The ACLU vs. The Gideons
In September 2006, the ACLU filed suit against the South Iron School District in St. Louis, Missouri, to stop the Gideons from providing Bibles to public school students. The Gideons are the oldest Christian business and professional men’s association in the U.S. and have made New Testaments available to students for decades.
The American Civil Liberties Union interprets this as a threat to their absolutist ideal of separation of church and state. They believe the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting Congress from establishing or promoting a religion implies all government agencies, including public schools. They think that allowing religious expression in school is a type of permissive promotion of religion and violates the spirit of the Constitution. The opponents believe the ACLU’s interpretation turns the Constitution upside down and actually stifles free speech.
The ACLU has built a reputation of hostility towards Christianity in the public sphere. Their agenda of keeping church and state separated when it comes to this particular religion has been consistent. They filed lawsuits against valedictorians mentioning the name of Jesus in their speeches, Ten Commandments displays at court houses, public officials closing their prayers in Jesus’ name, and war memorials in the shape of crosses. Their stance against the Gideons has a long history.
But one thing is not consistent in the ACLU's quest for separation of church and state. Take a careful look at the ACLU’s cases -- double standards are plentiful.
The religion almost exclusively litigated against is Christianity.
The ACLU has actually supported other religions doing the very things they fight against when Christians do them.
The ACLU fought for the installation of footbaths in a public school in Detroit to accommodate Muslims.
Alarms sounded from the ACLU when a coach bowed his head for a student led pre-game prayer, though there was never a peep heard when a school in Michigan taught Muslim prayers and required bowing to Mecca and role playing.
The irony of the ACLU stance on separation of church and state is how it negatively affects free speech.
No one advocates for government to promote a religion, but a line needs to be drawn. Using the Constitution as a tool to silence a valedictorian from expressing religious views surely has our founding fathers rolling in their graves. The same suppression of rights happened to the Gideons.
Instead of the protector of rights, the ACLU is becoming America’s number one opponent of free speech.