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:
- Christian think they are under attack; so they look for that attacker in every action.
- 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
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.
Sources: here, here, here, here, here,here, here, and here.