The ACLU Turns a Blind Eye to Religious Freedom in the Constitution
Literally

The American Civil Liberties Union, as most people know, is a very, very liberal organization which is often at the forefront of battles about the "Separation of Church and State"--almost always against public acknowledgement of religion, especially if the religion is Christianity. Now I understand better why it takes the positions it does. According to the ACLU's webpage on Freedom of Speech (quoted here exactly as written):

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.

The freedom of speech is the "first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment"? If that's true, then what about the ellipses (the three dots) between the words "law" and "abridging"? What goes there? In case you have never read it, the First Amendment reads as follows (with the portion of the language the ACLU edited out highlighted in my quote):

Congress shall 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 of grievances.

Yes, that's right; the ACLU website has (apparently) purposefully omitted the religion clauses from its quote of the First Amendment, and claimed that it was no accident that the "most important freedom", the freedom of speech, is listed first. Well, if the ACLU believes that the freedom of speech is the most important freedom because, in part, it thinks that it is the first freedom listed, then can we trust that the ACLU will now conclude that freedom of religion is actually the most important freedom?

Nah, I thought not.

Credit for seeing this first goest to James Taranto author of the Best of the Web for the Wall Street Journal. Kudos.

Comments

Weekend Fisher said…
I actually had the privilege (?) of being subpoenaed by the ACLU once. I'd done the benediction at my high school graduation, and the ACLU was trying to ban prayer at graduation in the name of freedom of religion. The lawsuit against the school district actually arose from events at the following year's graduation ceremony, and I was just incidental to the case.

I know it's a sensitive issue to have a prayer in a mixed crowd. For example, I'm sure in the majority-Muslim school districts in some of the northern industrial states, that means a Muslim prayer. Thing is, if it's just a graduate praying, and participation is optional, what's the legal / constitutional grounds for objection? I'm sure when I was giving the benediction at our graduation, half the Christian students were probably trying to get their caps ready to throw and paying no attention to the prayer whatsoever ... it's not exactly a coercive-participation thing.

Take care & God bless
WeekendFisher
Layman said…
Are ACLU lawyers really this stupid? Or are they distorting the constitution (like they do in their lawsuits)?

I honestly don't know.
Layman said…
I sent the ACLU the following statement:

"Why does your website state the blatant and obvious falsehood that the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment is the freedom of speech.

From your webpage on Free Speech:

"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. "

Surely the ACLU knows what it deleted using the elipses? It deleted a reference to the freedom of religion! It is the free exercise of religion, not the freedom of speech, that is the "first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment."

Please tell me you will correct and revise."

Let's see if they explain or change the site.
BK said…
I think there is no question that they knew what they deleted. I think the words "self-deluded" may fit well here.

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