ACLU Forced to Correct Misstatement of U.S. Constitution--Puts Freedom of Religion Back In
In a prior post, BK (with a nod to the WSJ), noted that the ACLU's website erroneously stated that the Freedom of Speech was the "first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment." Of course, in reality, the Freedom of Religion is the first freedom listed in the First Amendment.
This might have simply generated a few chuckles and reminded us of the ACLU's low regard for religion, but they went a step further and backed up their erroneous statement by actually removing the Freedom of Religion from the First Amendment. This was how their Freedom of Speech webpage used to begin:
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.
Notice the ellipses? What do you think is removed by them? That's right, the ACLU -- a purported civil rights watchdog filled with constitutional law experts -- removed the freedom of religion from the U.S. Constitution to make their point.
Being a member of the bar myself, I emailed the ACLU:
Why does your website state the blatant and obvious falsehood that the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment is the freedom of speech.
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.
[Note: The ellipses merely replaces the original form of the website noted above.]
It took almost a month, but I received a reply. The ACLU actually revised its Freedom of Speech website to correct the misstatements. Now it states:
It is no accident that freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: "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." The Constitution's framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society.
Kudos to the WSJ and BK for getting the issue out there. We likely did not change their hearts, but we did correct the disinformation they were spreading.