The ACLU is generally a prime target for complaining about litigation against Christmas, but the ACLU actually protects people’s right to celebrate such religious holidays.
The ACLU fights for, among other things, the individuals right to the free exercise of religion. That includes the right of Christians to celebrate Christmas. Despite what Bill O’Reilly says, there is no ACLU sponsored “War on Christmas.”
"As part of our justice mission, we work hard to protect the rights of free religious expression for all people, including Christians. For example, we recently defended the First Amendment rights of a Baptist minister to preach his message on public streets in southern Indiana. The ACLU intervened on behalf of a Christian valedictorian in a Michigan high school, which agreed to stop censoring religious yearbook entries, and supported the rights of Iowa students to distribute Christian literature at their school.
There are many more examples, because the ACLU is committed to preserving the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all. We agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s firm rulings that this freedom means that children who grow up in non-Christian homes should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community’s courthouse, legislature or public schoolhouse."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts today asked a federal district court in Springfield to protect the First Amendment rights of high school students who were disciplined by school officials for distributing candy canes with religious messages just before Christmas. aclu.org/free-speech/aclu…gious-messages
The ACLU “protects” religion by removing religious monuments from public buildings that were put there by the people. By demanding that Nativities in front of public buildings be secularized according to their rules. The founder of the ACLU was a Communist.
First of all, the ACLU’s mission is to protect people’s civil liberties–a mission that is quite inconsistent with Communism.
Second, the ACLU protects people’s rights to religious expression, which includes insisting that the government not endorse any particular religion. If a nativity scene is erected at the county courthouse, then people of other religions should also be able to errect items in celebration of their religious holidays.
All religions are protected by the first ammendment. Keep in mind that without it, Catholicism would have been illegal in the US at certain times in our history. Every religion is a minority and needs first ammendament protection and the ACLU’s defense of our rights to our religion or lack of religion.
Third, please explain how a nativity scene could be “secularized.” Do you have any evidence that the ACLU has rules for secularization of nativity scenes as you claim?
Second, the ACLU argues that community nativity scenes, war memorial crosses, Christian Christmas tunes, etc., violate the establishment clause (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”), but they forget the last part of that clause, which states, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They never state that others should be allowed to have the same thing, only that Christians are trampling on non-religious rights. Also, Congress has nothing to do with any of this! Therefore, if Congress had nothing to do with the establishing of such practices, there’s no reason to fight against the free practice of religion.
ACLU threatens La. town over festival with Christian participants alliancedefensefund.org/news/pressrelease.aspx?cid=4744
A resident in a town in Louisiana is offended that the town festival will have Christian musicians, so the ACLU took up the case of “separation of church and state”.
Third, as for secularism, I think the opinion of the ACLU in that territory is best left defined by the socialism the founder of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, supported. “I am for socialism. I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.” Communism, which, by definition, stamps out religion, making everything secular.
“Although the proposed rule seemingly intends to limit the role of faith-based groups to conduct consistent with the Establishment Clause, it falls far short of that goal. The proposed rule is inconsistent with at least 104 years of Supreme Court interpretation of the constitutional prohibition against government-funded religious discrimination as highlighted in Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589 (1988). The Court made clear that, although the Constitution does not bar religious organizations from participating in federal programs, it requires (1) that no one participating in a federal program can ““discriminate on the basis of religion”” in the federal program, and (2) that all federal programs must be carried out ““in a lawful, secular manner.”” Id. at 609, 612.”
Christianity was started by a Jew, right? Does that mean that Christianity is fundamentally Jewish and is no more or less than Judaism?
I haven’t disputed that teh ACLU was started by a Communist (though further down you suggest that he was a socialist). I don’t know if it is true or not. It just doesn’t matter since the ACLU fights for civil liberties and is opposed to totalitarianisms of all stripes including Communism. The ACLU is about holding us all accountable to the ideals put forth in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
The ACLU does not think that the government should be in the business of endorsing any particular religion. Do you disagree? The first ammendment protects us from the government imposing a religion on us. Let me remind you that Catholicism is not the majority religion. If, say, Mormonism continued to grow as it has and overtook Protestantisms dominance, would you be more supportive of the ACLUs efforts to protect our right to free exercise of religion without having the government impose Mormonism on us?
Also, I’ve already provided a great deal of evidence against your claim that the ACLU ‘forget[s] the last part of that clause, which states, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”’ The ACLU is very interested in protecting our rights to free exercise of religion and specifically defended Christianity on all the following occasions.
ACLU Fights For Christian Inmate’s Right to Preach
ACLU of Northern California Fights Law that Got Quakers Fired Over Loyalty Oath
ACLU Defends Christian Librarian Disciplined for Refusing to Promote Harry Potter
ACLU Defends Right of Individual Christian to Display Nativity Scene on Public Property
ACLU Defends Christians Protesting Gay Rights in Florida
ACLU Champions Religious Freedom Of Mormon College Student
ACLU Fights for Christian Church’s Mission to Feed the Poor
ACLU Fights for Christmas Tree
ACLU Files Suit to Protect Free Speech Rights of Christian Protesting Wal-Mart’s Policy on Gays
ACLU of Georgia and Baptist Church File Religious Discrimination Lawsuit
ACLU of Rhode Island Files Appeal on Behalf of Christian Prisoner Barred from Preaching at Religious Services
ACLU of Michigan Defends Catholic Man Coerced to Convert to Pentecostal Faith in Drug Rehab Program
ACLU of New Jersey Joins Lawsuit Supporting Second-Grader’s Right to Sing “Awesome God” at Talent Show
After ACLU Intervention on Behalf of Christian Valedictorian, Michigan High School Agrees to Stop Censoring Religious Yearbook Entries
ACLU Helps Free New Mexico Street Preacher From Prison
ACLU of WA Wins Right of Christian Minister to Preach in Spokane Plaza
ACLU Fights for Baptist Preacher in Illinois
ACLU Defends Rights of Christian Group to Make Religious Protest at Funerals
ACLU Backs Christian Abortion Protester in Ohio
ACLU of Oregon Defends Religious Liberty Of Adventist School Boys Basketball Players
ACLU Backs Missouri Nurse Penalized for Wearing Cross-Shaped Lapel Pin
ACLU Defends Christian Street Preacher in Las Vegas
ACLU Argues for Legal Recognition of Small Christian Church
ACLU of MA Defends Students Punished for Distributing Candy Canes with Religious Messages
ACLU of Nebraska Defends Church Facing Eviction by the City of Lincoln
ACLU Defends Church’s Right to Run “Anti-Santa” Ads in Boston Subways
ACLU Defends Inmate’s Access to Material from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Following Threat of ACLU of Virginia Lawsuit, Officials to Agree Not to Ban Baptisms in Public Parks
ACLU Defends Families Fighting Removal Of Religious Symbols from Florida Cemetery
ACLU Supports Right of Iowa Students to Distribute Christian Literature at School
ACLU Argument In Support of the Display of a Christian Cross in a Public Forum
ACLU Defends Christian Worker Required to Remove Bible from Desk at Government Job
ACLU Defends Free Speech Rights of Christians And Others On Main Street Plaza
ACLU Defends Prisoner’s Rosary Beads
ACLU Defends Christian Group’s Anti-Abortion Ads On Phoenix Buses
ACLU Pledges to Back Church in a Zoning Battle
ACLU of PA Files Discrimination Lawsuit Over Denial of Zoning Permit for African American Baptist Church
ACLU Offers To Represent Private Prayer on Public Property and
ACLU Joins Falwell To Fight For Church Incorporation Rights
Thankfully the state and local government chose to support the protections ensured by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and frequently had already offered broader protections. In any case, the Supreme Court ruled in the early 20th century that the Bill of Rights applies to state governments as well.
I’ll check out the links you provided and get back to you on the rest.
I think your problem with this position is your failure to imagine religions that you disagree with using public funds to evangelize.
Do you really want your tax dollars supporting charitities that preach about Muhammed and Jesus as a false prophet as they offer job training with the appearance of government endoresement of such preaching? Or would you want to insist that a charity like this provide such services in a secular way?
Please don’t play one religion off another, OK? You are obviously endorsing a ‘secular only’ reality in the United States. This is something new. It was not that way until the 1990s when someone got out of bed one morning and decided that religious displays that were fine yesterday, were suddenly illegal today.
Where you have an imagine of someone “getting out of bed one morning,” I have an image of a society that has over time become more and more respectful of the differences that exist within our society.
The point of raising the issue of alternative faiths is not to “play one religion off another” but to illustrate the fact that the first ammendment functions to protect people’s freedom to practive the religion the religion of their choice rather than have a single government sponsored religion forced upon us. I hope you know enough history to recognize that if there were a national religion, it would not be Catholicism.
Consider Denmark. It actually has a national religion of Lutheranism that is supported by tax dollars. It also happens to be one of the least religious countries in the world. A good argument for the success of religion in general in the US is our free marketplace for religions where the government does not endorse any particular religion.
The point is that ACLU’s vigilance for first ammendment violations which protects my right to not pay taxes to fund religious evangelism also protects your right to practice Catholicism rather than some other religion and protects your rights to not pay for the evangelism of Mormons, Muslims, Baptists, etc.
JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts III-A, IV, and V, concluding that:
Under Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S., at 612 , a “practice which touches upon religion, if it is to be permissible under the Establishment Clause,” must not, inter alia, “advance [or] inhibit religion in its principal or primary effect.” Although, in refining the definition of governmental action that unconstitutionally “advances” religion, the Court’s subsequent decisions have variously spoken in terms of “endorsement,” “favoritism,” “preference,” or “promotion,” the essential principle remains the same: The Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief or from “making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person’s standing in the political community.” Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S., at 687 (O’CONNOR, J., concurring). Pp. 589-594.
When viewed in its overall context, the creche display violates the Establishment Clause. The creche angel’s words endorse a patently Christian message: Glory to God for the birth of Jesus Christ. Moreover, in contrast to Lynch, nothing in the creche’s setting detracts from that message. Although the government may acknowledge Christmas as a cultural phenomenon, it may not observe it as a Christian holy day by suggesting that people praise God for the birth of Jesus. Pp. 598-602."
The issue seems to be about the priveledged positioning of the creche (“the “main,” “most beautiful,” and “most public” part of the courthouse” and not with the secular Christmas tree, a sign bearing the mayor’s name and containing text declaring the city’s “salute to liberty,” or the menorah which were placed together in a less prominant place) as well as the banner above the creche announcing “Glory to God in the Highest.”
A statue of Mercury is one thing. A sign above it that says “all glory be to Zeus” is another.
The problem with the creche in this case was that the government could be reasonably viewed as favoring the Christian religion due to the priveledged placement and banner.
Would you object to a display in front of the County Courthouse during Ramadan that said “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah”? I suspect you would because it wold give the appearance of the government endorsing Islam.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the sense that your reaction to the issue is that the government actually should particularly endorse Christianity?
You are endorsing a misperception of history. First, I grew up with a Nativity at the local City Hall. No one was required to look at it or acknowledge it or leave money in it. The same with religious monuments in public buildings. They did not put themselves there, the people did.
I grew up in a neighborhood with different ethnic groups and religions. Not everybody went to my Church. However, there was social restraint, children were raised well and politeness and civility were the norm. Today, the exact opposite is true. No, it was not perfect but the goal was to be a good citizen and good neighbor. Starting in the late 1960s, a series of social engineering experiments and ‘alternative lifestyles’ began to be promoted. Now, in the present, the profoundly dysfunctional is presented as entertainment and kids are cussing out mom in public. Such an outburst in the 1960s would have resulted in a ‘near death experience’ for the child. No, I’m not talking about physical harm but an assurance that the child be redirected to responsible behavior.
A public standard was in place that the vast majority respected. Today, it’s “Whatever,” “If it feels good, do it,” “What’s the big deal [about anything],” “Hey. Your thing may not be my thing but it’s cool, whatever it is.”
Without foundational social norms about morality, society is reduced to one out of five people with an STD, broken families and general anarchy.
But you never really answered his question. Would you be comfortable with Mormonism using tax dollars to promote it? Buddhism? Islam? Just because Christianity has always been the majority religion here doesn’t mean it always will be. If we allow Christians to use tax dollars to promote its religion, then we need to be prepared to allow any and all religions to do so too. As a Christian, I am not comfortable with that. Are you?
The ACLU believes that religion is a perfectly private matter and therefore ought not having any bearing on public policy. It does not matter that the great majority of Americans are at least culturally Christian, that they tend to act in public like Christians, and so the behavior that the law regulates is often Christian behavior. In other words, the laws that govern Christians must take into account the way that Christians act is different from the way that Muslims act. Even law is to be neutral between Christians and Muslims, it must somehow take into account that 80% of the people it governs are Christian and only 3% of the people are Muslim.
The government shouldn’t support religion monetarily, but if they want to support it with donations by causes, I have no problem - like a donated nativity display on the front steps, or a donated display of the ten commandments in the court room. What I do have a problem with is when a church is sued by one person who doesn’t like Christianity for being allowed to display a nativity scene on a sidewalk outside after recieving permission to do so by the city. I have a problem when someone says a town festival cannot include a church bringing Christian musicians to their corner of the festival. I have a problem when someone tells me that a Christmas parade can no longer be called a Christmas parade, even though it’s put on by a private organization, just because it goes through the streets of town, and the town all takes part in it. I have a problem with people suing teachers over wearing a cross in the classroom, even when that teacher doesn’t talk about his or her religion in the classroom. I have a problem with being told we can’t have a war memorial cross on public ground because it’s a cross on public ground, and then be told that because of some law, that the government can’t sell or give the land the cross is on to the church across the road, so the only option left is to have that war memorial - which had been standing for 50 some odd years before anyone had a problem with it - torn down. I have a problem with Christmas not having Christ in it anymore.
These are things I’ve seen the ACLU fight in the name of “separation of church and state”, and it makes me upset. Not just mad, but also very sad to see something my family fought for being taken away from us. I would welcome any other religious group displaying their religious displays in public. In fact, if you don’t allow most non-Christian religions to do so, they take you to court for discrimination. Why do they get to display their religious beliefs, but not us?
Furthermore, on the comments on secularization, I was only supporting who ever said that the ACLU seems to want to secularize everything, including nativity scenes. I should have pointed out that those were only a couple of examples that I saw when I searched the ACLU page for the word “secular”, when the number of pages that came up were about 700 or 800.
Also, the point that the founder of the ACLU was Communist (which Socialism is “lighter” version of Communism - if there can be such a thing) was to point out that his goal for the company was to promote Communism in the US through legal issues. He would be proud of it today, as it’s cut most of the public display of religion from the public eye, and driven it behind closed doors in secret corners, which is something Communism causes the religious to do.
And as for the cases I pointed out:
In Holy Trinity Church v. United States, a pastor was sued by the United States for coming to the US under contractual employment, when the US law at the time expressly prohibited that. However, it was his solemn duty as a servant of God to go where he was called to shepherd, and yet the government disagreed with that. The judge then said that this is a Christian country, why should he not be able to do what he has been called to do by God in the name of Christianity? He gave a whole speech on the Christian history of this country, and why ruling against Christianity would be non-sensical. The speech is way too long to post, so, again, here’s the link, and it’s at the second half of the judge’s ruling: vftonline.org/TestOath/HolyTrinityOp1-2.htm
In Zorach v. Clausen, some people had a problem with the school allowing the students who were religious to go learn about their religion from a religion teacher at a certain time of the school day.
From the decision of Zorach v. Clausen:
There is a suggestion that the system involves the use of coercion to get public school students into religious classrooms. There is no evidence in the record before us that supports that conclusion. The present record indeed tells us that the school authorities are neutral in this regard, and do no more than release students whose parents so request. If, in fact, coercion were used, if it were established that any one or more teachers were using their office to persuade or force students to take the religious instruction, a wholly different case would be presented. Hence, we put aside that claim of coercion both as respects the “free exercise” of religion and “an establishment of religion” within the meaning of the First Amendment.
Moreover, apart from that claim of coercion, we do not see how New York by this type of “released time” program has made a law respecting an establishment of religion within the meaning of the First Amendment. There is much talk of the separation of Church and State in the history of the Bill of Rights and in the decisions clustering around the First Amendment. See Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1; McCollum v. Board of Education, supra. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the First Amendment reflects the philosophy that Church and State should be separated. And so far as interference with the “free exercise” of religion and an “establishment” of religion are concerned, the separation must be complete and unequivocal. The First Amendment within the scope of its coverage permits no exception; the prohibition is absolute. The First Amendment, however, does not say that, in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other. That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other – hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly. Churches could not be required to pay even property taxes. Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; “so help me God” in our courtroom oaths – these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
We would have to press the concept of separation of Church and State to these extremes to condemn the present law on constitutional grounds. The nullification of this law would have wide and profound effects. A Catholic student applies to his teacher for permission to leave the school during hours on a Holy Day of Obligation to attend a mass. A Jewish student asks his teacher for permission to be excused for Yom Kippur. A Protestant wants the afternoon off for a family baptismal ceremony. In each case, the teacher requires parental consent in writing. In each case, the teacher, in order to make sure the student is not a truant, goes further and requires a report from the priest, the rabbi, or the minister. The teacher, in other words, cooperates in a religious program to the extent of making it possible for her students to participate in it. Whether she does it occasionally for a few students, regularly for one, or pursuant to a systematized program designed to further the religious needs of all the students does not alter the character of the act.
We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We guarantee the freedom to worship as one chooses. We make room for as wide a variety of beliefs and creeds as the spiritual needs of man deem necessary. We sponsor an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.
Now that we are a “spare the rod” culture in opposition to the Biblical advice that we should beat our children, we don’t seem to get the same respect from our kids. hough I think its is more moral to “spare the rod,” I think we are still in the early stages of learning how to raise our children without it.
I know what you mean as far as the decline of morals in the US, but whenever I start to think that way I remind myself that pretty much every generation of every culture in all of history has complained about declining virtue in the next generation, which would send us into a near infinite regress if we try to find the Golden Age when everything wasn’t getting worse and worse all the time. In many ways, society actually keeps getting better as we have become better able to heal the sick, feed the hungry, educate our youth, and include woman and minorities as equal citizens. At the same time, much has been lost that we may do well to try to get back.
Freedom OF religion…not freedom from religion. The modern culture has perverted that extremely important protection.
This IS a Christian nation, and if it ever ceases to be a Christian nation, then the nation will no longer exist at all. Non-Christians should be fighting strongly to keep Christianity as the pre-emminent faith in this nation because that is what brought us the liberties that we know are so very precious (though so many take for granted).
It is Judeo-Christian principles from the Bible and the Christian faith that this nation was built upon…it is what the founders expected and wanted and modern universities are trying to pervert and erase that truth. Regaring the future of this nation, some of the most dangerous places for our young people to be is within the halls of the majority of universities today, where the educators there often work at a fevered pitch to erase real teaching and to erase real history of this nation and of the world. It is a sickening reality that parents are willing to take second mortgages on their homes just ot have their kids minds assaulted in the very schools those parents are paying for them to attend.
Ask any critically thinking Jewish person like a Dennis Prager or a MIchael Medved if this nation is Christian and if he wants it to remain that way, and you will very likely hear a resounding and quite defeaning YES! Everyone in this nation has the amazing freedom to practice whatever faith they want and the government cannot get in the way of that–true Judeo-Christian principles and ethics at work and we had better hope, pray and work towards the idea of that never, ever changing.
What do you mean when you say that this is a Christian nation? Polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Is that all you mean by saying the the nation itself is Christian? Since the majority is also Protestant, do you regard this nation as a Protestant nation?
Are you aware that the Founding Fathers Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin among others were not Christians by were deists?
If this is a Christian nation, does that you mean to you that nonChristians should be regarded as second class citizens or not citizens at all?
What do you mean when you say that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values? What are these values? When the Founding Fathers articulated American values they defended them as self-evident and universal rather than the possession of any particular religious tradition.