Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Right Direction or Wrong Direction

I know, I know...I have complained about this before, but I believe that it warrants repeating.
I have now been contacted to participate in four Zogby polls. In each I have been asked the question, 'Do you think the country is headed in the right direction or in the wrong direction?' Each time I answered the same way...'The wrong direction.'
Until hearing the pollsters and talking heads scratch their heads about the apparent discrepancy between the popularity polls and this 'wrong direction' poll, I never equated this question with the actions of George W. Bush. The right or wrong direction, at least at this juncture of time, has nothing to do with the President. I am sure I am not the only one that answered the question in this matter...yet, it has never occurred to the pollsters that this is what accounts for the discrepancy.
This is why I answered 'the WRONG direction'...

--ACLU to Represent NAMBLA (Charles Jaynes case)
10 yr. old boy killed by two men that possessed NAMBLA literature and had viewed website right before murder. NAMBLA blocks member lists to check for registered sex offenders.
NAMBLA fights to get 'age of consent' abolished so grown men can legally have sex with little boys.

--ACLU fights for the right for women to have LIVE BIRTH ABORTIONS. This is when a baby that has been aborted is born alive and put in a utility closet until it dies. Also fights against PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION ban. This is when a late-term baby is delivered up until it's head and the doctor inserts scissors into the base of the skull and sucks out the brain. Doctor's have testified (Supreme Court) that limbs are often pulled off during this procedure and baby's have been fully delivered before PROCEDURE is performed. This PROCEDURE is to help ensure that a mother will not danger her chances of future pregnancys.

--ACLU fights against Parent Notification bill. You need a parent's written permission to be given an aspirin in a public school, but NO parental consent to have the invasive PROCEDURE more commonly referred to as abortion.

--ACLU sues South Dakota library for blocking sexually explicit websites from public viewing.

--ACLU challenges the ban on teen nude camps.

--ACLU (Supreme Court) fights to overturn the 1998 Child Online Protection Act -which was set in place to keep children from viewing internet pornography.

--ACLU lobbies to get F*** word taken off 'forbidden' list for television.

--ACLU sues teacher after-school prayer group in Louisiana.

--US District Court Judge, Phyllis Hamilton, in one day overturned the Partial Birth Abortion Act and and OK'd Muslim prayer in a California public school.

I could go on and on...but I won't. You get the point. This is why the country is headed in the wrong direction -not GWB!

I already know that some of you believe that the ACLU is a wonderful organization..I believe it is the headquarters of the Anti-Christ. I believe that they are taking the country down a scary path. I believe that they don't understand the fact that they can bring a million lawsuits to separate church and State, but they will never separate God and State...(at least not while the electoral college remains intact).


Tammi said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

I saw a bit on C-span where the NYCLU was conducting a class on how to demonstrate and what your rights are. (that in itself is a post) But what really caught my attention is the complete disrespect palitable via their words and tones. It shocked me. Yeah, maybe I've been a bit more niave than I realized, or maybe I was just holding out hope that they did have good intentions. They were just protecting the "underdog". Nope.

And nothing anybody says will change my mind. I've seen what I've seen. I've heard what I've heard. I don't need anymore details for form my analysis. Closed minded of me? Maybe. I don't care.

91ghost said...


riceburner147 said...

"The price of free speech is objectionable speech":

NEW YORK--In the United States Supreme Court over the past few years, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the side of a fundamentalist Christian church, a Santerian church, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In celebrated cases, the ACLU has stood up for everyone from Oliver North to the National Socialist Party. In spite of all that, the ACLU has never advocated Christianity, ritual animal sacrifice, trading arms for hostages or genocide. In representing NAMBLA today, our Massachusetts affiliate does not advocate sexual relationships between adults and children.

What the ACLU does advocate is robust freedom of speech for everyone. The lawsuit involved here, were it to succeed, would strike at the heart of freedom of speech. The case is based on a shocking murder. But the lawsuit says the crime is the responsibility not of those who committed the murder, but of someone who posted vile material on the Internet. The principle is as simple as it is central to true freedom of speech: those who do wrong are responsible for what they do; those who speak about it are not.

It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something many people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive. That was true when the Nazis marched in Skokie. It remains true today.
from the ACLU website

Ala71 It is shocking that your opinion was so shallow. Did you do even the most cursory research into why the ACLU would do what they did in this case ? And you confused the issue by (intentionally ?) mixing the ACLU and NAMBLA (a reprehensible group).

I dont know what your theological training is, well, actually i do, but the Anti-Christ is, as any serious student of the scriptures (reformed) knows is our own human heart, another words the Anti-Christ is YOU & ME. It does little good to use unnecesarily inflammatory words that are also incorrect. The ACLU has defended the killers of unborn children that i spent years of my life fighting. Having said that, They have the right, no the duty to defend the Bill of Rights as they see fit.

PQ Ribber said...

Whew. I understand the right, but, you havnt looked into reasons these cases were taken. Many laws seeking to protect children, for example, the internet porn law that the ACLU contested, were NOT properly contrived and really, PARENTS are supposed to raise their kids, not the government.
The values that YOU cherish, I respect. So long as other's do not directly affect your life, frankly, they are human and as potentially right or wrong as you are. Humility and understanding, NOT proscletyzing and concescention, my dear, will make this country and this world a better place for ALL>

PQ Ribber said...

Whew. I understand the right, but, you havnt looked into reasons these cases were taken. Many laws seeking to protect children, for example, the internet porn law that the ACLU contested, were NOT properly contrived and really, PARENTS are supposed to raise their kids, not the government.
The values that YOU cherish, I respect. So long as other's do not directly affect your life, frankly, they are human and as potentially right or wrong as you are. Humility and understanding, NOT proscletyzing and concescention, my dear, will make this country and this world a better place for ALL>

ALa said...

As I have told you before...the ACLU takes 'token cases' (Like Rush's case) as a deflector from their 'true agenda' which is the same as Al Qaeda's...not to rest until Christianity and Judaism is wiped from the face of the earth. They take these cases so they can wave them in the air the way a person says, 'I have a Black friend, BUT..." and tells a racist joke. It is a transparent cover and a sham...
But your right…I shouldn’t have said they were the Anti-Christ, because I know full well that is Hillary.

this we'll defend said...

Ala71: Many of the causes you have listed (that you think the ACLU is "defending") are no doubt despicable and henious. Child molesters are evil and deserve death. I've never heard of live birth abortions but it sounds like murder the way you describe it.

But imagine this: You don't like hookers standing on the streetcorner near your children's school. The government doesn't either. So the government sends police out and they shoot dead every woman who is near the school that can't prove she is a parent or a teacher. sound ok? What, are you defending prostitution? Don't you know the damage prostitution can do?

Sound farfetched? Such things have happened in tryannical regimes. Pol Pot murdered millions just for being able to speak English or wearing glasses. It sounds farfetched HERE.


Because we have a government of the people, and that government is limited in what it can do and can't do - limited by us. All power the government has is delegated by the people, and we should jealously guard that power and ensure the government has only what we give it.

The only way to do that is to ensure that the government plays by the rules "We the People" set out for it. And sometimes, when dealing with unpopular people or causes, the government tries to sneak one in on us. It is the nature of governments, all governments, throughout history. It is, in fact, human nature to do so.

The ACLU isn't a proponent of child-molesters. There are laws against child molesting. The ACLU seeks to ensure the government stays where we put it. If the powers the government sought were so needed to do justice for Charles Jaynes the government should ask for it. And if the government seeks that power and the People say no, it is the end of the matter. Don't blame the ACLU, blame the People. I'm not defending child molesters, and you aren't defending prostitutes, when we say to the government "you can't do it that way. That isn't the way we said you should fight crime. That goes too far."

If you don't like live birth abortions (something I've never heard of) then we should ban it. But if the law banning it says "no abortions of any kind" then it goes too far because the Supreme Court said so. The Supreme Court said the government doesn't have the power to do that - to ban all abortions completely. Well, you are pro-life so you don't mind.

What if the Supreme Court says prayer is permitted in school - in fact, it is mandatory - and only praying to Allah is allowed. Like it? Iran does it. Saudi Arabia does it. How do you feel about it? If you are in the majority it never happens, but what if you were in the minority, a Christian in a Muslim nation? Wouldn't you want your government to leave your religion alone? Who would you turn to for help? The ACLU. They don't care what religion you are, they just want the government to stay in the box we set out for it. If the People want to change the size of the box, expanding it by expanding government powers, they can do that. But the government can't - it doesn't have the power to do so. But it wants it. Oh yes, it wants it. It is the nature of man to want more power, and the nature of government to expand and become tyrannous. Always. Which is why we limit the beast.

The South Dakota library - the problem is not (I guarantee you) blocking sex sites. Governments can limit speech without going outside the 1st Amendment. You don't see hardcore porn on ABC, do you? No, I said Hardcore. :) The problem is who makes the decision? Is it arbitrary? then it is unconstitional. A librarian could decide the RNC site (or yours when your pretty feet were on display) met the definition of pornography. There are tests that have to be met before the govt can limit speech - as Bigandmean can tell you. The "rational basis test," the "strict scrutiny" test - a compelling govt interest must be involved and the law must be narrowly tailored to ensure harmless speech isn't included, etc. Just about every law school offers an entire course on nothing but the 1st Amendment. So who do you call when the government, in an attempt to do good, goes too far? The ACLU. They aren't defending porn in the classroom or in the children's section of the library. They aren't proposing peep shows at govt expense. They are defending speech. Even speech you don't like. They aren't defending child molestors, they are defending US, all of us.

Some people think it would be ok to take an accused child molestor out back and have the police beat a confession out of them. But what if the guy is innocent? That is why WE the People didn't give the police that power. That isn't to protect child molestors, it is to protect us. All of us.

The government doesn't usually violate the rights of the rich and powerful. Or ordinary people. Tyranny always starts lower down - with criminals, pedophiles, outcasts, despised minorities. With Hitler he didn't even start with the Jews, but with the retarded, with criminals, and then on to Jews. So when a government oversteps it is usually against people nobody else likes - pedophiles, criminals, Muslims. But growing tryanny alwasy works its way up. That is why we stop it, nip it in the bud, when it starts to step over that line we drew. Even if it is stepping over that line for a child-murderer. The child murderer should be punished. But we need not toss out the Bill of Rights to do that. So the ACLU usually takes unpopular cases that nobody else will touch. And gets labeled as supporting "Nambla" when in fact it supports anybody whose rights have been violated. It gets labeled as supporting only Muslims and being anti-Christian when it is not - it isn't even anti-religion at all - it wants the government out of religion altogether. If a school board allowed muslim prayer the ACLU would be the first to sue. If the military decided to have only Muslim chaplains and not Christian ones the ACLU would be the first to sue.

You say that the state and God shouldn't be separate, and aren't. With respect, Jesus said "Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's, and unto the Lord what is the Lord's." And He was crucified for violating the religious laws of His day, crucified by a government, and the crowds cheered and jeered Him. I don't think He is a big fan of government involvement in religion, even when it favors the majority.

Our nation was founded by people seeking religious freedom. And they have it, we have it. We don't if the government and religion become one. I don't want my tax dollars being used to subsidize Mosques, and Muslims don't want their tax dollars subsidizing temples or churches.

You should read Jefferson's Declaration of Religious Freedom. It is awesome.

And don't assume the ACLU is out to destroy America. They are out to protect it from a tyranny of the majority. That means they are never popular, but usually on the side of right.

this we'll defend said...

"the ACLU takes 'token cases' (Like Rush's case) as a deflector from their 'true agenda' which is the same as Al Qaeda's...not to rest until Christianity and Judaism is wiped from the face of the earth."


I know you are conservative, but man. Same as Al Qaeda's? Wipe Christianity and Judaism from the earth? The ACLU? With all those Jews? And Christians like me? Do you really think that way?

Geez. I don't know how I am going to respond to that. I really like this site, but my goodness...

riceburner147 said...

And you had the nerve to say I am into conspiracy theories ! (its OK, I still love you) But WOW i think you may have gone overboard a little on the sweeping charges (see above post). Is the ACLU also to blame for global warming and the infestation of aliens form the planet Glurp ?

ALa said...

Global Warming is a conspiracy theory...

leftyjones said...

Do yourself a favor....delete that comment you made about the ACLU being like Al Qaeda and looking to wipe Christianity and Judaism from the face of the earth.

It's not just that it sounds crazy, or even that it is crazy (and it is)....its that on top of that, you are claiming some higher power, some ability to see inside the hearts and minds of the people involved with the ACLU and actually accusing them of promoting an agenda that is rooted in a desire to commit religious genocide.

Without trying to sound like Lloyd Bentsen, I know people that have worked for the ACLU and certainly a number of people who support the ACLU and I believe beyond the shadow of any doubt that these people believe in defending the Constitution from attack and in defending the rights of American citizens.
Even if you find that you are repulsed by some of the cases they are involved in, it is completely another thing to make the leap and the accusation that the group is committed to cleansing the earth of all Jews and Christians. It's just plain wrong.

Just last week you seemed to claim the same mystical understanding of Judicial Watch when you proclaimed them to be non-partisan and you insisted that their cases were all taken on merit and that their cases proved their bi-partisanship. In that case, you weren't subscribing to the idea that maybe Judicial Watch went after Cheney once or twice in an effort to throw people off their right wing track. Nope, in that case they were as sincere and upstanding as can be.

Yet, the ACLU has a much darker plan according to you and when they take cases that go against your opinion of what they stand for, you believe that they are all smokescreen cases to throw people off their genocidal track.
Are you hearing how this sounds?
As I mentioned, I know some people involved with the ACLU....I don't know anyone personally that is involved with Judicial Watch but after reading your accusations I'm going to assume you have some very intimate connections inside both organizations to have such a clear cut view of where they stand and what their goals are.
Please tell me that you do have some kind of evidence or inside information.......

Or just delete this section, claim political overload and fatigue, admit a mistake and move on.

Bigandmean said...

I don't want to burst anyone's ideological bubble but as a former member of the ACLU, I can tell you exactly what they are all about.

They don't really want to wipe out Christianity, although they're not fond of it. They're not interested in protecting free speech or freedom of religion either. They want continued controversy they can relate to alledged rights violations because they've found a cash cow...and one that pays very well. They get paid well and get to wrap themselves in the Bill of Rights at the same time. What a country!

A typical meeting involves a discussion of possible litigation involving cases such as the "one nation under God" reference in the Pledge of Alligence. If there is no money to be made, however, it will be dropped quickly so that another injustice might be discovered which will prove more profitable. The best part may be that no work actually need be done by the "lead attorney" because there is an endless supply of gullible, naive young lawyers who are anxious to charge into the fray to save the noble work of the founders.

In a recent Houston case, a monument to a philanthropist who funded a home for homeless men was removed from the grounds of the county courthouse after 50 years because it contained an open Bible as per the request of the man being honored. The court found that the display violated the establishment clause of the first amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"). The plaintiff and the local ACLU lawyers who represented her were awarded attorney's fees of $35,000, to be paid by the county(read, tax payers). A nice little rip off of tax payers and nobody is the wiser.

In the meantime, the young lawyers who did all the work walk away broke but believing that they are heros because they just saved the Bill of Rights. The one's running the show walk away with their pockets lined, laughing at the naivete of the young ideologues who just worked their butts off for nothing but a slap on the back.

There may be chapters of the ACLU that are truly about protecting the right of free speech and religious freedom rather than fleecing the taxpayer but I haven't seen one.

this we'll defend said...

Bigandmean, I don't even know where to start.

But I'll start. Competition to be an ACLU staff lawyer is incredibly intense. Attorneys hired by them full time earn less than starting DAs. All of them turn down big-firm offers for $125,000 (the big firm standard) to take jobs paying $40K or so. The litigators who handle the cases are usually attorneys working pro bono who have LOTS of other money-making cases they put on hold. One of my law school professors was very high up in the ACLU and worked there for over a decade. He left for academia and that was a HUGE pay increase. And you know as well as I that law school professors at top schools can usually double their salary by going big-firm.

And as a current member of the ACLU that attends these meetings, yes, money is a factor. There is never enough money to handle everything so cases are taken based on impact and probable cost, and many meritorious cases aren't taken. You should know better than anybody that facts are expensive but "law" is cheap, so cases are carefully chosen.

And $35,000 for a litigated case? I thought you were a law professor. How much do you think litigation costs? Big firms charge $200 to $300 an hour depending on experience. "Reasonable" fees in California for plaintiffs lawyers hovers around $300 an hour. At $300 an hour your $35,000 buys about 116 hours. After court costs, filing, copy fees, secretary time, paralegals, etc, lets say 80 hours of lawyer time is involved. That's 2 weeks of full-time work. And before people think "damn, $300 an hour, hell yes its for the money" - you don't get anything if you lose. And the ACLU only takes cases that nobody else will take, and often takes cases that will change a law. That means most of their battles are uphill, and they lose a lot. Winning cases finance losing ones. Without outside contributions the ACLU couldn't function because NO WAY do they earn enough from settlements and awards of fees to finance the operation.

I guess eliminating Christianity and Judaism from the planet is expensive work.

Yes, the ACLU is full of heroes. To accuse the ACLU of being in it for the money is ridiculous.

Kat said...

Ok...first time for everything...

Can I agree with Lefty and TWD and Big and Mean at the same time? Will the world come to an end?

I totally agree with TWD when he is talking about protecting the rights of all, even if it means some criminal types get a loop hole because, if we don't, then we could open it up so the government uses a "loophole" to take our rights. Mind you, I am not saying that the government is evil or fascist or whatever the current catch phrase is, but, you must protect from even the thought of those loopholes lest some un principled person takes advantage of it.

Mind you, that is the same reason why I support the NRA and do not believe in "bans" on weapons. Not because I think the US government is going to turn into Nazi germany and go door to door to collect the weapons before starting to take out all of the people, but because you must guard against even the hint of a possibility that can happen. Therefore, the second amendment, like the first, should not be compromised.

Now...I also agree with BandM. Anyone that thinks the ACLU is some non-profit, do gooder organization who just has the goodness of America at it's heart might be a little naive. I am sure that they don't just sue anyone for any reason, but, they often take their cases based on the biggest "bang" for their buck and their lawyers are not pro-bono, even if they tout themselves as "non-profit". That just means that the organization does not pay a dividend to share holders or other owners of the company. all money is "re-invested" into the company. That includes paying the salaries of it's "administrators", which quite hefty on occassion.

Having said that, BandM, I must say, have you ever known a law firm or court system or even health system that didn't work the interns to death for free or very little reimbursement?

ALa said...

Lefty- I didn't say the ACLU should be abolished...did I? Now, think about what you said... ACLU is protecting people's right --sometimes their right to do/say things that we don't like...and then you tell me to delete my comment. I'll let you think about that for a moment.

I am entitled to hold any belief that I want. If I believe that the ACLU has intentions that will be detrimental to the U.S. in the long-run...that is certainly my right to believe. Do I think that the ACLU began with good intentions? Of course I do...but I also believe Unions and welfare started with good intentions too ---but look what's happened there. I truly believe they are at war with Judeo/Christian beliefs and I think it is my prerogative to hold that belief...I think I've seen enough proof to support that claim. Whether we need them or they should exist is irrelevant to the point that I was making. My point was that the examples I gave were the reason that I answered 'the country is going in the wrong direction'...there was no commentary about abolishing the organization --just an explanation of my view of our direction as a country.

leftyjones said...


You are right....there was no commentary about "abolishing the ACLU" and you will also notice if you re-read my post that I never attributed those ideas to you at any time. Rather I talked about the accusations you made about the organization.

You can believe anything you want about anyone you want, I will never contest that right. But you cannot make charges like, "As I have told you before...the ACLU takes 'token cases' (Like Rush's case) as a deflector from their 'true agenda' which is the same as Al Qaeda's...not to rest until Christianity and Judaism is wiped from the face of the earth." and not have people demanding that you provide some type of proof other than the fact that you simply believe it to be true.
Now, you don't have to provide any support or any facts for why you believe the "true agenda" of the ACLU is to implement religious genocide in America but you can't then be bothered if your future opinions or comments are no longer taken seriously or as anything other than vicious slander.

This is why I suggested that you delete your post. Not because you don't have the right to say it but because I know you to be way smarter than to leave this topic out there to diminish your other viewpoints.

Trust me, as someone who enjoys debating you, having this commentary out there is a gold mine because anytime you start talking about any opinion under the sun....especially when it comes to charges on people's records...all I have to do is refer people back to this post and to your unsubstantiated accusations of the "true agenda" of religious genocide and that the ACLU is an equal threat to Al Qaeda and it immediately eliminates credibility.
I mean, whenever we look to make an accusation or defend a person, we look to the facts to either make or defend a charge. Whe someone is willing to make a charge as serious as these and then backs them up under questioning with logic like, " I can believe anything I want"....my answer to that would be, yes, you can believe anything you want and I'll assume that the next time you talk about accusations or facts that they are of the same fairy tale quality as your ACLU attacks.

ALA71, I know we have a lot of areas of political thought that we do not and will not agree on. I do think however, that when we aren't kidding with each other, that we are both interested in aligning our arguments with the truth. This is why I suggested you delete the post and move on.
The post puts you in the unenviable position of having to defend an indefensible statement that you made and detracts from your other arguments.
It was certainly not in an effort to censor you.
You are free to sound as crazy as you like. :)

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I think the ACLU just generally wants all freedom, all the time, and isn't always aware that sometimes the forms of freedom they fight for are equivalent to shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theatre.

When there is a court order and a warrant, to see if pedophiles may be frequenting a certain website, I think the ACLU is shouting "fire". If the law enforcement agencies want to just poke around there without a warrant, that isn't a shout of "fire" but a shout of "Fourth Amendment".

When some doctors are killing birthed babies instead of just fetuses (feti?), I think that's pretty much a shout of "fire", but it's also one for the citizenry to determine in the legislative process--it may be that all of America is shouting "fire" there.

To me the ACLU is a known quantity and you always know where they'll stand on any issue--whichever stand is the least restrictive, even if it means satanic bikers in the street raping little girls, as "expression". It's to be expected of them and I find no shock value in it.

But I would expect ACLU cases to be LOST when they go too far. When they shout "fire". It seems they don't lose as many of them as they should.

ALa said...

Lefty- I thought the cases that I sited did kinda prove my opinion...but I can go on...
Let's go back to 1919 when the ACLU was founded by Roger Baldwin (incidentally a Unitarian Socialist closely allied with major leaders of the then American Communist Party). Mission Statement, "Do steer away from making [the ACLU] look like a Socialist enterprise. We want to look like Patriots in everything we do. We want to get a lot of flags, talk a lot about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country and show that we are really the folks that stand by the spirit of out institutions".

In Tennessee in the 1920's the ACLU PUT AN AD in the paper asking for a teacher that would sue to get Creation teaching out of public schools. A GYM TEACHER answered the ad and proceeded with the law suit.

In 1931 a Special House Committee stated (in a Congressional Report):
"The ACLU is closely affiliated with the Communist movement in the U.S., and 90% of their efforts are in behalf of Communists that have come into conflict with the law".

"The ACLU has a vendetta to remove every single religious reference from any city seal and our mottos" Jay Sekulow, American Center for law & Justice, "This is a campaign specifically targeted against Christian symbols."

ACLU accomplishments:
--CA public school has nativity & menorah banned from anywhere on campus, at the SAME school the Qu'ran is required reading.

--NYC public schools have all Christian symbols ordered removed, but Islamic star and Crescent for Ramadan remain untouched and uncontested.

--“The American Civil Liberties Union is waging an aggressive campaign to expunge the American public square from all things religious, and specifically all things Christian. The most recent casualty in the group’s crusade is a cross displayed on the official seal of Los Angeles County.
A tiny cross is one of several symbols displayed on the southern California County’s seal. Its inclusion is intended to commemorate the role Christianity played in the founding of the area. By far the most prominent figure on the seal is the Goddess Pomona (worshipped by the wickens)- the Roman goddess of gardens and fruit trees – which apparently does not pose a problem for the ACLU." Dale Wong, ‘The ACLU’s war on Christianity’.

If there are 'loopholes' why doesn't the ACLU work to close them (NAMBLA) instead of continuing to set legal precedence to embed them further into acceptance?

Tom said...

"--ACLU challenges the ban on teen nude camps"

And the problem is ...?

But, seriously, ladies and germs, I personally think a lot of conservative anger toward the ACLU is actually deflected from the Republicans who can't seem to recapture what is perceived as an overwhelmingly liberal federal bench. This is similar to the anger directed at trial lawyers when in reality it's the greedy morons hoping to hit the lawsuit lottery themselves that serving on juries who are ultimately responsible for the outrageous awards that drive up insurance rates and bankrupt companies. If they weren't predisposed to buying the junk science and manipulative tactics a lot of plaintiff attorneys dish out, guys like John Edwards would be too busy tryiung to make ends meet from writing wills and defending juveniles to contemplate a life in politics (and wouldn't that have spared us?).

The various ACLU branches that take on cases conservatives view as outrageous assaults on the cultural fabric of the US are only as a effective as the judges who are predisposed to interpret the first amendment as narrowly (or as broadly, depending on which ideological ox is being gored) as the attorneys arguing the issue. And besides, like all cultural phenomenon, the most egregious examples of ACLU excess - the defense of NAMBLA, for instance - gets the most play, when in fact most of the group's first amendment cases are legitimate challenges to government assaults on the content of political speech. I was a firm supporter of the Illinois ACLU's defense of the American NAZIs right to peaceably march in Skokie back in the 70s (if any of you are too young to remember the controversy itself, there was a pretty good tv movie on the subject made in the 80s), something for which a lot of liberals took them to task. And I thought George Bush I's use of "card carrying member of the ACLU" as a criticism of Dukakis was silly. Dukakis was a dangerous dope for a thousand other good reasons (ever see him on news shows today, he STILL whines about the Willie Horton ads and his ride in that tank), Bush and Atwater didn't have to draw the cockamamie parallel between the ACLU and the communist party.

I think a fair assessment of the various chapters of the ACLU across the US would reveal cases that drive the left and right up the wall equally. And I support any group that challenges the government's assumptions concerning what rights we have, which point of view is permissable, what information I or my kids need "protection" from.

Besides, if conservatives think the ACLU is too far left, then there's nothing stopping them from throwing together a right-wing counterpart (I think there's a small organization based in Washington DC that takes on religious freedom cases from the conservative Christian perspective, but its name slips my mind at the moment).
Thing is, conservative Republican lawyers won't do that because they're too hot to make the big bucks in the big law firms on the big coporate cases, die hard greed is good capitalists that they are; the thought of defending some school kid in East Buttfuck Indiana's right to carry a Bible around is de classe - "What? And give up lunches at Morton's?"

Hey, that's fine with me, this is America. But you gotta stop crying about the ACLU.

ALa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bigandmean said...

OK TWD. If my personal experience with the ACLU carries no credibility with you, that's OK. Maybe you'll end up being one of those $40,000 a year, 70 hours a week guys and be happy about it. Or maybe you'll be the lead attorney and make $35,000 for two court appearances. Whatever the case, that's fine with me. I hope you're not as disappointed them as I was and wish you the best of luck.

riceburner147 said...

Tom; thats the Rutherford Institute, a great organization and one that defended me peronally in 1988.

leftyjones said...

Oh my god.
Tom and I actually agree on something.
It's a clear sign that the apocalypse is nigh.

~Jen~ said...

I read every word over here, but I have become more of a lurker than a comment poster.

I appreciate a good debate as much as the next person, but sometimes you guys (and yes, I mean the males) are so bloody MEAN to each other. It offends my delicate female sensibilities.


riceburner147 said...

We slay the beast, you tend fire ;>)

Frater Bovious said...

Ala's comments about the beginnings of the ACLU went unnoticed or uncommented, unless I missed something. Are the roots of the ACLU too hot to discuss?

Other point/question: I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but, I would like to understand why removing a monument is so important. Can anyone explain to me in simple terms how the Bill of Rights was defended and strengthened by pulling down a monument with a representation of an open bible? I am unclear on the danger presented to the American Way of Life by that monument.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Thomas Jefferson defended the "wall of separation" between Church and State by saying:

"It does me no injury if my neighbor declares there is no God or Twenty--it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

I think it should also be noted that it does me no injury if my neighbor declares there is ONE God. That doesn't pick my pocket or break my leg either.

As an agnostic, I am furious at the repression and witch-hunts my fellow non-religious people are exercising against people with religious beliefs. What the sam hell ever happened to "tolerance" anyway?

Frater Bovious said...

The part I like is when some religious point of view is ridiculed in the name of tolerance.

this we'll defend said...

Your neighbor can think whatever he wants. So can you.

You can espouse whatever religion you want, or none.

Your GOVERNMENT can't.

And you don't see this. But if it was a statute with the Koran down at your county courthouse you sure as hell would, and don't try and say otherwise.

ALa said...

The ACLU on various occasions has removed Christian and Jewish symbols BUT LEFT Muslim ones...
*music plays*
That is what I meant about the ACLU --it is not a conspiracy theory, but their own inconsistency that gives credence to my claims!
Don't remove the nativity, teachings of creation and the menorah and keep the Qu'ran as mandatory reading...or remove the nativity & Star of David but leave the Crescent and the star of Ramadan....
There is NO WAY you can defend this and until the ACLU fixes it they will be ripe for accusations of a crusade against Judeo/Christian beliefs...
*exhales loudly*
I feel so much better.

this we'll defend said...

Well, I don't want to call you a liar, that would be rude, but prove it. You can't, because it didn't happen. Ever.

While I'm waiting for a citation that either doesn't exist, or that is mis-interpreted, I'll tell you what happened with the LA County Seal.

The cross represents the original founders of Los Angeles, and is not meant to espouse religion. It is also very small. In the center is a huge picture of the pagan goddess Pomona - also not meant to espouse religion any more than celebrating Valentine's Day means you are Catholic.

Some people complained that the cross was against the Constitution so the ACLU wrote a letter to the County Board of Supervisors inquiring about it. They expected the county would simply provide an explanation that it was not there to encourage religion but to represent the history of Los Angeles, which was founded by Catholic missionaries and which translates as "the city of angels." They would then post this information and the complainers ("evangelical" atheists mostly) would realize they have no case and leave them (the ACLU and the County both) alone.

Instead the Board declared they would remove the cross. To everyone's surprise, including the ACLU, who has not sued the county and didn't ask for the removal, but only an explanation.

And even stranger, the Board removed the cross but left the Pagan goddess on the seal, so there is still Pagan religious imagery on it while Christian imagery was removed.

And now people say "the ACLU had the cross removed and left the paganism alone." Thus the ACLU is anti-Christian, see?

But no, the ACLU didn't have anything to do with it. The County Board of Supervisors did. And they might actually get sued by the ACLU for real now, because they are favoring one religion (Paganism) over another (Christianity).

But, given your illogical claim that the ACLU is a vast anti-religious conspiracy, you don't care. Facts matter little, and how many people will actually bother to learn the whole truth anyway, right?

so where is the support for your claim the ACLU favored Islam over other religions? I'm waiting.

Tom said...


"Your neighbor can think whatever he wants. So can you.
You can espouse whatever religion you want, or none.
Your GOVERNMENT can't."

You have to wonder, then, who bestowed the "blessings" of liberty mentioned in the Preamble to the Constitution.

Frater Bovious said...

TWD, if that post about your neighbor can do this or that, but the GOVERNMENT can't was a response to my question about what's the big deal with the monument, well, I still don't think I got an answer to my question. How did that Monument being there translate directly and unequivocably into a violation of the separation of Church and State?

What I got in response was an hypothetical comparison to a non-existent monument of the Koran, and an assumption about my reaction to that, but I don't think that answers the question, or explains why either should be an issue tying in somehow to the defense of our Constitution.

I'm not trying to be thick headed. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't intuitively understand the finer points. But, I do believe I can understand a reasoned response. fb

this we'll defend said...

Frater, if you weren't offended by the monument, somebody else was. Does that mean we need to walk on eggshells? No, being offended is part of life. But when it comes to religion I wouldn't want my tax dollars going to stars of David or celebration of allah. I wouldn't mind celebrating Christ though. A muslim would be ok with an Islamic symbol, but not with idolatrous crucifixes. A Jew would think a star of David is fine, but Christian symbolism would remind him of pograms and the "blood rituals" his people were accused of. Which side does the government choose?

Some would say the majority, but they would be wrong. The government chooses none.

Frater Bovious said...

I understand all that, and can agree with the concept, though I agree in a limited way. But, am I wrong, or was not one of these monumental assaults on the American Way of Life donated by a private citizen? It just had a misfortunate placement on public land? Perhaps that is why some challenges fail and others succeed?

If a monument has been up for 50 years, are the tax dollars being spent relevant anymore?

And is it really about tax dollars? How does funding some sort of monument violate the separation of church and state? Is this the type of issue the Founding Father's had in mind? I kind of doubt it, since many of the original immigrants to the USA came here to get away from religious persecution.

In fact, the terms 'separation', 'church', and 'state' aren't even in the First Amendment. The relevant portion of that amendment reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Most interpretations of that amendment interpret it to mean Freedom of Religion, not Freedom from Religion. The term Separation of Church and State was in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to The Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, in response to fear they had about the possible formation of a state religion.

Placing a monument on the court house lawn does not establish a state religion. By state religion, we need to go back to the example of England and the Conventicle Act of 1665. That act provided for imprisonment and torture in the event one did not participate in the mandatory attendance of the state church.

So, the point about tax dollars, while sort of an immediate emotional hot button, still does not address the issue. How does the removal of some monument that may have been sitting there for 50 years, ignored save by pigeons, protect me from imprisonment and torture as the result of a State Established National Religion? fb

Tom said...

Frater Bovious:

Of course you're correct. So-called "civil libertarians" bloviating about the 'constitutional' separation of church and state are not citing the constitution, but the opinions of liberal federal judges, including those who've sat on the Supreme Court.

He who controls the bench controls the constitution, which is why liberals would emoliate their own children if it meant there would never be a conservative majority on the SC or a predominance of conservatives on the rest of the federal bench.

After all, they just might grab all of those letters and other contemporaneous documents written by the framers that are similar to Jefferson's wall between church and state correspondece, but far more voluminous, in which the explained that the second amendment does in fact guarantee the right of the individual to keep and bear arms in self defense.

this we'll defend said...

Yeah and in Tom's world the current Supreme Court must be a raving pack of liberals. Especially that Scalia guy. He's as leftist as they come, right?

Frater, it isn't the expenditure of public money. It is the idea that the government is aiding one religion over another. The rule is that a government regulation or action
1) can't favor one sect over another;
2) has to have a secular purpose;
3) has a to have a primary purpose that neither advances NOR inhibits religion; and
4) does not produce excessive government entanglement with religion.

Posting of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, for example, would be fine if it met these requirements. A display about the codification of laws, for example, might include Hammurabi's written codes, Roman law, the Napoleanic Code, and the Ten Commandments. But if it were to favor Christianity over other sects, if it were to advance Christianity (and the Alabama case was clearly like that because the Judge who posted them said so), if it didn't have a secular purpose (such as education in general, etc.) then clearly it would violate the 1st Amendment.

Permitting one sect (such as Muslims) to gather in a public school for prayer but preventing another (such as Christians) not to do so would also clearly violate the 1st Amendment. ALa71 claims that the ACLU has favored this, but the ACLU has defended many Christian groups and helped Teens for Christ use public schools for after-school meetings after some school boards foolishly (and without asking a lawyer - ANY lawyer) thought they had to forbid religious groups from using the school but could allow Weight-watchers, the math club, FFA, etc. to meet in them.

Tom says the separation of church and state is a creation of "liberal judges." I respectfully disagree.

The First Amendment says in part that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This also applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

"No law respecting the establishment of religion" means the government may not favor one religion over another. And the government may not foster religion either - it can't work to support religion at all.

"Prohibiting the free exercise thereof" means that the government can't work against religion either.

That is where we get the separation of church and state - not some creation of "liberal judges" but from our Founders who were quite concerned with such issues, having just freed themselves from the state-supported (and still state-supported to this day in Britain) Anglican church. Our government can't work for or against religion. Why? Not because the Founders were athiests. Because the profoundly religious Christian Founders felt government intrusion into religion was too dangerous. They (rightly) feared that the government would stifle worship rather than help people grow with God. And the religious nature of the American people compared with Europe, which still has state-supported churches in most countries, seems to bear their wisdom out. Americans, with their separation of church and state, are MORE religious, not less.

At the time the 1st Amendment was ratified our nation was made up mostly of extremely religious protestant Americans. And governments (state and federal) were far smaller and less intrusive than they are today, which made conflict between civil law and religion unusual. Still, it was not unknown.

In 1784 Virginia attempted to pass as part of their state budget a "Bill Establishing a Provision for the Teachers of the Christian Religion," which proposed that citizens be taxed in order to support the Christian denomination of their choice, with those taxes not designated for any specific religion going to a public fund to aid seminaries.

There was a huge outcry. Madison took the case against it to the people of Virginia in a pamphlet entitled "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments." Madison wasn't against religion - far from it. He wrote "true religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness." He just wanted the government out of it.

The bill died in committee and Virginia passed instead Jefferson's famous "Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom" which he drafted in 1779. This forbade state interference in religion, and forbade religious interference in the state - the separation of church and state. Jefferson listed three things he was most proud of creating - this bill, the Declaration of Independence, and the University of Virgina. In that order.

Jesus said "Render unto Ceasar (govt) what is Ceasar's, and unto the Lord what is the Lord's." He spoke truth, of course, and I deeply believe in Him and everything He said. He certainly didn't like the cooperation of government and religion of His day. He was crucified for heresy, remember?

And Bush's "faith-based initiatives" works against what Jesus said, as do the laws and decisions the ACLU took on concerning religion - the very ones ALa71 hates so much.

Given that our society is much more multi-cultural, with many more different religions existing here than during the days of the early Republic, it seems to me extremely dangerous to go mucking around with the 1st Amendment.

But of course the "conservative" Bush administration would never try that. would they?

ALa said...

TWD: Have you lost your mind? I have never seen a Bible verse skewed so badly... (I am actually laughing really hard...) You are very funny when you are gripping the side of the mountain with your fingernails.
Anyway, I'm not even going to touch that one...Laughing too hard to type...
Back to the ACLU...I mentioned before the three cases that I was talking about. Saw them discussed (with a panel) on Aaron Brown and O'Reilly...reps from ACLU were there --so I am guessing it was real...
1) PS in CA -removed nativity scene and menorah in a school that has the Qu'ran as mandatory reading ...explanation -cultural awareness.
2) PS in NY -removed nativity & Jewish Star of David and left Crescent of Islam & Star of Ramadan...explanation...no one complained about the later.
3) CA county seal -removed 1/2" cross that was not a religious symbol, but a tribute to soldiers fallen in WWII...left 3" goddess who is a religious symbol as she is worshipped by Wickens...explanation --they weren't aware this was a Goddess that was still utilized in a religious fashion.

I have no idea how to look up actually cases because they will obviously not tell you what remained --only what they removed. I am sure there are CNN transcripts about it, but I already saw it and don't have the time to find them. But take it for what it's worth. I had no care for /against the ACLU before this BUT as I said it is the inconsistency that gives credence to the charge of "Christian Hunt"...

ALa said...

TWD: BTW...I know that you are older than me --that was not what I meant by naive. If you re-read you will see that I actually meant it in a good way. I thought (when I first graduated) that I would be this uber-teacher that would throw candy into inner-city classes like Michelle Phieffer in "Dangerous Minds" and sway gangsters from crime with poetry...realistic? NO. BUT it's the reason that I pursued the career and it takes belief like that to get through. I REALLY thought that though and it was that motivation that got me through school with the grades that I got --so it wasn't a bad thing.

Frater Bovious said...

TWD, thanks for answering my question. I can understand a little better the reasons behind some of what is done, though I think the issues are blown out of proportion.

Your point about the diversity of our country in terms of religion vs what the cisrcumstances were in the 1700s is well taken. I don't think the founders would have any problem with that aspect.

I do think they would look askance at spending so much time on something as benign as a monument with a representation of an open Bible on it. I think it is ludicrous to think that monument provides a slippery slope toward state a state religion, or a state controlled by religion. But, that is just my opinion.

Do you think some of this is tilting at windmills? fb

Kalroy said...

Dunno Bigandmean,

I don't find your argument persuasive. Because an organization does some good doesn't excuse the harm it does.

I liked your strawman about the prostitutes, though considering the ACLU's actions defending a pro-pedophile organization, I'd say the ACLU would've defended murderers who killed the prostitutes.

As to the good the ACLU did/does, is morality a tit for tat concept? Does doing one good act for every vile act excuse the vile act? The ACLU give the appearance of believing that.


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