Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ACLU Meets its Match?

The ACLU is at it again, based on this article from Agape Press. This time, their victims are fighting back.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out for a prayer rally tonight in one Tennessee town to show support for a school district that has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Wilson County School District is being sued for allegedly promoting religious activities at Lakeview Elementary School in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

This evening's prayer rally at the school was organized by Mount Juliet Commissioner Glen Linthicum. He considers the gathering a way for the community to take a stand against the ACLU, which is suing on behalf of an anonymous family that is upset over, among other things, prayers around the school flagpole, a National Day of Prayer event, and a group of parents who pray regularly for students.

[…] this time the issue "turned up in our backyard."

And that proximate challenge is what has "really gotten the people in Tennessee and middle Tennessee really involved in this, and myself included," the city commissioner observes. "If this is in our backyard," he says, "we can no longer be silent or be that 'silent majority.'"

Possibly, Linthicum speculates, the American Civil Liberties Union and its attorneys decided to attack his community's schools because the group saw it as easy prey. "Maybe they thought that the Wilson County School District would roll over in fright to the big, bad ACLU," he says. "We are a small community just outside of Nashville."

[…] The
Alliance Defense Fund is defending the Wilson County School District against the ACLU's legal action. The liberal group's lawsuit alleges that a student at Lakeview Elementary School suffered damages from the school’s alleged endorsement and promotion of a Prayer at the Flagpole event, a National Day of Prayer event, the activities of a “Praying Parents” group, teacher-led classroom prayers, and a Christian theme and overtly religious songs at a Christmas program.

Linthicum's response to these claims is not a denial but an assertion, that Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu students have "a constitutional right to pray or to read their scriptures at school on their own time, but so do Christians!" He says it is "outrageous" that the ACLU would seek to ban Christianity from the school grounds.

I think the ACLU may have picked on the wrong town. They may possibly win on the issue of “teacher-led classroom prayers,” but they don’t have a leg to stand on regarding the others. Even in the case of teacher-led prayer, frankly, if a school can make children pretend to be Moslems, I don’t think it can be faulted for making them pretend to be Christian.

Their assertive defense is, IMHO, the best one. The ACLU can’t be fought on its own terms – you have to go after their assumptions. Everybody remembers that the first amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion; we seem to forget that it also says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If someone – or some group of someones - feels like “freely expressing,” then the ACLU can go take a long walk off a short pier. They need to be challenged on the basis that the "free expression of religion" clearly and unambiguously does not mean that religious speech is to be excluded from the public square.

The Divine admonition to “turn the other cheek” implies by its very nature that one stand one’s ground. We may not be allowed to hit back, but we don’t have to run away, either. Sometimes the best response to injustice is to publicly stare down the offender and so expose him for what he really is.