The ACLU’s Summer of Discontent
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published August 5, 2011 on The Washington Times website.
Sigmund Freud famously asked, “What does a woman want? A far easier question to answer would be: “What does the ACLU want?” C.S. Lewis observed that the agenda of the left is to make pornography public and religion private. Judging by decades of activist law attacking religious freedom and states’ rights, while promoting pornography, abortion, homosexuality and now transgenderism, the American Civil Liberties Union’s overriding agenda is to drive Christianity out of the public square and force public acceptance of sexual immorality of all kinds. Oh, yes, and illegal immigration. That’s it in a nutshell, or a nuthouse – take your pick.
Last week, the ACLU filed an open records request over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s planned participation in the Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, slated for this past Saturday at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The American Family Association and other Christian groups are funding the event, but the ACLU wants to know if Mr. Perry intended to spend even a cent of taxpayer money to attend. If he did and expressed his Christian faith, well, that may become grounds for a lawsuit. The ACLU of Texas is requesting records from the governor’s office, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Houston, and the auditor’s and fire marshal’s offices, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation already filed for an injunction against the event, which a federal judge tossed out on July 28.
In Vermont, the ACLU state chapter has brought suit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville because its devout Catholic owners refuse to allow a New York lesbian couple to have a wedding reception on their property. The ACLU cites the Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which defines “sexual orientation” as a protected class. That law apparently does not protect the rights of conscience of the inn’s owners, who do not want to facilitate what God calls sin.
The lawsuit was filed July 19, so it’s still in the early stages. The case is almost identical to a hypothetical situation posed by Chai Feldblum, now a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner, who wrote several years ago that homosexual rights laws would soon make Christian bed-and-breakfast owners (and other religious business owners) losers in a “zero sum game” of competing civil rights.
In Iowa, the ACLU says it won a direct local challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by winning a case in which a lesbian prison guard claimed spousal rights to “family leave” to take care of her ailing partner. Randall Wilson, Iowa legal director for the ACLU, said the case “sets precedent for other state agencies.” The national ACLU cited the case in a four-page letter sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging passage of the Orwellian-named Respect for Marriage Act, which would overturn DOMA.
In Alaska, the ACLU has sued the Department of Motor Vehicles for not issuing a driver’s license to a transgendered man-to-woman without proof of surgery. The plaintiff, K.L., was born male but identifies as female. The ACLU says the DMV is placing an undue burden on the license seeker, noting that the State Department already has issued K.L. a U.S. passport as a woman. Alaska ACLU Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman argues that K.L. (who is still genetically male) should be issued “an identity document that accurately reflects her gender” and that refusal to do so violates his/her privacy (my pronouns).
In South Florida, there was a summer Christmas clash as the ACLU complained about a proposed holiday display to be built in a few months in Liberty Tree Park in Plantation. The display would include a manger and a menorah. The ACLU says this is “inappropriate” and violates the separation of church and state.
“We trust that the city will uphold religious freedom and refrain from any further displays on city property,” Broward County ACLU chapter President Brad Koogler wrote in June to city officials.
The ACLU Grinch does suggest a solution: Make the display include Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Never mind that Christmas is a federal holiday celebrated by 90 percent of U.S. citizens, that Jews celebrate Hanukkah and that the two faiths represent most of Plantation’s residents. The only surprise is that the ACLU did not list Wicca or other goddess-based religions among those that should be displayed. What are all the druids going to do? Maybe they could sue the ACLU.
When not mangling the Constitution to bully officials over public recognition of the nation’s major religions, the ACLU is busily trying to stop states from enforcing laws designed to curb illegal immigration.
In Alabama, the ACLU has filed for an injunction against implementing that state’s new immigration law. Earlier, the group had filed a lawsuit against the statute, which is to take effect Sept. 1.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon, reacted to the ACLU’s action by saying, “These far-left, liberal groups have filed an injunction because those who live here illegally and break our laws with their simple presence are packing up and leaving Alabama. That was the intent of the bill in the first place – to protect our borders and our jobs. It is important to note that our law seeks to protect immigrants and others who reside here legally while affecting only those who literally broke into our state like burglars in the night and made themselves at home. We cannot turn a blind eye toward those who thumb their noses at our borders and our laws.”
Gov. Robert Bentley, who is probably not a big fan of the ACLU, either, said, “I asked for the toughest immigration law. … If the federal government would do their job like they should be doing, states would not have to pass any of these bills.”
The ACLU also has sued Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Utah over their newly toughened immigration laws.
Maybe embattled state officials should take a page from liberals (remember that Respect for Marriage Act?) and name their laws more imaginatively.
How about the Respect for Illegal Immigration and Immorality Act? Now, there’s a law the ACLU could get behind.