Chris Field- Contributor
Field is Editor of Human
Events Online [go
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ACLU's Very Own Constitution
Picking and choosing...
[Chris Field] 1/17/05
years now, conservatives have repeatedly shouted their frustrations
with attempts by
many on the Left to remove God from our society.
Liberals love to tout a "wall of separation between church
and state" that is somehow constitutional. But as Michael
Tremoglie pointed out in his HUMAN EVENTS Online piece ("Theophobia
-- Part I") Friday:
of this bowdlerization campaign display a clever sophistry.
They claim that by removing religion from
government they are merely being faithful to the Constitutional
doctrine of separation of church and state. The Theophobes routinely
refer to a 'wall between church and state' as if it were mentioned
in the Constitution.
is no such Constitutional doctrine. The phrase, 'wall between
church and state,' was used by Thomas Jefferson
-- who was not involved with writing the Constitution. Jefferson
wrote this in a letter. How his personal correspondence became
Constitutional law is not known. If Jefferson's correspondence
is a precept of Constitutional law then segregation should be
Constitutional as well. Jefferson wrote in an 1814 letter to
Edward Coles that, 'Their (blacks) amalgamation with any other
color produces a degradation to which no lover of his country...can
Yes, the "anti-God" practices of many on the Left
have confounded and enraged many of their fellow Americans on
the right. Other than thinking liberals to be "anti-religious" or "God-hating" or "un-American," we've
never been able to figure out why groups like Americans United
for the Separation of Church and State and the ACLU preach the
things they do about religion in public.
But now, at least in the case of the ACLU, the reason has been
made clear: the ACLU uses a different Constitution than the rest
Journal's James Taranto, in his daily "Best
of the Web," cited the following passage from the ACLU's "Free
Speech" online page:
"It is probably
no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned
in the First Amendment: 'Congress shall
make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,
or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances.' The Constitution's framers believed
that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks
of a democratic society."
Notice anything missing?
See those ellipses
in the ACLU's quotation of the 1st Amendment? Do you know what
portion of the Amendment the ACLU "censored"?
Here's the 1st Amendment in its entirety:
make no law RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING
THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress
No wonder the ACLU is usually wrong on religious issues: The
ACLU version doesn't include religious protections.
Instead, the organization found a handy-dandy version that supports
its claim that the Framers considered the freedom of speech so
important that they put it at the very tip-top of the Bill of
If the ACLU (and its
constitutional editors) had any integrity at all, it would
tout the importance of the freedom of religion,
since, in copies of the Constitution that everyone else has,
religion is listed first. But I doubt that such a move will ever
happen, considering how much the ACLU must focus on the sanctity
of speech in order to protect pornographers, flag-burners, and
strippers. Of course, the only reason free speech is listed first
in the ACLU's copy is that it cut out all the constitutional "God-talk" of
our supposedly atheist, deist, irreligious Founders.
Surely, though, an
organization like the ACLU -- one that loves to defend the
constitutional rights of "all" Americans
and claims to stand up for religious liberty -- believes in the
Freedom of Religion as stated in the 1st Amendment, right?
the ACLU's "Religious Liberty" online
the group fails to quote the Constitution at all. Instead it
refers to "the establishment clause" that "requires
the separation of church and state."
I suppose, though,
if the ACLU did quote the Constitution, it would have to explain
how the organization gets around the fact
that the government "shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Since
prohibiting the free exercise of religion is something at which
it excels, the ACLU doesn't want to be painted into that corner.
No liberals want that. tOR
2005 Human Events