1/22/2006

In Defense of the ACLU

There have been calls to stop the ACLU. I disagree with this idea. Why? Because every nation needs a group that scrutinizes and tries to protect a country's citizens from the intrusion of the government. Let's take the issue of school prayers. Many lament the fact that prayers in schools have been largely abolished through the actions of the ACLU. Do prayers benefit? Yes they do, but what prayers should be said? Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhists, or Wiccan prayers? The problem is that there are many religions and each person in this country is guaranteed the right to pursue the religion of their choice or free to be an agnostic or atheist.

When I was in the 2nd grade, the ruling came down that prayers should not be held in schools. My teacher defied those rulings and led us in the Lord's Prayer every day. She was exercising her right for religious freedom, but what of us kids? I did not mind but when you're 8 years old, you do not see the consequences. In fact, I admired her courage in defiance of the ruling. But the older you get, the more time you have to reflect about the issues at hand.

If a parent chooses to raise their children in their faith, is it the governments responsibility to ensure that the children say prayers in the school? No, it is not. And that is what school led prayers do. It takes away the parents responsibility and foists it upon the schools. Religion or the choice not to worship is one of the most precious rights we have in this country. The Founding Fathers wisely put in that the United States government would not establish a state religion. Each one of us is free to pursue whatever beliefs we hold dear. Groups like the ACLU help ensure that the government does not intrude upon our civil liberties.

13 Comments:

Blogger Esther said...

I'm so with you on the seperation of Church and State. I see no reason for kids to pray in school. That's what the family is for, to guide them in that direction.

ACLU has done some good things but lately they seem to only be there for you if your cause is to the left. The kid who is not being allowed to wear a right-leaning t-shirt or whatever is left (so to speak) out to dry as far as they're concerned and that's what really bothers me.

4:09 PM  
Blogger MissingLink said...

I think, organizations such as ACLU tend to be hijacked by people with agendas goinf much further than separation of Church and State.
In OZ we only have NGOs to do this job.
If a government watchdog is funded by the government/taxpayer - I can only see potential conflict of interest.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

esther,

I do not agree with every thing the ACLU is pursuing. It's just that such organizations are useful to keep the government honest so to speak. I am an idealist after all! :)

felis,

They can be hijacked by people with an agenda.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous rachy said...

Great post. I can't ever recall ever disagree with anything you've said and here is another example.

In my opinion I do believe that religion as a subject should be available in schools, but professing to adhere to any religion should be totally separate from the teaching process.

Children should be able to have the option to be instructed in their own religion independent of the mainstream teaching process and parents should be made aware of this. It should be the child and the parents decision whether to say the prayer, and not the teachers.

But as for religious schools that's fair game because that's their intention. But religion should be totally independent from educational instruction at government schools.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

rachy,

This is an issue that keeps coming up, especially here in the "Bible Belt". I have disagreements with some members of my family about it.

It's just that if you allow one religion's prayers, you have to allow all. That would only be fair.

Teaching about religion in publicly funded schools is one thing, teaching religion is another thing all together.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Daniel in Brookline said...

Good thoughts!

I see this as an extension of the "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it" idea. We don't have to like what muckraking journalists, or ACLU lawsuits, have to say... but it's important that they be heard, because in the end they are our defense against tyranny.

And yes, I also agree that the ACLU (and mainstream journalism) have mostly taken up the banner of left-wing causes lately. That's regrettable; if the 20th century proved anything, it was that totalitarianism from the left is as much of a threat as its counterpart on the right.

But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Fix it, don't abolish it.

Blogs, the Internet, and widely-available alternate sources of news are dealing with the biased MSM now. What happens with the ACLU remains to be seen.

respectfully,
Daniel in Brookline

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I'm with you Seawitch...I honestly believe that Church (or Sunday school) is the place for religion. Unless of course a parent sends their kid to a religious school.
The problem is that groups like these do get hijacked, like Greenpeace did, by radical anti everythings.
Sometimes it seems to me that common sense no longer exists.
It reminds me of Unions pushing for a 20% pay rise, when they really want 4 or 5%. Over time that figure of 20% becomes less of a bargining tool and more of a genuine expectation, then you run into problems.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

daniel,

Thank you. The ACLU hopefully will get back to what it's supposed to do. The next few years will tell.

patrick,

I hear what you're saying. But we do need groups like the ACLU to help ensure our civil liberties are not being violated. It remains to be seen which direction the ACLU will go.seawitch

3:38 PM  
Blogger MissingLink said...

Seawitch,
"They can be hijacked by people with an agenda"
This is the whole idea of "privetely" funded watchdogs.
Of course they do have their own agendas - but I don't have to pay for this agendas unless I agree with them.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

felis,

True.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Skylark said...

One school I cam across had a general prayer to 'God' - just a few lines asking for God's help and seeking know and do what is good. It covered all faiths.Buddhists and Hindus did not mind at all. Everyone said it until an atheist complained. It wasn't enough that the atheist was offered the way out of staying silent. It had to be abolished for the sake of the atheist. Sorry I think there is a search and destroy mission going on for people of Judaism and Christianity in the West. The ACLU is just another tool to destroy it. Since prayer stopped in schools have you noticed a difference in what happens in schools? It seems to me that the ACLU is a marxist tool to destroy the spiritual heritage of the West.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

skylark,

The spiritual heritage of the West does not reside in our schools. It resides in the families and the individuals who worship in the manner in which they choose.

Prayers can be said silently and to G-d alone by students. It is up to the parents to teach their children.

2:59 AM  
Blogger Seaspook said...

Sea Witch,

You are only looking at a narrow aspect of the ACLU. Once in a while, the accidentally do some good, but overall, they are a dangerous and destructive organization.

8:33 AM  

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