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FIRST-PERSON: The ACLU vs. our freedoms

DALLAS (BP)–Television personality Bill O’Reilly has a problem with the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite its name, the organization is, according to the popular TV and radio host, a dangerous threat to liberty. O’Reilly frequently covers the ACLU’s activities and agenda on his popular FOX News program, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Alan Sears shares O’Reilly’s concern. Sears heads the Alliance Defense Fund, which is engaged in a years-long battle against the ACLU and its allies. In 1993, a group of distinguished Christian leaders came up with a plan to help reverse the secularization of America and to slow the erosion of Christians’ freedom to express and practice their faith. Since then, ADF has been working to get the ACLU out of the driver’s seat so the people, not the courts, can decide the great moral issues.

ADF has blanketed the country with specially trained volunteer attorneys who fight battles that pop up in cities, towns, schools and state capitols. ADF also supports and works alongside other like-minded legal groups, forming an alliance built on a common commitment to protecting Christians’ freedom to spread the Gospel and uphold biblical values. Although ADF’s resources pale against the ACLU’s $45 million annual budget and its massive endowment and assets, the ACLU has been increasingly playing defense. Alan Sears likes to say that’s because “our side” is finally showing up for the game.

One evening Sears appeared as a guest on O’Reilly’s program and was asked whether the ACLU is simply a well-intentioned organization gone bad. To dispel that myth, Sears and his co-author, Craig Osten have written a book, “The ACLU vs. America” (Broadman & Holman). In it they describe the ACLU’s quest for an America that is not a place most of us want to leave for our children. Instead, they write, the ACLU’s America is a country “where religious speech is not only silenced but punished, where human life is quickly and easily discarded, hopefully at taxpayer expense; where the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family is on its way to becoming a distant memory.”

Sears and Osten also profile ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, an agnostic socialist who wore his disdain of religion as a badge of honor. He counted Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger a friend. So it’s not surprising that, beginning in the 1920s, the ACLU worked for the legalization of abortion. And since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the ACLU has challenged every restriction on abortion, including the ban on partial-birth abortion.

The ACLU and its allies are launching and funding the attacks on marriage cropping up across the country. Baldwin’s open view of marriage has translated into a strategy designed to weaken and undermine the institution. A lynchpin of that strategy is the ACLU’s effort, beginning in 1986, to obtain legal recognition for “same sex marriage.”

The ACLU also opposes prosecution of those who distribute and sell pornography, even child porn. Across the country the ACLU is pursuing a persistent campaign against the Boy Scouts, attempting to deny them funding, charters and the use of government property because they refuse to allow homosexuals to lead and influence young men. And, case by case, the ACLU is attempting to strip our country of its religious heritage by challenging Ten Commandments monuments, city and state seals, and other symbols of our religious history.

Most ACLU attacks take place on the local level against schools and localities where funds are tight. Often, there’s no need for a court battle for the ACLU to squelch religions speech. Fear, intimidation, and disinformation are the tactics of choice. School board and city council members look over their shoulders, trying to discern whether the ACLU will charge them with violating the so-called “separation between church and state.” They then craft their policies to avoid lawsuits. That’s why, for instance, many of the nation’s public schools have preemptively scoured December of any vestige of Christmas.

It’s a good time for Americans to educate themselves about the ACLU. According to Sears, everyone knows the name A-C-L-U. But people need to know the truth about the organization and its agenda.

One high school valedictorian enlisted ADF’s help so he could mention his faith in his graduation speech. One line stands out: “When the temple was out of order, he (Jesus) turned over the tables and set things right.” The nation’s future depends on it.
Dexter is a conservative activist and a former co-host of Marlin Maddoux’s Point of View syndicated radio program. She currently serves as a consultant for KMA Direct Communications in Plano, Texas, and as a producer for Washington Watch Weekly, a broadcast of the Family Research Council.

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  • Penna Dexter