Why Do Christians Hate The ACLU?

ACLUBecause I'm sure many just see it as a title, or an acronym, and recall their mention in the news involving lawsuits, lets start by answering a basic: What is the ACLU?

American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 by Crystal Eastman, Roger Baldwin and Walter Nelles. It was founded to assist in defending the rights of citizens as granted by the United States Constitution. At the time, the three biggest concerns were freedom of speech (for anti-war protesters), civil rights for blacks (and other minority races), and equal rights for women. On their site, the ACLU proclaims themselves as a "guardian of liberty, working [...] to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country."

This is the group who has time-and-time again gone to bat for the 'little guy' to insure their Constitutional rights as a citizen and a human are upheld. The Christian's very doctrine urges them to help the weak, the sick, the poor, the unfortunate, the 'little guy'. So why do so many Christians harbor such vitriol and hate towards the ACLU?

Personally, I think it boils down to two things:
  1. Christian think they are under attack; so they look for that attacker in every action.
  2. It is a common human reaction to fear the unknown; and Christians fail to understand, even refuse to understand what the ACLU represents.

As for the attacks, Christians have read stories and prophesies in the bible about Christians being persecuted; and so they look for persecution and attack everywhere. They seek to self-fulfill prophesy; and they see a potential persecutor in anyone who does not have the same life philosophies as they do. Their need to see these prophesies fulfilled goes so far that they even see persecution from other branches of Christianity. I see no universal way to combat this, especially on a large scale; so I simply look for those opportunities to help an individual see the light.

Ignorance and lack of knowledge can by combated though. I think the root of this ignorance lies in lack of understand of the principle of Separation of Church and state. So many Christians strive to tear down that wall of separation, without a clue to how that wall protects them and their ability to practice their flavor of Christianity as they see fit.

The ACLU has done some great work defending civil liberties and the rights we are given by our Constitution; but all Christians seem to notice today is their involvement with lawsuits that relate to religion (and of that they are really only noticing one side). And without knowing an ounce of the facts, jump to the assumption that the lawsuits are an attack against Christians. Never once stopping to realize that in many of these cases the ACLU is actually defending the 'little guy' from Christianity.

Even when the ACLU is defending the 'little guy' from Christians, the ACLU is not against Christianity. The majority of their staff and membership are Christians; and they have repeatedly defended Christians when the rights of those Christians were not being upheld. One of the most recent examples, pentecostal minister Howard Thompson Jr. used to preach during worship services at the New Jersey State Prison, until a few years ago when prison officials stopped him. Multiple religious and Christian defense groups stood by and did nothing; it was the ACLU who went to bat for Mr. Thompson's rights, and it was the ACLU who won the case for him.

This isn't the only case that the ACLU has gone to bat for a Christian; here is a list of some of the more prominent cases where the ACLU defended the right of a Christian to speak as a Christian or to practice Christianity. Yet few Christians seem to realize this; most Christians have bought into the conservative media's constant claim that the ACLU is out to bring down Christianity.

The ACLU fights for INDIVIDUAL free exercise of religion (just as the Constitution specifies). The ACLU also fights against GOVERNMENT endorsement, sponsorship, or establishment of religion (again just as the Constitution specifies).

Now to the heart of what brought on this rant. Someone sent me this email not long ago (warning: obnoxious chain email incoming):
Pass this on to your church, co-workers, family, and friends. What do you have to lose but 44 cents, what do you have to gain? More than you will ever know!

What a clever idea!

Yes, Christmas cards! This is coming early so that you can get ready to include an important address to your list.

Want to have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD this year.

As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world.

Make sure it says "Merry Christmas" on it.

Here's the address, just don't be rude or crude (it's not the Christian way, you know):
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions. So spend 44 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a " Holiday Tree"! It's always been called a CHRISTMAS TREE!

Please pass this on to your email lists. We really want to communicate with the ACLU! They really DESERVE us!!

For those of you who aren't aware of them, the ACLU, (the American Civil Liberties Union) is the one suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian away from us. They represent the atheists and others in this war.

Help put Christ back in Christmas!

I've already addressed most of the subtle hate and lies from this email; so I'll let the Executive Director of the ACLU of Texas respond:

And just in case you need further fodder to throw at this spiteful and inaccurate email, Snopes has an article on it. In it they point out that some businesses replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" was NOT done under litigation or threat from the ACLU; but instead did so (proactively) to appeal to a broader customer base. They also point out the logically laughable idea of overwhelming the ACLU office with Christmas cards.

If you receive, or previously received the above letter, I encourage you to reply with a link to the above video. Whichever holiday you and yours celebrate, I wish you well and hope its enjoyable.

Happy Whatever Holiday You're Weirdly Touchy About!

Sources: here, here, here, here, here,here, here, and here.


  1. Nice article, Johnny. I think you nailed it on the head: the conservative media tells christians they are being attacked and tells them to be up in arms. I agree that the bible tells christians they will be persecuted and they tend to cherry pick any sliver of evidence they can use to build their case. It's not about rational discourse. It's about spreading hate and misinformation, trying to force their way of life, which must be superior, of course, on everyone.
    And how is that different than what the taliban does?

    I heard of some research recently (not sure where) that showed that people make up their mind, form their belief system, then look for anything they can scrape together to support that belief system. So the belief comes first, the evidence is tacked on after. Not really what could be called the scientific method, is it?

  2. Neece, that would be called "confirmation bias". Everyone can be guilty of it to a certain extent, but as you mentioned, the scientific method (as well as peer-reviewed journals) and simply asking someone who shares a different view than you can go a long way against it. Another thing groups have going against them is "group polarization" whereby viewpoints become more extreme due to isolation.

  3. I think it's funny that the very same people who seem to be completely for free enterprise (in fact, they seem to be for large corporations doing whatever the hell they want, but I digress) are the same ones attacking private corporations for their internal business decisions. I guess we should only have free enterprise when it espouses a Christian party line, and all attempts to reach out to a larger and more diverse audience be stifled and silenced.

    The reason the prevalence of phrases such as "Happy Holidays" over "Merry Christmas" was the result of retailers, private corporations, deciding to appeal to a broader base of customers. It wasn't done to personally spite Christianity, it was a business decision plain and simple. No one is stopping anybody from celebrating Christmas, only governments from endorsing a particular religious belief regarding Christmas (and even then there's nothing stopping private citizens from funding nativity displays on public land as long as that land is available equally to all religious or non-religious groups).

    As Russell Glasser from the Atheist Experience pointed out, this isn't a War on Christmas, this is a war on anything that isn't Christmas. It's some Christians getting upset because people aren't saying "Christmas" and thinking about Jesus ENOUGH and they fear their holiday is being secularized and they're losing relevance, but it wasn't even their holiday to begin with. Christmas is merely the Christian version of Saturnalia, a celebration that only in the last few centuries was white-washed enough to become a family-friendly affair (the people who originated the tradition of caroling would go from house-to-house singing in the nude, for example).

  4. I have to say that this has been very very valid. You know, eventhough I am a Christian, I honestly don't see why my brothers and sisters in Christ have to be all up in arms about "an attack on Christianity" from the ACLU. It's not Christianity that the ACLU opposes. It's EXTREME RADICALISM that this organization opposes. You know, I'll admit. I was actually raised with a zealous, extreme Christian background. My parents dragged mine and my sister's butts to church twice on Sundays and once every Wednesday(It's possible that's that's my sister "rebelled", and now has a child out of wedlock and rarely attends church anymore).

    Honestly, I don't see what difference it would have made. Yeah, we always had things to say about different people, like gays/lesbians, drug addicts, people of other religions, and even our own counterparts from other sects of the Christian faith too, like "They're not Christians", "They're not Saved", "They are going to Hell", and the list goes on. Now that I have left all of that and have befriended people of other faiths. I am friends with gays/lesbians/bi-sexuals. I am glad to worship with other Christians. I at least think I have a better understanding now of what it means to be a Christian, than I did growing up.

    Let's face it, despite the hard-right Christian Americans think, we were never a Christian nation to begin with. If so, it would not be a separation of church and state. Granted, we DO have some Judeo-Christian principles encorporated into the constitution, but there's nothing that constitutes we are a Christian nation. If we were, every church would be funded by the federal/state government, which is called "State Religion." We would be a THEocracy and not a DEMocracy. As a Christian, I do actually thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that Christianity is "NOT" the official religion of the United States of America. Otherwise, it would defeat the sole purpose of the true America and the true Christianity. I rest my case. God Bless everyone and God Bless this wonderful nation we call the United(not divided) States of America!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Patrick. Its nice to be reminded that not all Christians are fundie extremists; its good to know that some Christians do understand and appreciate the wall of separation.