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Copyright: © 2006 Gary Hardaway
STRICT SEPARATION: THE ACLU’S MIGHTY WEAPON
By: Gary Hardaway
Before the Senate confirmed Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, condemned Alito for failing to embrace "strict church-state separation."
To Lynn that means treating religious citizens and groups with special disfavor. It often means prohibiting the religiously devout from doing what secular persons and groups may freely do.
Suppose, for example, that various community groups sometimes pass out flyers in schools alerting students to upcoming events and programs. Now suppose that a religious organization does the same. The strict separationist sues the school, alleging that the school officially promotes religion and thus violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.
As a Circuit Court judge, Alito ruled on such a case. He decided that a public school must allow Christian groups to post flyers on the same basis as other community groups. The strict separationists abhor this kind of equal treatment and respect. They believe that religion, by its very nature, is disqualified from certain kinds of normal public discourse.
Mr. Lynn, a former legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, co-wrote the ACLU manifesto on separationism: The Right to Religious Liberty: The Basic ACLU Guide to Religious Rights. He proudly declares, "I've never found an example of too much separation between church and state."
That pretty much sums up the ACLU's approach to religious influence in the public square. Such "separation" goes far beyond "Church-State" issues. It seeks to separate religion from every aspect of society: education, public discourse, law, social services, marriage and family policy, etc.
The ACLU works ceaselessly to impose its doctrine of disfavor. One day it targets "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Another day it trains its guns on monuments honoring the Ten Commandments. Then it seeks to eliminate "In God We Trust" from U. S. currency. In between it conducts campaigns to legalize homosexual marriage.
This brand of "separation" intends to establish secularism as the unwritten official religion of America. As government advances - or intrudes -- into more spheres of life, religion is expelled. That means limiting, excluding, penalizing, and even persecuting the religious for not staying in a narrow private zone.
In Canada, for example, it has now become illegal to speak publicly against homosexual practices. Some activists in the U. S. hope to accomplish the same outcome through the courts.
The ACLU website announces, "Religious groups are not just like any other groups . . . The message of the Establishment Clause is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion" (Emphasis mine). Any friendly gesture toward a faith is construed as illegitimate "governmental support."
For certain prominent intellectuals religious liberty itself is a pernicious idea. They see religion as divisive, coercive, and irrational. Therefore government has a right to keep such speech out of the public arena. In fact, in their view, government should also control some private activities as well.
Religious freedom should be replaced by uniform secular pluralism. Kathleen Sullivan, Dean of Stanford Law School, teaches that the Constitution establishes an official culture from which there can be no dissent. Religion must be "consistent with the establishment of the secular, moral order."
Believers must "pay for the secular army which engineers the truce among them." The Constitution must side with "scientific rationality." Her tyrannical views are not uncommon among elite law faculties.
Gerald Bradley, professor of law at Notre Dame, discerns the underlying attitude of strict-separationism. "How much worse does the establishment clause...require states to treat believers than nonbelievers [?]" The ACLU hopes the Courts will consistently answer: "Far worse."
The New Testament states, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" That obviously doesn't mean that people of faith never encounter opposition. Pharaoh enslaved Israel's people and sneered at Israel's Lord. The first Christians were persecuted and frequently martyred. Yet, ultimately, the persecutors failed.
Citizens who truly practice "In God We Trust" must boldly exercise their faith today -- in prayer for the nation and in active support for causes that honor God's name and Word.
Gary Hardaway has taught in universities in the USA, Lithuania and Canada. He holds a Ph. D. in foundations of education. "Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; firstname.lastname@example.org
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