By Alan Sears & Craig Osten
Can you imagine this scenario? Well-known evangelical leaders Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, and Steve Douglass of Campus Crusade for Christ, joined by a conservative Roman Catholic bishop and an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, fly to several Midwestern towns with teams of Christian lawyers. They descend on the local courts and file multi-million-dollar lawsuits – demanding that the local public schools and governments and immediately cease the recognition and celebration of two-hundred-year-old (or two-thousand-years-old) cultural and historical traditions, remove all historic documents from building walls, and stop all teaching or even mentioning certain subjects to students because they violate “the separation of church and state.”
These leaders then discover some government employees and public school students are Muslim. They demand that Muslims quit wearing anything that would identify their faith and that all government recognition or protection of their religious liberty, including their use of public property, be halted immediately.
Can you imagine the reaction of national secular media if such a scenario occurred? Dobson, Kennedy, Douglass, and the others would be vilified, ridiculed, and mocked for their actions. They would be labeled “intolerant” by the secular Left and called the American Taliban, here to create a theocracy.
This scenario never happened and it won’t. But a substantially similar one is played out regularly across American. The perpetrator? The American Civil Liberties Union, better known as the ACLU. And many in the same secular media hail the ACLU and its members as heroes.
For eight decades, the ACLU has been America’s leading religious censor, waging a largely uncontested (until recently) war against America’s core values – all not only without protest but with the support of much of the media – cloaking its wars in the name of liberty.
The result of this conflict is that Americans find themselves living in a country that, with each passing day, resembles less of what our nations’ Founding Fathers intended when they came to these shores. We not live in a country where our traditional Christian and Jewish faith and religion – civilizing forces in any society – are openly mocked and increasingly pushed to the margins. We live in a country where parental authority is undermined and children have less protection from pornography, violent crime, and the promotion of dangerous and selfish sexual behaviors. We live in a country where the value of human life has been cheapened – from the moment and manner of conception to natural or unnatural death.
These seismic shifts did not happen overnight or by accident. Many are the result of a persistent, deliberate legal strategy by the ACLU and its allies to reshape ____?
We know the ACLU did not advance its agenda in a vacuum, but it is for other writers to discuss that part of the story.
While the ACLU positions itself as the great defender of freedom, it is actively striving to eliminate the freedoms of millions of Americans. The ACLU is against the freedom of parents to pass their faith and values along to their children. It is against the freedom of organization such as the Boy Scouts to set standard rules of conduct for their leaders. It is against the freedom of churches to publicly teach and proclaim the uncensored Word of God in the public square. It is against many of the freedoms and our nation’s sovereignty that our forefathers fought and died for in the American Revolution and the many wars that followed. The ACLU and its allies work for much of what our forefathers opposed through the advocacy of international law to interpret the Constitution.
Most Americans are unaware of the most extreme positions of the ACLU. Many believe that the ACLU exists to stick up for the little guy, or it was an organization with noble beginnings but took a wrong turn somewhere along the way.
One needs only to look through one of the policy guides of the ACLU, listen to their founders and the speeches by their leaders, or go to its Web site and read actual documents it has filed in court, to get a clearer picture of the ACLU agenda. Consider these ACLU positions and imagine what America would be like if these dreams were fulfilled:
For eight decades, not only has the ACLU advocated for these and many other extreme positions, but through a legal and educational campaign of “fear, intimidation, and disinformation,” it has been successful in turning many of them either into the law of the land or what Americans perceive to be the law of the land. In its quest to mold American law as it desires through judicial activism, the ACLU also looks to force international law (at least their selective view of international law) on the American people – with complete disregard for American sovereignty and the US constitution.
In great part because of the ACLU’s philosophy and actions, American the Beautiful has become America the Litigious. The so-called trial lawyers take much of their lead from the environment created by the ACLU’s actions. “Rights” trump personal responsibility. “Alternate lifestyles” have replaced Mom and Dad. The US Constitution has become an unrecognizable “living, breathing document” with “emanations from penumbras,” including a bizarre interpretation that has led to the deaths of more than 46 million of our nation’s children. The vibrant shield of protection the First Amendment was meant to provide for religious freedom, freedom that millions fled from others to enjoy, has now become a sword to use against people of faith. The Founding Fathers could never have imagined this.
Unfortunately, until recently much of the ACLU’s eight-decade war on the values of most Americans has largely gone unopposed. With an annual budget of $45 million and an endowment of $41 million, the ACLU has used its army of at least sixty full-time attorneys, three hundred chapters, more than one thousand volunteer attorneys, and three hundred staff members – as well as sympathetic members of the judiciary, the faculties of law schools, and the media – to engage in an ongoing campaign of legal intimidation, misinformation, and fear.
To provide an idea of the vast resources at the ACLU’s disposal, according to guidestar.org, which tracks financial information on nonprofit organizations, the ACLU Foundation had net assets of $175,909,869 as of May 31, 2004. In addition, the ACLU received an $8 million gift in 2003 from ACLU member Peter B. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, the largest individual donation ever received by the ACLU. The Ford Foundation provided a $7 million grant (though the ACLU and the Ford Foundation have more recently disagreed over grant terms) in 1999, which Lewis matched with another $7 million to bring the total to $14 million.
The ACLU’s goal is a secularized “tolerant” American where religious speech is not only silenced but punished; where unwanted 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, and where their “tolerance” is the silence of many others.
The ACLU has accomplished many of its goals by bringing lawsuit after lawsuit, threatening to bring often cripplingly expensive lawsuits, even on claims it would admit had little to no merit, to exhaust the will, resources, and strength of those who stand for religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional values. The ACLU has done this, in many cases, by finding activist judges who agree with its demands to recreate the law in the ACLU’s image. In many instances, the ACLU and its allies have won by default because no one with a real stake in the outcome showed up to legally confront their demands. The effect has been court decisions in lieu of constitutional conventions – either through the Supreme Court rewriting what the Founding Fathers did more than two hundred years ago or by one pushy ACLU lawyer forcing a school system to change its rules, with the religious freedom of tens of thousands of Americans negatively affected.
But the tables are beginning to turn.
In 1993, after years without adequate legal resources to match the ACLU and its allies, a group of more than thirty Christian leaders finally said, “Enough!” They came together to discuss what could be done to slow and stop the ACLU and its allies’ seemingly unopposed assault on America’s freedoms. They recognized that many dedicated Christian lawyers had sought to slow and stop the ACLU but didn’t have enough resources to succeed. Out of this, a new organization was formed – the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). While ADF’s resources are still dwarfed by those available to the ACLU and its many legal allies, ADF and its allies have quickly grown to become a formidable opponent and has been successful with a growing legal army of allies through strategy, training, funding, and litigation to defeat the ACLU and its allies several times in courtrooms and in the battle for minds across the nation.
THE ACLU vs. AMERICA will expose some of the ACLU’s war on American values, America’s law and Constitution, and our national sovereignty. We will shed light on the ACLU’s extreme positions and refute the assertion that the ACLU was once a good organization that took the wrong turn. We will discuss how God is allowing ADF to confront the ACLU in case after case. ADF’s goal is to surpass the ACLU’s vast manpower and financial resources to shape a future in which the values of religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and the family are strongly affirmed and protected.
With God’s grace, we are confident we can not only reclaim American’s judicial system and values from the ACLU and its allies, but also protect our nation from present legal attacks. We can return our country to the original vision of the liberty framed by the Founding Fathers and fought for by generations of Americans on battle-fields from Yorktown to Gettysburg to Omaha Beach to the sands of the Middle East. It will take prayers, perseverance, and great financial resources to do so, but we will win.
(Reprint with permission from The ACLU vs. America published by the Alliance Defense Fund, 2005, pgs. 1-6)