Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Truth (gasp!) about the ACLU

For no particular reason, I was thinking about the ACLU and the deluge of vitriol that some groups, most notably Falwell and the Christian conservatives, spew at them on a weekly basis. I remember reading somewhere (unfortunately I don't remember where) that the ACLU, being committed to protecting both the free expression clause and the establishment clause of the First Amendment, has actually defended religious people (including Christians) periodically, but I wanted to check the veracity of that claim. Here's what I found, from the American Civil Liberties Union's own website:
September 20, 2005: ACLU of New Jersey joins lawsuit supporting second-grader’s right to sing “Awesome God” at a talent show.

August 4, 2005: ACLU helps free a New Mexico street preacher from prison.

May 25, 2005: ACLU sues Wisconsin prison on behalf of a Muslim woman who was forced to remove her headscarf in front of male guards and prisoners.

February 2005: ACLU of Pennsylvania successfully defends the right of an African American Evangelical church to occupy a church building purchased in a predominantly white parish.

December 22, 2004: ACLU of New Jersey successfully defends right of religious expression by jurors.

November 20, 2004: ACLU of Nevada supports free speech rights of evangelists to preach on the sidewalks of the strip in Las Vegas.

November 9, 2004: ACLU of Nevada defends a Mormon student who was suspended after wearing a T-shirt with a religious message to school.

August 11, 2004: ACLU of Nebraska defends church facing eviction by the city of Lincoln.

July 10, 2004: Indiana Civil Liberties Union defends the rights of a Baptist minister to preach his message on public streets.

June 9, 2004: ACLU of Nebraska files a lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim woman barred from a public pool because she refused to wear a swimsuit.

June 3, 2004: Under pressure from the ACLU of Virginia, officials agree not to prohibit baptisms on public property in Falmouth Waterside Park in Stafford County.

May 11, 2004: After ACLU of Michigan intervened on behalf of a Christian Valedictorian, a public high school agrees to stop censoring religious yearbook entries.

March 25, 2004: ACLU of Washington defends an Evangelical minister's right to preach on sidewalks.

February 21, 2003: ACLU of Massachusetts defends students punished for distributing candy canes with religious messages.

October 28, 2002: ACLU of Pennsylvania files discrimination lawsuit over denial of zoning permit for African American Baptist church.

July 11, 2002: ACLU supports right of Iowa students to distribute Christian literature at school.

April 17, 2002: In a victory for the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the ACLU of Virginia, a federal judge strikes down a provision of the Virginia Constitution that bans religious organizations from incorporating.

January 18, 2002: ACLU defends Christian church's right to run “anti-Santa” ads in Boston subways.

Note, these are just their most recent cases (I have taken the "liberty" of removing the cases where they opposed religious groups for the sake of brevity, but the pro-religious cases actually outnumber the anti-, just look for yourself). I went ahead and checked about 4 of these, just to make sure the website is honest (it would've taken forever to fact-check every single one of them), and so far as I can tell, it is.

Did you notice that second to last entry there?


matt crosier said...

That is some funny shit. Nice work mr webb.

jenny said...

thank you, thank you, thank you. i am forwarding this information on to ALL of the people who send me those lovely anti-ACLU e-mails.