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(   ACLU Defends God Bless America.   ( divider line
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2544 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Oct 2001 at 7:48 AM (16 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2001-10-26 07:52:35 AM  
"Dogs and cats, living together..."
2001-10-26 07:57:31 AM  
I love the ACLU, they're a wonderful little group. The mural that they are defending certainly has every right to be there. Although, I personally don't care for the phrase "God Bless America". I understand what those words mean for people that believe in God, but it just seems very Jack Chickish to me. I prefer the much more classy "United We Stand" phrase.
2001-10-26 08:06:24 AM  
Does anyone find it ironic that the ACLU is also currently involved in 2 cases to similar to this, but on the opposite side? They are suing some school for putting the words "god bless america" on it's bulletin board out front of the building, and another similar case, but I only got a short blurb about that in an article about the school.

While I understand the 'church & state' deal, the ACLU constantly amazes me with it's publicity grabbing general @ssholeness. Seems it doesn't matter which side they are on, everything is a violation of your rights or racism, as long as there is enough publicity.

Like a giant organization of JesseJackson clones... stir up trouble, 'rescue' everyone from racism, oppression, etc... claim heroic deed done, go find new trouble to stir up...

pretty pathetic. To think I once thought the ACLU had admirable inentions...
2001-10-26 08:09:45 AM  
Rival, I have a bigger problem with the motto "These colors [sic] don't run".
2001-10-26 08:11:07 AM  
Be nice to the ACLU. It's entirely different deal with a state run school than a privately owned building. If the state allows Xians to put signs outside the school about God, then suddenly the state is endorsing Xianity. That, is a direct violation of the "church & state deal". However, on a private building, such wording creates no such violation.
2001-10-26 08:12:55 AM  
NaTaX: I think the most important phrase in the article is this one:

". The mural was erected on a privately owned building in Westwood with the consent of the building's owner."
2001-10-26 08:22:10 AM  
The ACLU does A-okay. It's obviously a bit anally retentive. But thats just the way US politics is. You have super extreme right wing forces, so you need extreme left wing ones to keep them in check.
2001-10-26 08:34:05 AM  
"....mass hysteria."
2001-10-26 08:40:43 AM  
This is really, really cool. I really like the ACLU and believe in the things that it stands for. However, I can't help but thinking that this deserves an "Ironic" tag...
2001-10-26 08:59:45 AM  
I think the ACLU blows chunks most of the time, but they are on the right side on this case.

FLAMEBAIT, what I don't get from you statement is that the idea that we can't have murals like this because it may offend some people is much more an extreme left view than a right one. Most your Right wingers are going to come down on the side of the Christian view point here.
2001-10-26 08:59:55 AM  

What is the origin of the phrase "These colors don't run," and why does it offend you?
2001-10-26 09:00:18 AM  
What exactly is the ACLU? I know what the letters stand for, but how many members are there? Do they have local chapters, and how are they funded?
2001-10-26 09:01:40 AM  
This isn't ironic. The ACLU has always protected your civil liberties. The context makes all the difference. It is opposed to government endorsement of religion. It is your right to be protected from the government forcing religion down your throat.

It is not opposed to religion per se, just government endorsement of it. The Bill of Rights prohibits government endorsement of religion. The whole reason the Bill of Rights exists is to protect the minority from the majority in certain areas. It is basically a list of rights that you have and that cannot be taken away from you, even if the majority of people don't like them. This is what we in the biz call a "fundamental good thing."

The founding fathers set these up so that cooler heads prevail in a time of crisis. There may be times when people want to say things that other people, maybe even the majority of people, disagree with. Public discourse is important, it's a fundamental right, so let's guarantee it.

Many people are religious, some choose one religion, some choose another, some people are not religious at all. It's not the government's job to decide. Let them sort it out themselves. Let's guarantee that the government stays out of the fray.

This is really a simple application of the first ammendment. Religious speech (or art in this case) is perfectly appropriate for a non-government building, and the government has no right to interfere. Open and shut. Perfect case for the ACLU. The government is interfering with free speech in a public setting.

If this had been on a government building, the ACLU may have come down on the other side. The government shall not endorse religion, and the Supreme Court has ruled that prohibition extends to endorsing religion over non-religion. A different motto would probably be more appropriate for a government building.

Obviously there is some flexibility on the issue.

The ACLU is not right or left wing, it only seems left wing because it is generally the right wing infringing on our rights.
2001-10-26 09:05:52 AM  
Well said, Shogo.
2001-10-26 09:17:02 AM  
Not left-wing? Hmmm...when's the last time you saw that pack of thugs defending gun ownership? They have always picked and chosen what to defend or persecute, strictly from an extreme leftist viewpoint.

Don't make me laugh, Shogo. I've been ringside to far too many cases where that bunch threatens legal action if the word "God" is used anywhere within school a teacher or a student. Not endorsing any particular religion has never meant that a citizen of the this country is supposed to leave his or her free speech rights at the door of a school or any other public building. No government entity should cram one point of view down another's throat, but muzzling someone from saying something so basic to their lives because it might "offend" someone else does exactly that. Going to sit there and tell me that school bus drivers should be fired for wishing someone "Merry Christmas?" Your buddies pressured a school in Oklahoma into doing that. Then there was the 4th-grader in Missouri who was suspended for praying silently over his lunch. Your friends' response to that was "He should have been." Yes, what a fine organization you sit here and endorse.

FYI, the Constitution does not say that we have the right to not be offended.
2001-10-26 09:17:23 AM  
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2001-10-26 09:18:34 AM  
Yay! Took me awhile, but I finally got one posted. I'm really proud of the ACLU for this and it goes to show that they take the First Amendment seriously.
2001-10-26 09:20:10 AM  
Akazanar Guess Shogo answered most of the questions there.
2001-10-26 09:20:28 AM  
Well said but inaccurate, Shogo. The ACLU is more political than most politicians. If the Supreme Court ruled tomorrow that abortion is actually unconstitutional, I would not expect those zealots to do a 180 and start upholding that ruling, they would remain pro-abortion. If the Constitution were amended to say that homosexual marriage was unlawful, they still wouldn't interpret it as "the law of the land," they'd try their damnedest to get lower courts to rule around it. And so on and so forth.

Generally there is a fair amount of balance in these ACLU threads, but today it looks dangerously like some people may be convinced that this group exists for their benefit. Don't be lulled into thinking that.
2001-10-26 09:22:42 AM  
I'm more offended by all this 'God Bless America' bull crap, not because I don't personally believe in God, but because its just so freakin redundant. Let's take a look at ourselves, the USA. If there is a God up there in the clouds, we are VERY VERY blessed already. We're probably the most blessed nation on Earth. Suddenly wackos blow up a few buildings, thousands of people die and we're whining up to God again, 'BLESS US DAMNIT! BLESS US!' I don't remember seeing 1/10th of this stuff before 9/11. Suddenly everyones got a flag and everyone is saying God bless America, well I say, we're already pretty friggin blessed stop taking it for granted...
2001-10-26 09:23:26 AM  
ACLU can take a hike. I would hire my own attorney I would be the artist. There is a conflict of interest here. You can't have the same bastards sue every school in the country to stop putting up God Bless America signs, and then sue a city to allow the same sign to be up... Yeah maybe it's private propery this time, but is the principle of it. It would be like seeing Al Gore kicking himself in the crotch while saying he invented the internet.
2001-10-26 09:25:12 AM  
Oh yeah, I forgot about the gun thing too. I'm not a big fan of people accumulating gigantic stores of firearms, but hell, the right to bear arms is explicitly stated in the Constitution, and these so-called "defenders" of the Bill of Rights won't help you out with this one.

If the ACLU had it their way, no mainstream, keep-to-yourself Christian would exist, and America would be made completely of NAMBLA members and Ku Klux Klan bigots.

I'm glad the extremists have their group to represent them in court; I'm disappointed that so many other people see them as being "on their side." Because they sure as hell aren't on this guy's side.
2001-10-26 09:33:49 AM  
Anti-Christian Loonies Union....American Criminal Lovers Union.
2001-10-26 09:35:50 AM  
I never really have understood those that think the ACLU is just a left wing tool. They defended the KKK for Christ's sake; how much more right wing could you get? They don't defend issues, they defend freedoms. The issue of a religious mural on the side of a public building is different than one in a public school. Night and day. Public = government = don't suggest your religion to me. Private = do whatever the hell you want, it's your god damn building.
2001-10-26 09:40:52 AM  
go do some motherfarking research before you post here
2001-10-26 09:47:24 AM  
American Civil Liberties Union, by the way
2001-10-26 09:48:40 AM  
FreddyFreedom: You forgot to add that ACLU are also resposible for the 9-11 attacks.
2001-10-26 09:58:40 AM  
Oh, that's right, I'd almost forgotten. Well, the ACLU was just partially responsible for 9-11. I mean, you can't forget to credit the abortionists and gays as well.
2001-10-26 09:58:51 AM  
WHy do you equate left wing with anti-gun Freddy? Are you really that stupid? I am what most would describe as left wing,and I am pro gun, and pro choice. I am also pro ACLU. I am anti-freddyfreedom's ignorance....
2001-10-26 10:00:24 AM  
The ACLU does have left leanings overall I would say. However, they are a BIG organization. Just because the US government kills innocent people fairly often doesn't mean all parts of it are bad, right?

The ACLU does a lot of good - remember that. Even if they do make mistakes.
2001-10-26 10:20:17 AM  
Are there some things the ACLU does right? Yes. And I believe they do believe they are protecting the civil rights of everyone, but they've got a definite view of what those rights are, and it shows. They've got a definite hierarchy of those rights:

1. Non-establishment of a state religion
2. Separation of Church and State
3. Protection from being subjected to religious displays
4. Freedom of speech
5. Freedom to assemble
10582. The right to bear arms.

And their defense of each right seems to be dependent on not violating any of the ones above. The problem is the historical illiteracy of our times. "Establish a state religion" had a very specific meaning, and it did NOT cover putting a manger scene at the courthouse or having the valedictorian lead a prayer.

There are times when a government official attempts to force religious behavior on people, and that's wrong, absolutely. But when someone in the public sphere wants to express themselves, that's freedom of religion and freedom of speech, not establishment. And that's where the ACLU is so often wrong.
2001-10-26 10:36:09 AM  
This doesn't surprize me. Everything is upside down and backward since 9/11.
2001-10-26 10:37:49 AM  
GadgetDon: First of all, nos. 1-3 in your list are virtually identical. :) And second, I would surmise that the ACLU sets its priorities in that fashion because those are the rights most frequently violated by the government. And you're absolutely right in pointing out that their defense of any given right is dependent upon their not violating the others - there's something to be said for consistency, in my opinion.

As for a problem of "historical illiteracy", it works both ways. If the concept of "establishing a state religion" had a very specific meaning and needs to be interpreted accordingly, then so does issue # 10582, the right to bear arms.

Yeah, sometimes the ACLU come across as a bunch of wackos. But I for one am glad that there's a bunch of wackos out there looking out for my civil rights, as opposed to having those rights undermined. Better something than nothing!
2001-10-26 10:39:00 AM  

I think the goose-stepping crowd doesn't understand what the ACLU's actual goals are. It isn't to stop people from saying the Pledge of Allegiance or the Lord's Prayer or anything else. It's goals include free speech, and being forced to say something is just as counter to free speech as being prohibited from saying something. The ACLU is all about cases that either prevent somebody from saying something or force somebody to say something.

For the most part it seems that its buearocratic groups that would actually squelch the rights to say something, just as they're the first to force somebody to say something. Carefully read most of the prayer or pledge in school cases. Often the school-board, trying to prevent a law-suit, rules that some poor kid can't say a prayer, or can't express his religion. This is bad. In other cases they mandate that the kids say the Lord's Prayer or the Pledge of Allegiance. This too is bad.

I'm as non-religious as they get and I'm not offended by manger scenes at city hall. I would be offended if the 10 commandments were placed in city halls foyer in 3 tonnes of bronze. In my mind there's a difference in intent, one is celebrating a season, event or day, the other is implying that the city itself is empowered by or empowers this religion.

2001-10-26 10:42:25 AM  
I am confused.
2001-10-26 10:50:08 AM  
I'm with ya 100% Substrate.
2001-10-26 11:24:10 AM  
The ACLU will take a stand against those who would turn this country into a theocracy. Christian nation, my ass.
2001-10-26 11:28:53 AM  
Shogo, Slippy, Substrate, Gadgetdon, et al:

bravo! well said; nice that others understand that freedoms apply to all, not just the majority.

I am for the second amendmant, and I speculate that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU doesn't get involved there becuase there is more than adequate defense for the second already in place. too bad the NRA has spiraled down to the lowest common denominator. def not your dad or granddad's NRA.

as has been said before (heard it here, I think), be gald they're protecting the fringe minority, and not fighting against widespread infringements against the mainstream. with that said, this current case makes me nervous.

I liketo think the ACLU defends everyone, regardless of whether they agree politically. this case goes a long way in proving their consistency and integrity.

if you don't like it, move to afghanistan - damn sure ain't no commie ACLU there! damn freedoms, making us THINK and be fair..
2001-10-26 11:31:42 AM  
Does anyone find it ironic that the ACLU is also currently involved in 2 cases to similar to this, but on the opposite side?

umm, no - that's the point of ACLU, they defend "civil liberties", not beliefs or value systems.

That's what I love about them, they are one of the few organizations out there who are truly unbiased.
2001-10-26 11:36:13 AM  
10582. The right to bear arms.

And you believe it should be up there with free speech?
2001-10-26 11:43:26 AM  

Cause without it, you GOT no other rights.
2001-10-26 11:46:53 AM  
The ACLU provides a very needed purpose in this society. Both the ACLU and the NAACP provide legislation and legal representatio to people whos rights have been undermined, for little or no fee.

If the Supreme Court ruled tomorrow that abortion is actually unconstitutional, I would not expect those zealots to do a 180 and start upholding that ruling, they would remain pro-abortion.

This is because the government taking away the right to have an abortion is a fundamental violation, they are taking control of your body. Im a guy, so i have a hard time realizeing this, but i found something that works fairly well to explain it to myself and others: It would be like if Congress passed a law saying you couldnt wank it. Thats taking control of your body, and is a serious rights abuse, as is sbortion. Now, how many people here want to protect their right to beat it? :)
2001-10-26 11:58:09 AM  
the ACLU takes up the cases and defends the rights that other more specific groups, like say the farking N!R!A! don't bother with. With a huge powerful lobby like that WHY should the ACLU expend resources to defend the right to bear arms. Its our the seperation of church and state that is constantly threatened.

I say bravo in this case. ACLU shows that they care about the issues and freedoms guarenteed under the constitution. And no you wankers its not hypoctitical to chose which side of the argument to take based on the LAW. They are defending your rights not to have the state tell you what religion to practice (or not). And defending the right of private individuals to practice how and what they chose.
2001-10-26 11:58:29 AM  
An oldie but a goodie.

ACLU Defends Nazis Right to Burn Down ACLU Headquarters

NEW YORK-At a press conference Monday, American Civil Liberties Union officials announced that the organization will go to court to defend a neo-Nazi group's right to burn down ACLU headquarters.

ACLU president Nadine Strossen told reporters that her organization intends to "vigorously and passionately defend" the Georgia chapter of the American Nazi Party's First Amendment right to freely express its hatred of the ACLU by setting its New York office ablaze on Nov. 25.

"I am reminded of the words of Voltaire: 'I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,'" Strossen said. "While the ACLU vehemently disagrees with the idea of Nazis torching this building, the principle of freedom of expression must be supported in all cases. If we take away these Nazis' right to burn down our headquarters, we take away everyone's right to burn down our headquarters."

Buddy Carver, president of the Georgia chapter of the American Nazi Party, praised the ACLU for taking on his case. "I would like to thank Ms. Strossen and all the other attractive and successful African-American-loving bleeding-heart liberals at the 'ACL-Jew' for defending my constitutional right to express my loathing of them with hundred-foot-high flames," said Carver, sporting a tan uniform and swastika arm band. "We must finish the job Hitler was unable to."

ACLU associate director Mel Rosenblatt agreed. "The real danger here is not the American Nazi Party," he said. "The real danger here is what would happen to the rest of us if the Buddy Carvers of this world were not allowed to commit arson against attractive and successful African-American-loving, bleeding-heart-liberal Jew attorneys."

Making the case all the more controversial is the neo-Nazis' demand that the ACLU's entire 315-person staff be in the building at the time of the blaze. Strongly opposing the request are New York City police commissioner William Bratton, fire chief Ed Holm and mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who said that all 315 will die if trapped in the 47-story building during the blaze. ACLU attorneys responded that they will request a federal appeals hearing if the City of New York attempts to stop them and their fellow ACLU employees from perishing in the Nov. 25 blaze.

"Yes, my loving wife Linda and three wonderful children, Ben, Robby and Stephanie, will be devastated when I am killed next month," ACLU attorney Harvey Gross said. "But I recognize that, in a very real sense, it would be a victory for Mr. Carver and his fellow hatemongers if I did not burn to death, because their terrible message of bigotry and intolerance would be all the more effective if suppressed."

The Carver case is one of several controversial legal battles with which the ACLU has been involved this judicial year. In State of California v. Tubbs, the organization defended the right of a San Francisco art gallery to display a piece of performance art in which innocent passersby are shot to death by gunmen. In February, the ACLU went to U.S. Appeals Court to defend the Grand Wizard of the Coahoma County, Mississippi, chapter of the Ku Klux Klan's right to beat a black man to death and spray-paint 'White Pride' across his chest.

"We can have no arbitrary setting of limits when it comes to the Bill of Rights," Strossen said. "The Constitution does not say, 'You have the right to express these opinions, but not those opinions.' Nor does it say, 'You can express these opinions by word, but not by violence.' For a free society to work, hatred, in all its forms, must be encouraged."
2001-10-26 12:11:36 PM  
Actually, from what I understand, this "artist" is an ass. He's violating voning laws by using this building as a giant billboard.

He posts humongous ads for Disney, and when the city tries to get him to remove the ads, he replaces them with these patriotic images and claims his speech is being violated.

Here's two links:
2001-10-26 12:31:26 PM  
Even when the ACLU comes down on the 'wrong' side, what you have to respect them for is taking unpopular causes. I'll agree that they tend to lean left a bit, but in their minds, they try to protect _everyone_ who has their liberties curtailed..

in other words, if someone tried to stop you from praying in your house or your church, you can bet the ACLU would be first in line with a lawsuit.. in fact, they'd be first in line if you tried to stop someone from praying in public schools. It's only when it's organized and 'sanctioned' by the school..
2001-10-26 01:03:04 PM  
Courtney Cox-Zucker- I read both articles...and this guy migth be a jerk, but even jerks have rights. The advertisments are another matter but this image probably is protected speech.

God bless the ACLU.
2001-10-26 01:13:51 PM  
Screw god. Why wasn't he blessing america when its true inhabitants were being slaughtered?
Oh yeah, because god is white, and he only loves white people. Especially those living in america. Jesus came from the middle east, but somehow he is also white, and he, too, deeply loves his white americans. God pulls for the home team - simple as that. I mean, yeah, he's got his whole universe to deal with, but right now i bet he's up there waving a big redwhiteandblue "we're number one" hand and swilling a bud while watching the war on his tv.
2001-10-26 01:22:42 PM  
Finally, the ACLU has done something which provides a forum where I can make this argument: They defend ALL of our rights.

Mme. Mersault, your comment is typical of so many - the ACLU is not anti-religion, they're anti-repression. It just so happens that to many of us, mentioning God is repressive because we have other beliefs. If the City had erected that mural the ACLU would be fighting AGAINST it because that's not in the government's purview according to the Constitution. Since this is a PRIVATELY erected mural, they're defending free speech. To some it may seem contradictory, but it's not. The ACLU does not fight against God or religion, it fights against the government's use of religion in official protocol.
2001-10-26 01:27:03 PM  
"but right now i bet he's up there waving a big redwhiteandblue "we're number one" hand and swilling a bud while watching the war on his tv."

I would bet right now that there's a large number of Americans that honestly think along those lines. They would be called idiots.
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