Democrats & Liberals Archives

Hooray for the ACLU - a postscript

A wonderful article by Deborah Jacobs, the executive directory of the NJ ACLU, is well worth a read - especially by those that are concerned about how the ACLU and the godless liberals behind it are suppressing legitimate freedom of religious speech. It focuses on the particular issue of religious displays. Some highlights:

The ACLU's stance on the separation of church and state is as much about preserving and protecting religious practice as anything else. By fighting to see that the government acts with neutrality toward religion...our system ensures religious liberty for all in our diverse society...Religious ideals are best represented by those within the religion itself, not by the government. The ACLU defends the rights of private citizens, churches and organizations to put up any religious displays they choose.

Jacobs goes on to say:

The ACLU regularly defends the right to exercise one's religious beliefs. The free exercise cases that the ACLU takes protect religious practice. Just last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the ACLU-NJ in a case concerning the dismissal of jurors on the basis of religion. In Nebraska, the ACLU recently defended a church facing eviction; the Pennsylvania ACLU represented a Baptist Church denied a zoning permit; the ACLU of Michigan represented a high school valedictorian whose Christian message in his yearbook was censored; the Massachusetts ACLU represented a student who received punishment for distributing candy canes with religious messages; the Iowa ACLU represented a student prohibited from distributing Christian literature at school; the Massachusetts ACLU defended the rights of a church to run "anti-Santa" ads in the Boston subways. The list goes on.

James Madison wrote in 1803 that "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries." This, as columnist Molly Ivins has said, is a principle worth being a pain in the butt for.

Jacobs also noted that she has recently seen "an unprecedented number of inquiries about holiday displays on public property" even though the NJ-ACLU "as not engaged in any religious display issues this year". Why? "...we learned that the calls were primarily generated by the efforts of the Alliance Defense Fund and other conservative groups".

Posted by William Cohen at December 28, 2004 1:44 PM