The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 by Roger Nash Baldwin. A Harvard-educated agnostic socialist from a Boston family of Unitarians, Baldwin was mentored by Emma Goldman, the "Red Queen of Anarchy," who herself had been mentored by Russian revolutionary Peter Alexeevich Kropotkin.
The ACLU comprises two different organizations, both of which go by the name ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union, with a membership of over 500,000, engages in political lobbying, while the ACLU Foundation works through litigation and communication. The national headquarters is in New York City, but each state has its own chapter, which operates autonomously, though in high-profile cases the national organization gets involved. Funding comes mainly from donations, grants, and attorneys' fees. The ACLU has a staff of full-time attorneys, but the bulk of its legal work is carried out by volunteer cooperating attorneys who either represent litigants directly or file amicus curiae or "friend of the court" briefs in cases of interest to the ACLU. Most ACLU activity begins at the local level but often results in decisions that are imposed nationwide.
From the beginning, the ACLU has taken its raison d'être from the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from abridging free speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly, and, through its Establishment Clause, from making a law respecting the establishment of religion. As written, the Bill of Rights applies only to the federal government; it was not meant to bind state and local governments. To Baldwin, this was an egregious omission. Not only did he set out to have the Bill's provisions enforced at all levels, but also—and much worse—he interpreted them according to a wholly antithetical worldview. Whereas America's founding documents sought to secure freedom within an ordered society under God, Baldwin's philosophy effectively insisted that anyone should be allowed to do anything at any time without any interference, censure, or even implied disapproval. For him, "Anything goes."
Anything, that is, unless it emanates from the Judeo-Christian worldview. The first major ACLU case was the 1924 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, which the ACLU contrived specifically to undermine the public's belief in God and to impose evolution-only science education in America's schools, a move that has been devastatingly effective. Nearly a century later, the "rights" being enforced through the ACLU's activism have become so suffocatingly intrusive that, in some milieus, even "incorrect" thoughts are imperiously suppressed.
Most Recent Offense
It is difficult to identify one line of assault as the most offensive, but the ACLU's attack on the consciences and souls of children seems to be the most contemptible. On an otherwise normal school day a few years back, elementary students in Novato, California, were summoned to a mandatory program called "Cootie Shots," presented by a homosexualist theatre troop. Parents subsequently sued the school district, but the ACLU came to its defense and overpowered them. "Schools have the authority to require mandatory attendance in tolerance-building and diversity education programs," ACLU staff attorney Julia Harumi Mass asserted at the conclusion of the proceedings. ACLU attorneys relentlessly oppose school choice initiatives; recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance; exposure of schoolchildren to Christmas carols, Christmas plays, and Christmas parties; voluntary prayer at school events, and even voluntary moments of silence. But compulsory gay education must be protected.
It is clear that the ACLU is not preserving liberty. It is systematically extirpating the Judeo-Christian roots from which American liberty grew. Ultimately, it is administering national suicide. •
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