heard by the ACLU.


Until now!


There are four courses of action we as patriotic Americans and Christians will take to let the ACLU know that we will no longer sit idly by  while they work overtime to impose their radical agenda on America.  Items 1 & 2 are active immediately, items 3 & 4 as we get organized.  They are:


1. Organizing a million person march at ACLU offices in all 50 states and D.C. and their headquarters in New York.  We will see to it that there is a significant representation of Americans at each office.  No ACLU branch will be without coverage.  One million Americans is no exaggeration.  This is our goal.


2. Launching a massive letter campaign to the ACLU headquarters.  Our goal is to have one million Americans sign the petition at this site and submit it to us via postal mail.  When we have one million petitions, we will box them and ship them via truck or courier to New York.  Imagine the fear of God being instilled in ACLU hearts, knowing millions of Americans across the fruited plain are publicly declaring their rejection of the ACLU agenda!  To send your letter, click the “ACLU letter” link above.


3. Taking a full page ad out in a major newspaper, perhaps the conservative Washington Times or New York Post, once a million petitions have been received.  More details on this later.


4. Engaging in a letter writing campaign to current ACLU members to expose its agenda and encouraging them to withdraw their support.  Many members of the ACLU are unaware of what this organization stands for, believing it is the nation’s largest civil liberties group going to bat for ordinary people like you and me.  If only that was true.  More to follow on this.


Please note that dates and times of the march will be posted as people commit to participation.  Check back often for updates.


We will face plenty of opposition in what we are doing.  That comes with the territory.  But I daresay that if you are viewing this site and troubled by what is occurring in America today and want to do something about it, you have your opportunity now.  And if you are willing to participate in the march or be your state’s coordinator, please click the “Contact Us” page, complete and submit the form and I will get back with you.


I challenge each of you reading this web page to get your family, friends, online contacts, churches and pastors involved in this unprecedented endeavor - even those who disagree with you.  If the only thing your circle of influence will ever agree with you on is that the ACLU needs to be stopped and they want to participate in that effort, that’s good enough for you and me.  We’re not here to indoctrinate anyone into any religion or force them into some political cookie cutter mold.  Our goal is to put the ACLU out of existence and if your contacts feel the same way, we want them aboard, no matter how they feel on anything else!


Post this on forums, web blogs, chat rooms, message boards - anywhere concerned Americans can mobilize to take action.


What else can I do?


As you may guess, what we are doing is a major undertaking, standing up to the Goliath in the American Civil Liberties Union.  Getting petitions together, coordinating this march, taking an ad out in a major paper and the other things we will do all cost a lot of money.  And I know as well as anyone that asking people to give to a cause is not easy to do.  I don’t like doing so.  I respect people’s pocketbooks.  And I know that there are many worthy causes that you may be already giving to and I will never tell you not to donate to them.  However, like all groups and  organizations that make impacts on society, they are done with cash, manpower and motivation.   And I believe this cause will get you motivated and pumped to contribute.


The ACLU has both a profit and a non-profit base and they have deep pockets as well ravenous attorneys who will pounce on those who dare stand up to them.  They are the biggest legal heavyweights in the fight for the good and the decent.  But we have greater numbers than they do in terms of people and passion.  We have good and decency on our side.  And most importantly, we have God.


We will soon be setting up the Stop the ACLU Coalition as a non-profit organization.  However, if you wish to help us out now, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can make your gift via Pay Pal to and designate it for Stop the ACLU Coalition.  If you do give, please do note it for Stop the ACLU so it does not get applied to the Seat Belt Choice Coalition, my other cause.  Thank you!


However, while your support is essential in our upcoming battles with the ACLU, they cannot be adequately fought without prayer backing it up.  I have not set up this web site just stand up to the ACLU.  I intend to win this battle.  And with God’s help and grace, the godly attorneys who are doing battle in our courtrooms with the ACLU, and your prayers, support and participation, we will do so.


Regardless of whether you can support us financially, I urge you to support us in prayer.  Pray for the following:


* Pray for those who can financially support us that they will be compelled to do so.


* Pray for all the legal groups who are defending America’s liberties, that God will bless them with favor, finances and success in the courtrooms.


* Pray for our cities and counties who are being sued for public postings of the 10 Commandments and who, through legal groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Center for Law & Justice assisting them, are defending the attacks on our religious heritage at the expense of the tyranny of the minority.


* Pray for our states who are battling the ACLU to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage.


* Pray for states and the Bush Administration for favor to defeat the ACLU in courts in the area of partial birth abortion.


* Pray for cities and counties across the country who are battling the ACLU in court over p0rnography issues.


* Pray for Terri Schiavo and her right to live as the ACLU has joined forces with Michael Schiavo and his attorney to deny her the right to live.  Pray that the Florida courts will rule that she live and not die.


Can you pray for 5-15 minutes a day for this web site and our cause?  Would you be willing to coordinate a prayer team (not to be confused with coordinating a march) in your state?  If you say YES to either one, kindly let me know.  Thanks!




ACLU threatens abstinence program (WorldNetDaily, 041119)


Group up in arms because state website includes mention of God


The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue the state of Louisiana because a state website promoting abstinence mentions God.


In a six-page letter, the ACLU claims the state abstinence program has violated a 2002 court settlement by invoking the name of God and quoting biblical passages on the program’s taxpayer-funded website, reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune.


The legal group says it will take the Governor’s Program on Abstinence back to federal court in 30 days if religious references are not removed from the site. Even so, the site,, continues to mention God, with one personal testimony from a girl who said she thanked God after she chose not to have sex.


“We’ve been monitoring the website for a while,” Joe Cook, the executive director of the Louisiana ACLU, told the New Orleans paper. “We thoroughly researched it, and we made the determination that the GPA had not only failed to correct the errors of its ways, as pointed out two years ago in the settlement, but in fact had gone out of its way to use taxpayer money to layer religious content upon religious content.”


A spokesperson for Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s office, Roderick Hawkins, said the website was being reviewed.


“Our concern is that the site comply with the agreement and the settlement of 2002,” Hawkins told the paper. “That’s what we’re doing right now – making sure the site complies.”


On the site’s message board, one teenager poster mentioned God in her testimony:


“Virginity is something very special which we have been given by God and we can only have it once. When you give it to someone It’ll be gone and you can never get it back no matter how rich you are. I’m so thankful to God for being with me and giving me the wise choice – to abstain. I’m 15 and so proud to be a virgin and I won’t be sorry for that. I think one day my future husband’ll be very happy for the decision which I made and he’ll respect, trust me and feel secure with me.” and the governor’s program is financed with federal money.




Petition: Get ACLU off taxpayer dole (WorldNetDaily, 041125)


Legal group awarded 1/2 million tax dollars for ridding courthouse of 10 Commandments


A new online petition asks Congress to change a specific civil-rights statute in hopes of preventing the American Civil Liberties Union from collecting attorney fees from taxpayers of local governments the organization takes to court.


The effort – spearheaded by Craig McCarthy of, a site dedicated to stemming judicial activism – seeks to change 42 U.S.C., Section 1988, of the United States Code. The statute now allows judges to award attorney fees to plaintiffs in civil-rights cases brought against local governments, thereby putting the taxpayers on the hook and oftentimes funneling public money to the ACLU. McCarthy wants the law changed so cases involving the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment would not apply.


When the ACLU takes a city to court claiming a Christmas display violates the Establishment Clause, for example, if the municipality loses, the city’s taxpayers would not have to pay ACLU attorneys. Ending the financial incentive, McCarthy says, would cause the ACLU to decrease their anti-religion litigation.


“Asking the ACLU directly to cease their destructive behavior is unlikely to have much impact,” McCarthy told WND, “but cutting off public funding of their activities would be both doable and effective.”


McCarthy gave some examples of the effect of the current law, citing the case of Los Angeles County, which was threatened by the ACLU over its seal, which contained a small cross. Many law firms offered to defend the county against the ACLU for free in that instance, but the county didn’t accept the offer. McCarthy says it’s because the real expense for the county would be in paying the ACLU’s attorney fees if it were to ultimately lose the case.


“Even if they get free attorneys, if they lose, the county’s on the hook,” he explained.


McCarthy also mentioned the Ten Commandments case in Alabama involving Judge Roy Moore, saying taxpayers there were ordered to pay the ACLU “at least half a million dollars.”


Though he says he understands the reasons for the fees, he thinks the Establishment Clause cases have gotten out of hand.


“I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater,” McCarthy said, “but I think it would resonate with most people. The Establishment Clause cases have gotten silly. We’ve been doing this for 30 years about everything … it’s like the ACLU is going from town to town” looking for things to sue over.


“If you want to litigate Establishment Clause cases, have at it,” he said, “but it shouldn’t be taxpayer-supported anymore.”


The online petition states, in part: “The ACLU has declared war on the Boy Scouts of America, the military of the United States, Christmas displays, public buildings that display the Ten Commandments, and many other American traditions. …


“The vast majority of taxpayers do not want to be forced to pay the ACLU to sue their neighbors and friends in the ACLU’s efforts to strip America of all signs of faith. …


“We, The People, call upon our elected representatives to amend U.S.C., Section 1988, so that fees are not awarded to the ACLU or any other plaintiff in Establishment Clause cases. We wish for the Free Expression Clause to implicate at least the same financial incentives as attacks upon faith currently have.”


The Establishment Clause of the Constitution says, “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. …”


Stop ACLU before going to court


Attorney Mathew Staver says he understands McCarthy’s point but believes there’s a better way to go about it. Staver is president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit religious-liberties law firm.


“What Congress ought to do is pass a statute that cuts back the standing of the ability to bring Establishment Clause claims,” Staver said, which would limit who could file such a suit.


He says currently anyone who is “offended” by what they see, a Ten Commandments display, for example, can bring suit.


“You can’t do that in any other area of litigation,” Staver said. “You’ve got to have a personal, direct injury. …


“They need to get to the root of it, and the root of it is not whether the ACLU can get attorneys’ fees,” he told WND. “The root of it is who can bring these lawsuits.”


Staver noted that the Supreme Court ruled against atheist Michael Newdow in the Pledge of Allegiance case because he didn’t have “standing” or authority to actually bring the suit.


He said he’s opposed to eliminating the provision for attorney fees for Establishment Clause cases.


Instead, he said, “you ought to stop them before they can get to the courtroom.”


The attorney said there are some discussions on the federal level about limiting the standing on Establishment Clause cases.


Destroying the cross


The American Legion Department of California earlier this year passed a resolution also calling on Congress to eliminate the financial incentives for the ACLU in Establishment Clause cases.


It asks Congress to “amend 42 U.S.C., Section 1988, to expressly preclude the courts from awarding attorney fees under that statute, in lawsuits brought to remove or destroy religious symbols.”


According to a report in the Record Gazette or Banning, Calif., the resolution was sparked by the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the ACLU’s claim that the solitary cross at what is now officially the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial violates the First Amendment and must be taken down.


Robert Castillo is a member of the veterans group and was part of the D-Day Normandy operation of World War II.


“I can’t believe that Congress is allowing judges to give the ACLU thousands of dollars to sue to get rid of a cross at a veterans memorial when we are sending kids to war again to defend our freedom against terrorists,” Castillo told the paper.


“The ACLU has gone too far. There are 9,000 crosses and Stars of David at Normandy. My buddies are buried there. If the ACLU can destroy the cross at the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, then they can destroy the crosses at Normandy, or Riverside Veterans Memorial Cemetery, or Arlington National.”


McCarthy says he hopes to get some signatures on the petition and then begin “shopping it around” Capitol Hill for sponsorship.




Thanks Be to the Great Pumpkin (American Spectator, 041129)


Thanksgiving is the All-American holiday. Everybody has something to be thankful for, thus everyone can celebrate. Christians, Jews and Muslims can thank God/Yahweh/Allah. Witches can thank Gaia, the Earth Mother, and atheists can thank the Safeway store for providing plump turkeys. Or, better yet, the American Civil Liberties Union for its non-stop program to eliminate religion.


Thus far, the ACLU has been only partially successful in its efforts. It has managed to force several towns and counties to remove granite inscriptions of the Ten Commandments, and a California ally, one Michael Newdow, succeeded in getting the Ninth Federal District Court to outlaw the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. This court’s writ, however, does not go beyond its district boundaries and the Supreme Court refused to take up the case.


It is only a matter of time before the ACLU goes to court to argue that churches should not be tax exempt because allowing them to do so amounts to a subsidy by atheist taxpayers. Alas for them, they will have to wait at least four years, for President Bush is unlikely to fill court slots with ACLU sympathizers. Nevertheless, the ACLU operates in a target-rich environment, so to speak, including “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill and chaplains in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives


Meanwhile, the ACLU and its friends are making headway in intimidating school districts around the nation. Almost always risk-averse, school administrators tend to engage in an excess of caution, lest some Politically Correct citizen sue them.


The tables are being turned, however, in California’s Silicon Valley, There, in Cupertino, Fifth Grade teacher Steven Williams is suing the school district for discrimination. It seems the principal of his school, Patricia Vidmar, is censoring his lesson plans to prevent him from giving his students historical documents that make references to God. He is the only teacher required to submit his lesson plans for her approval, hence his lawsuit.


Among the documents rejected by Ms. Vidmar are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s journal, the diary of John Adams, and Samuel Adams’s “The Rights of the Colonists.” Plaintiff Williams claims Ms. Vidmar has violated his First Amendment right of free speech. His lawyer points out that of the materials Williams gives his students, “perhaps five to 10% refer to God and Christianity, because that’s what the founders wrote.” Whether Ms. Vidmar and the ACLU like it or not, all of the founders (including Thomas Jefferson) believed in God and expressed their belief frequently in speeches and writings.


Meanwhile, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Maryland’s Republican governor, Robert Ehrlich denied a published report that the state had set rules for local school district curricula, and that this had resulted in school systems throughout the state not teaching students that the Pilgrims had thanked God for at the celebration which we commemorate as Thanksgiving Day. The article to which the governor referred cited several school officials as saying they do not “include religious matter” in their curricula. The instruction director of the St. Mary’s County Public School system said, “We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not a religious perspective.”


So how do they tell the story of the first Thanksgiving without telling the children whom the Pilgrims thanked? According to the news story, “teaching children that Pilgrims were Puritans was as far as many school administrators will go.” What if a student asks, “What is a Puritan?” Presumably, the answer in Maryland schools is that a Puritan was someone who thanked the Great Pumpkin for a good harvest.


Governor Ehrlich was upset that his state’s schools, despite no central directive, were widely teaching revisionist history. He said, “The objective facts, with respect to the teaching about Thanksgiving, necessarily bring God into the history pretend you can take God out a history lesson concerning Thanksgiving is an embarrassment.” No, Governor, it’s not an embarrassment to timid school administrators or the ACLU.


Despite our many flaws and contradictions, we remain a nation that is blessed many times over. Thanks be to G— (I better not write it, since this website is owned by a tax-exempt foundation and I would not want to be the cause of a lawsuit from the ACLU).


Peter Hannaford is the author of Recollections of Reagan (




ACLU subjected to Christmas carols (WorldNetDaily, 041208)


Group sings in front of office to protest anti-God legal action


A group of demonstrators sang Christmas carols in front of the Washington, D.C., office of the American Civil Liberties Union today to protest the organization for its attempts to take religious references out of the public square.


Over 25 volunteers with Public Advocate of the United States sang at the office to highlight “the ACLU’s continuing disregard for the rights of their many pro-family targets,” the group said in a statement.


The volunteers say they wanted to especially draw attention to the ACLU’s lawsuit against the Pentagon.


As WorldNetDaily reported, the Pentagon is warning its bases not to sponsor Boy Scout troops after agreeing to settle an issue in a five-year-old lawsuit brought by the ACLU, which charged the government with improperly supporting a group requiring members to believe in God.


The ACLU complained the Boy Scouts of America “requires troop and pack leaders, in this case government employees, to compel youth to swear an oath of duty to God.”


“Public Advocate hopes that the spirit of the Christmas season will fill the members and employees of the ACLU and that they will embrace the morals and principles of groups like the Boy Scouts and renounce their efforts to destroy traditional values in America,” said Public Advocate President Eugene Delgaudio at the event.


Delgaurdio says some staff from the legal organization joined the singers outside the office.


“It is exciting to see all these people singing Christmas carols, including the ACLU staff members that have joined us today,” he said. “Regardless of our differences, we are all proud to be Americans this Christmas, and may God bless those that are currently in harms way to bravely protect our freedoms. We must remember that the Boy Scout troops in danger of being kicked-off these military bases are made up of the sons of those brave soldiers, sailors and marines.”


Much of the ACLU’s litigation targets schools and other pubic institutions that make use of Christmas music or displays the group believes are a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause.




ACLU Files Suit in Pa. Over Evolution (Foxnews, 041214)


HARRISBURG, Pa.  — The state American Civil Liberties Union plans to file a federal lawsuit Tuesday against a Pennsylvania school district that is requiring students to learn about alternatives to the theory of evolution.


The ACLU said its lawsuit will be the first to challenge whether public schools should teach “intelligent design,” which holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by some higher power.


The Dover Area School District was believed to be the first in the nation to mandate intelligent design when it voted 6-3 in October in favor of including the concept in the science curriculum.


The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have scheduled a news conference Tuesday to discuss the suit, which will be filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, ACLU spokesman Paul Silva said Monday.


Neither Silva nor Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, would comment on the specifics of the complaint.


School superintendent Richard Nilsen had no comment Monday. Administrators have declined to comment on the mandate, which applies to ninth-grade biology classes at Dover High School, in rural south-central Pennsylvania.


School board member William Buckingham spearheaded the change as the leader of the board’s curriculum committee. He has said that he proposed the change as a way of balancing evolution with competing theories that raised questions about its scientific validity.


At least one other district has recently become embroiled in federal litigation over teaching evolution. A federal judge in Georgia is considering the constitutionality of a suburban Atlanta district’s decision to include a warning sticker about evolution in biology textbooks.


Last month, the Dover district issued a statement saying that state academic standards require the teaching of evolution, which holds that Earth is billions of years old and that life forms developed over millions of years.


But the statement also said Charles Darwin’s theory “is still being tested as new evidence is discovered,” and that intelligent design “is an explanation of the origins of life that differs from Darwin’s view.”


Additionally, district officials said they would monitor the lessons “to make sure no one is promoting but also not inhibiting religion.”


The ACLU has said intelligent design is a more secular form of creationism, a Biblical-based view that credits the origin of species to God, and may violate the constitutional separation of church and state.




Rein in the ACLU (Washington Times, 041214)


The Boy Scouts of America — a respected all-American, private organization — continues to be attacked by the ACLU. The latest example is the Pentagon’s cave-in to settle a 1999 lawsuit by not allowing military bases to sponsor Boy Scout troops.


The name — American Civil Liberties Union — is at best a misnomer. More accurately, ACLU means Assault Christian Liberties Unmercifully.


The suit against the Defense Department by the ACLU is based on the Boy Scout oath, which states: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz said, “If our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs.” Mr. Schwartz is wrong. The Constitution’s First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the free exercise thereof.” The original intent of the First Amendment was to prevent Congress from establishing a federal religion and to prevent it from restricting the freedom of practicing one’s religion. The Department of Defense is not establishing a religion by sponsoring Boy Scout troops, but is allowing the free exercise thereof. If a boy believes in the Boy Scout oath, then he has the freedom to join the Scouts. If he does not believe in the oath then he has the freedom not to join this private organization.


Mr. Schwartz is wrong because he bases his comment on an unconstitutional U.S. Supreme Court opinion — one, in fact, which the ACLU instigated. In 1947 the ACLU was responsible for Everson v. Board of Education coming before the high court. One of its lawyers, Leo Pheffer, wrote the draft of the opinion which resulted in the so-called “separation of church and state.” This was the first time in history that the Supreme Court did not use precedent in its opinion. It ignored precedent. In at least two previous rulings America was declared to be a Christian nation, a Christian people. These cases were the Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. in 1892 and the U.S. v. Macintosh in 1931.


Although the ACLU was successful in turning the First Amendment upside down, that does not make it right. The Supreme Court’s pro-slavery Dred Scott decision was reversed because it was unconstitutional. The same needs to be done with the Everson v. Board of Education ruling. That would be a good start in just saying no to the ACLU.


Dennis Prager’s article, “A Jew Defends the Cross” published recently on, eloquently states why he led a fight against the ACLU to keep the cross on the Los Angeles County seal.


First, he said he fears those who rewrite history. Second, he said he fears intolerance. “I have found over and over that most Christians who preach faith are more tolerant than most leftists who preach tolerance.” Third, and most important, he states: “I fear the removal of the Judeo-Christian foundation of our society. This is the real battle of our time, indeed the civil war of our time.” “The left,” Mr. Prager continues, “wants America to become secular like Western Europe, not remain the Judeo-Christian country that it has always been. But unlike the left, I do not admire France, Belgium and Sweden. And that is what the battle over the seal of America’s most populous county (and the Boy Scout oath) is all about. It is not about separation of church and state. It is about separation of a county (and a country) from its history. And it is about separation of America from its moral foundation.” That is what Mr. Prager believes is at stake in the ACLU’s attempt to eradicate God from our nation. The ACLU works consistently, and all too often successfully, to rewrite America’s history. As Karl Marx said, “If I can steal their history I can steal their country.” The ACLU is attempting to steal our Judeo-Christian history so it can steal our country. Citizen pressure needs to be applied to force Congress to use every weapon at its disposal — including its Article III power to define jurisdiction of federal courts, a constitutional amendment, regulations to enforce existing laws, and the withholding of taxpayers’ money from counties or states that try undermining our Judeo-Christian heritage.


Phil Kent is an Atlanta-based author and media consultant.




The ACLU Confronts the Military (Foxnews, 041216)


By Bill O’Reilly


The ACLU sued the Pentagon for information about the military abusing prisoners and got reports of 10 separate incidents. The ACLU then released those reports to the press saying, “This kind of widespread abuse could not have taken place without leadership failure of the highest order.”


The ACLU also says that the Bush administration is “continuing to commit human rights abuses both at home and abroad.” Now the incidents involve 24 Marines who allegedly brutalized captured Iraqis. Eleven have already been court-martialed and convicted. Three have received lesser punishments, six found innocent and four cases are pending.


So what the ACLU uncovered in the documents was already being dealt with by the government. To be fair, we do have a right to know about this and might not have but for the Freedom of Information request.


But there is no doubt in the mind of “Talking Points” that the ACLU’s primary intent was not information flow, but an effort to smear the military and the Bush administration.


Abuse happens in every war. That’s a fact. Clear thinking Americans can’t condone it, but in this case, the military seems to be doing its job. The abusers are being held accountable.


But here’s something you might not know. Guess who is the ACLU’s new best friend? Hey, George Soros, this bud’s for you. The radical billionaire has given close to $4 million to the ACLU recently.—That’ll buy a lot of stuff.


So there’s no question that the ACLU has changed its mission from protecting the expression rights of Americans to attacking traditional and conservative enterprises. They can point to defending the Skoke Nazis all they want, but the Soros money speaks louder than any nutty Nazi.


The executive director of the ACLU is a man named Anthony Romero, who is afraid to answer the growing questions about how radical his organization has become. It is long past time for Americans to know just what Romero - Soros and their acolytes are up to. They hide behind the noble goal of freedom, while doing everything possible to batter it.


Attacking Christianity, embarrassing the military, accusing the elected government of abuse and promoting a radical agenda are not hallmarks of a benign operation. I’m on record as saying the ACLU is the most dangerous organization in the country. And I stand behind that analysis.




Evolution ruling gets cheers from scientists (CNN, 050114)


ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — Since 2002, Dr. Kenneth Miller has been upset that biology textbooks he has written are slapped with a warning sticker by the time they appear in suburban Atlanta schools. Evolution, the stickers say, is “a theory, not a fact.”


“What it tells students is that we’re certain of everything else in this book except evolution,” said Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University, who with Joseph S. Levine has authored three texts for high schoolers.


On Thursday, Miller — along with fellow teachers and scientists — cheered a federal judge’s ruling that ordered the Cobb County school board to immediately remove the stickers and never again hand them out in any form.


“Obviously, this is quite a victory for good science education,” said Benjamin Z. Freed, an anthropology professor at Atlanta’s Emory University and chairman of Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education.


But some parents and religious conservatives decried the ruling as another in a string of what opponents call activist judges overruling the wishes of elected officials — often on matters of religion.


“It’s another example of how the bench is dictating to people what symbols they can display, if they can pray or not pray or if they can teach a particular subject,” said Sadie Fields, head of the Georgia chapter of the Christian Coalition.


The Georgia case is one of several battles waged in recent years throughout the nation over what role evolution should play in science books.


The school district just north of Atlanta approved the stickers after more than 2,000 parents complained the textbooks presented evolution as fact, without mentioning rival ideas about the beginnings of life.


During four days of testimony in federal court last November, the school system defended the warning stickers as a show of tolerance, not religious activism as some parents claimed. Its attorneys argued the school board had made a good-faith effort to address questions that inevitably arise during the teaching of evolution.


The stickers read, “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”


Scientists, several of whom testified in the case, say the sticker confuses the scientific term “theory” with the word’s common usage and inappropriately combines science with personal religious belief.


“Many of us hold deeply personal religious ideals as well,” Freed said. “But for a science teacher in a public school to introduce religion into a science class would fall way outside the ideals of any organization of scientists or science educators.”


A group of parents and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the stickers in court, arguing they violate the Constitution’s separation of church and state.


Jeffrey Selman, whose son was a second-grader in Cobb County schools at the time, called Thursday’s ruling a “shot across the bow” of religious fundamentalists he says are attempting to introduce their beliefs in the classroom.


“I got what I wanted; I got the stickers removed,” said Selman.


The school board issued a statement saying members are disappointed by the ruling and are meeting with lawyers to decide whether to appeal. The Cobb school system has 30 days to appeal.




ACLU behind Illinois’ forced hiring of ‘gays’ (WorldNetDaily, 050126)


Annual report of state chapter shows it was top legislative priority for 2005


A controversial amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act, extending anti-discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation, was pushed vigorously in the legislature by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


The law, signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich last week, allows no exemptions for people or institutions with religious convictions against sodomy, cross-dressing, adultery, sex changes, pornography, incest, group sex or even bestiality.


Some are suggesting the amendment is setting up a clash with the First Amendment protections of religious freedom.


The legislation, which had been stalled in the General Assembly for many years, was the focus of a major push by the ACLU of Illinois in 2004, according to the organization’s annual report (pdf file). It says John Knight, director of the group’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Rights Project and ACLU legislative director Mary Dixon worked hard promoting the idea to the public and the bill to the legislators.


Knight assumed the position with the group in 2004 and also serves as the national ACLU’s Midwest regional attorney for the Lesbian and Gay Rights and AIDS Projects.


The bill passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support. Of the 98 Democrat legislators, only 19 opposed it. In addition, 12 Republicans voted in favor of the measure.


The ACLU report suggests that same-sex marriage is also high on the organization’s agenda.


“Confronting some of the unwarranted and mean-spirited arguments with reason, facts and stories about the real harm done to couples has been an important aspect of our work on behalf of the gay and lesbian community this year,” it says. “John Knight is an integral part of this effort, planning a series of town hall meetings across the state of Illinois designed to ‘bring home’ the problems faced by lesbian and gay male couples and their families when these couples are denied the legal benefits extended to heterosexual couples, including legal rights to pensions, health insurance, hospital visitations and inheritance.”


The annual report from the ACLU of Illinois included a photograph of one of the group’s board members, David Goroff, in a “family portrait” with his male partner, Jay Behel, and their son.


The passage of the legislation has set off a firestorm of protest, particularly among the state’s church leaders.


The Illinois Family Institute, or IFI, a non-profit group affiliated with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund, protested the governor’s signing of the law.


The measure adds “sexual orientation” to the state law that bars discrimination based on race, religion and similar traits in areas such as jobs and housing.


“This legislation sends a clear message that we will not allow our citizens to be discriminated against,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “What we’re doing today is older than scripture: Love thy neighbor,” the governor told the audience yesterday, according to the Associated Press. “It’s what Jesus said when he gave his Sermon on the Mount: ‘Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”‘


Illinois is the 15th state to prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”


But IFI Executive Director Peter LaBarbera notes the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Carol Ronen, D-Chicago, is on record stating it should be applied to churches, meaning they would not be allowed, for example, to reject a job applicant who practices homosexual behavior.


Ronen said: “If that is their goal, to discriminate against gay people, this law wouldn’t allow them to do that. But I don’t believe that’s what the Catholic Church wants or stands for.”


LaBarbera argues politicians who don’t view homosexuality as a sin have no right to take away the freedom of churches and people of faith to disagree.


The law applies to organizations or businesses with more than 15 employees.


LaBarbera points out the Illinois law firm Ungaretti & Harris, which specializes in labor and employment issues, published an analysis of the measure, which says: “While many such municipal prohibitions on sexual orientation discrimination expressly exempt religious organizations from their coverage, the new amendment to Illinois’ Human Rights Act does not.”


The analysis adds: “The question inevitably presented by this omission is whether the Bill will be applied to compel religious organizations to set aside convictions about homosexuality when making employment decisions. ... The measure may ultimately force courts to consider and balance its ban on sexual orientation discrimination with State and Federal constitutional safeguards of religious freedom.”


LaBarbera says that with enactment of this law, government is coming down on one side of a heated moral controversy by forcing the acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality.


“It’s about saying that ‘gay rights’ are more important than religious freedoms, and we hope ultimately it will be struck down in court,” he said.


The bill was passed on the last day of a lame-duck legislative session after a campaign by the state’s leading homosexual lobby, Equality Illinois.




ACLU shuts down coach’s prayers (WorldNetDaily, 050121)


No objection until legal group read about it in paper


Under threat of an ACLU lawsuit, a high-school wrestling coach was ordered to stop leading prayers with team members after practices and before meets.


Daren Schaller, coach at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Mich., had been conducting the prayers without objection from students or parents, the Detroit Free Press reported.


But a story in a local paper brought his praying to the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, and it took just one day for the district, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, to end it, the paper said.


“After it caused such a furor, I just double-checked with our legal counsel, and they advised that our coaches should not lead our teams in prayer,” Superintendent Sandra Harris told the Free Press.


The prayers were not mandatory, but the whole team participated.


The paper noted that in the 1990s, courts ruled that church groups must have equal access to public school facilities after-hours. Also, under the No Child Left Behind Act, schools could lose federal dollars if they deny students the right to constitutionally protected prayer in schools.


Detroit ACLU legal director Michael Steinberg insisted, however, the prayers at the high school were not constitutional because they were led by the coach.


“Coach-led prayer or school-sponsored prayer is a state endorsement of religion, and that’s very different from making premises available on an equal basis,” Steinberg said. “The Constitution requires that the state remain neutral on matters of religion.”


Steinberg told the Detroit paper he believes the issue goes beyond the legalities.


“What many people don’t understand is the emotional toll of coach-led or school-sponsored prayer,” he said. “It sends a message to nonbelievers and non-Christians that they are outsiders and not part of the team.”




Thou shalt have no others gods before the ACLU (, 050311)


Mona Charen


There was a time when “fear of God” meant piety, or at least conscience. Today, it more accurately describes the worldview of secular liberals who get itchy and twitchy at any reminder of our religious roots as a nation.


Thus, we are currently treated to the spectacle of the American Civil Liberties Union dragging the state of Texas into court for the offense of displaying the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol in Austin. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in June whether a display of the Decalogue violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. This gives “God fearing” a whole new meaning.


“At the very seat of Texas government,” thunders the ACLU brief, “between the Texas State Capitol and the Texas Supreme Court, is large monument quoting a famous passage of religious scripture taken, almost verbatim, from the King James Bible.” Question: Is there any kind of scripture that is not religious?


The state of Texas argues that the monument isn’t so important really. It stands at the back door of the capitol, not the front. It is smaller than several of the other 16 monuments dotting the campus of the capitol. And it contains many symbols found elsewhere in American public life — such as the pyramid with the eye at the top and an eagle with outstretched wings clutching the stars and stripes — both of which are also found on the dollar bill. Hard by the Ten Commandments monument are statues and plaques honoring or memorializing the Boy Scouts of America (under fire from the left, as well), Korean War Veterans, World War I veterans, Pearl Harbor, Texas children, the National Guard and pioneer women.


But no religious acknowledgment is too small to escape the attention of the zealous modern God-fearers (God-haters). The petitioners complain that the monument “expresses an unequivocal religious message: There is a God, and God has proclaimed rules for behavior.” We can’t have that. Just you wait, the dollar bill — which proclaims in broad daylight “In God We Trust” is not safe.


The God-fearers are not engaged in a fool’s errand. They have good reason to suppose that their protest may be well-received. Over the past several decades, the court’s establishment clause jurisprudence has been, well, peculiar. The court has held that a creche could be displayed at Christmastime only if it was accompanied by a requisite number of candy canes, Santas and other non-religious symbols. The court has also ruled that states may constitutionally provide maps (and, in a later decision, computers) for parochial schools, but not books.


The court has held that student-led prayers in a football huddle constitute an establishment of religion. Ditto an invocation offered by a rabbi at a public high school graduation. There, Justice Kennedy explained that asking non-believers to stand and “maintain a respectful silence” was unconstitutional. Respectful silence just isn’t the spirit of the age.


The state of Texas urges the Court to adopt the reasonable person standard for evaluating the Ten Commandments monument. Would a reasonable person, seeing this granite slab, assume that Texas meant to enforce a ban on graven images or to force neighbors to refrain from covetousness? The brief did jocularly offer that “no one would reasonably think that the state has adopted a position, one way or the other, on whether the Dallas Cowboys should continue playing professional football on Sundays or whether the Texas Longhorns should continue playing college football on Saturdays (notwithstanding the seriousness, and even religious fervor, with which Texans approach their football ...).”


The real point is that we’ve lost our grip on any common-sense definition of establishment. The Founders did not want to favor one church over another at the federal level (when the Constitution was ratified, several states did have established churches). By forbidding one national church pre-eminence, freedom of worship would be more reliably protected. The notion that this country, founded firmly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, could not even mention God in public without fearing a subpoena is simply ludicrous.


If the Supreme Court hands down a ruling that the Texas monument violates the Constitution, it will do so in the literal shadow of a frieze on the Supreme Court’s chamber depicting none other than Moses holding the tablets in his hands.




ACLU threat drives Scouts out of schools (WorldNetDaily, 050311)


The Boy Scouts of America is pulling the charters of thousands of scouting units from public schools in an effort to spare them from lawsuits threatened by the American Civil Liberties Union.


In a letter sent to the BSA last month, the ACLU vowed to take legal action against public schools and other taxpayer-funded governmental agencies that charter Scout groups, claiming their sponsorship amounts to religious discrimination and violates the separation of church and state.


The ACLU specifically takes issue with the Scouts’ pledge of allegiance to God and country and the organization’s prohibition of homosexuals as scout masters.


BSA national spokesman Gregg Shields told the Baptist Press the organization was pulling its charters from schools “as a matter of stewardship.”


“We obviously don’t want that [expensive lawsuits against schools] to happen,” Shields told the news agency. “Instead, the Boy Scouts have tried to protect the resources of our education partners by moving our charter from public schools to other community-based organizations such as parent-teacher organizations or Salvation Army units or nearby religious organizations.”


Shields stressed the loss of its charter does not necessarily mean the scout troop can no longer meet at the school.


“Boy Scout troops will still have the same rights as any other community-based group to meet in school buildings, but the charter will not be held by the school administration,” he said.


Shields hopes churches and other community-based groups will make up for the lost charters, estimated to be in the thousands.


The BSA is the largest youth organization and is run with the help of 1.3 million adult volunteers.


The BSA has learned to take the ACLU’s threat of litigation seriously, having been in its crosshairs for 25 years. The ACLU has sued the BSA 14 times on similar grounds, according to Shields.


The BSA prevailed in the most prominent lawsuit when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 to uphold a New Jersey troop’s removal of an assistant scoutmaster after it became known he was openly homosexual.


This legal victory emboldened the ACLU and homosexual opponents to increase pressure on the organization.


As WorldNetDaily reported last fall, the Pentagon agreed to start warning its bases not to sponsor scout troops to settle one issue raised in a five-year-old lawsuit brought by the ACLU’s Illinois chapter.


“If our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based upon religious beliefs,” Adam Schwartz of the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement. “This agreement removes the Pentagon from direct sponsorship of Scout troops that engage in religious discrimination.”


But Thomas P. Cadmus, national commander of the American Legion, said in response: “The idea that sponsorship of Scouting by American military units is ‘unconstitutional’ goes beyond the absurd, even well past the point of stupidity.”




The ACLU vs. America (, 050330)


Michelle Malkin


On April Fools’ Day, the American Civil Liberties Union will show us what a joke its commitment to American civil liberties really is.


April 1st, in case you haven’t heard, is the launch of the Minuteman Project, an all-volunteer effort by law-abiding American citizens to call attention to the nation’s wide open southern border. Hundreds of Americans from New York to Michigan to California will travel down to the U.S.-Mexico border for a month to monitor illegal aliens and alert immigration enforcement officials if they witness law-breaking.


Call it the mother of all neighborhood watch programs.


In doing so, the Minutemen will be exercising their constitutionally protected freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Those would be fundamental civil liberties found in something called the, uh, First Amendment, of which the ACLU is supposed to be the foremost expert and champion. Or so the group and its celebrity supporters say. In sanctimonious new fund-raising ad campaigns, the organization features the likes of liberal actress Holly Hunter, who asks:


“Do you want to be heard without fear? I am not an American who believes that questioning or criticizing my government is unpatriotic.”


Uh-huh. “Dissent is patriotic,” the Left likes to preach. Except, apparently, if the questioning and criticizing deals with the government’s abject failure to enforce immigration laws. Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist has been harassed by open-borders activists at his home. The group is reportedly being targeted by savage illegal alien gangsters from Mara Salvatrucha (a.k.a. MS-13). Mexican government officials are lobbying American law enforcement officials to suppress the Minutemen’s rights to speak and assemble.


But instead of coming to the defense of the Minutemen who are challenging our government, the ACLU has warned the 1,000 volunteers that it will send monitors to document the Americans’ activities. Moreover, the ACLU has already threatened lawsuits against the American dissenters for exercising their rights.


This bullying of pro-immigration enforcement activists comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed the ACLU’s aggressive open-borders agenda — from its support for driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, to its opposition to detaining illegal alien terror suspects after 9/11 and profiling foreign visitors from terror-friendly countries, to its efforts to stop local and state law enforcement officers from helping federal homeland security efforts.


ACLU of Arizona spokesman Ray Ybarra argues that the mere presence of the Minutemen at the border constitutes “unlawful imprisonment” of illegal (excuse me, “undocumented”) aliens (excuse me, “migrants”). Ybarra told the Washington Times that the ACLU will have lawyers on standby ready to file civil cases against the volunteers. He warned that the Minutemen could “come to our state as ‘vigilantes’ and end up leaving as ‘defendants.’”


The Minutemen have made it clear on their website and in repeated statements that they “will not violate anyone’s civil rights, and will not abuse anyone from any country. . . . We will alert border patrol to the location of illegals, and wait for [the Border Patrol] to come and pick them up. We will follow illegal aliens from a distance and continue spotting them until authorities answer our cell phone and/or back-pack radio calls. All spotting, calls for assistance, and the response from the appropriate authorities will be chronicled and provided to any media representative.”


Contrary to the ACLU and mainstream media representations of the group as racists and immigrant-bashers, the Minutemen are a diverse volunteer group that includes Americans of Mexican, Armenian, Russian, Lebanese, Indian and Cuban descent; and black and Native American minorities. Also among the volunteers are 19 legal immigrants from Mexico, Peru, Russia, New Zealand, England, Australia and the Philippines.


By recklessly linking the Minutemen to white separatists and casting them as outlaws, the civil liberties crowd engages in the very guilt-by-association smear tactics it has so loudly condemned. And in putting the protection of illegal aliens’ rights over law-abiding Americans’ civil liberties, the ACLU demonstrates on which side of the border its true allegiances lie.




Senators pledging to help Boy Scouts (WorldNetDaily, 050317)


Introduce bill to protect organization from legal attacks by ACLU, others


A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., introduced legislation yesterday to make sure the Boy Scouts of America can use government facilities for gatherings, meetings and events.


The “Support Our Scouts Act of 2005” would protect the organization from attacks by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging federal support for the BSA because the organization administers a religious oath and prohibits homosexuals as scout masters.


The bill says no federal law, directive, rule, instruction or order should limit any federal agency from providing support to the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. The legislation removes any doubt that federal agencies may welcome Scouts to hold meetings and go camping on federal property.


An ongoing lawsuit by the ACLU says federal support of the group, including about $2 million annually for the National Scout Jamboree, amounts to religious discrimination and violates the separation of church and state.


The Pentagon last year settled one such lawsuit by telling military bases around the world not to become direct sponsors of Boy Scout troops or Cub Scout dens. Military personnel can now sponsor Boy Scout groups only in their civilian capacity.


As WorldNetDaily reported, the threat of lawsuits by the ACLU has forced the BSA to pull the charters of thousands of scouting units from public schools.


In a letter sent to the BSA last month, the ACLU vowed to take legal action against public schools and other taxpayer-funded governmental agencies that charter Scout groups.


Frist says the legislation will allow the BSA to fulfill its mission without the distraction of defending itself against senseless attacks.


The bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., says the federal government should be making it easier for caring men and women to get involved in the lives of children – not harder.


“As an Eagle Scout, I saw firsthand the value of the Boy Scouts for millions of young men across the country,” said Alexander. “I am proud to join Senator Frist in introducing this bill to ensure that they are treated fairly and continue to receive the federal support that the program has received in the past.”


Other Senate co-sponsors include Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning, Montana Republican Conrad Burns, Idaho Republican Larry Craig, Nevada Republican John Ensign, Florida Democrat Bill Nelson and Oregon Republican Gordon Smith.


The BSA is the nation’s largest youth organization and is run with the help of 1.3 million adult volunteers.




ACLU: Punish officials for ‘un-American’ prayer (WorldNetDaily, 050407)


Law group outraged God petitioned before game, wants administrators jailed


The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a judge to hold a Louisiana school board in contempt because someone said a prayer over the PA system before a high-school baseball game.


Joe Cook, executive director of ACLU of Louisiana, claims members of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board should be fined or go to jail “for their calculated un-American and immoral conduct to embarrass, hinder or obstruct the court in the administration of justice.”


The March 24 prayer came after a years-long legal battle waged against the district by the ACLU, which claims any prayer at a public-school event violates the First Amendment establishment clause. The original suit, one of three filed against the district in the last 10 years, was brought on behalf of a parent and his two children who were offended by the prayers before local football games. According to the Associated Press, part of the action was settled last year when the district agreed to ban all prayers at athletic events and other school functions.


“This marks the second contempt motion filed against the school board within the past two weeks for transgressions of injunctions related to the original lawsuit,” the ACLU said in a statement. The other offense related to an elementary school student reciting the Lord’s Prayer in a program before the March 15 school board meeting, as part of a program led by a teacher’s aide.


The ACLU expressed outrage that, when Shane Tycer took the microphone to pray before the ballgame when the regular announcer was late, no school officials tried to stop him. The board pointed out Tycer is not a district employee so he was not bound by the court settlement. Cook noted neither the board nor superintendent has repudiated the prayer and called the late-announcer story a “lame explanation.”


Said Cook: “The school board and its superintendent cannot get away with a shell game that mocks the judiciary and its role of interpreting and upholding the rule of law. It is time to put out the welcome mat to believers and non-believers alike at all public-school functions across the state and the nation. Children and parents whose beliefs are different from the majority must not be made to feel like outsiders in their own schools.”


The ACLU claims the school board is guilty of a “pattern and practice of disobeying the law in order to promote Christianity over other religions in public schools.”


“Public schools should be kept inclusive and secular in keeping with our founders’ ideas for religious liberty for all,” Cook said.




ACLU smoking dope at border? (WorldNetDaily, 050419)


Minutemen say photos show ‘legal observers’ getting high


Volunteers with the Minuteman Project in Arizona say “legal observers” sent by the ACLU to monitor the citizen border patrol have been seen smoking marijuana in violation of the law.


Photographs were posted on the website of the South East Arizona Republican Club after Minuteman participants reported they saw, and smelled, the ACLU workers smoking pot.


Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, did not respond to a request for comment given to her assistant by WorldNetDaily.


As WND reported, ACLU activists shadowing the Minuteman Project at the U.S.-Mexican border are actively aiding and abetting aliens attempting to enter the country illegally, according to a spokesman for the volunteer civilian force.


Grey Deacon told Joseph Farah’s nationally syndicated “WorldNetDaily RadioActive” audience Friday that ACLU monitors sent to the border to watch Minuteman activity and report civil-liberties abuses to authorities have begun flashing lights, sounding horns and warning off illegals and their “coyote” human smugglers from entering territory patrolled by the volunteers.


“They are actively engaging in criminal activity,” said Deacon.


Deacon said the ACLU activists are resorting to new tactics because of the success the Minuteman Project is having in assisting the Border Patrol in spotting illegal aliens and in generating publicity about the insecure U.S.-Mexico border.


The ACLU dispatched its representatives to the 23-mile section of the Arizona border patrolled by the Minutemen after predicting the group would abuse the rights of illegal aliens. No such abuses have materialized to date.


“The ACLU’s position is that illegal aliens have a right to enter our border and stay in this country as long as they want,” said Deacon. “That’s what one of the leaders of the group told me personally.”


A volunteer reported, according to the South East Arizona Republican Club, “The ACLU is getting desperate to get something on the Minutemen and are trying to provoke incidents now.”


“They pushed one of the Minutemen the other night trying to get him to push back. Didn’t work. Then last night they walked up and shined a spotlight right in a Minuteman’s face from six inches or so away. Didn’t work that time either. We immediately report these types of contacts with them to the sheriff to counter any claims they try to make against us. They should be called the UCLU (Un-American Civil Lawsuit Union).


“They give us the middle finger every chance they get to try to get us to react. We are still trying to figure out if that is their age or IQ.”




‘To support and defend... So help me God’ (, 050527)


Mark Alexander


“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means....”

—John Adams


Monday is Memorial Day, set aside to honor our fallen Patriots — generations of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen — who served their country with honor from 1776 to this day. It is a day that many of our Patriot readers, and every member of The Federalist Patriot staff, observe in solemn reverence.


There will be thousands of respectful commemorations across the nation, but the media outlets will be focused on Memorial Day “sales” to commemorate the commercial exploitation that attends every national holiday. Indeed, while divisions of America’s Armed Forces are standing in harm’s way today against a formidable Jihadi adversary, many of their countrymen will be too preoccupied with festivity to pause and recognize their sacrifice and that of those who have gone before.


At sunrise on Saturday, in advance of Memorial Day, this Boy Scout leader will join his troop and pack at Chattanooga’s National Cemetery for an official ceremony and prayer memorializing fallen veterans, by branch of service, interred in the last year. Our Scouts will then fan out across the grassy slopes of this hallowed ground and place small flags at 35,000 headstones. (See http://FederalistPatriot.US/news/BSA.asp)


It is a remarkable experience for all in attendance, though it could be the last. The Boy Scouts have yet to be kicked out of Chattanooga’s National Cemetery, but they have been exiled from many other public places.




Because all Scouts are bound by the following oath: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country....” It is an oath which, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, makes the BSA a “religious organization,” and, thus, in keeping with the ACLU’s adulterated version of our Constitution’s First Amendment, disqualifies the BSA from any public forum. Unfortunately, the ACLU and their patriarchs in Congress have planted enough judicial activists in U.S. Circuit Courts across the nation to impose, by judicial fiat, their God-forsaking agenda. (For a thorough Constitutional debunking of the ACLU’s “wall of separation” claim, read “Public Prayer? Where’s the outrage!” at http://FederalistPatriot.US/Alexander/)


In 1999, the ACLU sued the Department of Defense for sponsoring some 400 Boy Scout programs, including the national Boy Scouts Jamboree in Virginia. American Legion National Commander Thomas Cadmus protested last year, in a letter to SecDef Don Rumsfeld: “The idea that sponsorship of Scouting by American military units is ‘unconstitutional’ goes beyond the absurd, even well past the point of stupidity.”


Absurd and stupid, indeed — so who is funding all these ACLU suits? American taxpayers — that’s you and me.


Many of the ACLU’s “attorney-fee awards” are paid for under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S. Code Sec. 1988, legislation intended to provide compensation to legitimate victims of civil-rights violations. The ACLU is exploiting this law using phony plaintiffs suffering de minimis claims. Additionally, they are scalping state and local taxpayers. After the ACLU got the Boy Scouts removed from Balboa Park in San Diego, they collected a cool $940,000 from the city in “compensation.” The Portland Public School system recently paid the ACLU $108,000 after an atheist objected to Boy Scout recruitment on school property after school hours.


Such complaints are creeping across the nation and showing up on “ACLU-friendly” Circuit Court dockets — all because the Boy Scouts refuse to remove the word “God” from their oath. Will the United States military be cowed as well? Or will it summon the resolve to engage this mortal enemy of our national heritage?


Earlier this year, the Department of Defense settled with the ACLU, agreeing not to sponsor any of the scouting activities monetarily, while it will still allow scouting events at military installations — a military retreat but not complete withdrawal. However, every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coastguardsman we honor this Memorial Day, and all those in service now, are bound by their oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.... So help me God.”


So help me God.


The ACLU’s Adam Schwartz noticed, protesting, “If our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty is to be a reality, the government should not be administering religious oaths or discriminating based on religious beliefs.” But, as noted in the essay referenced above, there is no “wall of separation” between religion and the government; there is only a prohibition on the Congress from establishing a national religion. However, the Circuit Courts are chock-full-o the ACLU’s judicial activists, those who, in the words of the august Senator Sam Ervin, “interpret the Constitution to mean what it would have said if they, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it.”


The courts are stacked with such despots, as Thomas Jefferson called them, because neither they, nor the members of the Senate who seat them (you know who you are), abide by their oaths to defend our Constitution — “So help me God” — the same Creator to whom members of our Armed Forces appeal. The difference, of course, is that our uniformed Patriots have defended, and continue to defend, that oath with their lives, while liberal senators and judges defend it with lip service over cappuccinos and tartlets.


If you are able, please join your fellow countrymen this weekend at your nearest National Cemetery, and honor those uniformed Patriots who stood and fell by their oath in defense of our Constitution. Remember to pause at 3:00pm local time on Memorial Day, and offer remembrance and prayer for these great Patriots. “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died,” said Gen. George S. Patton. “Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” On this and every day, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces now standing in harm’s way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return. Please take a moment to sign “An Open Letter in Support of America’s Armed Forces” at http://PatriotPetitions.US/USMIL


Mark Alexander is Executive Editor and Publisher of The Federalist Patriot, a member group.




Court: ‘Merry Christmas’ ACLU: Rejects suit by woman claiming holiday display was offensive (WorldNetDaily, 050708)


A federal appeals court rejected the claim of a woman represented by the ACLU who said she was offended by Christmas displays at a city hall.


Grace C. Osediacz sued the city of Cranston, R.I., asserting that the religious displays — erected along with secular displays by members of the public in an area designated by the city — violate the so-called “separation of church and state.”


But a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled unanimously Wednesday that Osediacz had no standing to bring her claim. “This is the court’s message: You can’t sue just because you’re an offended observer,” said Benjamin Bull, chief counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, or ADF.


ADF-allied attorney Tom Marcelle represented the city in the case.


“The appeals court today,” Bull continued, “rejected what has been a longstanding ACLU tactic — filing lawsuits simply for the reason that somebody claims to be offended. The Christmas displays in Cranston were perfectly constitutional, just as the district court ruled.”


Last November, a federal district court ruled that Cranston’s practice of allowing private holiday displays, including religious displays, on the front lawn of City Hall does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”


The district court granted an injunction against the city on other grounds at that time, but the appeals court Wednesday threw out the injunction, saying that Osediacz had no standing to sue.


In Wednesday’s opinion, the three-judge panel wrote, “The Constitution requires that litigants have a personal stake in a case before they may sue in a federal court., and this plaintiff has not provided facts sufficient to show that she possesses such a stake.”


U.S. District Court Judge William Smith wrote last year that nothing in the city’s public statements or in its implementation of the policy for its Christmas displays “reveals or even remotely supports an inference that a religious purpose was behind the creation of the limited public forum,” as the ACLU’s lawsuit alleged.




Senate Approves Boy Scout Events on Military Bases (Foxnews, 050726)


WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to allow U.S. military bases to continue to host Boy Scouts events, responding to lawsuits and a federal court ruling aimed at severing relationships between the government and the youth group.


The vote came one day after four adult Scout leaders from an Alaska troop were killed on the opening day of the National Scout Jamboree at the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Va., when a tent pole apparently struck a power line.


In a 98-0 vote, the Senate approved the provision continuing the hosting of Boy Scout events as part of massive bill setting Defense Department policy for next year.


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a former Boy Scout who sponsored the Senate provision, said it is necessary to push back on a spate of lawsuits to limit Boy Scout activities on government property. The provision adopted Tuesday says Boy Scouts should be treated the same as other national youth organizations


Frist said it “removes any doubt that federal agencies may welcome Scouts to hold meetings, go camping on federal property or hold scouting events and public forums” on government property.


In 1999, the ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit claiming the Pentagon’s sponsorship of such Boy Scout activities violates the First Amendment. The ACLU argues that direct government sponsorship of the group amounts to discrimination.


Civil liberties advocates have assailed the Boy Scouts organization because it bans openly gay leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God.


On June 22, U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning ruled in the ACLU’s favor, saying the Pentagon can’t spend millions of dollars to sponsor Boy Scout events. She said in an earlier ruling that the government spent between $6 million and $8 million to host the Jamboree on a military base in 1997 and 2001.


The House in November overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution that recognized the Boy Scouts organization for its public service efforts and condemned legal efforts to limit government ties to the organization that has 3.2 million members.




Caught on Tape: The suicidal otherworldliness of ACLU-style civil libertarianism. (National Review Online, 050726)


The four would-be suicide bombers of the botched July 21 attacks in London have a big problem. They were caught on videotape. Their images have been broadcast in Britain and around the world, making their apprehension astronomically more likely than if they had escaped undetected.


For this, we have security cameras to thank. London has half a million of them. According to one estimate, a person wandering around London will be filmed 300 times in a day. The city is a pioneer of a trend toward video surveillance that is also sweeping the United States and provoking howls from civil libertarians whose internal clocks are set to make a reference to 1984 every 15 minutes or so. Given the choice, apparently, they would prefer not to have the video of the July 21 bombers, which is an indication of the suicidal otherworldliness of ACLU-style civil libertarianism.


Opponents of video cameras unroll various arguments about the cameras. They complain that the cameras are intrusive and a violation of privacy. But how is it possible to violate someone’s privacy in a park or a subway car? People have a right to privacy only where they have an expectation of privacy, and that is not in public places where things they do are susceptible to viewing by dozens of pairs of eyes. No one should expect pristine privacy while walking in a subway tunnel, let alone while he is running away after having attempted to kill and maim people.


If they can’t brandish the Fourth Amendment, civil libertarians get down to practical policing and claim that cameras don’t really do anything to prevent crime; they only occasionally help solve crime after the fact. Even if this were true, solving one terror attack alone — and therefore perhaps unraveling networks that would attack in the future — makes the cameras worth it.


Cameras won’t deter suicide bombers — what will? — but they can tamp down other criminal activity. Cameras in Britain are credited with discouraging the IRA bombing campaign in the 1990s. On a less serious front, San Francisco — one of many jurisdictions, including New York, Houston and New Jersey, that have cameras in their train systems — saw vandalism drastically decline on subway cars after the installation of surveillance cameras.


Some cities have turned to cameras in high-crime areas, mounting them to watch activities in parks and on dangerous streets. The Los Angeles Times reported in October 2004, “Earlier this year, police began monitoring seven cameras around MacArthur Park in the city’s Westlake district, watching in amazement as crime plummeted, gangs, drug dealers and pimps disappeared, and families with children began returning to the 40-acre expanse in one of the city’s poorest areas.” Chicago has used cameras to make drug busts in real time.


Then there is the last resort of civil libertarians. When no real harm can be demonstrated, they always discern a subtle “chilling effect.” “When citizens are being watched by the authorities,” says Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union, “they are more self-conscious and less freewheeling.” But urban areas, where the cameras are proliferating, are not notably bastions of inhibited behavior. City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald, who is nation’s foremost critic of the excesses of the ACLU, writes, “The only people whom public cameras inhibit are criminals; they liberate the law-abiding public.” When they move a camera out of a troubled neighborhood, Chicago police now get complaints from neighbors, who want pimps and drug dealers to be decidedly inhibited.


The priority of a certain class of civil libertarians is apparently to protect Americans from nonexistent threats to their liberty at the expense of protecting them from real threats to their safety. The New York Civil Liberties Union is considering a federal lawsuit over New York’s new policy of randomly searching the backpacks of subway passengers. Only if terrorists can get on mass-transit systems without any risk of their bags being searched or their images being recorded will they finally rest easy.


— Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.




The ACLU’s 30 Years War (Weekly Standard, 050808)


Will the Boy Scouts ever hold their Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill again?


A WEEK AGO YESTERDAY President Bush spoke before the more than 30,000 Boy Scouts attending the 16th National Scout Jamboree. The tragic deaths by electrocution of four adult Scout leaders on July 25 dominated news of the Jamboree, and the coverage of Bush’s speech was perfunctory at best. Like many of President Bush’s formal speeches, however, his remarks are worth reading in their entirety. They are eloquent, funny, personal, and moving.


Bush first noted that the “Scouts have set a high standard of service and duty to God and country.” He observed that “through the generations, Scouts have made America a stronger and better country.” After identifying the prominent former Scouts who serve in his administration, Bush paid tribute to the principles underlying the Scout movement and provided some striking advice regarding the enemies of those principles:


When you join a Scout troop and put on the Boy Scout uniform you make a statement. Your uniform is a sign that you’re a certain kind of citizen—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. These are the values of scouting, and they’re important values for America. By working to live up to them, you’re bringing great credit to yourselves and to our nation . . .


[A]lways remember where you come from and what you believe. At times, you may come across people who say that moral truth is relative, or call a religious faith a comforting illusion . . . But remember, lives of purpose are constructed on the conviction that there is right and there is wrong, and we can know the difference.


In the years ahead you will find that indifferent or cynical people accomplish little that makes them proud. You’ll find that confronting injustice and evil requires a vision of goodness and truth. You’ll find that many in your community, especially those younger than you, look to you as an example. For your sake, and for the sake of our country, I hope you’ll always strive to be men of conviction and character.


The Jamboree took place at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County, Virginia—its permanent home since 1981. Yet most coverage of the president’s speech failed to note that the 2005 Jamboree may be the Scouts’ last at the site. On June 22, Illinois federal district court Judge Blanche Manning prohibited the Defense Department from allowing the Scouts to use the site for future Jamborees.


WHY? Well, for the past 25 years the American Civil Liberties Union has conducted a legal war on the Boy Scouts. In 1980, the ACLU filed its first lawsuit seeking to remold the Scouts into an organization more to its liking. Claiming that the Scouts constituted a “public accommodation” for the purpose of state and local civil rights laws, the ACLU brought a discrimination suit against the Scouts on behalf of a troop leader excluded from membership after he took a male date to his senior prom. According to the ACLU throughout years of litigation, the Scouts didn’t believe in anything in particular, so that its associational rights were not infringed by subjugation to the imperatives of state and local discrimination law.


That lawsuit was the first salvo in the ACLU’s war on the Scouts; the ACLU subsequently brought similar lawsuits on behalf of homosexual Boy Scout leaders including James Dale. In the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in the Dale case, the Court rejected the ACLU’s argument and held that the Scouts had a First Amendment right to determine their membership.


The Dale case represented only one of many fronts in the ACLU’s war, though. In 1999, while the Dale case was working its way through the courts, the ACLU opened a second front in Winkler v. Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees. In Winkler, the ACLU contended that the Scouts are—contrary to the argument the ACLU pressed in Dale—a religious organization. Whereas the ACLU argued in Dale that the Scouts believed too little to qualify for First Amendment protection from governmental intrusion, in Winkler they argued that the Scouts believe too much, so to speak, to allow for governmental support. The ACLU attacked governmental support of Scouting programs as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


Judge Manning has dismissed certain of the ACLU claims on technical grounds, but has found that the federal statute authorizing the Defense Department to provide services and supplies in connection with Boy Scout Jamborees is unconstitutional. On June 22, Manning entered an order enjoining the Defense Department from providing aid under federal law for future Boy Scout Jamborees. Unless Judge Manning’s order is reversed—a big “if” in light of the tortured condition of the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence—the Boy Scouts’ 2005 Jamboree will be its last at Fort A.P. Hill.


In his speech at the Jamboree, President Bush warned the Scouts that in the future they would confront indifferent or cynical people who accomplish little that makes them proud. With slight modification, this description seems to fit the forces of the ACLU with which the Scouts have now been contending for more than a generation. These forces have accomplished much, and although they should be ashamed, they are undoubtedly proud.


Scott Johnson is a contributing writer to THE DAILY STANDARD and a contributor to the blog Power Line.




Backing up the Boy Scouts (, 050802)


Bill Murchison


Talk about getting in your adversaries’ faces! On back-to-back days, George W. Bush hands John Bolton an interim appointment as U.N. ambassador and praises the moral character and public importance of the Boy Scouts of America. Our president is going out of his way to live dangerously.


Bush’s encomium to 30,000 scouts at their national jamboree (“Through the generations, scouts have made America a stronger and better nation”) could prove the more daring of the two gambits.


As tough a nut as he is, Bolton lacks the means of making the U.N. look good, whereas generous and laudatory words about the scouts are rarely these days poured out in high places, for reasons that boggle the mind. The left wing in American politics has been working to turn the Boy Scouts into an emblem of bigotry (a trait, you understand, that absolutely no one on the left ever displays).


For American Civil Liberties Union lawyers and gay rights activists, the scouts have become a surrogate target representing the old-time religion. Adversaries of scout ideals, by kicking the scouts around, deliver a swift kick to the backside of anyone brazen enough to support the scouts in public embrace of “God and my country.”


Whatever status God and country formerly enjoyed in American society, God has become, to the left, an unwelcome intruder in public affairs. The left isn’t really big on God Bless America patriotism either.


The ACLU busies itself in filing and prosecuting suits against all evidences of governmental backing for the scouts’ “exclusivist” religious ideals — i.e., no atheists. Last fall, the Defense Department agreed, in partial settlement of a five-year-old suit, to bar official military sponsorship of scout activities. The outrage was large enough to reach even Congress’ ear. On July 26, the Senate voted 98-0 to allow the hosting of scout events, such as the jamboree, on military bases.


With religiousness goes commitment to religious norms. Here again the scouts fall short — ideologically speaking. The scouts have fought for, and won in court, the right to exclude professed homosexuals from membership and leadership posts. Naturally, gay rights agitators have leaned hard on public schools and charitable organizations, especially United Way, to drop support of the scouts.


Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The real payoff is the chance to fill the air with denunciations of scout “homophobia” and thus injure the organization’s community standing. It’s a tactic that trial lawyers understand well: When you can’t win with the facts, start slinging the mud.


Who once would have believed this kind of nuttiness could take root here: commitment to God and country and moral fiber assailed in federal court as un-American and subversive of democracy? Here comes Bush, at any rate, to do something welcome and valuable, namely, to throw the prestige of his office behind the cause of scouting — and on government property yet, Fort A.P. Hill.


“It’s a fantastic sight,” the president says, “to look out on more than 30,000 young men wearing the uniform of the Boy Scouts.” (Young men the ACLU would probably love to evict from the premises.)


“When you join a scout troop, and put on the Boy Scout uniform, you make a statement. Your uniform is a sign that you’re a certain kind of citizen — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. These are the values of scouting, and they’re important values for America.


“I’m standing in front of America’s future leaders. When you follow your conscience, and the ideals you have sworn as a scout, there is no limit to what you can achieve for your country.”


And so on. The presidential pulpit has no end of uses: not the least of which is hitting a lick for common sense when such a lick, or a barrage of licks, seems called for. Here was one of those moments, and Mr. Bush delivered — loyally, helpfully, cheerfully and more than just a bit bravely.




Planned Parenthood superhero terminates Christian protesters (WorldNetDaily, 050809)


Character also drowns promoter of abstinence in animated video pushing ‘safe is sexy’ message


An online animated video sponsored by Planned Parenthood’s San Francisco-area branch features a superhero character drowning an abstinence promoter in a trash can and blasting into oblivion several pro-life picketers protesting in front of one of the organization’s facilities.


‘A Superhero for Choice’ confronts abstinence promoter.


The eight-minute “A Superhero for Choice,” posted on the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate website, has a bespectacled black woman in San Francisco morphing into a red-suited flying enforcer, bent on making the world safe for the organization’s values.


Viewers see three teenagers talking with an ugly green-faced man sporting a top hat and bow tie who tries to tell the kids abstinence is the only sure way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. The teen girl rebuts the man, naming several birth-control methods.


Retorts the little green man: “Those are instruments from the devil’s toolbox!”


The superhero arrives in time to fill a trash can with water and dump the pro-abstinence character into it, slamming the cover down. After the man’s muffled voice eventually dies off, the superhero tosses the teens a “safe sex kit,” reminding the kids: “Safe is sexy!”


The “Superhero for Choice,” dubbed Dianisis, next confronts a group of protesters in front of a Planned Parenthood facility. They, too, are ugly and have green faces, carrying signs that say, “Pray for thy sins.”


Religious protesters get blasted.


The superhero character uses a “condom gun” that catches each protester in a prophylactic bubble, which subsequently explodes. Though she admits the protesters have a First Amendment right to picket, she glories in the fact that people can now visit the Planned Parenthood facility unimpeded.


The flying superhero then travels to Washington, D.C., where she puts a giant condom on the Washington Monument and confronts a Southern senator who is stricken with “misinformed conservatism.”


The woman’s final stop is a village in Africa, where she talks to a doctor working to stem HIV/AIDS and to make sure “every child is a wanted child.” The superhero remarks before leaving: “I have an appointment with the Rev. Jerry Falwell – that schmuck.”


Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League’s STOPP International, decried the Planned Parenthood animated piece.


“With its latest marketing gimmick … Planned Parenthood is glamorizing violence against people of faith,” Sedlak said in a statement. “The hatred and religious bigotry demonstrated by Planned Parenthood in this video are shocking and offensive.”


Sedlak says the video could encourage people to act out the violence shown.


“In this post-9/11 era of terrorism, Planned Parenthood has recklessly crossed the line by promoting violence against people who do not share the organization’s radical beliefs,” said Sedlak. “Planned Parenthood’s actions are reprehensible, because there is no guarantee that someone viewing this video might not act on its suggestions and instigate violence against people of faith.”


Commented blogger Dawn Eden: “Now, I ask you, if the American Life League’s website featured a cartoon depicting an ALL superhero blowing up nonviolent Planned Parenthood activists, would Planned Parenthood just shrug it off?


“I think we all know what would happen. There would be an uproar.”


“This video is absolutely outrageous,” said Douglas R. Scott, president of Life Decisions International, in a statement. “Pro-life men and women are depicted as evil and stupid. It sends a message to teenagers that it is acceptable to eliminate those who disagree. It is also riddled with misinformation about birth control, abortion, and sexual activity.”


American Life League wants heads to roll over the video.


Said Sedlak: “American Life League demands that Planned Parenthood publicly reveal the names of all persons involved in the development and posting of this outrageous material and immediately dismiss all individuals involved from their positions as employees or volunteers. We also demand that Planned Parenthood issue a public apology without delay to pro-life Christians everywhere for inciting violence against them.”


While Planned Parenthood refers countless women for abortions across the nation, the word “abortion” is not mentioned in the film.


Planned Parenthood Golden Gate is a consortium of eight clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area. Repeated calls to the organization’s administrative offices were not returned by press time.




Praying school board likened to terrorists: ACLU boss compares officials to ‘people who flew the airplanes into the buildings’ (WorldNetDaily, 050817)


A local ACLU director equated al-Qaida terrrorists with members of a Louisiana school board seeking to open their meetings with prayer.


Joe Cook of the ACLU of Louisiana spoke on camera with WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge, La., while staff and teachers of the Tangipahoa Parish district in New Orleans were at a seminar being informed of their free-speech rights by a member of the Alliance Defense Fund.


Referring to the school board, Cook said, “They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London.”


Mike Johnson, senior counsel and southeastern regional coordinator for the Alliance Defense Fund, said Cook has become increasingly outlandish in his statements.


“It shows the ACLU has become more and more extreme and marginalized,” said Johnson. “So, to that extent, I like it when he talks, because he simply reveals who they are.”


Johnson said the ACLU tries to “come across as champions of liberty, but the truth of the matter is they are extremists.”


“It’s clear in a number of recent cases that the ACLU of Louisiana wants to impose a radical form of secularism that the Constitution doesn’t require, and frankly, that people of this state are not willing to accept,” Johnson said.


The local ACLU has filed three lawsuits in the past 10 years on behalf of “offended parents” with children in the Tangipahoa Parish district.


The board is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that prayers at its regular meetings violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”


The board – which has opened each of its meetings with a prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, for more than 30 years – argues the invocations impose no restriction on any religious viewpoint, and any person who wants to lead the prayer may do so regardless of his religious beliefs.


In 2003, however, a parent of two high school students in the district, represented by the ACLU, filed a lawsuit claiming the invocations were unconstitutional.


The trial judge recognized it is constitutional for legislative or deliberative bodies to begin meetings with prayer, but she ruled the principle did not apply to the school board.


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The ACLU says, “The school board’s consistent defiance of the law not only dishonors and endangers the Constitution, but it also sends a message of religious intolerance and polarizes the community.”


In April, the ACLU of Louisiana filed a motion for criminal contempt against the board for allegedly defying a court order banning official prayer at athletic events.


In March, the local ACLU also asked a judge to hold the board in contempt for allowing an elementary school student to recite the Lord’s Prayer before its meeting.


Public prayer at school-related functions is “un-American and immoral,” Cook said at the time.


“Public schools should be kept inclusive and secular in keeping with our founders’ ideas for religious liberty for all,” said Cook. “Because public schools are part of the government, official school-organized or school-sponsored devotional exercises are inconsistent with the principle of religious freedom.”


Cook made his comments to the New Orleans TV station while the ADF’s Johnson was providing in-service training to the district’s 1,500 staff and teachers, outlining the legal parameters in which they can express religious faith in a public school setting.

“What [the ACLU desires] is to remove all religious expression from the public square,” Johnson said. “But the people of Louisiana are not along for that ride. [Cook] has a very different vision for the country that the people here do. Traditional family values and religious liberty are still things held in high regard here. When he comes forward with this message, there is a backlash.”


Johnson said most of the seminar amounted to going through the Department of Education guidelines on prayer in schools.


Any school receiving federal funding through the No Child Left Behind Act must commit to the guidelines each year, but the information rarely is passed down to the classroom, Johnson said.


The guidelines – first issued in 1995 under President Clinton and most recently revised by the Bush adminstration in 2003 – essentially say students and teachers maintain their rights to free speech and religious expression on campus.


All religious express that is student-led and not a material disruption to the school program must be allowed, Johnson emphasized.


Public schools must be neutral toward religion and allow equal access to student media outlets and facilities for after-hours events. If a math club can use a classroom, a religious-oriented one can use one too, Johnson said.




ACLU backs Wiccan suit (WorldNetDaily, 050810)


RICHMOND — Civil liberties lawyers have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a Wiccan priestess to offer prayers before a public board’s meetings.


Cynthia Simpson was turned down in 2002 when she asked the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to add her name to the list of people who customarily open the board’s meetings with a religious invocation.


The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the suburban Richmond county.


In their petition, received by the court yesterday, American Civil Liberties Union lawyers accuse the federal appeals court of trying to “obscure with legal smoke and mirrors” Chesterfield’s preference for mainline religions.


“Although Establishment Clause jurisprudence may be beset with conflicting tests, uncertain outcomes and ongoing debate, one principle has never been compromised ... that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another,” ACLU attorneys wrote in their 13-page filing.


County officials said they had the right to limit the prayers to Judeo-Christian beliefs and religions based on a single god.


Though many variations exist, the Wiccan faith is a generally a multi-deity religion with strong focus on Earth and seasonal cycles, also defined as a form of witchcraft.


“The First Amendment prohibits governments from having an official religion,” ACLU Virginia’s legal director, Rebecca Glenberg, said in an interview.


Chesterfield County Attorney Steven Micas was out of the office and not available for comment yesterday.


In 2003, a federal judge ruled the Chesterfield restriction unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit in Richmond reversed that decision in April.


Miss Simpson’s battle mirrors a 2004 case in which Wiccan high priestess Darla Kaye Wynne sued the town of Great Falls, S.C., for specifying that prayers at government meetings invoke the name Jesus Christ.


A federal judge ultimately ruled in Miss Wynne’s favor. The appeals court later upheld the ruling — a decision ACLU attorneys initially thought settled the matter of meeting prayers.


But the court disagreed.


“Our case wasn’t specifically about the content of the prayers. It was about who was to give the prayers,” Miss Glenberg said. “They just didn’t think it was the same kind of case.”


Miss Glenberg called the case a question of whether government officials can cherry pick when it comes to religious matters.


“It sets a precedent for allowing the government to treat people differently based on their religion,” she said. “It’s that part that’s troubling.”




‘Anti-ACLU’ Fights for Religion in Public Life (Foxnews, 050814)


LOS ANGELES — For years, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have fought to remove any trace of religion from government and public life, and for years they’ve won.


Now the ACLU is facing a challenge from groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund, one of several Christian law firms formed in the 1990s.


From its base in Phoenix, the ADF says its goal is to defend religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family against any person or group who attacks those principles.


“The ACLU has through the years filed a series of lawsuits that diminish the rights of Americans to understand their history, to exhibit in public, to exercise their faith in many ways,” said ADF president and CEO Alan E. Sears.


In one of its better-known cases, the ADF sued the city and county of San Francisco and successfully argued before the California state Supreme Court that marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples should be declared null and void because the mayor and county clerk did not have the authority to issue them.


Now it’s working on what it calls its “Christmas project,” an effort to defend school districts around the nation against lawsuits to ban Christmas trees and other religious displays during the holidays.


Former ACLU board member Susan Estrich, a FOX News contributor, said groups such as the ADF are unnecessary because they represent a majority group, which already has all the influence it needs.


“So long as Christians are voting and electing the majority, and the majority of our leaders are Christian and the majority of our judges are Christian, I’m not sure who the Christians are ultimately complaining about,” Estrich said.


Of course, it only takes one person to file a lawsuit. In San Diego, a single atheist has kept the city in court for over a decade trying to get a cross removed from a war memorial. The ADF and their allies say that’s why they exist.




School Daze I (Tongue Tied, 050921)


Pictures of Jesus and of the Last Supper that have hung in an Illinois middle school for decades have been removed following complaints from an atheist group, reports KFVS-TV.


The images hung on a wall near the junior high gym in Anna, Ill., but had to be removed after the board received a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. But the action was taken reluctantly, but both the board and broader community.


“Separation of church and state I don’t think ever meant to be what we’re experiencing right now across the nation,” said Pastor Al Campbell, the President of the Union County Alliance of Churches. “I don’t think it hurts young people to have our symbols in the schools.”




100,000 back bill to curb ACLU: Petition urges Congress to act on legislation (WorldNetDaily, 051012)


A grass-roots group is mobilizing more than 100,000 Americans to urge Congress to pass a bill that would curb the ACLU by denying plaintiff attorneys the right to collect attorneys fees in lawsuits targeting religion in the public square.


The petition by the Center for Reclaiming America calls for “a stand against the ACLU’s radical agenda, which undermines our nation’s moral and religious heritage.”


The group says it already has 100,000 signatures and hopes to garner another 30,000.


The petition reads:


As a concerned citizen, I am taking a stand against the ACLU’s radical agenda, which undermines our nation’s moral and religious heritage. I join with citizens across the nation in protest of ACLU policies and actions to strip faith in God from the public square while promoting anti-family and pro-homosexual initiatives. I am calling on leaders in government and media to tell the truth about the ACLU’s radical agenda. Furthermore, I demand lawmakers take the necessary steps to eliminate the monetary motives behind the ACLU’s campaign to remove all mention of God from the public square. The ACLU does not represent me nor the vast majority of American citizens.


The legislation by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., would amend the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act of 1976 to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorneys fee in religious establishment cases but not in other civil rights filings.


Hostettler introduced a bill with identical language in 2003 to permit only injunctive relief in cases filed under the religious-establishment clause of the Constitution and to deny attorneys fees.


Although that bill failed in subcommittee, supporters are optimistic that the current offering will pass this session because of the more conservative makeup of the current Congress and escalating calls to curb an activist judiciary, particularly on religious matters.


In August, another advocacy group asked Congress to probe the ACLU for “widespread use of frivolous lawsuits following its legal action against New York City for allegedly violating citizens’ rights by random searches on subways.


As reported by WorldNetDaily, other citizen and legal groups are lobbying to limit standing to bring establishment cases as well as deny attorneys fees.




ACLU targets tiny cross on seal: Group takes on town of 500 over 30-year-old image (WorldNetDaily, 051025)


Proving it does not discriminate against the size of the municipality it will take to court, the American Civil Liberties Union is locked in a legal battle with a small New Mexico town over a tiny cross on its seal – this after last year forcing the County of Los Angeles to remove a cross from its seal.


After being threatened with a lawsuit should it continue to use the seal, the city of Tijeras, N.M., – with a population of less than 500 – decided to place itself in a David and Goliath conflict with the ACLU to defend the presence of the cross.


In 1973, Tijeras adopted the seal, which was designed to symbolize the history of the town. It includes a conquistador’s helmet and sword, a scroll, a desert plant, a fairly large religious symbol (the Native American zia) and a small Christian cross.


“Tiny cross inspectors are not permitted to fret about large non-Christian religious symbols, only undersized Christian ones,” commented columnist John Leo about the case.


Since it is such a small town, Tijeras did not have the financial resources to battle the ACLU, so the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-religious-liberty organization, has agreed to represent the municipality.


“The ACLU is once more specifically targeting a cross while it ignores Native American religious symbols,” commented ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb. “It reveals their desire to target all things Christian, regardless of the fact that the cross in the Tijeras seal is clearly an historic symbol and not an attempt to endorse any particular faith.”


Wrote Silas Montgomery, tongue in cheek, in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, referencing the placement of the cross on the seal: “This heinous crime, committed more than 30 years ago, went unpunished until the righteous crusaders from the ACLU took note of it and decided that justice had to be served.”


As WorldNetDaily reported, last year the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, threatened to sue the county if the L.A. County Board of Supervisors did not redesign the seal, leading to a 3-2 vote to remove the small cross. The ACLU claimed it violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.


The Board subsequently voted to approve a new cross-less seal.




All dolled up and no place to go (, 051108)


by Rebecca Hagelin


A new catalog from the American Girl doll company arrived in the mail recently —something my daughter Kristin and I used to really look forward to.


We’ve ordered from the company many times, and one of my fondest memories is of a trip I made with Kristin to the huge American Girl store in Chicago. The occasion was my — ahem, 40th birthday — as well as that of my best childhood friend, Suzanne Ebel. We decided to take our daughters and spend a weekend doing girlie fun stuff that we would all enjoy, mainly to teach our girls the importance of developing true female friendships. Our weekend highlight was a play and lunch at American Girl.


Tragically, it seems that the place we carefully chose to help teach our daughters important life lessons about sacrifice, selflessness and friendship now promotes the “me first” mantra of selfish feminism.


The company has decided to donate money from the sale of its “I Can” bracelets to Girls Inc., a group that promotes an agenda that sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of Planned Parenthood.


I know — it sounds like something that just can’t be true. And believe me, it pains me deeply to say it.  Like thousands of other mothers who work to uphold traditional values, I have long appreciated the American Girl dolls for their wholesome image and the way they help our daughters learn about the enormous sacrifices mothers and fathers have made throughout history to provide a better life for their children.


The storybooks featuring Kirsten, for example — the doll my daughter owns — focus on what life was like in Minnesota in 1854 for a girl whose hard-working immigrant parents made the difficult decision to move their family from Sweden to America.


But what an unwelcome education we’re getting now about the company that makes these wonderful dolls. On the company’s Web site, you’ll find (on the “Shop” page) a picture of a black bracelet with a red star that says, “I Can.” When you click on the link to find out about buying the bracelet, it tells you about the “I Can” promise: “I can be myself, follow my dreams and always do my best. I can reach for the stars, lend a hand to others and be a good friend. I can make a difference! I promise to try.”


This seems innocuous enough, but then you’ll see a notice that 70 cents of every dollar raised from selling the bracelet goes to Girls Inc., described as “a national organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.” Again, that doesn’t sound so bad — until you go to the Girls Inc. Web site.


There, we find that Girls Inc. “encourages all girls to develop positive sexual identities and to function comfortably as responsible sexual beings.” OK, I thought we were talking about girls and their dolls. How did we make the jump to them as “sexual beings”? But the folks at Girls Inc. are just warming up:


“To make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood, girls need and have a right to sensitive, truthful sexuality education; convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception and protection from disease; and referral to comprehensive information, counseling, clinical and other services that support their responsible decisions. We recognize that any sizable group of girls includes those who face issues related to their sexual orientation or that of a family member and who face discrimination based on this sexual orientation. Girls have a right to positive, supportive environments and linkages to community resources for dealing with issues of sexual orientation.”


Whoa. In other words, American Girl is sponsoring a group that promotes access to abortion and contraception for young girls, along with what sounds like a rather graphic sex-ed course for our daughters. And if they have lesbian tendencies, that’s apparently no problem for the folks at Girls Inc. Indeed, it’s to be encouraged.


The Web site goes on make its support for abortion on demand clear:


“We recognize the right of all women to choose whether, when, and under what circumstances to bear children. Reproductive freedom and responsibility are essential to other rights and opportunities, including pursuit of education, employment, financial security and a stable and fulfilling family life. Restrictions of reproductive choice are especially burdensome for young women and poor women. Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade.”


What a shocking and sad decision by a company that has long enjoyed the support of moms hoping for safe harbor from the more explicit and, frankly, trashy dolls that one finds at toy stores these days. Not surprisingly, American Girl’s tasteless decision to help sponsor the radical feminist agenda has sparked outrage nationwide. Some groups are urging boycotts and encouraging customers to voice their displeasure to the company.


A Catholic school in Brookfield, Wisc., St. Luke School, did its part by canceling a fashion show by American Girl. The money raised would have gone toward a new playground and a refurbished library. “It’s a bargain we’ll just have to pass up,” Frank Malloy, St. Luke’s pastor, said. “The cost is too high. Our integrity isn’t for sale.”


Let’s hope that American Girl has its own attack of conscience — and reconsiders its disgraceful support of Girls Inc.




ACLU challenges Bible tax exemption: Calls state statute unconstitutional endorsement of religion (WorldNetDaily, 051116)


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit over a Georgia law that exempts the Bible from sales taxes, calling it discriminatory.


Candace Apple, owner of the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore near Atlanta and a plaintiff in the suit, argues the exemption should apply to any book that addresses the meaning of life, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.


“If they’re not taxing someone’s holy scriptures, they shouldn’t be taxing anyone’s,” said Apple, whose store specializes in metaphysical books. “I’m not willing to stand at the counter and tell someone, ‘Oh, sorry, your religion is wrong.’”


The law originated in the 1950s with an executive order by Gov. Ernest Vandiver that was reissued by Gov. Lester Maddox in 1970. The Legislature approved the sales-tax suspension the following year.


Apple is joined in the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, with Thomas Budlong, a retired librarian and former president of the Georgia Library Association.


Maggie Garrett of the ACLU of Georgia, who is representing the two plaintiffs, told the Atlanta paper the law “is written in such a way that minority religions don’t get the same tax exemption as better-known religions such as Christianity and Judaism.”


State law exempts from sales tax all “Holy Bibles, testaments and similar books commonly recognized as being Holy Scripture.”


The lawsuit said Budlong objected to having to pay sales tax on his recent purchases of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values” and “The Bhagavad Gita,” a sacred Hindu text.


The Journal-Constitution reported State Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, the defendant, was unaware of the dispute until notified Monday of the lawsuit.


“Most organizations or advocates will approach us to isolate a specific issue they have,” Graham told the paper. “Often we can take a number of issues off the table, either by rule or regulation. ... We don’t like to start in court, but if someone wants to go down that road, we’re more than happy to accommodate them and work through the issue.”


Graham’s office already has suspended sales tax for purchase of Islam’s sacred book the Quran, in response to an inquiry. But there have been no requests about other religious or spiritual texts, he said.


The lawsuit argues the tax exemption is unconstitutional because it has “the primary effect of endorsing religion in general and Judaism and Christianity in particular.”


The ACLU’s Garrett wants the state Legislature to expand the statute to cover a broader spectrum of religious and spiritual materials, but a spokeswoman for House Speaker Glenn Richardson, Michelle Hitt, doesn’t expect that to happen.


“It’s not an issue that’s been discussed, at all,” she said.




Group wants to see humans extinct (WorldNetDaily, 051117)


SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 16 (UPI) — Make no mistake about it, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement isn’t anti-child, it’s more like anti-human.


The VHE is dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the health of the Earth, founder Les Knight told Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle.


With 16,000 people born per hour and a current global population of 6.5 billion, there are already more than enough people on the planet, Knight said.


A 1994 study concluded a single person born in the 1990s would be responsible during a lifetime for 22 million pounds of liquid waste and 2.2 million pounds each of solid waste and atmospheric waste, the newspaper said. He or she will have a lifetime consumption of 4,000 barrels of oil, 1.5 million pounds of minerals and 62,000 pounds of animal products that will necessitate the slaughter of 2,000 animals.


“Wherever humans live, not much else lives,” Knight said. “It isn’t that we’re evil and want to kill everything — it’s just how we live.”


Knight, who had a vasectomy at age 25, emphasizes VHE likes kids and says many of its members are parents as well as children.




ACLU threatens school for ‘altar call’: Looking for lawsuit plaintiff against prayer at grad ceremony (WorldNetDaily, 051124)


The American Civil Liberties Union wants to file a lawsuit against an Arkansas high school for allowing a student to give an “altar call” prayer during a high school graduation ceremony.


During the May 20 event at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center, senior Jessica Reed said, “In the closing moments of this service, if you would like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, here’s your chance,” reported KAIT-TV in Jonesboro.


Donn Mixon, attorney for Jonesboro Public Schools, said his office was contacted after the event by the ACLU, which claimed “there had been a violation of the First Amendment, separation of church and state with regard to a prayer.”


The ACLU now is looking for a plaintiff in the case against Jonesboro High School, KAIT reported.


Rita Sklar, Arkansas ACLU executive director, said in a letter to district lawyers the event was a “blatant display of contempt for the First Amendment.”


Mixon said, “This is a tough area for schools to balance. People have a freedom of religion, but as a school district, we can not recognize a religion, and the balance between those two is where the rub comes.”


Mixon said the school district policy “is to not recognize any particular religion and not to recognize religion, period.”


“In this case, the student was on the school program as giving a prayer, and that does go against our policies,” he said.


During her speech, Reed said, “I’m here to tell you that God is someone, that he is amazing. He will love you through everything. He will praise you when you are down. All you have to do is give your heart to Him. And before we leave, I want to give you that opportunity.”


Mixon says the policy will be enforced and he hopes there will not be a lawsuit.


“It has occurred from time to time that students speak their mind about religion, or about prayer at graduation,” he said. “The problem comes when the school recognizes that. And we had a lapse where our policy about prayer was apparently not followed that is still being investigated, but we can assure the ACLU and the public that that will not happen again.”


Mixon said he could not comment on whether or not the student who gave the speech had been punished by the school.




The ACLU Endangers You and Your Family (Foxnews, 051209)


By Bill O’Reilly


How the ACLU is putting you and your family in danger, that is the subject of evening’s Talking Points Memo.


The New York Times ran an article on Thursday chronicling infighting at the American Civil Liberties Union. Talking Points does not care. What we do care about is Peter Lewis, the chairman of Progressive Insurance, donating $8.5 million to the ACLU, that combined with the millions George Soros gives the outfit allows the ACLU to cause all kinds of havoc.


Now, if you don’t know that the ACLU is an anti-American organization by this time, you’re never going to know. Nevertheless, I will list its agenda once again.


The ACLU opposes virtually every aspect of The Patriot Act, which is designed to give U.S. authorities more latitude to stop terrorism. The ACLU wants more photos from Abu Ghraib released. The organization is suing the CIA, opposing the Defense Department over detainees at Guantanamo and objects to coerced interrogation of high-ranking terrorists. The ACLU has filed suits against the Boy Scouts, a variety of Christmas displays, and attempts to stop children from accessing porn at libraries


The ACLU is defending the North American Man Boy Love Association free in a Massachusetts lawsuit, and has supported the legalization of live sex acts in Oregon. The ACLU opposes parental notification in abortion cases involving their underage daughters, opposes restrictions on late term abortions, opposes doctors informing police about possible statutory rape in abortion cases.


The ACLU opposes the Minutemen on the border, exposition of the Ten Commandments in the courtroom, and is against no-fly lists to discourage terrorists from boarding airlines.


Is that enough? I got more.


In my opinion, the ACLU puts all of us in danger, wants to tear down traditional America and replace it with a so-called progressive society. And worst of all, worst of all, is aiding worldwide terrorism by opposing virtually all U.S. attempts to combat it.


I say the ACLU leadership are traitors, but that’s solely my opinion. Legally, the ACLU has a right to exist, but you have a right to object to it. Lewis and Soros are the main moneymen, but the Ford Foundation gives them millions and some celebrities help them out.


Take note of these people. They are definitely not looking out for you.




ACLU challenges menorah display at Capitol (WorldNetDaily, 051221)


The Tennessee ACLU is using a menorah display at the state Capitol to advocate for a forum for other groups and individuals to express their beliefs and opinions.


Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-Tennessee, sent a letter to Gov. Phil Bredesen Dec. 12 suggesting the annual menorah display and candle-lighting ceremony would violate the separation of church and state unless it occurred in a public forum where other displays could take place. The menorah has been displayed at the state Capitol since 2003, at the request of the Center for Jewish Awareness.


“The Center for Jewish Awareness’ request to place a menorah on state property and hold a candle-lighting ceremony is clearly religious,” Weinberg said in the letter. “In that context, the display would violate the Constitution.”


The public forum would create a space on public property for any group or individual to create and maintain religious and non-religious displays. After creating the forum, the government would not be able to control the content of the displays, Weinberg said.


The ACLU sent a similar letter to Mayor Bill Purcell.


“We wanted to make sure the governor and the mayor were aware of the need to create a public forum were they to allow a menorah and candle-lighting ceremony on public property,” Weinberg said.


The Center for Jewish Awareness disagrees with Weinberg’s assessment.


The menorah would be displayed alongside a Christmas tree at the state Capitol, and in this context, would not violate the Constitution, said Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel of the Center for Jewish Awareness.


“Although the menorah represents the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, it has become a symbol of religious freedom throughout the world and more specifically, the basic beliefs of America’s first settlers who themselves were victims of religious persecution.” Tiechtel said. “These displays are constitutionally protected as well.”


The Supreme Court has found that displaying a menorah alongside a Christmas tree does not endorse religion but recognizes that both Christmas and Chanukah are part of the same holiday season, Tiechtel said. According to, menorahs are displayed publicly across the country, in cities such as Memphis, Las Vegas and Washington D.C.


The State Capitol Commission has approved the request to place a menorah close to the state Christmas tree since 2003, state spokeswoman Lola Potter said. Thaddeus Watkins, the attorney for the commission, determined that the menorah display was permissible under federal law.


The position of the commission is that both the Christmas tree and the menorah are secular symbols of the same winter holiday season, Potter said. Although Watkins likely will ask the commission to reexamine the issue, the panel plans to place the menorah in the same location.


The Center for Jewish Awareness also requested a menorah display in Riverfront Park near the Christmas tree. However, the Parks Board must approve such displays and since it won’t meet until after Chanukah starts Dec. 26, the display will not be allowed.




Ex-ACLU attorney: Group ‘terrorizing’ U.S.: Activist praises bill that would keep taxpayer funds from organization (WorldNetDaily, 051228)


An attorney who once worked for the American Civil Liberties Union has slammed the organization for “perverting” federal law by successfully threatening government officials into getting rid of public expressions of religion.


Rees Lloyd made the comments in an online podcast hosted by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., in which the two discuss the congressman’s legislation, the Public Expression of Religion Act, or PERA (H.R.2679). The bill would prohibit judges in civil suits involving the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause from awarding attorney’s fees to those offended by religious symbols or actions in the public square – such as a Ten Commandments display in a courthouse or a cross on a county seal.


Lloyd, a California civil-rights attorney, is an officer with the American Legion who wrote a resolution passed by the national organization supporting Hostettler’s bill.


As WorldNetDaily reported, Hostettler’s proposal would amend the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorney’s fee in religious establishment cases, but not in other civil rights filings. This would prevent local governments from having to use taxpayer funds to pay the ACLU or similar organization when a case is lost, and also would protect elected officials from having to pay fees from their own pockets.


In the podcast, Hostettler explains that the 1976 statute was meant to help “the little guy” who is going up against a governmental entity so he won’t be impoverished when working to guarantee the liberty to express or practice his faith. But, says the lawmaker, the ACLU has used the law to enrich itself at the expense of taxpayers and as a means to silence public officials who don’t want to be sued personally.


Hostettler says some organizations have created a new civil liberty – a right to be protected “from religion, which is found nowhere in the Constitution, nowhere in the Bill of Rights.” The Indiana congressman blames “a very select group” for “perverting” the original statute, including the ACLU, People for the American Way and Americans United for the Separate of Church and State.


“They use this statute to extort behavior out of individuals,” the congressman said, citing the Indiana Civil Liberties Union threatening local educators. The group sent a letter to officials saying they would be sued and be forced to pay attorney’s fees should any graduation prayers be offered at commencement ceremonies. The threat sent the message, Hostettler said, that individuals tied to school districts could be impoverished personally.


Said the lawmaker: “When officials see the potential threat of a lawsuit, they stop allowing children to write papers for English class – when they’re asked to write about the most important person in their life and they decide to write about Jesus Christ.”


Hostettler’s bill would allow cases to move through the courts without public officials worrying about being held personally liable for thousands in attorneys fees.


“Let’s let these cases go forward; let’s let the courts decide what’s constitutional and what’s not, and let’s not leave it up to the ACLU,” he said.


Hostettler explained that while government entities can pay attorney’s fees charged to individual elected officials, they don’t legally have to, which puts the politicians on the hook.


Saying most taxpayers are in favor of allowing public religious expression, the congressman noted the irony of those same taxpayers being forced to pay the ACLU to sue their local governments.


“The current threat to public officials is very real; it’s ongoing,” Hostettler stated. “It’s been the case for several years that public officials are scared to death to suggest any type of public recognition of our Christian roots. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed in Washington, D.C.”


PERA would prohibit damages, court fees and attorney’s fees from going to plaintiffs in establishment-clause suits while keeping the original purpose of the civil-rights law, Hstettler says, to provide a means for those whose religious liberties have been blocked to find justice.


The congressman wonders why the ACLU would oppose his legislation since it still provides for “injunctive relief” – e.g., a court can rule in the ACLU’s favor and force the removal of a Ten Commandments display – but takes out the monetary incentive for lawsuits.


“If they’re not out for the money but are really out to preserve our civil liberties … then the ACLU should not be opposing my bill,” Hostettler commented.


Hostettler mentioned the case of Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, whose colleagues on the state Supreme Court ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments display because, the congressman says, they didn’t want the state’s taxpayers to have to pay anymore than they did – $500,000 – to the ACLU as a result of the case.


In the podcast, Lloyd decried the “terrorizing litigation tactics of the ACLU.”


Said Lloyd: “Not only can the ACLU brings these suits and compel taxpayers to pay them to destroy the public display of our American history and heritage, but so can Islamist terrorists or Islamist sympathizers in our midst.


“All they have to do is walk into court, make their claim that they’re offended by the sight of a cross or other religious symbol, and they’re going to win the case because judges follow one another under stare decisis,” or deference to precedent.


The judges would then order that fees be paid to the Islamists, Lloyd contends.


Lloyd said this issue came into focus for him when he witnessed the fight in San Diego, Calif., over a cross on a veterans’ memorial on public land in the Mohave Desert.


“For me, that was the one step taken too far,” Lloyd said. “Now, for the first time, the ACLU was attacking the very veterans who secured their freedom.”


A civil-rights activist since the ‘60s, Lloyd worked with the ACLU in the ‘70s and was “very supportive” of the 1976 Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act because it was a “noble attempt to assure that people who had legitimate civil-rights violations and injuries could secure legal representation.”


Stated Lloyd: “The ACLU has perverted, distorted and exploited the Civil Rights Act … to turn it into a lawyer-enrichment act.”


Lloyd says the American people are “oblivious” to how many millions of dollars in taxpayer funds are going to the ACLU each year.


The attorney pointed out many attorneys in cases brought by the ACLU are volunteers, so the fees the group is awarded normally do not go to reimburse an attorney but rather directly into the organization’s coffers.


Lloyd also mentioned the case in Los Angeles County, where threat of litigation caused the Board of Supervisors to have the county’s seal redesigned to eliminate a tiny cross.


“They would have fought the ACLU but for one reason: the threat of attorney’s fees,” Lloyd said.


As WorldNetDaily reported, in October the Center for Reclaiming America announced it had 100,000 signatures on a petition in support of PERA. Since then, another 60,000 have been collected.


Hostettler’s bill, which was introduced first in 2003 without success, currently has 35 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and sits in the House Committee on the Judiciary.


Stated Hostettler: “If we’re successful in Washington, D.C., it will be because the American people have had enough. … This is a war worth fighting.”




Democrats don’t need hearings (, 060123)


by Kay Daly


Judging from the microseconds between President Bush’s announcement of Samuel Alito to be the next Supreme Court Justice and the hysterical howls from the multitude of leftist organizations in the quickly formed anti-Alito chorus, it is clear that no matter how Judge Alito performed in the hearings, the Left would not be remotely interested in a fair confirmation process. It has been this way since the beginning of the Bush administration.


President Bush’s hand was barely off the Bible in his first term when liberal legal activists, such as Abner Mikva questioned the legitimacy of the Bush presidency and therefore his ability to nominate federal judges. Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way (PFAW) dramatically declared a “Judicial Armageddon.”


The left quickly discovered that the judicial nominations issue was a fundraising cash cow. Alliance for Justice, a leftist coalition led by Nan Aron, grew dramatically in budget and staff members, starting the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary and Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary under the watchful leadership of their friends at PFAW. Leadership Conference on Civil Rights’ Wade Henderson, not to be outdone, started the “Save Our Courts” organization. Armed with shiny new organization names, fistfuls of fundraising cash from Theresa Heinz Kerry and George Soros and a sense of outrage at the outcome of the 2000 presidential elections, they set off on a course of obstruction that continues today.


It has never mattered who President Bush nominated to the courts, only that it was President Bush who nominated them. Faced with devastating electoral losses, but flush with near record-breaking numbers of judges appointed by President Clinton, these leftist organizations had long depended upon activist courts to enact their radical agenda.


In fact, PFAW has filed amicus briefs or lawsuits to stop minority children from having access to prayer, any kind of Bible or an outstanding education via school choice, while at the same time ensuring that these children would have access to all forms of pornography whether delivered by television, phone line, computer or postal carrier.   While the sheer number of legal briefs filed by PFAW to support pornographers, strip club owners and public school union bosses is staggering, so is the deafening silence from the media who should be objectively covering this activity instead of financially supporting it.


According to a recent PFAW Annual Report, the donor list includes prominent media outlets or owners of media outlets, such as America Online, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, NBC, New York Times Company, Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Sony Corporation of America, Time Inc., Time Warner, USA Networks Inc., Viacom, Warner Bros., and the Walt Disney Company, among many others. Surely, Walt Disney would spin in his grave before he would support a child pornographer’s free reign on the Internet. Instead of covering the activities and supporters of the organizations who seek to obstruct President Bush’s judges, the media leaps on any innuendo thrown out by these extremists. So far, Ralph Neas has opposed Robert Bork, William Rehnquist, John Ashcroft (Attorney General), Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, William Lucas (USDOJ Civil Rights Division), among many others.  Ralph Neas is so liberal, he opposed David Souter and ran for Constance Morella’s congressional seat.


With Neas’ orchestration, the current anti-Alito coalition came out against Judge Alito practically before the President’s press conference nominating Alito to the Supreme Court was over:


— Judge Alito “must not be confirmed to the Supreme Court.” People for the American Way,

—”You name it, we’ll do it” to oppose Alito. Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, USA Today, November 1, 2005

— “Alliance for Justice opposes the nomination of Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.” Alliance for Justice,

—”NOW is strongly opposed to the elevation of Judge Alito and will activate our members in communities nationwide to defeat his nomination to the High Court.” Statement of National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy, October 31, 2005

— “Tell your Senators to oppose” Judge Alito. NARAL,


At least several of the senators destined to vote on Alito’s confirmation waited until the hearing week to hear what Judge Alito has to say. Unfortunately, many of the senators were more interested in listening to themselves talk. Senator Joe Biden holds the record for asking the longest questions of the entire hearing, and that’s saying something. In one thirty-minute session, Biden spoke for 24 minutes and Alito gave a six minute answer. He might as well have said, “Enough about me, now, what did YOU think of my last question?” Biden also may hold some kind of record for referring to himself once every 12 seconds, five times each minute, for a grand total of 360 times in 70 minutes of questioning.


Clearly, Judge Alito is a patient man, given the overwhelming assault he has endured over the past few months from well-funded leftist organizations.  Without hearing a peep from the nominee, these organizations have poured over every sentence written or uttered by him during his lifetime—a scrutiny few could withstand.  The job of these organizations has not been to learn about Alito’s judicial philosophy or even his political philosophy. Rather, it has been a search-and-destroy mission in an effort to find that one “gotcha” quote or incident to sink the nomination.


Interestingly, PFAW donations have been concentrated in recent years to senators on the Democratic side of the aisle of the Judiciary Committee.  In fact, between 1998 and 2004, PFAW Voters Alliance gave $478,711 (99.3%) to Democrats and $3,500 (0.7%) to Republicans.  With all that PFAW and their leftist friends have invested in the judicial nominations issue, it is clear that they will not let any Bush Administration nominee onto the Supreme Court without a fight—hearings or no hearings.




ACLU ‘falsely’ boots out abstinence program: Accused of spreading distortions that got curriculum barred by state (WorldNetDaily, 060406)


A group that had its abstinence education program barred by the state of Rhode Island after a complaint from the local ACLU, says the civil liberties group is spreading half-truths and distortions.


Heritage of Rhode Island, which produces a curriculum called “Right Time, Right Place,” says the ACLU has falsely claimed a video in its program makes specific references to “a relationship with Jesus” and other faith-based issues, reports Agape Press.


In a news release, the Rhode Island ACLU said, “Programs like Heritage of Rhode Island subject students to an abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum that is both ineffective and harmful. Teens need information on how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and STDs - they don’t need sex education riddled with inaccuracies and gender stereotypes.”


Heritage Executive Director Chris Plante, however, charges the ACLU has spread “misinformation” and has “not accepted any of our invitations to set the record straight.”


The Rhode Island Department of Education recently ordered the state’s public schools to stop Heritage’s abstinence curricula, Agape Press said, after the ACLU complained it violated the First Amendment’s clause prohibiting Congress from making a law establishing a religion.


Plante contends, however, the ACLU is confusing his group’s video with a “Christian school version.”


“We use a video called ‘No Apologies,’ which is published by Focus on the Family,” he said, according to Agape. “When they originally did the video, they did two versions – one for public schools and one for Christian schools. We use the public school version.”


Plante said it’s unfortunate the ACLU allowed “prejudice based on misinformation” to “direct their attack on the abstinence message.”


He notes that since last September, the ACLU has been engaged in a national anti-abstinence campaign in which it has accused federally funded abstinence programs of being “based on ideology and religion.”


“It is becoming clear that the ACLU is more interested in promoting their agenda than ensuring that teenagers receive a balanced message that includes abstinence,” he said. “When the ACLU couldn’t find any religious teaching in our programming, they bent the truth to fit their national platform.”


Plante believes the Rhode Island ACLU saw a reference to the “No Apologies” video in Heritage’s lesson plans and then, rather than checking the facts, simply made the assumption Heritage uses the Christian version of the video. However, he insists that is not true.


Plante pointed out the curriculum producer agreed to an “Assurance of Compliance” with federal standards prohibiting the integration of faith-based content in its educational materials.


“We strive to work with integrity,” Plante said, according to Agape. “By law our programming and materials must not include sectarian instruction, prayer, worship or proselytizing. Any institution we work with must understand that neither party can address abstinence from a faith perspective during our presentation.”


Heritage is calling on the ACLU to “retract its false claims in the same manner they were initially proliferated.”


“The time has come to put ideology aside,” Plante said, “and to begin a dialogue between all concerned with protecting children from the consequences of risky sexual activity.”




The ACLU’s war on the Boy Scouts (WorldNetDaily, 060406)


Last summer, a federal judge in Chicago ruled unconstitutional the old tradition of holding Boy Scout Jamborees at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia every four years. The military base belongs to the taxpayers and citizens of America, and the Boy Scouts do not. But the Boy Scouts do much for the nation, and even if the nation doesn’t own the Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts own major stock in the nation.


On Thursday, April 6, oral arguments will commence in Chicago at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The appellant is the Department of Defense, and the case is Winkler v. Rumsfeld. If the decision is upheld, the military will be barred from providing Jamboree campsites at Fort A.P. Hill, showing exhibits to the Scouts, and lending military equipment to the Scouts.


The Boy Scout Jamboree has been held at Fort A.P. Hill since 1981, and the military has provided support and resources for every Boy Scout Jamboree since the first one in 1937. The Jamboree is an opportunity for military recruitment, personnel training, and facilities construction and maintenance used for other military purposes. Some 40,000 Scouts and adult leaders attend the Jamboree from around the world, and no president has turned down an invitation to speak at the gatherings except for Bill Clinton.


The Boy Scouts are not the only group that partners with the nation’s Armed Forces, though it would seem they ought to be at the top of the list of partners. As the Boy Scouts of America Legal Issues website explains, “Military bases routinely hold circuses, carnivals and rock concerts which are open to the public; the military provides safety, security and logistical support for sporting events and political conventions; the military sends bands to perform at churches, community centers, and nursing homes across the country; and the Navy’s Blue Angels perform flyovers for NASCAR racing, truck and tractor pulls, and local parades across the country.”


That the American Civil Liberties Union would single out the Boy Scouts for exclusion from our nation’s military bases suggests an agenda so out of control that if upheld by the Seventh Circuit will threaten the very strength of our nation.


What kind of thing is it, this attempt by the ACLU to rid the public square of boys in uniforms who swear to serve God and country?


There are three possible answers. First, it might be justified by the nature of our government. Perhaps our government requires the purgation of private character-building groups from the public setting. But this is not the case. In fact, our form of government requires virtue that has its source in the private sphere. The public welfare cannot be divorced from private morality.


Perhaps though, second, something within that private sphere could still violate the principles of good government. Perhaps the Boy Scouts might do harm to the separation of church and state; perhaps the Scouts might impede upon the religious liberty of individual citizens. And yet the Boy Scouts do not constitute an establishment of religion or a violation of religious conscience. They are a private organization, and they are one of the most religiously diverse groups in the nation. Buddhists and Muslims join troops with Baptists and Mormons. Catholics go hiking with Charismatics.


And the third reason that the ACLU might wish to undo the role of the Boy Scouts in the public square is a more recent development. It is the non-discrimination code, which goes beyond basic egalitarianism to impose a radical agenda not only on the Boy Scouts of America, but on all of society – to subvert the foundations of that government that owes its very existence to the preservation of private morality. The non-discrimination code seeks to protect the moral choices of immoral human beings; it establishes license; it wreaks of our nation’s communities havoc. Furthermore, it fails the test of the Constitution, as it is applied.


The Boy Scouts will discriminate, and they have the right to do so, and they are right to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Boy Scouts to discriminate in the 2000 case of Dale v. BSA. The Scouts can exclude homosexuals and atheists from joining troops as members and leaders for the same reason that a homosexual or atheist organization can exclude Christians or people who won’t pay dues. In our free society, private organizations can set their own terms as long as they don’t impose anything on other groups.


That isn’t to say that the government has no interest in private organizations. The government must work alongside the private sphere if it is to be effective. Governments from the local to the federal must partner with groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the American Legion and the VFW, or the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Whether the occasion is Hurricane Katrina, or Sept. 11, or Veterans Day, or the Boy Scout Jamboree, a connection between government and the private sphere ought not be precluded.




Decalogue trumps ACLU again: 6th Circuit rules 19-5 in favor of county’s Commandments display (WorldNetDaily, 060424)


The American Civil Liberties Union suffered another defeat in its quest to bar the Ten Commandments from the public square today as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a display of the Decalogue in Kentucky is constitutional.


In the case ACLU of Kentucky v. Mercer County, Kentucky, the court voted 19-5 to uphold the Foundations of American Law and Government display at the country courthouse.


The display includes the Ten Commandments, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Charta, the Star-Spangled Banner, the National Motto, the Preamble to the Kentucky Constitution, the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, and a picture of Lady Justice.


Liberty Counsel represented Mercer County, as did the law firm before the Supreme Court last year in which two other Kentucky counties had displayed the Foundations of American Law and Government. Those two cases are ongoing.


The original, three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the display, saying the ACLU’s “repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state’ … [had] grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.”


The ACLU then requested the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case, and the panel rejected the civil-liberties group’s arguments once more.


Mathew D. Staver is president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel.


“Today’s decision begins to turn the tide against the ACLU, which has been on a search-and-destroy mission to remove all vestiges of our religious history from public view,” Staver said in a statement. “Whether the ACLU likes it or not, history is crystal clear that each one of the Ten Commandments played an important role in the founding of our system of law and government. Federal courts are beginning to rightfully reject extreme notions of ‘separation of church and state.’ It’s about time that courts begin interpreting the Constitution consistent with its original purpose. With the changing of personnel at the U.S. Supreme Court, the trend toward a more historical approach to the First Amendment is well under way.”




The most obnoxious group in America (, 060523)


by Burt Prelutsky


I am not a religious man. I’m neither proud of that nor ashamed. I merely state that fact to establish where I’m coming from. I have friends who are believers and friends who are not. Where religion is concerned, I believe in live and let live. I only wish that the ACLU shared that attitude. I don’t like to describe myself as an agnostic or an atheist because I don’t care to align myself with the people whose own religion consists of a profound antipathy to everybody else’s.


I decided a long time ago that religion would play no part in my life, but I felt no compulsion to convert others. Oddly enough, I never resented the folks who would ring my doorbell and try to proselytize me. Although I don’t like dealing with uninvited guests, I always thought it was nice of them to be that concerned about the eternal soul of a perfect stranger.


Having said all that, I wish to announce that I despise the ACLU for its relentless attacks on Christianity and Judaism. It’s bad enough that they will wage battle on behalf of any busybody looking to banish Christmas and Hanukah symbols from public places, including one’s own front yard. However, these very same lawyers will eagerly go to the mat to safeguard a Muslim’s right to wear a disguise on her driver’s license, a Navajo’s right to smoke peyote, and a cultist’s right to ritualistically slaughter small animals.


The ACLU proclaims that they’re merely abiding by the Constitution’s insistence on the separation of church and state. The only problem with that position is that the Constitution says no such thing. Although the secular Left has glommed on to that catch phrase like a pitbull gnawing on a shinbone, the First Amendment simply states: “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”


That is a far cry from forcing apartment dwellers to remove holiday wreaths from their door, or insisting that communities remove Nativity scenes from parks, or compelling small towns to change “Christmas Holiday” in their high school calendars to “Winter Break.”


The problem with the ACLU is that it is composed in equal measure of self-righteous fools and fascistic bullies. Because so many of their members are rich and privileged, they will, on the one hand, blather on about their love of democracy, while, at the same time, assume they alone know what’s best for everyone else.


Because they are so out of step with the majority, they can rarely have their way via a democratic ballot. There are, in fact, only two means by which they ever have their way. The first is by getting liberal judges to set aside election results, as they have done over such issues as capital punishment, illegal immigration, and affirmative action. The second way is by intimidating those — be they individuals, cities or organizations — that lack the backbone or the financial wherewithal to defend themselves against the ACLU’s mob of shysters.


If the authors of the Constitution had ever, in their worst nightmares, envisioned a group as vile as the ACLU, I feel certain that they would have rephrased the First Amendment to read: “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Period! And we’re not kidding, so help us God!”




ACLU Threatens Another Lawsuit Over a Cross (, 060811)


By Jay Sekulow


Today we applaud the local government of a Louisiana Parish for its decision to stand-up against the ACLU. The Parish, which is under attack by the ACLU for plans to permit the construction of a memorial that includes a cross to honor hurricane victims, is on firm legal ground. We sent a letter to the president of St. Bernard Parish in Chalmette, LA providing a legal analysis of why their decision to permit construction of a memorial that includes a cross is constitutional.


Once again, the ACLU is trying to sanitize America by embracing a legally flawed perspective designed to intimidate local government officials to remove all religious symbols – this time involving a memorial on private property built with private funds. Without question, the decision to build a memorial that includes a cross on private property in St. Bernard Parish is constitutional and is supported by extensive case law. The ACLU is attempting to intimidate local government officials, and we’re delighted that officials have decided to stand-up against the ACLU and reject those bullying tactics. We admire the leadership of St. Bernard Parish and stand ready to assist them if necessary in protecting their right to permit construction of a memorial honoring victims of Hurricane Katrina.


The ACLU sent officials a letter in late July criticizing plans by St. Bernard Parish to permit a memorial that will feature a cross saying the use of the religious symbol violates the constitution. In our informational letter to St. Bernard Parish President Henry “Junior” Rodriguez, we contend that the plans to construct the cross memorial are fully consistent with First Amendment precedent, and the ACLU demand to eliminate the use of the cross amounts to censorship. We state: “The speech activities of private citizens responsible for funding, planning, and building this memorial are fully protected by the First Amendment, which forbids the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion or abridging the freedom of speech.”


Our letter concludes: “Given the clarity of First Amendment law with regard to the free speech rights of private citizens, only a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts (i.e. the private ownership of the location of the memorial) can explain the Louisiana ACLU’s insistence on having the Hurricane Katrina memorial moved or changed. The Establishment Clause neither requires nor allows government suppression of private religious expression. We admire your commitment to honoring the freedom of speech of the memorial’s organizers and your willingness to stand up to the Louisiana ACLU on this issue.”


We have also been deeply involved in protecting another memorial which includes a cross. We represented members of Congress in filing legal briefs in support of the Mt. Soledad memorial in San Diego – which includes a cross honoring those who died in war. In that case, the Supreme Court put on hold a federal court order that would have removed the cross so legal appeals can move forward. Congress also has passed legislation designed to save the memorial.




Lawyer: ACLU wants to destroy vets’ memorial: Saga of Mt. Soledad cross extended with new federal claim (WorldNetDaily, 060829)


An individual from San Diego who is “discomfited” over a veterans’ memorial has prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to renew its attack on the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.


The Thomas More Law Center said yesterday it is preparing to defend the cross memorial from a new attack by the ACLU, this time in U.S. District Court in California.


A 17-year-long battle apparently reached a conclusion earlier this month when Congress approved and President Bush signed legislation giving ownership and control of the memorial to the federal government. That essentially should have ended a state case over the monument that had been pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the federal government is not subject to the state statutes at issue.


However, Law Center President Richard Thompson said the attack has been renewed in the federal courts, with the ACLU’s recent filing, which seeks the removal of the memorial’s cross.


“The very freedoms that these veterans died to protect are being perverted by the ACLU and used to deprive them and their grieving friends, families and comrades the honor and solace they deserve,” said Thompson.


The earlier state claim identified the city of San Diego as defendant, Thompson said. The new lawsuit names Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and was filed on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, a Jewish doctor who served two years in the Navy, his Muslim wife who came to this country four years ago, and an individual resident of San Diego.


That person, the lawsuit said, bears the burden of being “discomfited” by the memorial. The legal situation is being reviewed, Thompson said. “We won’t let the ACLU destroy this country and dishonor our war veterans,” he said.


The case has been pending for years. Then in 2004, Congress passed and the president signed into law federal legislation designating the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “a national memorial honoring veterans of the United States Armed Forces.”


A subsequent special election in July 2005 saw the citizens of San Diego vote overwhelmingly – 76% – in favor of donating the memorial property to the federal government for use as a national veterans memorial.


But a California superior court judge stopped the transfer, saying it violated the state constitution.


Then this month, President Bush signed new federal legislation, which immediately “vested in the United States all right, title, and interest in and to, and the right to immediate possession of, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial.”


The Law Center said the purpose of this legislation was to preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, including its centerpiece memorial cross, which has been in its present location since 1954, for future generations of Americans.


“While our brave servicemen and women are fighting on foreign soil to protect our freedoms, the ACLU is destroying our Constitution and the freedoms it represents in the courts of this country,” said Charles LiMandri, the West Coast Regional Director for the Law Center.




Five years after 9/11, the ACLU considers Christians the terrorists (, 060911)


By Alan Sears


Joe Cook has long since apologized for what he said last summer.


Although he is director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and strenuously opposed to anything resembling prayer in public schools or God in public life, he says he wasn’t speaking for the ACLU – or, curiously, even for himself – when he said what he said.


He said it about some teachers, students, and school board members in Tangipahoa Parish who, on infrequent occasions, have offered public, “sectarian” prayers in their classrooms, at school banquets, or to open board meetings.


“They [the Christians] have always crossed the line of separation of church and government,” Cook said. “They believe they answer to a higher power, in my opinion… which is the kind of thinking you had with the people who flew airplanes in the buildings in this country.”


While his comment didn’t draw the media attention that Mel Gibson gets for cursing a cop’s ethnic heritage, five years after 9/11, it is still arguably the most succinct and candid expression of what is transparently the ACLU’s guiding philosophy. The ACLU, after all, has spent most of the last 100 years working to silence Christian voices and curtail Christian influence in every arena of public life.


Taken at face value, Cook’s statement equates a teacher praying for, say, a student’s ailing mother, or her pupils’ performance on a standardized test, with the determination of radical Muslim terrorists to destroy as many innocent lives as possible. A child saying grace over lunch or a teen praying for the team’s injured player is really no different from a terrorist praising Allah for the privilege of slitting a flight attendant’s throat.


Because, Cook said, people who really believe in God are often the people who find fulfillment in destroying other people.


No, no, no, he says, now. That’s not what he meant.


“Our message in the Tangipahoa schools case and elsewhere is simple,” he says. “Religious freedom thrives best when government stays out of religion.”


But, of course, what the ACLU really wants is for religion to stay out of government. That’s why its attorneys have spent years pressuring California courts to remove the cross on Mount Soledad. The cross, which for half a century has honored American war dead on government property in San Diego, enjoys enormous popular support in the community. But it’s a thorn in the side of the ACLU’s philosophy of government-sponsored atheism.


In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the ACLU is actually waging war on the very name of the community: “cruces,” you see, means “crosses,” and we all know what those Spanish priests must have meant by that. No telling how many unwitting travelers, bound for Albuquerque, have found themselves mysteriously compelled to embrace Christianity, just glancing at the “Now Entering ...” sign. Better we just call the place “Las,” and get it over with.


But, of course, where does that stop? Los Angeles (“The Angels”)? San Francisco (“Saint Francis”)? What are we going to do about the Jefferson Memorial, where the government has etched in stone the Declaration of Independence proclamation that Americans have been “endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable Rights?”


And so it goes, as the ACLU picks and chooses its battles. The group is demanding a Virginia Wiccan’s right to offer public prayers, even as it sues to stop a Virginia Christian from doing the same thing. In Bridgeport, West Virginia, it objects to a picture of Jesus that has been hanging in a high school hallway for decades. So far, a Great Awakening hasn’t broken out on campus, and students aren’t crowding in to genuflect before the Galilean. But depictions of divinity are the definition of danger, to the ACLU.


Why? For 2,000 years, Jesus Christ has been recognized as history’s most profound and compelling advocate of forgiveness, self-sacrifice, and moral self-discipline. He urged his followers to respect the government, honor its leaders, and put the needs of others before their own. Which of these principles is the ACLU afraid the Bridgeport teens or their teachers will emulate?


What if the picture was of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Wouldn’t most students understand that the school was saluting these presidents’ wise and courageous leadership? Would we really have to order the paintings removed, lest some youngster think he was being encouraged to own slaves or vote Republican?


Ironically, the very virulence of ACLU hostility underscores the importance of the man they would minimize. The group has shown little concern about public expressions of other faiths, post- 9/11. Yet just saying “Merry Christmas” sends them into fits.


A few weeks ago, the Bridgeport case came to a de facto end when a thief broke into the school one night, cut the picture of Jesus from its frame, and carried it off into the night.


The ACLU presumably had nothing to do with the theft. But one has to wonder if their sympathies aren’t with the thief.


After all, they’ve been trying to cut Jesus out of the picture for years.




Who Is Funding Attacks on Christians? Bankrolling Hostility (Christian Post, 060912)


By Chuck Colson


The full-page ad in the New York Times featured head shots of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson. Above them, in giant type, were the words, “Meet America’s Most Influential Stem Cell Scientists.” The ad charges evangelicals with trying to turn America into a theocracy and outlaw scientific research.


This ad was one of many hysterical, vicious, and untruthful ads paid for by a group called the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, or “DefCon.” But far from defending the Constitution, DefCon, which does not have to report who they are or who is paying for these ads, is an extreme left-wing group intent on demonizing religious conservatives.


Promoting embryo-destructive stem-cell research is just one of its causes. DefCon also supports abortion, special rights for homosexuals, a radical animal-rights agenda, and force-feeding school kids an uncritical view of Darwinian evolution.


Those views, of course, are standard fare for the left today. But much more disturbing is the manner in which this secretive campaign portrays people of faith. On its website, it accuses Christians of “hijacking” the federal courts and of wanting to achieve “absolute power over all branches of government . . . breaking the rules to get it.” We’re accused of trying to make medical decisions for women and turning homosexuals into second-class citizens.


In the school classroom, we zealots are scheming to replace “scientific knowledge with religious ideology.” Moreover, we are plotting to use the government to “proselytize or to infringe on the religious freedom of all Americans.” Wow.


Well, who is funding the spewing of all this hatred and deceit? It takes a lot of digging to find out.


One major source is the Tides Center, funded by the far-left Tides Foundation, which helps to fund the ACLU, PETA, pro-abortion groups [NARAL], the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Planned Parenthood,, and the Council for American-Islamic Relations, which has links to terrorism.


The coordinator for DefCon is David Fenton of Fenton Communications, a public relations firm with a history of creating front groups and using smear tactics and bogus science. Years ago Fenton served as a lobbyist for the Sandinistas and today helps publicize the rantings of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. And it was Fenton who launched the Evangelical Climate Initiative, an apparent attempt to split evangelicals.


Whatever its campaign may be, DefCon’s tactics are the same, says Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute: that is, accuse opponents of being reckless, far right religious theocrats, and get liberal Christians—some of them unsuspecting, others not—on their side. No one in the press has tried to expose this secretive enterprise, which is spending millions. Why not? Well, we had better start asking the hard questions ourselves and expose the backers—men like George Soros—who give money to these kinds of groups.




Hazelton: The people vs. the ACLU (Washington Times, 060919)


Louis Barletta, mayor of Hazleton, Pa., has thrown down the gauntlet to those who think America belongs to anyone who can walk across the border. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a Puerto Rican group have taken up the challenge. And the mayor has upped the ante by hiring as defense counsel the former head of immigration in the Justice Department.


Step One in this legal clash, likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, was a series of three ordinances passed in Hazleton. Propelled by several local crimes apparently committed by illegal aliens, and inspired by the mayor, the City Council decided to fine landlords who knowingly rent space to illegal aliens. It also decided to deny licenses to local businesses which knowingly hire such aliens. Lastly, it declared English would be the official language of the town.


Step Two is the federal suit filed by the ACLU against the town, claiming it was “unconstitutionally” seeking “to enforce immigration laws.” Joining the ACLU in filing the case was the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. This is an odd partner because legal residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens. Laws directed at illegal aliens don’t apply to them.


Step Three in many ACLU challenges to local laws and actions often is capitulation by the local officials. Often when the ACLU files suit, sometimes when it only threatens to file suit, local officials cave to the pressure, and throw in the towel. This is due to the threat of budget-busting legal fees, both to defend the local decisions and to pay court-ordered fees to the ACLU.


In this case, Hazleton has not caved. Quite the contrary, it has girded its loins for battle. It has engaged as chief defense counsel, Kris W. Kobach, formerly Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law. Also, Mountain States Legal Foundation and the Federation for American Immigration Reform have volunteered staff and lawyers to defend the town’s position.


What is the likely fate of the three ordinances? Easiest to predict is English as the official language. Several states have passed such laws. Legal challenges have been brought and decided. So long as the town’s ordinances have the usual escape clauses for emergencies — medical care, appearances in court, etc. — this law will be found constitutional.


The ordinance on landlords should also be upheld. Though the ACLU claims the town is “enforcing immigration law,” the law’s effects are entirely within city limits. Regulating housing stock for the residents’ health and safety has been a normal function of municipal government since the Middle Ages, in England.


The ordinance on business licenses should also be upheld. Again, the licensing of local businesses for the health and welfare of local residents has been a normal power of municipal governments for centuries.


Providing for the welfare of local citizens is the very essence of municipal government. The ACLU effort to replace government by the town council with government by an unelected judge is a direct attack on the civil rights of all citizens of Hazleton. The court which ultimately dismisses the ACLU attack on Hazleton should also award serious fees and costs against the ACLU and the Puerto Rican group in favor of the town and its beleaguered taxpayers.


What are the larger consequences of this legal war against Hazleton’s ordinances? Hazleton has a population of only 30,000. Compared to America’s more than 300 million residents, including an estimated 11 million illegal aliens, Hazleton is a drop in the bucket.


Many other towns have picked up on what Hazleton is doing. Some have introduced or passed similar laws. Others are interested, but hold back — out of the ACLU line of fire until the Hazleton case has been won. More and more cities and states may adopt Hazleton-like laws. The crimes and public service costs of illegal aliens would then be concentrated more and more in cities and states that make themselves “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens.


This small case in a small town could have an enormous effect. It could generate from the grass roots, the pressure on Congress to deal with the problem of illegal aliens, rather than speak platitudes and duck the problem for another generation.


John Armor is an attorney who has has practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court for 33 years. This article was written on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union,




ACLU targets removal of prayer (, 061114)


By Jay Sekulow


In its never-ending quest to remove all things religious from public life, the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) latest lawsuit against the Wilson County School District outside of Nashville, TN, represents a frontal attack on prayer in public schools. Wilson County is having to defend its right to allow the free exercise of religion in a public elementary school. The school system, along with its director and Lakeview Elementary School principal, are being sued by two parents on behalf of their son, a former Lakeview student. The ACLU has filed its lawsuit against two teachers as well. We represent the school principal and two of the teachers who have been sued for what the ACLU calls “illegal acts” that took place during the school year. What exactly are these “illegal acts?,” you might ask.


The complaint alleges that the “See You at the Pole” event, which takes places at school districts across America in September of each year, constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. In fact, the ACLU asserts that students and others read passages from the Bible, prayed, and made “references to Jesus Christ and Christian music.” The ACLU has alleged that the “See You at the Pole” event was unconstitutional despite the fact that former President Bill Clinton’s administration issued Religion in the Public School Guidelines that specifically say that the “See You at the Pole” event is constitutional and appropriate on public school campuses.


Not satisfied with simply removing student prayer at the “See You at the Pole” event, the ACLU has also sought to stop a parents group that meets on campus on a monthly basis to pray for the school, faculty, staff and students. The ACLU asserts that this prayer activity also constitutes “illegal acts” that must be stopped. The idea of parents gathering at their children’s school to pray should not pose a constitutional threat to anyone. If equal access means anything, you would think that it allows for parents to be given the same access rights as anyone else, and if they want to pray, they have the constitutional right to do so.


In addition to attacking the “See You at the Pole” event and the praying parents, the ACLU has also alleged that participation in the National Day of Prayer is also a constitutional crisis. The so-called champions of free speech in the past have sought to protect students’ right to engage in protest activities on public school campuses and keep speeches that are suggestive and inappropriate—all under the guise of the First Amendment. However, when students gather around a flag pole to pray or participate in the National Day of Prayer events, the ACLU sings a different tune. The ACLU even complained about the fact that students made posters to promote the National Day of Prayer events that were posted in the school hallways. The ACLU has forgotten that in 1969, they were involved in a case where the Supreme Court of the United States said that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” As our Senior Counsel Larry Crain said, “The Supreme Court has long held that there’s no constitutional conflict when students exercise their freedom of religion in public settings—even in public schools.”


Still not satisfied with simply removing prayer activities, the ACLU has also attacked the school district’s annual Christmas concert. Specifically, the ACLU actually alleges in their complaint that, “The Plaintiffs had no objection and were not offended by the Christmas program until its conclusion.” They went on to allege that “at the conclusion of the program, several kindergarten students role-played a nativity scene of the birth of Jesus.” Then students had the audacity to sing “Away in the Manger” and “Joy to the World,” which are, according to the ACLU, exclusively Christian in nature, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Most of us understand that a school doesn’t endorse everything it fails to censor. School programs that include the singing of songs like “Away in the Manger” and have a live nativity scene are common throughout the United States and, indeed, around the world. The ACLU has, once again, shown its desire to engage in censorship.


We are hopeful that the ACLU will not succeed in its lawsuit. We will vigorously defend the rights of students to engage in religious expression on public school campuses, and we will certainly PRAY for the right result.




ACLU: The Abolishing Christian Legacy Union (WorldNetDaily, 061211)


The combat called Christmas


Last year, in John Gibson’s book, “The War on Christmas,” he discussed a growing cross-country counter culture (represented in every stratum of our society) that is on a mission to bring down the Christian-version of Christmas.


Notable evidence included the following:


* In Rhode Island, local officials barred Christians from joining others in decorating the City Hall’s lawn.


* Arizona school officials declared it unconstitutional for a student to cite any references to the Christian history of Christmas in a class project.


* A New Jersey school banned traditional Christmas carols, even instrumental renditions.


* In Illinois, state government workers were prohibited from exclaiming “Merry Christmas” at work.


WND reported on this warfare as far back as 2002.


This year we see even more confirmation of this Christmas-culture war, particularly being led by its strongest advocate, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).


Same ol’ ACLU song and dance


The ACLU has been true to form this December in opposing any and all Christian practices and symbols in public arenas and elsewhere.


So far this season it has already muscled the city council in Berkley, Mich. to move a Christmas nativity off public property.


The ACLU also sued the Wilson County School System outside of Nashville, Tenn., because its Christmas program included “Christian themes and songs” – what the ACLU calls “unconstitutional and illegal” acts through which its plaintiffs have “suffered irreparable damage.”


Alongside its crusade to suppress Christmas, the ACLU of Tennessee also found time to write Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill to assure the removal from the courthouse sidewalk of a wooden carved statue depicting Moses holding the Ten Commandments.


Just this past week, the ACLU opposed the Winston-Salem City Council’s practice of opening its meetings with a prayer referencing Jesus or Christ.


Thankfully, along with the majority of veterans and patriots, I was very pleased to read of the ruling against the ACLU’s mission to bring down the cross at the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial near San Diego.


Religious paralysis was not the Framers’ intent


The ACLU tries to justify and hide behind these anti-Christian crusades by saying its motivation is to preserve First Amendment and minority rights.


The first problem is that its not equally protecting the rights of Christians, when they are in the minority. If the ACLU wants to fight for the underdogs, then why not battle for the Christian voice that is being progressively suppressed every Christmas?


The second problem is that they are not preserving First Amendment rights but are perverting the subordinate Establishment Clause (which prevents government from establishing a national religion, like there was in England) and the Free Exercise Clause (which preserves our rights to worship as we want).


Both clauses were intended to safeguard religious liberty, not separate church and state. Nor was their objective to keep religious symbols away from public places! As is often noted, the Framers were seeking to guarantee a freedom of religion, not a freedom from religion.


As Judge Roy Moore concluded in another WND article:


“The issue was addressed 150 years ago when the Senate Judiciary Committee, while considering the Congressional chaplaincy, said, ‘[The Founders] had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people; they did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators; they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy.”‘


Time to stop ACLU tyranny


The ACLU is not anti-religion, just anti-Christian. By definition, it’s the American Civil Liberties Union. By action, it has become the Abolishing Christian Legacy Union.


The ACLU will assure Muslim clerics and imams the right to pray on planes, fight for an atheist’s rights to remove a cross, stand beside pro-abortionists, help illegal aliens cross our borders, and establish rights for the sexual deviant by forming the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, but what is it doing for Christians and Christmas censorship?


While allegedly fighting against the tyranny of the majority, the ACLU itself rules religiously by litigation, lobbying, and supporting counter-culture Christian movements.


So who died and appointed the ACLU as America’s religious constitutional watchdog?


Membership for the ACLU is only 500,000. America’s population is 300 million. I think it’s time that we helped them feel their size!


I suggest the rest of us follow the passion of Thomas Jefferson, who spoke these words that are etched on the very wall of his memorial in Washington, D.C.: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”


ACLU: Out of touch — out of their minds


The fact is the ACLU is simply out of touch with mainstream America, as demonstrated recently by a group of Texas University students’ placement of an “ACLU Nativity Scene,” complete with Gary and Joseph (instead of Mary and Joseph) and the three wise men: Lenin, Marx, and Stalin — a “tribute” to ACLU founder Roger Baldwin’s support of communism.


(Is this display an extreme Texan reaction or a symptom of an underlying wave of a pro-Christmas culture that is tired of being bullied around? I wholeheartedly believe the latter!)


The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) noted that “an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose censoring Christmas,” citing the following national polls:


* 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2005).


* 90% of Americans recognize Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ (Gallup, 2000).


* 88% of Americans say it is okay for people to wish others “Merry Christmas” and the majority of Americans are more likely to wish someone they just met “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 2004).


* 87% of Americans believe nativity scenes should be allowed on public property (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 2003).


The ADF also has 930 pro-Christmas attorneys waiting to help any community in need.


“J” to the rescue!


Thank God for organizations which are fighting against the censoring of Christianity and Christmas, like the ADF, The Thomas More Law Center and The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).


The ACLJ has a great “Christmas Resource Center” where one can find information sheets on what is permissible in public displays of Christmas and how students can properly express their religious beliefs in school during this Christmas season.


I don’t know if it was intentional, but I find it interesting that the only letter distinguishing the acronym of the ACLU and the ACLJ is the letter “J,” which stands for “Justice.”


To me, it also stands for “Jesus,” without whom there would be no Christmas at all.




ACLU Opposes Plans to Hold Graduation at Megachurch (Christian Post, 061215)


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Enfield school officials’ plans to hold high school graduation next year in a spacious church may have hit a snag.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut says it is unconstitutional for a public school to hold commencement in a church and has asked that the ceremony be moved to a religiously neutral site. Graduation is scheduled to be held at the First Cathedral of Bloomfield, a venue large enough for Enrico Fermi High School’s class of 2007.


The high school gymnasium holds 800 people. With about 400 students in the graduating class, students would be limited in how many guests they could invite, school officials said. The cathedral has seating for 3,000 and parking spaces for 1,300 vehicles.


On Monday, the ACLU sent letters to school officials in Enfield, and in South Windsor, which has held graduations at the church, citing possible violations of the “establishment clause.” The letter, written by ACLU staff lawyer Sam Brooke stated the clause prohibits government entities, including public schools, from taking any action that a reasonable observer would interpret as endorsing a particular religion or endorsing the practice of religion generally.


According to a church brochure, First Cathedral offers its facilities for corporate and community groups to hold conferences, meetings and other events.


Enfield school officials said they would discuss the situation with their lawyer. Enfield Superintendent of Schools John Gallacher said the school board gave tentative approval to using the church, but because it cannot finalize a graduation date until after April 1, there is no formal agreement.


South Windsor officials also are reviewing the letter.




ACLU Plays Ring-Around-the-Rosie With Its Pro-Abortion ‘Logic’ (Christian Post, 070302)


Gary McCaleb


The American Civil Liberties Union is castigating the South Dakota House of Representatives for its vote last month to ban virtually all abortions within the state.


Leading with a masterpiece of misdirection, Jennifer Ring, executive director of the ACLU of the Dakotas, called the new legislation: “another unconstitutional attack on reproductive health care.” But how can a law “attack” reproductive health when it’s designed to save a child’s life? Isn’t protecting both the reproducer (mom) and the object of reproduction (baby) what “reproductive health care” is all about?


Not according to Ms. Ring.


“The legislature should concentrate its efforts on preventing unintended pregnancies and providing services for women who want to bear their children,” she says, “rather than deciding that women cannot be trusted to make this most intimate of decisions.”


One might infer from that statement that the ACLU has developed a new appreciation for what crisis pregnancy centers are doing all over the country to help young women bring their babies to term. But no; just last March the New York ACLU supported federal legislation to censor advertising by crisis pregnancy centers – simply because those centers do not endorse abortion.


Ironically, the same ACLU that works to gag those who might help pregnant mothers in New York, is now accusing South Dakota legislators of “playing politics with women’s health.”


An outraged Louise Melling, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project (there’s a lovely piece of Orwellian double-speak – “reproductive freedom” here meaning not the freedom to reproduce, but the license to escape the responsibilities of reproduction) said: “Families, not politicians, should make these very personal health care decisions. . . .”


Ring-around-the-rosie again. Is this the same ACLU that has ardently opposed parental notification laws, thereby ensuring that families will be excluded from these critical decisions?


Ah, but it goes on. These same ACLU attorneys denounced the South Dakota legislators for ignoring the will of a majority of their state’s voters, who came out 55.5% to 44.5% against an almost-identical abortion ban in a statewide election in November. But it’s that “almost-identical” distinction on which the ACLU’s logic “all falls down.”


In fact, last year’s proposed abortion ban did not die because 55.5% of South Dakota voters supported the ACLU’s beloved notion of abortion-on-demand, but because the state’s pro-life majority dithered over the lack of an express “rape and incest” provision in the referendum. By including that exception this time, legislators give every evidence of listening to their constituents – not ignoring them.


Even if that weren’t the case, the accusation that these legislators are “playing politics” is laughable. True, politicians, by definition, tend to “play politics.” But if that’s what the South Dakota House is doing … well, their legislators aren’t very good at the game. If anything, it’s the antithesis of good politics to deliberately re-create legislation that your electorate has just soundly defeated.


What really worries the ACLU is the fact that the South Dakota representatives are not playing politics. Politicians, their attorneys can handle; statesmen are harder to get a grip on.


The truth is Ms. Melling and her allies have no problem at all with these legislators playing politics – as long as it’s the child in the womb who’s expendable.


And so it goes—the ACLU claims to support pregnancy care, yet attacks crisis pregnancy centers. It demands “family involvement” with these intimate decisions, while litigating its heart out to obstruct parental notification laws. It decries unintended pregnancies, while egging on pornographers, undercutting marriage, and attacking abstinence education.


“Unintended” pregnancy isn’t a virus, passed from one person to another. Rather, it usually derives from a lack of self-control and a certain disregard for the natural consequences of personal intimacy – both of which abound in ACLU’s Hefneresque American fantasy land of endless sexual opportunity devoid of sexual responsibility.


That so many elected leaders of South Dakota decline to buy into that image is a tribute to their remarkable ability, in this increasingly wanton age, to value human life above sexual liberty … and to recognize that the people who count most in their constituency are not those who can vote for them – but those who can’t.


That’s not playing politics; it’s an Emancipation Proclamation for the unborn.




Gary McCaleb is Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.




Why Does the ACLU Think Sexual Predators Have More Rights than Children? (, 070322)


By Jay Sekulow


In a recent series of cases in New Jersey, the ACLU has opposed legitimate efforts to protect children from sexual predators who attempt to live in their neighborhoods. The ACLJ is now representing the Township of Galloway, New Jersey, in the defense of an important law designed to protect children against convicted sex offenders. Not surprisingly, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit claiming that the ordinance designed to protect children violates several of New Jersey’s constitutional provisions.


The Township of Galloway, like many other communities in New Jersey, enacted Ordinance No. 1616 to serve as a buffer zone for children, forbidding convicted sex offenders (over age 18) from residing within 2500 feet of any school, park, playground or day care center in Galloway Township. This kind of stay-away zone makes sense.


Incredibly, the ACLU of New Jersey is seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional. They believe that freedom dictates that convicted sex offenders have the right to live any place of their choosing, regardless of the safety of children. Currently, convicted sex offenders must register with the State of New Jersey under Megan’s Law. Once registered, the Township Residency Requirements apply. The true reality is that convicted sex offenders and, alas, would-be sex offenders regularly prey on their young, defenseless victims at places where they are likely to be—mainly the schools, parks, playgrounds and day care centers which have been designated as prohibited areas of residence by the Township for these convicted sex offenders. Simply put, buffer zones are necessary to protect this most vulnerable segment of our society.


Restrictions created by the stay-away zone merely extend the protection of Megan’s Law. The goal of Megan’s Law is to protect the community through notification either on the Internet or through personal notification to the surrounding residents regarding sexual predators in their midst. The goal of the Township was to add to that protection by creating safe zones in areas frequented by children. In this way, the state statute and local ordinance complement one another. This statute is constitutional and makes sense. While it does impact the ability of sex offenders to live in particular areas, they are not prohibited from living in the Township. In fact, the impact on these convicted sex offenders is slight when considering the interest at stake. New Jersey courts should balance the interests of both sides, and in this case, the balance tips decidedly in favor of the children. Courts in other states have dealt with the exact same issue and have concluded that there is no fundamental right for sex offenders to reside in the place of their choice in the vicinity of children.


The issue in this case is not whether the sex offenders can live in the Township—they can; rather, the ordinance speaks only to where in the Township they may live. The interest of Galloway Township’s children far outweighs the desire of a convicted sex offender to live in the place of his choice. Even the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized that the risk of recidivism among sex offenders is “frightening and high.” In our view, the ACLU is wrong and the balance here tips decidedly in favor of the children of Galloway Township. The District Court got it wrong and ruled the law unconstitutional. That court opinion is wrong and should be reversed. Hopefully, the Appellate Courts will take the appropriate approach and protect the rights of children. One must ask, “Why does the ACLU protect pedophiles and pornographers and, at the same time, challenge prayer and religious expression?”




U.S. Judge Blocks Law Criminalizing Web Porn that Reaches Kids (Christian Post, 070323)


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Software filters work much better than a 1998 federal law designed to keep pornography away from children on the Internet, a federal judge ruled Thursday in striking down the measure on free-speech grounds.


Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr. also said the Child Online Protection Act fails to address threats that have emerged since the law was written, including online predators on social-networking sites like News Corp.’s MySpace, because it targets only commercial Web publishers.


“Even defendant’s own study shows that all but the worst performing (software) filters are far more effective than COPA would be at protecting children from sexually explicit material on the Web,” said Reed, who presided over a monthlong trial in the fall.


The never-enforced law was Congress’ second attempt to protect children from online porn. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2004 a temporary injunction blocking the law from taking effect; Reed on Thursday issued a permanent injunction.


The law would have criminalized Web sites that allow children to access material deemed “harmful to minors” by “contemporary community standards.” The sites would have been expected to require a credit card number or other proof of age. Penalties include a $50,000 fine and up to six months in prison.


Sexual health sites, the online magazine and other Web sites backed by the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on grounds it would have a chilling effect on speech. Joan Walsh,’s editor in chief, said the law could have allowed any of the 93 U.S. attorneys to prosecute the site over photos of naked prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.


“The burden would have been on us to prove that they weren’t” harmful to minors, Walsh said Thursday.


In his ruling, Reed warned that “perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.”


Daniel Weiss of Focus on the Family Action, a lobbying arm of the conservative Christian group, said it would continue to press Congress for a workable law.


“The judge seems to indicate there’s really no way for Congress to pass a good law to protect kids online,” Weiss said. “I just think that’s not a good response.”


To defend the nine-year-old law, government lawyers attacked software filters as burdensome and less effective, even though they have previously defended their use in public schools and libraries. That case was over a 2000 law requiring schools and libraries to use software filters if they receive certain federal funds. The high court upheld that law in 2003.


The plaintiffs expect the Justice Department to appeal. Justice spokesman Charles Miller did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.


“I would hope that Attorney General (Alberto) Gonzales would save the U.S. public’s money and not try to further defend what is an unconstitutional statute,” said John Morris, a lawyer with the Center for Democracy and Technology, which wrote a brief in the case.


“That money could better be used to help educate kids about Internet safety issues,” he said.


The plaintiffs argued that filters work best because they let parents set limits based on their own values and a child’s age.


Reed concluded that filters have become highly effective and that the government — if it wants to protect children — could do more to promote or subsidize them.


The law addresses material accessed by children under 17, but only applies to sites hosted in the United States.


The Web sites that challenged the law said fear of prosecution might lead them to shut down or move their operations offshore, beyond the reach of U.S. law. They also said the Justice Department could do more to enforce obscenity laws already on the books.


Reed noted in his 83-page ruling that, since 2000, the Justice Department has initiated fewer than 20 prosecutions for obscenity that did not also involve other charges such as child pornography or attempts to have sex with minors.


Although the government argued for the use of credit cards as a screening device, Reed said he saw no evidence of any accurate way to verify the age of Internet users. And he agreed that sites that require a credit card to view certain pages would see a sharp drop-off in users.


The 1998 law followed the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Congress’ first attempt to regulate online pornography. The Supreme Court in 1997 deemed key portions of that law unconstitutional because it was too vague and trampled on adults’ rights.


COPA narrowed the restrictions to commercial Web sites and defined indecency more specifically.


“This is the second time Congress has tried this, and both times the courts have struck it down,” said the ACLU’s Chris Hansen, a lead attorney on the case. “I don’t see how Congress could write a constitutional statute.”




FCC Suggests Framework for Regulating Violence on TV (Foxnews, 070426)


WASHINGTON —  Congress could regulate violence on cable, satellite and broadcast television without violating the First Amendment, the Federal Communications Commission said in a report released Wednesday.


The report, which had been requested by Congress, contains suggestions for action by lawmakers, but it stops short of making specific recommendations.


A correlation exists between bloodshed on television and violence in real life, the commission said.


Concluding that “exposure to violent programming can be harmful to children,” FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a statement accompanying the report that “Congress could provide parents more tools to limit their children’s exposure to violent programming in a constitutional way.”


Among those tools, Congress could require cable companies to sell their programming on a per-channel or family tier basis, rather than only in pre-bundled packages.


As for broadcast television, the report cites Supreme Court precedent to suggest the agency could regulate violent programming much as it regulates sexual content and profanity — by barring it from being aired during hours when children may be watching. Or it could create a family-viewing hour.


It also says that technology intended to help parents shield their children from objectionable programming, such as the V-chip, is inadequate.


The report indicates that Congress could develop a definition of excessively violent programming but that such language “needs to be narrowly tailored in conformance with judicial precedent.”


Martin has been joined in his push for cleaning up the airwaves by Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, who wrote: “It is not an easy challenge to develop rules that pass constitutional muster, but given what amounts to a public health crisis at hand, I believe it is a challenge that must be met.”


Word of the report, which has been circulating around the agency for months, has alarmed executives in the broadcast and cable industries as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.


Their concern is how the agency would define violent programming and what would qualify for sanction — for example, how violent news programming would be treated. Martin suggested Wednesday there may be a special exception for news, saying the context and content of the message should be considered.


The ACLU had harsh words for the report, calling the FCC’s recommendations “political pandering,” in a statement attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, the organization’s director of its legislative office in Washington.


“There are some things the government does well, but deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them,” she said.


Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, while approving the report in part and concurring in part, said he was disappointed with it because of a lack of clarity.


“We punted to Congress the difficult questions that Congress asked us to answer,” he said, such as coming up with a definition for excessively violent programming.


The report was requested by a bipartisan group of 39 House members nearly three years ago and is well past its Jan. 1, 2005, due date.


The lawmakers asked whether the FCC could define “exceedingly violent programming that is harmful to children.” It also asked whether the agency could regulate such programming “in a constitutional manner.”


Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he will file legislation that may incorporate some of the commission’s recommendations.




ACLU Sues N.C. to Allow Quran for Oaths (Christian Post, 070510)


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - If North Carolina is going to let people use a religious text when taking an oath in court, the Bible shouldn’t be the only book allowed, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court Tuesday.


A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of North Carolina challenges a state policy that allows only the Bible to be used in such court procedures.


“If the state is going to get into the religious oath business, the state has to be fair,” said Seth Cohen, the ACLU’s lead counsel on the case.


But an attorney from the state Attorney General’s Office urged Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to dismiss the case.


“The main complaint of the ACLU and the plaintiff is a political one, not a legal one,” attorney Valerie Bateman said.


Filed in July 2005, the lawsuit argues that state law is unconstitutional because it favors Christianity over other religions. It names Syidah Mateen, a Muslim woman who said she was denied the use of the Quran in court.


The ACLU is seeking a court order clarifying that the law is broad enough to allow the use of multiple religious texts, or else rule the statute unconstitutional. The group expects Ridgeway will issue a ruling as early as next week.


State law allows witnesses preparing to testify in court to take their oath in three ways: by laying a hand over “the Holy Scriptures,” by saying “so help me God” without the use of a religious book, or by an affirmation using no religious symbols.


The state law gives Christians three options “and everybody else two options,” Cohen said.


The ACLU and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations had called for a statewide policy permitting use of the Quran and other religious texts in courtrooms. But the director of the state court system refused, saying the General Assembly or the courts needed to settle the issue.


Bateman said changing the law would require the court to make determinations on what writings could be used.


“That’s just too much entanglement for the court to be involved in,” she said, adding that it might be more appropriate for legislators to resolve the issue.


A bill filed this session by Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, after the appeals court decision would allow sacred texts besides the Bible to be used to administer courtroom oaths. But the bill has only been referred to a committee.


A trial court judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit in December 2005, ruling it was moot because there was no actual controversy at the time that warranted litigation.


In January, the ruling was reversed by a unanimous three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals. The panel noted Mateen’s claim that her request to place her hand on the Quran as a witness in a domestic violence case in Guilford County was denied in 2003.


Several Jewish members of the state chapter of the ACLU have filed affidavits indicating they would prefer to swear upon the Old Testament, one of the religious texts of their faith, according to court documents.


The ACLU has said an 1856 state Supreme Court decision sets a clear precedent for oaths with religious texts. The court decision noted that North Carolina’s oath-taking statutes were written for Christians but do not limit others from taking oaths in the way they deem most sacred.


The ACLU said a change in the law in 1985 further supports that point. Before then, the law was called “Administration of oath upon the Gospels” and stated that someone to be sworn was to lay his or her hand on “the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God.”


Legislators took out “the Gospels” in the title and changed the language to simply read “Holy Scriptures.” The ACLU contends the change signals that legislators were trying to be more inclusive.




ACLU Seeks to Censor Religious Content from La. Graduations (Christian Post, 070515)


Seniors who are part of the graduating classes at six high schools within the Ouachita Parish School District, located in north Louisiana, have voted for fellow students to give a message during this week’s class graduation ceremonies – a decision that has put the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on guard.


The ACLU, an organization that provides legal assistance in cases in which it considers civil liberties to be at risk, has expressed its concern that the speakers will include religious themes and prayer within their presentations, and sent a letter last Tuesday to the district advising them to censor the speakers if this should arise.


Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation dedicated to advancing religious freedom, has recently responded to the ACLU, saying that the students have a right to religious themes if they should choose to use them. As long as the school itself is not forcing the students with religious content, students have free speech rights.


“Religious viewpoints cannot be excluded from graduation ceremonies,” explained Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, in a statement. “When the message is the choice of the student or the speaker, religious viewpoints, including prayer, are permissible.”


To support their claim, the Christian litigation has cited the court case Adler v. Duval County School Board, which they had defended against the ACLU in 2001 and 2002 in multiple courts, resulting in a Supreme Court decision. The case confirmed that students have the right to select a fellow peer to present a message. That student can then give a talk of his or her own choice, regardless of religious content.


In its letter, the ACLU accused the school district of “trying to do an end-run around the Constitution with the so-called student-led prayers.”


But Liberty Counsel has encouraged the schools to not be influenced.


“As long as there are graduations, there will be times when prayer and religious messages are part of the ceremonies,” added Staver. “The ACLU is wrong – schools must not censor private religious speech from graduation.”


To address similar problems, Liberty Counsel has also created the “Friend of Foe” Graduation Prayer Campaign. Through it, they hope to educate schools or, if necessary, begin litigation to guarantee that prayer or other religious views are not stifled during graduations.




ACLU Sues Texas School District to Halt Bible Classes (Christian Post, 070517)


DALLAS, Texas (AP) - Two advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against a West Texas school district on behalf of eight parents who say a Bible course violates their religious liberty.


The American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way Foundation sued the Ector County Independent School District, asking the Odessa school system to stop teaching the course.


“Religion is very important in my family and we are very involved in our religious community. But the public schools are no place for religious indoctrination that promotes certain beliefs that not all the kids in the school share,” Doug Hildebrand, a Presbyterian deacon who is among the plaintiffs, said in a written statement released by the ACLU.


The Ector school board approved the high school elective in 2005. It teaches the King James version of the sacred text using material produced by the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, and uses the Bible as the students’ textbook.


Backers of the National Council include David Barton, who operates a Web site that promotes helping local officials develop policies that reflect Biblical views and encourages Christian involvement in civic affairs. Other supporters of the program include the conservative American Family Association, Eagle Forum and Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute.


“There is no question that these Bible electives are constitutional,” said Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Legal’s chief counsel. “The United States Supreme Court has stated more than once that teaching about the Bible is not only constitutional, but essential to a quality education. This lawsuit is a loser.”


Critics claim the coursework contains errors, dubious research and blatantly favors a fundamentalist, Protestant view of the Bible.


Lisa Graybill, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said the National Council course is “basically a Sunday School class within the walls of a public school.”


Mike Adkins, spokesman for the Ector Independent School District, said previously that the district is comfortable with its curriculum.


School Superintendent Wendell Sollis said district officials are reviewing the lawsuit with their lawyer, and declined to comment further. “We are not going to debate the individual points of the suit publicly,” he said.




ADF Accuses ACLU of Bullying Florida School District (Christian Post, 070613)


A Christian litigation group is accusing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of unfairly putting pressure on a Florida school district to remove free religious speech at graduation ceremonies.


The ACLU is trying to convince the Duval County School Board to change its policy on student speech content after a controversial presentation by a class valedictorian who urged students to seek Jesus Christ. In response, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) – a legal alliance that defends the right to speak the “Truth” – sent a letter to the school district on Friday, explaining that a precedent court case already provided the student the right to say what they did.


“A student’s First Amendment rights don’t end when commencement exercises begin,” explained ADF litigation counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a statement. “A federal court affirmed the school board’s graduation speech policy in 2001, which respects the First Amendment rights of students at graduation ceremonies. It’s ridiculous that the ACLU continues to hound the school board, attempting to force them to adopt a policy that impermissibly restricts private student speech.”


As high schools came to a close this year, the issue of religious content during graduations became a strong topic, especially for the ACLU and other civil liberties groups.


ACLU attorneys filed a lawsuit against the Tangipahoa Parish School District in Louisiana this past Wednesday over an alleged teacher-led prayer at the graduation ceremonies. The litigation marked a record six religious freedom lawsuits against the school system.


In mid-May, ACLU lawyers put pressure on six high schools within the Ouachita Parish School District, also in Louisiana, trying to overturn a student-wide vote to have a student-led prayer before graduation.


The latest actions by the ACLU in Florida stem from a 20-minute speech given in May by Shannon Spaulding, the Class of ‘07 valedictorian for Samuel W. Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, who mentioned God several times in her address in addition to pleading with the audience to accept Christ into their lives.


“The best thing I can offer you tonight, my former classmates and fellow graduates, is to tell you how you can plan and know for sure that you will end up safe and victorious at the end of your earthly life,” explained Spaulding during her graduation speech. “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ can give you eternal life in Heaven.”


ACLU representatives have now insisted that the school district censor that type of speech from future graduations, but ADF has detailed that the policy already had precedent from a federal court ruling, Adler v. Duval County School Board, which supported Spaulding’s free speech rights.


“There is nothing unconstitutional about the school’s best and brightest student acknowledging God in her valedictory speech,” added Tedesco. “It is unfathomable that the ACLU would actually try to force school officials to censor the valedictorian when a federal court has already affirmed that a valedictory speech is a private message of the student and not school-sponsored. We hope the Constitution and common sense will prevail at the Duval County Public Schools.”


School officials have reportedly become more open to allowing religious expression in recent years. Several have changed their policies regarding graduations, including a school in Arkansas that allowed a youth minister to address the school body as speaker and a Michigan school that allowed its choir to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” in honor of a deceased student.




Lousiana ACLU: Take Picture of Jesus Out of Slidell Court (Foxnews, 070621)


SLIDELL, La. —  A painting of Christ, with a sign reading “To know peace, obey these laws,” has no place in Slidell City Court, the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union says.


Unless the picture and plaque are removed within a week, the ACLU may sue on behalf of a person who filed a written complaint with the group, the organization said.


The display has been up for years without anyone complaining to the court, Slidell City Court Judge Jim Lamz said in a statement issued through court spokeswoman Ann Barks.


“I’m disappointed the ACLU released their letter to the press either before or simultaneously to us, which indicates they’re not interested so much in a resolution, but in confrontation and publicity,” he said.


Joe Cook, executive director of the Louisiana ACLU, said the group has received several complaints, one of them written.


“As an admonition hanging in a court of law, it clearly gives the impression that only believers in the law of Jesus Christ will receive justice in that courthouse,” said Katie Schwartzmann, the ACLU attorney who wrote the letter.




Jesus Portrait in Lousiana Court Will Stay Up Despite Outcry From ACLU (Foxnews, 070624)


SLIDELL, La.  —  A portrait of Jesus on the wall at Slidell City Court will remain up for now, despite objections from the American Civil Liberties Union, which calls it a violation of church-state separation.


Further investigation will be needed before court officials decide whether to remove the portrait on First Amendment grounds — and the court might not make a deadline demanded last week by the ACLU, court spokeswoman Ann Barks said.


“It’s more than just a picture of Jesus,” Barks said. “It might have more to do with the business of the court than purely religious reasons.”


A priest Friday identified the image as a 16th century Russian Orthodox icon called “Christ the Savior,” — most likely a reprint. In the picture, Jesus is shown holding open a book to display two pages, each with a biblical quotation about judging correctly and wisely. The quotations are written in Russian.


Since the ACLU’s objection, the court’s staff has been trying to track down who hung the picture in the court and why, Barks said. Having had the quotations on the book translated into English, court officials are not ready to concede that the display violates the constitutional clause forbidding the establishment of religion.


Besides the picture, the display includes the words: “To Know Peace, Obey These Laws.” The ACLU wants both the picture and words removed.


According to the court’s research, one quotation is from John 7:24. In the King James version of the Bible, it reads: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”


The second quotation is from Matthew 7:2: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”


An Orthodox priest said the quotations are appropriate for a place of justice.


“The writing on those books (Jesus) is holding is about judging rightly,” said the Rev. John Vieages of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America, who holds in Slidell. “It really does fit into a courtroom. Whoever put that there was well aware of what the writing meant.”


Whether the quotations are relevant to the business of a court has nothing to do with whether the display is legal, said Katie Schwartzmann, staff attorney of the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU.


“It’s a clear constitutional violation,” she said Saturday.”


The ACLU’s letter to the court said the display “clearly gives the impression that only believers in the law of Jesus Christ will receive justice in that courthouse.”


Barks said that to her knowledge, no one had ever complained to the court about the picture until the ACLU letter. Joe Cook, executive director of the Louisiana ACLU, said the group has received several complaints, one of them written.




ACLU sues city over Jesus painting (Yahoo, 070704)


NEW ORLEANS - The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city of Slidell on Tuesday for displaying a painting of Jesus in a courthouse lobby, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.


The ACLU sued after the Slidell City Court refused to voluntarily remove the picture and a message below it that reads: “To Know Peace, Obey These Laws.” The ACLU says the portrait — an image of Jesus presenting the New Testament — is a religious icon of the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity.


“We did not file this lawsuit because the ACLU is anti-religion ... We did file this lawsuit because we believe this display is clearly in violation of the law,” said Vincent Booth, president and acting executive director of the Louisiana ACLU chapter.


The suit was filed on behalf of an unidentified person who complained to the ACLU about the picture. Named as defendants were the city of Slidell, St. Tammany Parish and City Judge James Lamz. St. Tammany Parish is being sued because it partially funds the court, the ACLU said.


On Saturday, Lamz said the picture would stay up unless a federal judge ordered it removed. He said he didn’t believe the portrait violates the Constitution, but the issue should be decided in federal court.


Lamz could not comment Tuesday because of the pending litigation, his office said.


Before refusing to take the painting down, Lamz consulted Douglas Laycock, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School who has argued before the Supreme Court.


Laycock said he told Lamz that the legal issues in the case aren’t clear-cut and could set legal precedent.


“I don’t know how far the two sides will want to push things,” Laycock added.


The painting has been on display at the courthouse for nearly a decade and hadn’t provoked any complaints prior to the ACLU’s recent objections, said Michael Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian civil rights group representing the city and parish.


Johnson, whose group is often at odds with the ACLU, said the painting sends an inclusive message of equal justice under the law. He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that similar displays in public forums are constitutional.




Amnesty Affirms New Abortion Stance; Catholics Urged to Cut Ties (Christian Post, 070820)


Amnesty International has reaffirmed its decision to support selected cases of abortion including those involving sexual violence, rape, incest or where the health or human rights of women are “in danger,” drawing the ire of the Catholic Church.


At end of the human rights group’s 28th International Council Meeting in Mexico City last week, 400 delegates from 75 countries committed the organization to its April decision to “work for universal respect for sexual and reproductive rights” for both men and women.


Amnesty stated on its website that it “will support the decriminalization of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and defend women’s access to abortion.”


The Catholic Church, which equates abortion with murder whatever the circumstances, has urged its millions of members worldwide to cut all support to the human rights group originally founded by a Catholic layman to provide support and defense for political prisoners.


“The Catholic Church has no desire for women who have been through the trauma of abortion to be punished; they need compassion and healing,” stressed the Rt. Rev Michael Evans, the Catholic Bishop of England’s East Anglia. “Women who suffer complications after an abortion should obviously receive quality care.


“But our proper indignation regarding pervasive violence against women should not cloud our judgment about our duty to protect the most vulnerable and defenseless form of human life,” Evans added.


The bishop pointed to the 1989 U.N. International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which reaffirms the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child in saying that a child needs “special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”.


“This must surely be part of the body of international human rights law to which Amnesty International is committed,” said Evans.


Amnesty’s Secretary General, Irene Khan, said that the delegates at the international council meeting in Mexico would not approve or disapprove of the group’s decision to support abortion in some cases because they had already adopted it after two and a half years of internal debate.


Amnesty believes the policy is consistent with its ongoing campaign to end violence against women, particularly in cases where the rape of women is used as a weapon in war or conflict.


While Evans said the Catholic Church shares Amnesty’s “strong commitment to oppose violence against women (for example, rape, sexual assault and incest),” he added, however, that “such appalling violence must not be answered by violence against the most vulnerable and defenseless form of human life in a woman’s womb.”


“Catholics would want to show practical compassion for such women, and ensure for them all the medical and spiritual care and support they need. But there is no human right to access to abortion, and Amnesty should not involve itself even in such extreme cases.”


Earlier in the month, Cardinal Renato Marino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: “If, in fact, Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support.”


In June, Martino told Reuters that “selective-abortion” was defining the innocent child as an enemy that must be destroyed and as such the organization would face “inevitable consequence” for its decision


“To selectively justify abortion, even in the cases of rape, is to define the innocent child within the womb as an enemy, a ‘thing’ that must be destroyed,” the cardinal said.


In addition to his comment to Reuters, Martino also told an American Catholic newspaper that the group’s new stance on abortion “disqualified Amnesty International as a defender of human rights.”


The Amnesty International Council meeting convenes every two years to plan, review and decide the organization’s human rights work.




Amnesty International endorses abortion (Washington Times, 070823)


A leading British bishop has resigned his membership in Amnesty International and an Australian Jesuit college said it will no longer work with the leading human rights group after the organization last week officially endorsed a new policy supporting a woman’s right to an abortion in certain cases.


More defections could follow in the aftermath of the policy shift, officially adopted by delegates from around the world at Amnesty International’s biennial meeting that concluded Friday in Mexico City.


Amnesty International delegates, backing an executive board decision announced this spring, said the organization would “support the decriminalization of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women’s access to abortion ... when their health or human rights are in danger.”


Officials of the London-based group, which was founded to aid political prisoners of conscience, defend the change as part of a larger global drive against violence, discrimination and abuse targeting women, including rape as a “weapon of war” in conflicts such as the one in the western Sudan region of Darfur.


“There are many human rights issues involved in organized sexual violence targeting women,” said A. Widney Brown, Amnesty’s senior director for international legal issues, in a telephone interview from New York yesterday.


She said the new policy would not detract from Amnesty’s focus on political repression, but added, “We can’t as an organization look only at human rights issues that implicate men.”


But the decision has been sharply criticized by the Vatican and pro-life groups. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, a New Jersey Republican and one of the Hill’s leading voices on human rights, told the Catholic News Service that a human rights group that favored legalizing abortion is “the ultimate oxymoron.”


Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued a statement in June calling on Catholic organizations and individuals to stop providing financial support for Amnesty International because of the abortion policy.


“If, in fact, Amnesty International persists in this course of actions, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” the cardinal said.


Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Peace and Justice at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the group was “deeply disappointed” by the Amnesty International vote. The bishops conference is not a member of the human rights group, but he said Catholic organizations and individual Catholics will be forced to reconsider their support for Amnesty International.


Amnesty International and the church have been leading voices in the international campaign against the death penalty.


“We can work with groups and people with whom we do not agree with on every issue on common interests,” Mr. Colecchi said. “But it’s a different moral issue for people of conscience to contribute directly to an organization whose work now will include the decriminalization of abortion.”


The Rt. Rev. Michael Evans, bishop of England’s East Anglia Diocese, on Monday became the first high-ranking Catholic figure to quit Amnesty International, which he joined 31 years ago.


“Among all human rights, the right to life is fundamental, and this decision will almost certainly divide Amnesty’s membership and thereby undermine its vital work,” the bishop told the London Times newspapers.


St. Aloysius College in Sydney, Australia, a Jesuit school, also resigned its membership in the human rights group Tuesday, citing the abortion policy, and urged other Australian Catholic schools not to cooperate or help raise funds for the organization.


The abortion policy has proven controversial within Amnesty International, with some activists worried that the shift will make the human rights group’s work harder not only with Catholic groups, but in conservative parts of Latin America, Asia and the Muslim world.


The Irish chapter of Amnesty International announced over the weekend that it would not promote the group’s new abortion policy, citing Irish laws against abortion.


But Gabriele Eminente, a top official from Amnesty’s Italian chapter, said he did not expect to lose members because of the abortion vote, despite the Vatican’s strong opposition.


Amnesty’s Miss Brown said the Mexico vote in favor of the new policy was overwhelming, although no final vote was taken. She said e-mail to the organization since the vote had also been mostly favorable to the change.




Court Backs Ban on Bible Distribution at Elementary Schools (Christian Post, 070824)


A federal appeals court this week upheld a lower-court ruling against the distribution of Bibles to grade school students in a southern Missouri school district.


The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis backed the decision made last year by a U.S. district judge who granted a preliminary injunction barring the South Iron R-I School District in Annapolis from “allowing distribution of Bibles to elementary school children on school property at any time during the day.”


“[W]e reject the contention that the preliminary injunction is invalid because it is content-based,” read the decision by the appeals court on Tuesday.


It also stated that it agreed with the district court that distributing Bibles to fifth graders in the classroom – as representatives of Gideons International have been allowed to do at South Iron Elementary School in Annapolis – “raises far graver Establishment Clause concerns than, for example, permitting outside groups to distribute religious flyers on school premises or inviting ministers to give nonsectarian prayers at graduation ceremonies.”


According to Liberty Counsel President Mathew Staver, however, the appeals court ruling concerns a practice no longer in place.


Staver, whose conservative law group represented the school district in their case against parents represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the district’s current policy allows people or groups to distribute literature — with approval from the district — before or after school or during lunch break, but not in the classrooms.


The new policy is the subject of a pending court ruling at the district court level, he told The Associated Press, and Liberty Counsel “will vigorously defend [the policy] because we believe it’s a constitutionally sound policy.”


According to the Staver, the policy will provide the right to distribute literature to groups such as Gideons International, the organization whose Bible distribution sparked the current legal battle.


For years, Gideons International representatives have been giving away pocket-sized Bibles to fifth-grade classrooms at South Iron Elementary School.


Although parents of some students first raised concerns about the Bible distribution in 2005, the school board voted 4-3 that fall to allow the distribution to continue.


In February 2006, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of four sets of parents, asking that the district be stopped “from further endorsement of religion.”


All four sets of parents are Christian, said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU office in St. Louis.


“Their objection is they don’t want the school telling their children what their religious beliefs should be,” Rothert said, according to AP. “They believe that should be done at home with the family.”


Rothert said the ACLU was asking the district court to issue a permanent injunction banning the Bible distribution program.




ACLU Unmoved by Jesus’ Court Companions (Christian Post, 070906)


A city courthouse in Louisiana recently mounted portraits of 15 of history’s preeminent lawgivers alongside its painting of Jesus Christ in an attempt to appease a legal group trying to force the removal of the portrait.


The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has not been persuaded to drop the lawsuit against the city of Slidell and maintains that the display violates the separation of church and state.


“The question of whether Jesus needs to come down is the same question,” Marjorie Esman, ACLU’s new executive director, said Wednesday, according to The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans. “You can’t cure a problem by dressing it up.”


Slidell City Court in Louisiana added the framed portraits of famous legislators to its print gallery including those of Confucius, Hammurabi, Moses, Charlemagne, Sir William Blackstone, and others last Friday, one week before a scheduled court hearing at which the Louisiana ACLU will ask a federal judge to remove the Jesus portrait.


“The purpose of the display has always been to use art to emphasize the importance of following the law in order to have a peaceful society. Slidell officials believe this expansion should reassure courthouse users or visitors that this is and always has been the legitimate purpose of the display,” said Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) senior legal council Mike Johnson in a statement.


ADF is a legal alliance which defends and advocates for religious liberties. Attorneys at ADF are representing Slidell City Court Judge James Lamz, the city of Slidell, and the parish of St. Tammany.


The ACLU had filed a lawsuit in July claiming “mental anguish and emotional distress” over the Jesus portrait and asking a federal court to order its removal.


“It’s a clear constitutional violation,” said Katie Schwartzmann, staff attorney of the Louisiana chapter of the ACLU, in June, according to AP.


ADF’s Johnson, however, argued that “[t]he First Amendment allows public officials, and not the ACLU, to decide what is appropriate for acknowledging our nation’s legal and cultural heritage.”


“The constitution does not prohibit public buildings from memorializing the great figures from our history,” he added.


The painting of Jesus Christ has been on display at the courthouse for more than a decade. Alongside the 16 portraits are a reproduction of the U.S. Constitution and a mounted explanation of the different figures in the prints.


“The explanations address the importance of the figures in the display in contributing to the foundation of laws that govern our land,” said Johnson. “Citizens can find similar historical and educational renderings in many public buildings and courthouses throughout the nation.”


Johnson pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court Building as example, where marble friezes of “great lawgivers in history” are on display.


“It seems that the ACLU, if unchecked, will continue its barrage of legal attacks until every one of those historical references is sandblasted from existence” warned Johnson.


ADF has many times defended communities in South Louisiana against ACLU lawsuits, including after Hurricane Katrina when the ACLU sued to block a privately funded memorial to storm victims because it included a cross.




Jesus Court Painting Survives ACLU Attack (Christian Post, 070910)


A disputed portrait of Jesus Christ will remain at the Slidell city courthouse in Louisiana after a federal judge refused to grant a demand by the American Civil Liberties Union to have the painting removed.


“The court today recognized that the First Amendment allows public officials, and not the ACLU, to determine what is appropriate for acknowledging our nation’s legal and cultural heritage,” said Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund, in a statement Friday.


“The ACLU’s sole and stated objective in this case was to have the Jesus painting removed. But the Constitution does not prohibit public buildings from memorializing great figures from our history.”


The Jesus portrait, which had been on display in the courthouse for more than a decade, had spurred the ACLU to file a lawsuit claiming that the display violated the separation of church and state.


In response, the city of Slidell mounted additional portraits of 15 of history’s preeminent lawgivers alongside the Jesus painting. The framed portraits added on Aug. 31 included those of Confucius, Hammurabi, Moses, Charlemagne, and Sir William Blackstone. Alongside the 16 framed portraits are a reproduction of the U.S. Constitution and a mounted explanation of the various figures in the paintings.


However the added prints did not appease the ACLU, which refused to drop the case.


“It’s sad that we’ve reached a point where such images have to be defended,” ADF’s Johnson said. “The ruling today is believed to be the first-ever federal court decision to specifically review and uphold as constitutional an image of an adult Jesus on public display.


“While such images and other religious symbols are common in public buildings throughout the U.S., none have been challenged in this manner before,” he added.


Judge Ivan Lemelle on Friday ruled against the ACLU and said the only remaining issue to be discussed is attorneys’ fees.


ADF has many times defended communities in South Louisiana against ACLU lawsuits, including after Hurricane Katrina when the ACLU sued to block a privately funded memorial to storm victims because it included a cross.




IRS Vindicates Focus on the Family (Christian Post, 070911)


The IRS has cleared one of the nation’s leading pro-family conservatives of accusations that he endangered his organization’s nonprofit status by endorsing Republican candidates in 2004.


After a nearly 12-month audit on Focus on the Family and its founder and chairman, Dr. James C. Dobson, the IRS affirmed that the Colo.-based organization committed no wrongdoing, CitizenLink reported Monday. CitizenLink is a publication of Focus on the Family.


“Our examination revealed that Dr. Dobson’s reported remarks did not occur in publications of Focus on the Family, did not occur at functions of Focus on the Family and did not involve Dr. Dobson’s suggestion that he was speaking as a representative of Focus on the Family,” the IRS stated in a letter received last week, according to Dobson. “As such, we are closing our examination without any change to our recognition of Focus on the Family as [a tax-exempt organization].”


At least two liberal watchdog groups – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Colorado Springs-based Citizens Project – had filed complaints with the IRS in 2005 against Dobson, calling on it to conduct a “full-scale investigation” and to revoke Focus’ tax-exempt status, levy fines and pursue “civil and criminal penalties.”


The complaints alleged that Dobson improperly used Focus on the Family resources to support candidates, which is nonprofit organizations are not allowed to do.


While 501(c)(3) nonprofits such as Focus on the Family can speak out about issues and do a limited amount of lobbying, they can’t get involved in races involving candidates under IRS rules.


After the audit, however, as Dobson noted, there were: “No dings. No criticisms. Not a single allegation was found to have substance.”


“And the reason we are [‘squeaky clean’] is because we believe in the rule of law,” he said on his national radio broadcast Monday. “We believe in following, to the letter, IRS regulations and every other aspect of the law. We’re called by Scripture to do that. And we live within it.”


According to The Associated Press, a CREW spokeswoman said Monday the group has requested a copy of the IRS letter from Focus on the Family and would not respond until it has reviewed it. The IRS does not release audit findings, but audited organizations are free to do so.


Barb Van Hoy, the executive director of Citizens Project, meanwhile, said: “Certainly, we believe Focus on the Family and Dobson have the right of free speech as individuals to espouse their political views, and I’m very pleased to hear the IRS found they were not violating any of the rules.


“We’ll keep watching them because they seem willing to push to the very edge,” she added, according to AP.


On his radio broadcast Monday, Dobson said the challenge to Focus on the Family’s tax-exempt status was an attack meant to muzzle the group and conservative pastors nationwide from speaking out about social and moral issues, including marriage, homosexuality and the sanctity of life.


“The purpose for this was not only to see if they could damage us and take us out,” he said, “but to scare every pastor and every nonprofit that’s out there.”


Focus on the Family is one of the many Christian groups currently opposed to the protesting the hate crimes bill in Congress that is attempting add sexual orientation, gender and gender identity to the existing list of hate crimes protected under law. Dobson has warned that the true intent of the bill is “to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality.”


“Pastors preaching from Scripture on homosexuality could be threatened with persecution and prosecution,” he noted.


In Europe and Canada, pastors have already been charged and even threatened with imprisonment for preaching against homosexuality under these countries’ hate crimes laws.




Get the ACLU Out of Our Bathrooms (, 070926)


By Terence Jeffrey


The American Civil Liberties Union has argued in recent years that the right to privacy is so expansive it extends even to partial-birth abortion, in which a doctor kills a fully formed, almost-born child with scissors.


“The ACLU has a long history of vigorously defending the right to privacy — including the right to reproductive freedom,” the organization told the Supreme Court last year in a brief arguing that partial-birth abortion is a constitutional right.


But two recent court cases demonstrate there is at least one place where the ACLU rejects the right to privacy — at least for certain classes of people. It is in the bathroom.


Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge David Sam, who spurned the ACLU’s claim that an anatomical male had a right to use women’s restrooms.


Krsytal Etsitty, the plaintiff, had described herself, according to Judge Sam’s opinion, as a “pre-operative transsexual.” In 1999, Etsitty changed his name from Michael to Krystal and the sex designation on his driver’s license from male to female. He took hormones that altered his “outward appearance in some ways.” But he did not change his anatomy.


In 2001, the Utah Transit Authority hired him to be a bus driver. Judge Sam, who referred to Etsitty by the female pronoun, said: “At the time she applied for her job with UTA and throughout the training period, plaintiff dressed as a man and used the men’s restroom.”


After he was hired, however, Etsitty informed his supervisor that “she was transsexual and that she would be appearing more traditionally female at work.” This posed a logistical problem for the bus company. It had arranged for its drivers to have access to the public restrooms at certain businesses along its routes. Would Etsitty use the male or female restrooms?


Etsitty informed her supervisors, according to the court, “that she had some kind of written direction that required that she use female restrooms.” The supervisors told Etsitty “they were concerned about potential liability from co-workers, customers and the general public as a result of plaintiff, a biological male, using female restrooms.” The company let her go, notifying her, as reported by Findlaw, that she would be eligible for rehiring “once she completed the surgery.”


Etsitty sued, citing a federal law that bans discrimination based on “sex.”


In the ACLU’s view, not only was Etsitty’s anatomy irrelevant, so, too, was the right to privacy of anyone who happened to be in a women’s room Etsitty might use. “(N)o court has ever held that there is any legal right to privacy that would be violated simply by permitting a transgender person to use a public bathroom that corresponds to his or her gender identity,” said the ACLU.


Besides, even if privacy was an issue in public restrooms, the ACLU suggested, the architecture in such facilities protects it. As Etsitty had explained to his supervisors, according to the ACLU, his anatomy would be shielded from others using the women’s rooms “because there are stalls for privacy.”


Alas, the ACLU published this brief two years ago — apparently failing to anticipate that Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho would someday seek to withdraw his guilty plea for engaging in “disorderly conduct” in a men’s room stall.


In a brief submitted this month supporting Craig’s claim, the ACLU argued that what the senator is alleged to have done in an airport bathroom is free speech protected by the First Amendment — no matter what some guy seeking a little privacy in the next stall might think about it.


“The government does not have a constitutionally sufficient justification for making private sex a crime,” said the ACLU. “It follows that an invitation to have private sex is constitutionally protected and may not be made a crime. This is so even where the proposition occurs in a public place, whether in a bar or a restroom.”


But then the ACLU went a step further, arguing that there is not only a right to solicit sex, but also to engage in it, in a public restroom.


“The Minnesota Supreme Court,” said the ACLU, “has already ruled that two men engaged in sexual activity in a department store restroom with the stall door closed had a reasonable expectation of privacy. They were, the Court held, therefore acting in a private, not a public place.”


The conflated logic of the ACLU’s bathroom briefs seems to be that someone entering a public restroom intending to use it for traditional purposes has no protection either from the gender sign posted at the door or from the otherwise vaunted right to privacy. Someone entering a public restroom intending to solicit and engage in sex, on the other hand, is protected by both the First Amendment and the right to privacy.


What else would you expect from a group that embraces an ideology that holds that partially born babies have no right to keep their skulls intact?




The ACLU and Its Allies: Standing in Need of Prayer (, 071122)


By Jared Lorence


The ACLU’s perennial lawsuits attacking our nation’s religious heritage are backfiring, and that’s something for which you can give thanks this year.


An important—and, until recently, overlooked—constitutional requirement called “standing” is thwarting those attacks. Two federal appellate courts said “enough” and have recently thrown out ACLU lawsuits brought to stop prayer before the Indiana Legislature and a school board in Louisiana because the ACLU’s clients had suffered no harm—that is, they “lacked standing” to bring a lawsuit in the first place. So, rulings on “standing” are now protecting public prayer.


The obscure doctrine of “standing” means that federal courts cannot hear a lawsuit unless the person bringing it has suffered some concrete injury by the hand of the government, and the federal courts can do something to remedy that harm. The Constitution itself in Article III imposes these standing requirements on everyone bringing a lawsuit in federal court.


For decades, the ACLU has convinced federal courts to ignore these rules of standing when it brings its extreme lawsuits to eradicate the posting the Ten Commandments in city hall, to censor the singing of Christmas carols in the public schools, or to stop a school board meeting from opening in prayer. The ACLU locates the village atheist, and files a lawsuit on his behalf, asking the federal court to stop the practice because it allegedly violates the so-called “separation of church and state” in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


But the village atheist has suffered no “concrete injury.” So years ago, the ACLU and its secularist allies bamboozled the courts into ignoring the general rules of standing for lawsuits in their cases and permitting lawsuits brought by “offended observers” of a religious display or prayer or by “taxpayers” who had contributed financially to the allegedly unconstitutional governmental act, no matter how little their contribution.


The federal courts do not allow lawsuits by “offended observers” or “taxpayers” in any other area of law. Someone offended by government signs stating “Support the War In Iraq,” “Say No To Drugs,” or “Pay Taxes Here” cannot go to court for an order censoring those signs. The fact that they may have paid taxes to make those signs does not mean they have suffered a “concrete injury” that gets them into the federal courthouse.


The ACLU and its allies have been getting away with this for decades. Representing clients that have experienced no real harm, they have succeeded in eliminating ceremonies and other practices mentioning God and our nation’s dependence on Him, some of which date back to before the founding of our Republic. But finally the courts are waking up. They are imposing the standing rules across the board and rejecting these lawsuits until the ACLU finds someone who has actually been harmed by the government’s actions.


For example, on October 30, the federal appeals court for Indiana, the 7th Circuit, threw out a lawsuit by the local branch of the ACLU that challenged the tradition of the Indiana Legislature to open its sessions with invocations by local clergymen. The ACLU assembled “taxpayers” to challenge the practice. The 7th Circuit ruled that “they have not shown that the legislature has extracted from them tax dollars for the establishment and implementation of a program that violates the Establishment Clause.” The Supreme Court last spring also rejected taxpayer standing for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who wanted to challenge a White House conference where nothing religious happened. The atheist group claimed that government officials would violate the Establishment Clause by merely urging faith-based groups to apply for federal grants to conduct programs to help the poor.


In July, the federal appeals court for Louisiana, the 5th Circuit, rejected a lawsuit by the ACLU, which represented “offended observers” who challenged the practice of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to open its meetings with prayer. The ACLU claims it forgot to mention in its legal pleadings that its clients had attended the meetings when there was prayer. Oops! It’s kind of hard to be offended by the prayers when you aren’t even present to hear them. The federal appeals court rightly dismissed the lawsuit with such a cotton candy foundation.


New enforcement of the requirement that the ACLU bring clients to court who have standing–that is, who have actually been injured by the government’s actions–will not totally stop the extreme lawsuits. But if the ACLU has difficulty finding people actually suffering from government actions that acknowledge America’s religious heritage, then maybe that says something about the validity of its assertions about what the Establishment Clause means.




Parents Defend Religious Freedom in School Prayer Suit (Christian Post, 071214)


A federal judge heard arguments Thursday morning on whether a Tennessee elementary school can allow a parents’ prayer group to meet and pray for the teachers and students on campus.


A lawsuit filed by a Wilson County couple contends that Lakeview Elementary School promoted Christianity by permitting a group called Praying Parents to leave “you’ve been prayed for” cards for teachers and students and organizing religious activities such as Christmas programs, See You at the Pole, and the National Day of Prayer.


Former school principal Wendell Marlowe recalled in court Thursday that his past meeting with the couple, identified only as Jane and John Doe, “was not very cordial.”


“You see what you’re making me do?” the principal quoted John Doe as asking. “Mrs. Doe, raising her voice, stood up and made remarks directed toward me. Mr. Doe followed. He practically yelled at me.”


Marlowe said he wished he had another opportunity to talk with the Does calmly about the situation.


The plaintiff, whose child attended kindergarten at the school in 2005-2006, had complained to school administrators about the activities. In September 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the anonymous family. They said they withdrew their child from the school and homeschooled him to protect their child from Christian proselytizing.


Jennifer Walker of Praying Parents said on Wednesday that the group held regular meetings at the elementary school with the support of the school’s administration. Meetings were held before and during school hours and the group distributed fliers for students to take home, Walker said.


Court documents also said the prayer group had their link on Lakeview Elementary School’s Web site and were allowed to run announcements in the school newsletter.


Marlowe, named as a defendant in the case, confirmed that he allowed Praying Parents to distribute fliers at the school and link to the school’s Web site but said he would have allowed other groups the same access if they had asked.


ACLU attorney Eddie Schmidt argued before the court Wednesday that the activities by Praying Parents are unconstitutional because the school facilitated the group’s activities, teachers participated in the activities and they occurred within the context of the school.


Since the lawsuit, the link has been removed and the school got a new principal. Also, the school’s assistant principal, Yvonne Smith, testified Thursday that many of the contested religious activities, including proselytizing, no longer take place on the campus.


Praying Parents, represented by Alliance Defense Fund, intervened in the suit, claiming the plaintiffs are violating their religious freedom rights.


“It’s important to live out my faith by the way I act and react to people, not necessarily by hitting them over the head with a Bible,” said Walker, whose two children attend Lakeview.


She told the court that along with the fliers advertising See You at the Pole and National Day of Prayer, the group also gave teachers gifts of appreciation that said the teachers are prayed for.


Teachers “should be able to be kind, have a smile on their face and have a light about them that comes from their faith. I don’t think they should cut this off,” added Walker.


The plaintiffs had proposed a settlement but the Wilson County School Board rejected it on Tuesday. Terms of the settlement were not released.


“I’m thankful,” said Lee Miller, a Wilson County parent whose child attends the school, in a report by The Tennessean. “To settle with ACLU doesn’t make any sense. We have a better case than the ACLU.”


Supporting the activities, Niki Fox, whose young son was diagnosed with cancer, said the prayers “gave us so much comfort. It really blows my mind that that comfort could be the source of someone else’s discomfort to such extreme. I just don’t get it,” according to Nashville’s WKRN.




Ala. Schools Asked to Ban ‘Facing the Giants’ (Christian Post, 080117)


The Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter Tuesday asking the Tuscaloosa City Schools board to bar teachers at Paul W. Bryant High School from showing the movie “Facing the Giants.”


The group said that it had received several complaints last fall about students being shown the movie in class.


According to Tuscaloosa City Schools, the film was shown to two classes at the school prior to the semester break.


Tuscaloosa City Schools said Tuesday that the school’s principal has “suspended any further showings until the merits of the complaint can be addressed,” according to a statement.


In the letter sent to Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Joyce Levey and Bryant High Principal Amanda Cassity, Americans United alleges that “Facing the Giants” is aimed at evangelism and that showing the film in class violates the Establishment Clause.


“This movie is not educational; it’s evangelistic,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, in a statement. “Parents and taxpayers expect our public schools to teach, not preach.”


The D.C.-based organization has asked for a response by Feb. 15.


“Facing the Giants” was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. The film, made with a volunteer cast of the church’s members, tells the story of a losing football coach at a Christian high school who leads the underdog team to victory as he encourages players to “give your best to God.” The movie’s tagline is “With God, all things are possible.”


Produced with about $100,000, the film has grossed more than $10 million since its release in September 2006. Christians hailed the success of the film as a growing demand for clean, family-friendly alternatives to Hollywood productions.


Moreover, the Rev. Michael Catt, senior pastor of the church, has credited the movie for leading 3,000 people to convert to Christianity, reported Americans United, citing comments he made during a pastors’ breakfast at the 2007 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.


Bryan K. Fair, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law who specializes in the First Amendment, said determining the “context” and “purpose” of showing the movie would be the central question the court would ask if it were to take up a case involving religion in the public schools.


“I doubt very seriously that the majority of the current Supreme Court would say that the showing of this film is any sort of religious activity,” Fair told Tuscaloosa News.




Texas School District Settles Bible Class Suit (Christian Post, 080306)


ODESSA — Each side in a lawsuit over a West Texas school district’s Bible curriculum claimed victory Wednesday after a mediator’s proposal gained final approval.


The Ector County Independent School District can continue to offer a Bible course but its course work will be developed by a committee of seven local educators appointed by the superintendent. The lawsuit challenged class material produced by the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.


A mediator in Dallas developed the proposal and the district trustees voted on Wednesday to approve the plan. Plaintiffs approved it earlier this week.


The curriculum must meet criteria set by state law and the class will be offered beginning in the 2008-09 school year.


“It’s a great victory for ECISD because they’re going to get to continue having a Bible course,” Hiram Sasser of Liberty Legal Institute, which represented the district, said in a statement. “They’re going to develop their own curriculum the way they want to do it without anybody getting in their business. They’re going to have the Bible as the primary textbook. That’s the most important thing. It’s the thing the community wanted.”


The lawsuit, filed in May on behalf of eight parents in the district, alleged the Bible course violated their religious liberty. Mediation began earlier this year.


The agreement, said T. Jeremy Gunn, of the American Civil Liberties Union, is a victory for putting religious education in parents’ hands.


“It is unacceptable for government officials to decide which religious beliefs are true and which are not and then use the public school system as a means of proselytizing children,” he said in a statement.


The state and national ACLU and the People for the American Way Foundation sued the school district in May. The Ector school board approved the course, a high school elective, by a 4-2 vote in December 2005.


At issue was a Bible course that teaches the King James version using material produced by the North Carolina group. The course uses the Bible as the students’ textbook.


The National Council said its curriculum is used in hundreds of school districts, including more than 50 in Texas.


The parents’ suit was dismissed.




Indiana Judge Dismisses ACLU Challenge, Upholds ‘God’ License Plate (Foxnews, 080418)


INDIANAPOLIS  —  A judge has upheld the issuance of Indiana license plates bearing the message “In God We Trust,” dismissing a constitutional challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.


Marion Superior Court Judge Gary L. Miller wrote in a 13-page opinion that the plates were comparable to standard plates issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and were created specifically as such by the Legislature.


“Courts are not to second-guess the Indiana General Assembly when it comes to calculations of this sort,” Miller wrote, contrasting the ‘In God We Trust’ plates with other specialty plates that require the payment of administrative fees.


Miller said the issuance of the plates did not violate the section of the Indiana Constitution that forbids the Legislature from granting special privileges or immunities not available to all citizens.


The ruling, issued April 10, denies a motion for summary judgment in the suit by the ACLU on behalf of Mark E. Studler, an Allen County resident who has an Environmental Trust plate for which he had to pay extra fees.


Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said Thursday the ruling would be appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.


“We’re obviously disappointed,” Falk said. “It’s our position still that the differential treatment afforded between the environmental plate and the ‘In God We Trust’ plate ... is unconstitutional, that the Legislature doesn’t have the power to say the ‘In God We Trust’ plate is free whereas the environmental plate carries an administrative fee.


“We’re disappointed but we will continue to maintain our legal argument,” Falk said.


The ACLU must file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the court’s ruling.


The lawsuit claimed the BMV gave preferential treatment to motorists wanting the plates, which also feature the U.S. flag, because they don’t have to pay the $15 administrative fee that the agency collects on sales of most other Indiana specialty plates.


The 2006 legislation creating the plates specified the state could charge no more for the “In God We Trust” plates than for the standard plates.


BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver said Thursday more than 1.6 million people have selected the “In God We Trust” plate since it became available in January 2007 as one of more than 75 options for motorists.


“The BMV will continue its policy to offer all plate designs without promoting any one license plate design over another and will continue to offer the IGWT plate design at no additional charge, as outlined by the Indiana General Assembly,” Stiver said.


Republican state Rep. Woody Burton of Greenwood, who sponsored the bill to create the plate, said he was pleased with the court ruling and confident it would withstand an appeal.


“When we wrote this law we wrote it as a standard license plate costing no extra money — we deliberately wrote it that way,” Burton said, adding that it has been very popular among Hoosiers.




The End of Freedom in America? (Christian Post, 080428)


John W. Whitehead


According to the New Jersey ACLU legal director, Marcus Borden has fostered a “destructive environment” for students. What did Borden, a high school football coach in East Brunswick, N.J., and a recipient of the national Caring Coach of the Year award, do to create such a “destructive” environment?


He bowed his head—silently. Sometimes he knelt down on one knee—silently. Coach Borden wasn’t attempting to pray with his football players, nor was he leading them in prayer. He was showing silent respect for their longstanding pre-game tradition by bowing his head.


But the forces of political correctness have gotten so absurd that even the most obscure, non-verbal expressions are targeted for censorship if religion is even remotely involved.


Yet as a student athletic trainer who worked with Borden during his first year as a coach at East Brunswick remarked, “The tradition of student-initiated prayer goes back many, many years. I think with all that is wrong in our schools today, gun violence, bullying, promiscuity, etc., that the energy being spent on Marcus Borden bowing his head and taking a knee is a waste. Here is a man trying to support the youth in his care and be a positive role model and all these administrative yahoos can worry about is his presence in a room with his players while they pray. It is time people stopped obsessing over the positive messages a coach is trying to send and start worrying about the real problems in school today.” Indeed, Borden has been recognized for his efforts to positively impact young people with the Power of Influence Award, given only to deserving high school football coaches for positively impacting their players, schools and communities.


Our schools are in a deplorable state, and our young people are surrounded by dangers on all sides—from premarital sex, school shootings and drug and alcohol abuse to low literacy standards and a lack of understanding about the difference between right and wrong. In light of this, you’d think the schools would be grateful for a teacher who serves as a positive, moral role model for young people. But when religion is involved, even heroes like Borden find themselves under fire.


Pre-game, student-led prayer has been a regular part of football for many years. In fact, East Brunswick High’s practice of player-initiated, pre-game prayer has been in effect for over 25 years, with more than 2,000 former East Brunswick football players opting to voluntarily pray before taking the field on game days. The prayers are a simple, solemn request for safety and honor on the field: “Dear Lord, please guide us today in our quest in our game. Please let us represent our families and our communities well. Lastly, please guide our players and opponents so that they can come out of this game unscathed, no one is hurt.”


But after some parents reportedly complained about a prayer that was offered at a pre-game pasta dinner, the practice became a target for official school censure. Quick to jump on the “thou-shalt-not-offend” bandwagon, school officials passed a policy in October 2005 prohibiting representatives of the school district from participating in student-initiated prayer.


But school officials went so far as to order Borden, who also teaches Spanish, to stand still rather than bending a knee and silently bowing his head while his players recited pre-game prayers. The penalty for disobeying was disciplinary action, including the loss of his job as a coach and tenured teacher. School officials justified their actions by insisting that while student athletes have the constitutionally protected right to pray, that privilege does not extend to coaches, who are public employees and whose participation would violate the so-called “separation of church and state.”


Borden responded by offering his resignation in protest. But after thinking further about the matter, he changed his mind and rescinded his resignation so he could continue coaching. At the same time, believing that he was taking “a stand for every high school football coach in America,” Borden also filed a lawsuit asking the courts to review the school’s prayer policy.


Although school officials in this instance were lacking in common sense, the federal district court was not. In siding with Coach Borden, Judge Dennis Cavanaugh ruled that the school district had violated Borden’s constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association and academic freedom when they prohibited him from silently bowing his head and “taking a knee” with his players while they engaged in student-initiated, student-led, nonsectarian pre-game prayers.


But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently overturned Cavanaugh’s decision and ruled that a football coach may not silently bow his head or “take a knee” with his team as a gesture of respect for student-led prayers prior to a game.


Borden’s case is being closely watched by athletic directors across the country who were instructed to cease praying with their players. According to Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, more than 50% of high school football coaches nationwide have engaged in team prayer. Furthermore, if this ruling is allowed to stand, it could very well mean that high school teachers across the United States will have no free speech or academic freedom rights.


We have become a politically correct society – one that stands for uniformity, not diversity. If someone might be offended, freedom of speech is erased.


But if all freedoms hang together, then they will fall together, too. And if America continues on its present course, it will mean the end of freedom.




ACLU Sues Over Arkansas Ban on Adoption, Foster Care by Unmarried Couples (Foxnews, 081230)


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  —  More than a dozen families filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a new Arkansas law banning unmarried couples living together from becoming foster or adoptive parents.


The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the families in Pulaski County Circuit Court seeking to overturn Act 1, which was approved by voters in last month’s general election.


“Act 1 violates the state’s legal duty to place the best interest of children above all else,” said Marie-Bernarde Miller, a Little Rock attorney in the lawsuit.


The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of 29 adults and children from more than a dozen families, including a grandmother who lives with her same-sex partner of nine years and is the only relative able and willing to adopt her grandchild, who is now in Arkansas’ state care.


The plaintiffs also include Stephanie Huffman and Wendy Rickman, a lesbian couple raising two sons together who want to adopt a foster child from the state.


“It’s just wrong. It’s an injustice,” said Huffman, who lives in Conway. “I’m being denied an opportunity to provide a home for a special needs child.”


The families claim that the act’s language was misleading to voters and that it violates their constitutional rights. The lawsuit was filed against the state of Arkansas, the attorney general, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and its director, and the Child Welfare Agency Review Board and its chairman.


The Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group that campaigned for the ban, said it was aimed at gay couples but the law will affect heterosexuals and homosexuals equally.


Jerry Cox, the council’s president, said he will likely ask the court to allow the group to intervene in the case. Cox said he had expected a lawsuit to be filed if the measure passed.


“We are confident this lawsuit will fail and Act 1 will remain on the books,” Cox said.


Rita Sklar, ACLU Arkansas’ executive director, said the group wanted to file the lawsuit before the law takes effect Thursday. Department of Human Services officials have said they do not expect to have to remove any foster children from their homes. The state had already barred cohabiting unmarried couples from becoming foster parents and was in the process of reversing that policy when voters approved the new ban.


The law does not affect any adoptions that were finalized before it takes effect.


The ACLU had represented four plaintiffs in a lawsuit that led the state Supreme Court to overturn the state’s ban on gay foster parents in 2006. The Family Council had campaigned for the initiated act in response to that ruling.


The lawsuit challenging Act 1 was assigned to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox, who had initially overturned the gay foster parent ban.


The ACLU’s suit notes that the council had pushed for the new law as part of a campaign to blunt a so-called “gay agenda,” but the restriction affects heterosexual and homosexual couples equally.




Why not fire Peter Singer? (Ann Coulter, 090401)




And what is Obama’s justification for keeping Shirley M. Tilghman as president of Princeton University as long as Princeton employs prominent crackpot Peter Singer?


Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton’s Center for Human Values, believes parents should have the right to kill newborn babies with birth defects, such as Down syndrome and hemophilia, and says there is nothing morally wrong with parents conceiving children in order to harvest them for spare parts for an older child — or even for society to breed children on a massive scale for spare parts.


His views on these issues are so extreme I’m surprised Singer hasn’t been offered a position in the Obama cabinet yet. Perhaps he paid his taxes and was disqualified.


Singer compares the black liberation movement to the liberation of apes, saying we must “extend to other species the basic principle of equality that most of us recognize should be extended to all members of our own species.” (Imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said that and then go lie down for 20 minutes.)


The esteemed professor Singer also believes sex with animals is acceptable and has no objections to necrophilia — provided the deceased gave consent when still alive. We’re still waiting to hear his views on sex with dead animals. Especially me, as I have no plans for next weekend.


Doesn’t a “new vision” for Princeton — which benefits from massive taxpayer subsidies in the form of student loans and government grants — require firing the president of Princeton? That university is clearly teetering on the brink of moral bankruptcy.




Christian Educators Group Stands Up to ‘Goliath’ ACLU (Christian Post, 090707)


Christian Educators Association International (CEAI), which has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the ACLU against a Florida county school district, says it is the “David” in its battle for religious freedom and that the ACLU is the “Goliath.”


“The ACLU is engaged in a well-financed, systematic campaign to intimidate Christian educators across the nation,” said CEAI Executive Director Finn Laursen on Monday.


“We feel this case is so important that we must take a stand,” Laursen added.


Last week, Christian legal group Liberty Counsel filed the motion on behalf of CEAI, insisting that an overly broad consent order against the Santa Rosa County School District essentially bans all employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities, whether before, during, or after school hours.


“Not only does the ACLU want to strip public school employees of their rights to free speech while working, the ACLU is now arguing that they lose their rights after work and off campus ,” stated Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law.


Last year, in August, the ACLU filed the complaint against the School Board for Santa Rosa County for the district’s alleged sponsoring of prayer at school events, orchestrating of religious baccalaureate services, and proselytizing of students during class and extra-curricular activities.


In response, the school district attempted to settle the suit by joining with the ACLU and presenting the court with a consent order that “permanently enjoined” school officials from “promoting, advancing, endorsing, participating in, or causing Prayers.”


Without any legal argument or briefing, the judge signed the order, which also bars school officials from “orally express[ing] personal religious beliefs to students during or in conjunction with instructional time or a School Event.”


“The Court’s order, based on the defendants’ own admissions, will help ensure that public school officials do not inject their personal religious beliefs into the students’ education,” said Daniel Mach, director of litigation for the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, after January’s ruling.


Liberty Counsel and CEAI, however, argue that the order is so broad that it unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of teachers, administrators, and students.


“The ACLU’s consent order broadly defines prayer, school events, and school officials so that employees who bow their head or fold their hands, pray over meals during their lunch, or voice agreement with another’s religious discussion at any time on school property or at any school event can be found in contempt of court,” Liberty Counsel reported.


“When private third parties use school facilities for after-school religious events or church services, no district employee on his or her own private time may participate or communicate agreement in any prayer or religious discourse, even if he or she is attending the event voluntarily, outside of school hours,” the legal group added.


Moreover, as CEAI’s Laursen noted, the order also forces CEAI members to infringe upon the rights of students and others.


“If we just sit by and allow constitutional religious freedoms to be bullied out of public schools, we will end up surrendering them all together. We are not willing to sit by and see this happen in Santa Rosa County,” Laursen added.


As a professional association for Christian educators founded in 1953, CEAI has historically encouraged its members by informing them that they do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door and that schools are not religion free zones.


In print, through technology, and in workshops and seminars across the country, CEAI also corrects the misconception that prayer has been banned from public schools and that teachers are limited in their religious expression on their own time.




Florida Principal, Athletic Director Could Go to Jail for Prayer Before Lunch at School (Foxnews, 090815)


A principal and an athletic director in Florida could be charged with crimes and spend six months in jail after they prayed before a meal at a school event, the Washington Times reported.


Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and athletic director Robert Freeman will go on trial in federal district court Sept. 17. They’re accused of violating the conditions of a lawsuit settlement reached last year with the American Civil Liberties Union, according to the Times.


Local pastors and some students and teachers are outraged that Lay and Freeman face criminal charges, and they have protested during graduation ceremonies, the newspaper said.


“I have been defending religious freedom issues for 22 years, and I’ve never had to defend somebody who has been charged criminally for praying,” said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the Christian-based legal group that is defending the two school officials.


But an ACLU official said the Santa Rosa County School District has been guilty of “flagrant” First Amendment violations for years, the Times reported.


“The defendants all admitted wrongdoing,” said Daniel Mach, ACLU’s director of litigation for its freedom of religion program. “For example, the Pace High School teachers handbook asks teachers to ‘embrace every opportunity to inculcate, by precept and example, the practice of every Christian virtue.’”


The case stems from a Jan. 28 incident in which Lay, a local Baptist church deacon, asked Freeman to offer mealtime prayers at a lunch for school employees. Staver said no students were there and the event took place on school property after hours.


Mach countered that the event was held during the school day and Lay has admitted in writing that there were students present, according to the newspaper.


The ACLU contends that the allowance of the lunchtime prayer was a breach of last year’s settlement, in which the district promised, among other things, to prohibit all school employees from promoting prayers during school-sponsored events, espousing their religious beliefs and trying to convert students.




Legal Group Accuses Church-State Watchdog of Covering Partisan Tracks (Christian Post, 090703)


A Christian legal group is accusing a left-leaning church-state separation group of trying to cover their tracks after a complaint with the IRS was filed against them.


One week after Fla.-based Liberty Counsel filed the complaint against American United for Separation of Church and State (AU), the latter group sent a letter to Lois G. Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, regarding a possible violation of federal tax law committed by a church in Virginia.


“The Washington Post reported June 8 that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran appeared at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Richmond June 7,” AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn wrote in the letter, dated June 8.


“When the church invites one candidate to speak from its pulpit on Sunday before the election and that candidate is then endorsed by the church’s top official, the non-partisan character of the institution has been compromised,” he added.


“I urge you to investigate this matter and fully enforce the law.”


This week, Liberty Counsel caught wind of AU’s latest complaint and on Wednesday noted the timing and the focus of the letter.


“Liberty Counsel alleged that for several years AU has almost exclusively filed complaints with the IRS against churches whose pastors lean toward Republican rather than Democratic candidates,” the legal group stated. “To cover its tracks, AU quickly filed a complaint with the IRS against the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, for allegedly endorsing then-Democratic candidate Brian Moran during one of its services. “


In their complaint to the IRS on June 1, Liberty Counsel had accused AU of engaging in “libelous and slanderous” partisan activity. The legal group called out AU for consistently filing complaints against conservative churches and nonprofit organizations.


“Despite its knowledge of partisan activity carried on by more left leaning nonprofit organizations, AU remains silent,” noted Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, in the complaint.


Staver went as far as to call AU “essentially ... an arm of the Democratic Party.”


“Churches and nonprofit organizations having anything to do with conservative causes or Republican policies or candidates are targeted by AU,” he added.


To prove that point, Liberty Counsel referred to AU’s website, in which the group states that one of the five things that AU does is “monitor the Religious Right,” calling the movement the “single greatest threat to church-state separation in America.”


Liberty Counsel also revealed AU’s activity over the past four years, during which the group only filed four IRS complaints and six press releases involving democratic or liberal candidates for office.


And even among the few, most - if not all - were allegedly issued in response to the late Dr. Jerry Falwell publicly pointing out the partisan pattern of AU’s activities at the time.


“In response to cover itself, AU filed a handful of complaints against nonprofit organizations where Democratic candidates appeared,” Liberty Counsel noted. “AU then quickly returned to its typical partisan behavior of filing partisan complaints against nonprofit organizations where Republican candidates appeared, but not those where Democratic candidates appeared.”


So now that AU is again being called out, the church-state watchdog appears to be following the same pattern, according to Liberty Counsel.


“The politically partisan pattern of Americans United is clear,” commented Staver in a statement Wednesday.


Staver’s group also accused AU of only being interested in getting its name in the media, reporting that the watchdog group has never been successful in causing the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of any church.


AU did not respond immediately to messages left by The Christian Post regarding Liberty Counsel’s claims.


The watchdog group also made no mention of Liberty Counsel’s claims in their frequently updated blog.


It did, however, respond to the IRS complaint filed by Liberty Counsel last month, calling it “groundless” and “desperate diversionary tactic.”


“Falwell knows full well that Americans United is rigorously non-partisan,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, referring to Jerry Falwell Jr., chancellor of Liberty University and son of the late Jerry Falwell Sr.


The IRS complaint was filed by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Liberty University.




Students, Legal Groups Stand Against Anti-Religious Court Order (Christian Post, 090606)


The school year has officially ended for the students in Florida’s Santa Rosa County School District but the controversies stemming from an anti-religious court order have not.


And they may not for up to the five years that all Santa Rosa County School District employees are banned from engaging in prayer or religious activities under the consent degree that resulted from a lawsuit filed six months ago by the ACLU.


“The Court’s order, based on the defendants’ own admissions, will help ensure that public school officials do not inject their personal religious beliefs into the students’ education,” said Daniel Mach, director of litigation for the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, after January’s ruling.


But critics say the order has gone too far and not only violates the First Amendment rights of school faculty and staff, but also students, some of which have already felt the brunt of the decree.


Members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Christian World Order at Jay High School, for example, were denied access to benefits and privileges available to other student groups because of the religious nature of their speech. Teachers at the same school were also told not to participate in private baccalaureate services sponsored by a local ministerial association despite the fact that the school property was rented for the event in accordance with district policy.


“While we appreciate the District’s concern for abiding by the recent Consent order ... treating FCA and CWO equally with other student clubs in no way violates this Order,” wrote David A. Cortman, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, in a letter last month to the principal of Jay High School, the superintendent of the Santa Rosa County School District, and members of the Santa Rosa County School Board.


After receiving the letter, school officials reversed the decisions it had made, allowing FCA and CWO equal access to benefits and privileges and granting permission to teachers to attend private baccalaureate services.


But religious freedom groups say there is still work to do.


At Pace High School, the student body and senior class presidents were barred from speaking at their own graduation ceremony due fears of prosecution.


In response, nearly 400 graduating seniors stood up last Saturday during their commencement ceremony in protest against the ACLU and recited the Lord’s Prayer. Many of the students also painted crosses on their graduation caps to make a statement of faith.


Though the ACLU has not taken any legal action yet, the legal group has stated that something should have been done to stop the prayer.


Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, however, argues that any attempt to make schools religion-free is unconstitutional.


“Neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate,” he stated Thursday, the last day of school for students in the Santa Rosa district’s eight high schools. “The students at Pace High School refused to remain silent and were not about to be bullied by the ACLU.”


According to Staver, Liberty Counsel has decided to represent faculty, staff and students of Pace High School, “because the ACLU is clearly violating their First Amendment rights.”


Notably, while the First Amendment stands against “establishment of religion” by the government, it also bars the government from “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”


In the consent decree, school officials are “permanently enjoined” from “promoting, advancing, endorsing, participating in, or causing Prayers” and also not allowed to “orally express personal religious beliefs to students during or in conjunction with instructional time or a School Event,” among other requisites.


After five years, a court will discuss whether or not there is a need for further continuation of the order.




Legal Group Accuses Church-State Watchdog of Covering Partisan Tracks (Christian Post, 090703)


A Christian legal group is accusing a left-leaning church-state separation group of trying to cover their tracks after a complaint with the IRS was filed against them.


One week after Fla.-based Liberty Counsel filed the complaint against American United for Separation of Church and State (AU), the latter group sent a letter to Lois G. Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, regarding a possible violation of federal tax law committed by a church in Virginia.


“The Washington Post reported June 8 that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran appeared at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Richmond June 7,” AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn wrote in the letter, dated June 8.


“When the church invites one candidate to speak from its pulpit on Sunday before the election and that candidate is then endorsed by the church’s top official, the non-partisan character of the institution has been compromised,” he added.


“I urge you to investigate this matter and fully enforce the law.”


This week, Liberty Counsel caught wind of AU’s latest complaint and on Wednesday noted the timing and the focus of the letter.


“Liberty Counsel alleged that for several years AU has almost exclusively filed complaints with the IRS against churches whose pastors lean toward Republican rather than Democratic candidates,” the legal group stated. “To cover its tracks, AU quickly filed a complaint with the IRS against the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, for allegedly endorsing then-Democratic candidate Brian Moran during one of its services. “


In their complaint to the IRS on June 1, Liberty Counsel had accused AU of engaging in “libelous and slanderous” partisan activity. The legal group called out AU for consistently filing complaints against conservative churches and nonprofit organizations.


“Despite its knowledge of partisan activity carried on by more left leaning nonprofit organizations, AU remains silent,” noted Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, in the complaint.


Staver went as far as to call AU “essentially ... an arm of the Democratic Party.”


“Churches and nonprofit organizations having anything to do with conservative causes or Republican policies or candidates are targeted by AU,” he added.


To prove that point, Liberty Counsel referred to AU’s website, in which the group states that one of the five things that AU does is “monitor the Religious Right,” calling the movement the “single greatest threat to church-state separation in America.”


Liberty Counsel also revealed AU’s activity over the past four years, during which the group only filed four IRS complaints and six press releases involving democratic or liberal candidates for office.


And even among the few, most - if not all - were allegedly issued in response to the late Dr. Jerry Falwell publicly pointing out the partisan pattern of AU’s activities at the time.


“In response to cover itself, AU filed a handful of complaints against nonprofit organizations where Democratic candidates appeared,” Liberty Counsel noted. “AU then quickly returned to its typical partisan behavior of filing partisan complaints against nonprofit organizations where Republican candidates appeared, but not those where Democratic candidates appeared.”


So now that AU is again being called out, the church-state watchdog appears to be following the same pattern, according to Liberty Counsel.


“The politically partisan pattern of Americans United is clear,” commented Staver in a statement Wednesday.


Staver’s group also accused AU of only being interested in getting its name in the media, reporting that the watchdog group has never been successful in causing the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of any church.


AU did not respond immediately to messages left by The Christian Post regarding Liberty Counsel’s claims.


The watchdog group also made no mention of Liberty Counsel’s claims in their frequently updated blog.


It did, however, respond to the IRS complaint filed by Liberty Counsel last month, calling it “groundless” and “desperate diversionary tactic.”


“Falwell knows full well that Americans United is rigorously non-partisan,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, referring to Jerry Falwell Jr., chancellor of Liberty University and son of the late Jerry Falwell Sr.


The IRS complaint was filed by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Liberty University.




Amnesty International Pushes “Gay Marriage” Down Under (C-Fam, 091112)

By Piero A. Tozzi, J.D.


(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Activist organization Amnesty International is putting its weight behind an Australian bill seeking to legalize “same-sex marriage” in that country, claiming that “internationally recognized” non-discrimination norms dictate such a result.


In a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of Australia’s Senate, Amnesty’s Australian affiliate contends that laws limiting the right to marry to opposite-sex couples amounts to “arbitrary discrimination” in contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).


The group further interprets a provision of the ICCPR guaranteeing adults the right to enter into “consensual marriage” as applying to same-sex couplings. Critics contend this distorts the meaning of the word “marriage” without regard to context and the apparent intent of the drafters. The ICCPR provision cited, Article 23, states that “The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized,” and that “No marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”


Underscoring what critics say is the problem of United Nations (UN) treaty monitoring bodies exceeding their mandates and seeking to reinterpret treaties to include novel concepts not agreed upon by those who negotiated or ratified the treaties, Amnesty asserts that “For more than a decade, non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation has been an internationally recognized principle which has been endorsed by UN treaty bodies and numerous inter-governmental human rights bodies.” Specifically, Amnesty cites interpretations of the ICCPR and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by their respective treaty monitoring bodies as forming a soft-law jurisprudence in favor of a new non-discrimination category.


The creation of such a non-discrimination category is hotly-contested among UN member states, however. To date, efforts to enshrine “sexual-orientation and gender identity” as a category on par with ones such as race and religion in a legally binding document have been repeatedly rejected.


Amnesty points to a French-initiated statement signed by roughly 65 member states, including Australia, last December asserting the existence of a non-discrimination category based on sexual orientation and gender identity in support of Amnesty’s call to allow same-sex couples to enter into “a legally binding union of couples, otherwise known as marriage.” The Amnesty submission contends that preventing “same-sex couples from entering into a legally binding union on the basis of sexual orientation” contravenes “the statement Australia supported in the UN General Assembly last year.”


A contemporaneous counterstatement, however, signed by nearly 60 nations, principally from the Islamic world, Africa and Oceania, along with independent statements made by Russia, Belarus and the Holy See, pointed out that no non-discrimination category based on sexual orientation and gender identity exists in international law. Amnesty’s submission makes no reference to the counterstatement.


Critics of the French-led statement pointed out at the time that, though non-binding and supported by only a minority of member states, advocates would hail it as a soft-law norm signaling of a movement by states toward a rights-based acceptance of homosexual conduct – in this particular case, using it to place same-sex unions on par with marriage.




Conn. Schools Threatened with Lawsuit Over Graduations at Church (Christian Post, 091020)


The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have threatened to sue Enfield Public Schools if their graduation ceremonies are not moved out of a church.


“Students and their families should not have to choose between attending graduation and being subjected to proselytizing religious messages,” said Alex Luchenitser, senior litigation counsel for Americans United, in a statement Wednesday. “Yet that is exactly the choice that the Enfield Schools impose on students and their families.”


According to the two civil liberties groups, Enrico Fermi High School and Enfield High have been holding graduations at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Conn., since 2007 and 2008, respectively. The venue was chosen as work was being done on the schools’ football fields.


The ACLU first contacted the Enfield Board of Education in 2006 expressing its opposition and arguing that it constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The school district was asked to secure a religiously neutral location for the graduation ceremony.


During an Enfield Board meeting in October 2008, board members Susan Lavelli-Hozempa and Joyce Hall said they heard from students and parents regarding the ceremony venue and they preferred the First Cathedral.


Enrico Fermi High School Student Representative Samantha Reid said the majority of Fermi students wanted to go back to First Cathedral for their graduation while Enfield High School Alternate Student Representative Bryan William Dague said the majority of Enfield students wanted to graduate at the school.


Board members also noted that the church provided a large venue and helped save the district money.


The Board of Education is scheduled to hold two more meetings this year and the civil liberties groups are asking board members to “voluntarily abandon the practice.” Otherwise, they will sue.


“Graduating students, their parents, their older and younger siblings, and their other family members and guests are coercively subjected to religious messages as the price of attending high-school commencement – a seminal event in a student’s life,” the two groups state in a letter to the attorney for the schools. “The selection of the Cathedral as a graduation venue further communicates to members of the Enfield Schools community that the concerns of religious minorities are not important to the school district, and that the district favors adherents of the majority religion.”


Gregory Stokes, the new board of education chairman, told the Hartford Courant that the cathedral “makes it as secular as they can” and that it is “one of the best sites outside of Enfield.”


The graduation ceremony site is going to be “one of the first issues we discuss in the next 30 days,” he noted, and the decision may come down to resources.


“We may have to make a decision about where we spend our resources,” he said, as reported by the local Courant. “A legal battle might end up costing more than using the fields for graduations.”


Four other area public schools – East Hartford High School, South Windsor High School, Windsor High School and the Metropolitan Learning Center Magnet School – also have been using The First Cathedral for their graduations.




ACLU Loses Donor, One-Fourth of Yearly Donations (Foxnews, 091209)


NEW YORK —  The American Civil Liberties Union has lost a quarter of its yearly donations after a major donor cut off $19 million in annual donations because of economic difficulties.


David Gelbaum, a wealthy California conservationist, said he was indefinitely stopping the donations that had made him the New York-based group’s largest anonymous donor.


“For a number of years, your organization has received very substantial charitable contributions from me,” Gelbaum said in a statement. “My investments in alternative, clean energy companies have placed me in a highly illiquid position as a result of the general credit crisis in the American and world financial systems.”


Gelbaum also announced he was halting some $12 million in yearly gifts to the Sierra Club Foundation and about $50 million a year that he’s been giving to an organization serving veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gelbaum has given a total of $389 million to the groups from 2005 to 2009.


The New York Times named Gelbaum in a story published in the newspaper Wednesday. Gelbaum had previously funded those organizations anonymously.


“While we’re clearly disappointed that his desire to remain anonymous was breached, we remain eternally grateful for everything he and his family have done to advance the cause of civil liberties for all Americans,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said.


Romero also called Gelbaum an American hero, “an unassuming man with a spectacularly generous spirit.”


Gelbaum says he hopes others will step forward and replace his donations.


Gelbaum, a native of Minnesota, once chaired the math department at the University of California, Irvine. He made his fortune working for hedge funds, where he used mathematical formulas to pick stocks and bonds.


He runs an investment firm called Quercus Trust, based in Newport Beach, Calif.




ACLU Presses Gov’t to Ensure Faith-Based Hospitals Provide Emergency Abortions (Christian Post, 100702)


The American Civil Liberties Union is pressing a federal health agency to ensure that religiously-affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive care as required by federal law.


“The lives and health of pregnant women seeking medical care should be of paramount importance,” expressed Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement Thursday. “No woman should have to worry that she will not receive the care she needs based on the affiliation of the nearest hospital.”


In a letter dated Thursday, the ACLU asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to investigate situations in which the lives and health of patients were jeopardized as a result of hospitals’ adherence to religious doctrine, rather than medical ethics.


The group also asked the Baltimore-based agency to issue a formal clarification that denying emergency reproductive health care violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Conditions of Participation of Medicare and Medicaid (COP).


“Religiously-affiliated hospitals – which are often the only hospital in a particular area – are not exempt from providing critical care to patients who come through their doors,” stated Daniel Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona, which witnessed one of the cases that prompted Thursday’s letter.


“The government must ensure that the well-being of the patient does not take a back seat to religious beliefs,” added ACLU Legislative Counsel Vania Leveille.


In announcing its latest move, the ACLU said it was acting in response to situations such as one that occurred last year in Phoenix, where a pregnant woman with life-threatening pulmonary hypertension was taken to a Catholic hospital, which then debated whether to terminate the pregnancy.


While the ethics committee of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center ultimately approved the procedure, the sister who served on the committee was demoted.


“[T]he hospital in this case made the right decision in saving this woman’s life,” said Pochoda.


However, he added, “the subsequent treatment of the staff could have a chilling effect on the staff at hospitals across the country that may face similar situations in the future.”


According to the ACLU, Catholic hospitals operate 15% of the nation’s hospital beds.


Previously known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), CMS is a federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that administers the Medicare program. It also works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and health insurance portability standards.




ACLU Wants Religious Symbols Covered for NJ High School Graduation (Christian Post, 110515)


The ACLU is saying religious symbols on a building that has hosted the graduating class of Neptune High School in Ocean Grove, N.J., for the past six decades, in ceremonies that often have religious undertones, makes the ceremony unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state.


The ACLU’s complaint to the school district was filed on behalf of a woman who attended the ceremony last year but doesn’t live in the district.


The religious symbols include two signs inside the Great Auditorium – a wooden, dome structure that was built in 1894 and has hosted eight presidents – one of which says, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD,” and the other says, “SO BE YE HOLY.” A 20-foot high white cross also hangs from the front of the building.


According to the NBC New York website, the ACLU says it is not threatening legal action and it wants the children to graduate in the auditorium, but it wants the cross covered. Another news report, however, says the ACLU will not comment as to whether a lawsuit is pending.


“The ACLU is not asking the district to change the venue,” said ACLU spokeswoman Katie Wang, according to Asbury Park Press. “It is simply asking the district to cover the religious symbols on the property, including covering the cross that is outside.”


The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which is rooted in Methodist heritage, owns all of the land in the city. The auditorium hosts church services in addition to speeches, concerts and other events. OGCMA Chief Administrative Officer Nancy Hoffman said they will not agree to cover the symbols.


“We can’t cover those,” Hoffman told the Asbury Park Press. “They are part of the integrity of our historic structure.”


The graduation ceremony is scheduled for June 20 and with both sides at an impasse, the ceremony may not happen in the historic auditorium.


More than 100 parents and alumnus of the high school showed up for a Neptune school district meeting Wednesday night to voice their opinion.


Former board member Michael D. Fornino read the First Amendment, prompting applause from the crowd. He went on to say, “It does not say a public cannot use a facility that is a religious institution.”


“You have generation after generation that has walked down those isles,” alumnus Tracey James told NBC. “And as a student you’re a rock star for a day.”


“This a time honored tradition!” said Lisa Daly on Facebook. “Generations of my family have walked down the aisle of the Great Auditorium. My children should have that same tradition allowed to them!”


Neptune Township School Superintendent David Mooij said they changed the graduation ceremony program to match what other school districts across the country have had to do, but he said, “The ACLU said it wasn’t sufficient.”


So far, there haven’t been any complaints about the cross or the other religious symbols from parents whose children are hoping to celebrate their graduation in the auditorium.




New Jersey School and ACLU Compromise on Graduation at Christian-Owned Site (zfn, 110526)


For generations, graduates of Neptune High School have walked down the aisle of the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, N.J., where the impressive 6,500-seat venue dominates the landscape of one of the area’s most historic beach towns.


For generations, graduates of Neptune High School have walked down the aisle of the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, N.J., where the impressive 6,500-seat venue dominates the landscape of one of the area’s most historic beach towns.


School officials in Neptune Township, N.J., have bowed to the demands of the ACLU and will cover decades-old religious signs posted in the historic Great Auditorium to allow a 70-year tradition of high school graduations to continue.


Instead of the sign, “Holiness to the Lord,” a banner will be posted over it saying, “Neptune Township School District ... A Community of Learners.” In addition, a banner with the words “So Be Ye Holy” will be covered with another banner saying, “Neptune High School: A School of Excellence and No Excuses.”


The new banners are meant to appease the American Civil Liberties Union, which had demanded the school district remove all religious signs and symbols from the Methodist-owned auditorium in Ocean Grove, claiming it made non-Christians attending public school graduations feel uncomfortable.


Neptune Schools Superintendent David Mooij said he’s glad there is a resolution everyone seems able to live with. “We’re very pleased. We’ve worked from the beginning to collaborate on a solution,” Mooij said.


“The town became stronger. It was a galvanizing moment for the town ... There’s a lot of faith in this town. Faith that people expressed in prayer actually led to a true, amicable resolution,” he said.


The conflict began after the grandmother of one of last year’s graduates complained not only about the large white cross adorning the top of the buildings’ facade, but of the religious signs inside, and what she felt was a heavily religious tone to the ceremony, which included student-led invocations and the singing of Christian hymns, most notably “Onward Christian Soldiers.”


The school agreed to cut out the student-led invocations and the hymns. But the 6,500-seat Great Auditorium is run by the Camp Meeting Association. It is the iconic, center piece of the Methodist Church-based organization’s property, which comprises the bulk of the land in Ocean Grove. The historical building had become the sight for both civic and community events. The association agreed to cover the cross on the inside, but not the cross on the outside or the antique lighted religious signs.


As a compromise, the ACLU, the school district and the Camp Meeting Association agreed that the religious signs inside would be covered with school banners, and that students, faculty and attendees will enter the building through the side doors to avoid entering under the cross.


In a statement the ACLU said: “We are pleased to have successfully resolved this matter with the Neptune Board of Education. We are satisfied that the actions by the district will allow students of all faiths and backgrounds to enjoy their graduation ceremony without feeling like outsiders based on religious differences.


Having the students and audience enter at the side and back doors is a moot point because there are doors directly beneath the white cross. All of the Great Auditorium doors are on the sides.


Mooij believes the stipulation is mainly because of past cases, and as a precedent for future cases, as more and more school districts are faced with challenges to holding graduations in large religious centers.


In the end he says, the “kids learned and even faculty learned from this.”


Mooij said many students switched their school papers to compare their predicament to the Brown vs. Topeka case, the 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate America’s schools.


That legal challenge came from one person’s voice as well. A little African-American girl challenged her state over her right to attend an all-white school that was closer to her home, instead of the black school much farther away.


It’s a famous case where one person’s individual’s rights created changes that in the end were good for America.


What the students of Neptune discovered, says Mooij, by comparing the two situations, is that every case should be decided on its own merit. He said the general comment was that, “There is no one decision that’s right in all cases.”


In the end, Neptune Township is living out their motto and new banners ... “A Community of Learners.”




ACLU Lawsuit Moves to Keep Sex Offenders in House Near New Day Care Center (Fox News, 110816)


The Delaware American Civil Liberties Union has filed court papers to stop sex offenders from being evicted from a safe house that is located near a new day care center.


The ACLU, along with an attorney representing the safe house and three sex offenders, has asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from evicting the residents.


“The state has asked the residents to leave, and if they don’t leave they will be arrested,” attorney Daniel Wolcott, Jr. told Fox News Radio.


Wolcott is representing the owner of the safe house and three sex offenders.


“The safe house has been there for a number of years and has been accepting registered sex offenders who are prohibited from living within 500 feet of a school,” he said.


Wolcott said there are two safe houses in question. One house was operating before the day care center opened for business. The other one was not. However, he said police said any sex offenders living at both houses would have to leave or face arrest.


Kathleen MacRae, the executive director of the Delaware ACLU, told The News Journal that the pending eviction of the sex offenders seems “very unfair and very rushed by the city.”


She pointed out that the ACLU has questions over the actual distance between the homes and the day care center. The ACLU also questioned whether a day care center qualifies as a “school” under state law.


The day care center reportedly began operating less than 500 feet from both homes in September.


“It is already difficult for men who have been convicted of a sex offense to find a place to live,” she told the newspaper. “State law should not force these men to move, or prevent facilities like the safe house from housing them, every time a private citizen decides to open a day care center.”


A city spokesman released the following statement to Fox News Radio:


“The City appreciates the predicament faced by the residents of the Harriet Tubman Safe House, but we are following the advice of the Attorney General’s Office and cannot comment further due to the pending court action.”


Delaware Attorney General Bo Biden’s office said they will not comment on the matter.


The issue has stirred debate in Wilmington. The News Journal released an editorial that called the sex offender ban unfairly punitive.


“As offensive as the tenants’ crimes are, they paid their debt to society and earned the right to purse law-abiding livelihoods,” the editorial read.


“Their home predates the day care center by eight years. This is not to dismiss the fact that even with treatment a high percentage of sex offenders — pedophiles particularly — will recommit their crimes. But a carte blanche banishing of all sex offenders to be on the run every time they have found legally acceptable housing is vindictive, reactionary and no solution.”




West Virginia Schools Defend Bible Course Against ACLU (Christian Post, 110924)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigating a “Bible in the Schools” program established in Mercer County, W. Va., as to whether the school system is violating the separation of church and state.


While no legal action has been taken as of yet, the organization, infamous for filing lawsuits against schools who purportedly walk a fine line in religious matters, is seeking more information from the county about the program in question.


This is not the first time the program has come under scrutiny, Tom Chaffins, the Supervisor of Secondary Education, told West Virginia News Station.


“They want to know how we go about getting our teachers, what we use in the classrooms, materials we use [and] how it’s funded, those kinds of things.”


Chaffins said she is not worried about the ACLU investigation, because the Bible program is taught under the strict guidelines given by the Attorney General of West Virginia. Chaffins remains confident that the school is not violating the separation of church and state.


Greg Prudich, president of the Mercer County Board of Education, told Saturday’s Daily Telegraph that the school board has provided information about the program to the ACLU when requested.


Like Chaffins, Prudich believes the classes are being taught according to the constitutional guidelines.


The program, operated by the Mercer County Public Schools, is not a church-operated program.


It is an elective course offered at 16 of the Mercer County schools including those in Bluefield, Princeton, and outlying schools. It has been a part of the county’s curriculum for more than 75 years and teaches students objectively about the literary and historical qualities of the Bible.


“Literature contains so many biblical allusions that a biblical ignorance cripples any meaningful literary study,” the county wrote on their website.


No doctrinal differences are dealt with in the schools, and when asked by children, instructors refer them to their parents.


In a 1963 ruling regarding prayer in the public schools, the Supreme Court Justice Clark stated, “It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”


The ruling by the Supreme Court has never been reversed and no court has ruled against the teaching of the Bible as history and literature, Mercer County penned.


“The impact of the Bible on the American culture merits for this book far greater attention than is merited by any other book. To cut our children off from the Bible is to cut them off from their cultural roots. This cannot be said of any other book.”


Though the teaching of the Bible is legal, the program is not financed by the Board of Education, because of a lack in funds.


Community funding of the course has sustained the program until now. In August, a “Bible Benefit Ride” by motorcycle riders helped raise money for the program.


“Bible in the Schools” is a nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Anyone can donate to the program.


“The Bible forms the lowest stratum in the teaching of literature. It should be taught so early and so thoroughly that it sinks straight to the bottom of the mind, where everything that comes along later can settle on it,” Mercer County quoted Northrop Frye, the famous literary critic of the 20th century.