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Livardo
11-17-2009, 07:32 PM
Why do people dislike (even hate) the ACLU? When I hear the Conservative pundits on the radio they're quick to demonize this "liberal" organization. Don't they defend issues that are not considered liberal as well? Seems to me like Conservatives would be supportive of an organization that is looking out for their freedoms (seems like they're always talking about their fear of losing them). If there's so much dislike for this organization is there an anti-ACLU organization that specializes in fighting them?

Captain_C
11-17-2009, 07:38 PM
I can't speak for any organizations, but personally I can't stand them. I am all for their message of protecting civil rights and what-not, but recently I found they are fighting tooth and claw to make affirmative action for hiring purposes legal again here in Michigan. Any organization that is pro-discrimination against me (young white male) is not something I want to support.

DigitalC
11-17-2009, 07:42 PM
They fight against a whole lot of conservative causes, mainly religious ones. This puts them right in satans camp for them.

Livardo
11-17-2009, 07:46 PM
I have heard the ACLU has defended some religious causes in the past, is this not true?

DigitalC
11-17-2009, 07:50 PM
I have heard the ACLU has defended some religious causes in the past, is this not true?

Even if they had they are still on the opposite side every other time. But yes, i do believe you are right.

Wesley Clark
11-17-2009, 07:51 PM
Because some of the values they support violate conservative principals. Conservatives want a strong military and police while the ACLU fights for prisoners and suspect's rights and limits the power of military and police in the process. Conservatives prefer a more traditional culture (which is more exclusive) and the ACLU fights for inclusiveness (defending immigrants, latinos, muslims, GLBT, etc).

That is my impression. Many conservatives are more likely to want an exclusive society (only conservative heterosexual christian white males) with strong national defense (where police and military are given free reign), and the ACLU fights against that by making society more inclusive and limiting the power of authority figures.

Plus when conservatives talk about freedom the freedom they reference usually doesn't include freedom from police or military brutality, nor does it include freedom of minorities to participate freely in society (if anything they support the freedom to marginalize minorities as much as possible. The debate over state's rights that Reagan used to start his 1980 political campaign was about 'the freedom of states rights' which is code for freedom to marginalize black people w/o federal government interference).

Usually conservative freedom means freedom from government regulation and government social programs. The ACLU isn't involved in these things.

whorfin
11-17-2009, 07:55 PM
I have heard the ACLU has defended some religious causes in the past, is this not true?

Quite a few, actually--and not "in the past," either. The bulk of their cases involving religion are about either (1) freedom of religion and (2) separation of church and state. (1) is, by definition, defending a religious cause.

A quick look on their website shows that the first four cases they discuss are evenly split between those two categories.
http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief

For example,
Defending prisoners from a prison's attempt to limit their access to religious material
http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights-religion-belief/aclu-demands-information-about-bureau-prisons-attempts-ban-religiou

Defending student preachers' right to preach on public property
http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-tn-successfully-advocates-behalf-student-preachers

The ACLU is also not shy about defending even arch-conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, for example.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,108140,00.html

R. P. McMurphy
11-17-2009, 07:58 PM
I can't speak for any organizations, but personally I can't stand them. I am all for their message of protecting civil rights and what-not, but recently I found they are fighting tooth and claw to make affirmative action for hiring purposes legal again here in Michigan. Any organization that is pro-discrimination against me (young white male) is not something I want to support.


OK, so its all about YOU. Got it.

Forget the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, decades of forced discrimination, patently unconstitutional laws that were somehow upheld or, more basically, the fight for equal justice, and you are not willing to consider their work on the whole. If the ACLU is doing their job they are pissing everybody off, except the few people that can see both sides of the argument. If some entity doesn't play Devil's Advocate then we all lose. The whole existence of the ACLU is to make sure that the majority doesn't agree with them. They fight the fight on the fringes that no individual can afford to take on.

I have a lot of disagreements with the ACLU but I'm glad they are there. At least, they get a lot of things tested for rulings that might not otherwise get considered. They don't always expect to win but they do want to see the basis of the ruling. That is a big help in moving justice forward. They act as a check to prevent all of our rights getting overrun by the popular mindset.

Livardo
11-17-2009, 08:05 PM
Because some of the values they support violate conservative principals. Conservatives want a strong military and police while the ACLU fights for prisoners and suspect's rights and limits the power of military and police in the process. Conservatives prefer a more traditional culture (which is more exclusive) and the ACLU fights for inclusiveness (defending immigrants, latinos, muslims, GLBT, etc).

That is my impression. Many conservatives are more likely to want an exclusive society (only conservative heterosexual christian white males) with strong national defense (where police and military are given free reign), and the ACLU fights against that by making society more inclusive and limiting the power of authority figures.

Plus when conservatives talk about freedom the freedom they reference usually doesn't include freedom from police or military brutality, nor does it include freedom of minorities to participate freely in society (if anything they support the freedom to marginalize minorities as much as possible. The debate over state's rights that Reagan used to start his 1980 political campaign was about 'the freedom of states rights' which is code for freedom to marginalize black people w/o federal government interference).

Usually conservative freedom means freedom from government regulation and government social programs. The ACLU isn't involved in these things.



Thanks for this comment. I think this helps me understand why Conservatives dislike the ACLU so much. I've also heard them mentioned in the context of gun control. The brief literature that I've read seems to indicate that they're mostly FOR gun control, which obviously does not play well with the NRA. What's the thought on that front?

Todderbob
11-17-2009, 08:10 PM
I don't like the ACLU because of the aformentioned discrimination they're for. Yes, there was discrimination in the past -- sorry about that, but it wasn't my fault, and I don't want to be discriminated against because of someone else's mistakes.

If I'm more qualified I should have a better chance of getting a job or position (whether university, internship, whatever), or if I'm equally qualified I should have an equal chance of getting a job. Screw that I'm white, screw that the other guy's mother was Latino. Equality, if you're more qualified than me, you should get the job even if you're the most vanilla WASP in the world.

I am also fundamentally opposed to their work on the 2nd amendment, they hold it as a 'group right' instead of an individual right -- I'm curious as to why freedom of speech and freedom of religion aren't treated the same way?

Other than that, I'm fine with them -- but until they fix those two issues I will not "support" them. I don't support any organization which seeks to infringe my personal rights, even if they work to expand others.


ETA: I very much do like their work on GLBT rights, minority rights, etc. I just oppose the idea that by discriminating against the majority living now, we somehow 'make right' past wrongs.

whorfin
11-17-2009, 08:19 PM
Thanks for this comment. I think this helps me understand why Conservatives dislike the ACLU so much. I've also heard them mentioned in the context of gun control. The brief literature that I've read seems to indicate that they're mostly FOR gun control, which obviously does not play well with the NRA. What's the thought on that front?


On the ACLU's view with regard to gun control, the ACLU's statement on the recent DC gun case suggests that it believes the case was wrongly decided, but it takes no view on the wisdom of gun control as a policy (I've pasted the policy statement at the bottom of my post). Make of that what you will.

However, we should be careful to realize that there is a difference between having an opinion on the constitutionality of gun control laws, and advocating such a position in court. The ACLU seems to rarely, if ever, actually get involved in second amendment litigation or to convince courts that its position is correct. For example, the ACLU did not file a brief in the recent supreme court case on gun control in DC. If they were really for gun control in an active sense, it makes no sense for them not to be involved in the most important gun control case of the century.

http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=DC_v._Heller

In my amateur opinion, the reason for this is that there is a well funded, quite professional organization actively advocating for a strong second amendment, and protecting gun rights--the NRA itself. The ACLU seems to, at least, not be interfering with the NRA's litigation (As seen by the ACLU not getting involved in the Heller Case)--and I completely understand the wisdom of avoiding duplication of effort, and conserving ACLU resources by letting the NRA handle most second amendment cases, especially as the NRA is both well funded and quite good at what it does.

Given the reference to "a well regulated Militia" and "the security of a free State," the ACLU has long taken the position that the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right. For seven decades, the Supreme Court's 1939 decision in United States v. Miller was widely understood to have endorsed that view.

The Supreme Court has now ruled otherwise. In striking down Washington D.C.'s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia.

The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.
http://www.aclu.org/organization-news-and-highlights/second-amendment

gonzomax
11-17-2009, 08:22 PM
It is a terrific organization that will work for anybody who they think is being cheated by the system. They have defended conservatives and the powerful as well as well as liberal causes. But the fact that more poor are in need of defense makes them a target for the rich. The rich drive the press and news ,so like ACORN or unions, you will never see a positive report in mainstream news. Eventually they win through erosion. People just know there's something wrong with an organization with bad press. There has to be. That is unless you realize the press is acting out an agenda.They work for them.

gonzomax
11-17-2009, 08:24 PM
http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur59.htm Here is a list of important Supreme Court cases they have won.
Most cases are about keeping freedom of speech and getting the governmental power off our backs. The Libertarians should love them.

Der Trihs
11-17-2009, 08:31 PM
Quite a few, actually--and not "in the past," either. The bulk of their cases involving religion are about either (1) freedom of religion and (2) separation of church and state. (1) is, by definition, defending a religious cause.For that matter, #2 is also often a matter of defending religion - since it leads straight to #1 if your particular religion isn't in power. I think a lot of people don't realize that, for example, your typical lawsuit against prayer in school is brought not by atheists or agnostics; but by believers who don't want their children forced to say someone else's prayers someone else's way.

As for why the ACLU makes people mad; they defend civil rights, even for unpopular reasons. That makes people mad because many people want to go against such rights, which is why the whole concept of "civil rights" was created in the first place. They were created to protect the weak or unpopular from others; naturally defending such rules will irritate many.

Mr. Moto
11-17-2009, 09:45 PM
Why must I necessarily like them? They have their opinions on constitutional interpretation - these opinions are not necessarily reflected in current law, wide public opinion, or my own viewpoint.

I am free to disagree with them as much as they are free to disagree with me.

Frostillicus
11-17-2009, 10:49 PM
Because they fight for the Bill of Rights. Buncha communists!

Onomatopoeia
11-18-2009, 12:10 AM
I'm a card carrying member and they're beginning to piss even me off. At least twice a month I'm solicited for yet another donation to assist with this or that urgent cause. I made the mistake of donating upon the first two solicitations after paying my membership dues, and they haven't stopped. It's almost like "Hey, we're two for two with this idi...ahem member. Let's continue to hit him up."

A few of my colleagues and I have had conversations about the ACLU, probably as a result of their incredulity at my membership. Most of them are conservative and, I have to admit, it is fun to get a rise out of them over this.

My best guess, based solely on people I know, is their hatred is more a knee-jerk reaction than anything of substance. They look at the ACLU as an ultra liberal organization. Most of them are absolutely convinced the ACLU has never championed a conservative cause or organization, and those who have heard of certain cases where the ACLU has voiced its ire in support of the rights of conservative causes either don't care or dismiss it as a fluke.

It seems conservatives' main problem with the ACLU is that they defend liberal causes at all. Fact is the ACLU supports equality for all Americans, including conservatives. It's just that their defense is required much more often on the liberal side of the spectrum because an overwhelming number of gays, blacks, Hispanics, and other traditionally discriminated against groups, who have legitimate and pressing grievances but limited monetary and organizational resources to combat them, lean liberal.

Many conservatives don't want a leveling of the playing field. They hear the letters ACLU and can almost feel their days at the trough at the expense of others coming to an end, and they don't like it, nope, not one bit. That's too bad because as long as there continues to be systematic discrimination, and abridgments of rights and equal access, the ACLU will continue to lend their voice to those without one and shine a light on practices that serve to hurt today's common good.

I'm not for all the positions the ACLU takes either, but I support the organization because, in the main, I believe their philosophy and goals are sound and moral, if a bit too idealistic.

R. P. McMurphy
11-18-2009, 12:35 AM
I'm a card carrying member and they're beginning to piss even me off. At least twice a month I'm solicited for yet another donation to assist with this or that urgent cause. I made the mistake of donating upon the first two solicitations after paying my membership dues, and they haven't stopped. It's almost like "Hey, we're two for two with this idi...ahem member. Let's continue to hit him up."



ditto

The constant solicitations are a total turn-off. While I believe in the purpose of the organization, they have hired some clueless marketing maven who is risking their long term survival on short term fund raising.

Duckster
11-18-2009, 12:44 AM
For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago. America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free". The American President, 1995 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112346/quotes)

It may be a Hollywood quote, but it works for me.

Diogenes the Cynic
11-18-2009, 12:51 AM
Basically, the ACLU is villified because it defends citizens against Establishment Clause abuses. Conservatives perceive any attempt to stop the government from cramming Christianity up people's asses as an "attack on God."

Derleth
11-18-2009, 02:03 AM
Conservatives hate the ALCU partly because they're so often successful. How can the Anti-Christ Lawyers Union win so often if God is really a member of the GOP?

That, and they hate them for our freedoms.

2nd Law
11-18-2009, 04:06 AM
I'm a card carrying member and they're beginning to piss even me off. At least twice a month I'm solicited for yet another donation to assist with this or that urgent cause. I made the mistake of donating upon the first two solicitations after paying my membership dues, and they haven't stopped. It's almost like "Hey, we're two for two with this idi...ahem member. Let's continue to hit him up."


ditto

The constant solicitations are a total turn-off. While I believe in the purpose of the organization, they have hired some clueless marketing maven who is risking their long term survival on short term fund raising.

Me too. I signed up for the minimal membership amount primarily because I wanted to be able to say I'm a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the endless solititation for donations from them and other groups they appear to share their mailing list with have been driving me nuts. I swear, if conservatives wanted to sabotage the left, all they would have to do would be to send minimal donations to the ACLU en mass -- the resulting postage from the solititation letters would easily result in net losses for every group from the ACLU to Save the Whales.

DanBlather
11-18-2009, 07:46 AM
I'd guess that the ACLU is perceived as liberal because most of it's members and staff are liberal because conservatives don't give a fuck about defending civil rights. I'm sure they'd be happy to have more members.

The ACLU had guts enough to defend the rights of Nazi's to march in a Jewish community even though it cost them financially when some long time members stopped supporting them.

Fuzzy Dunlop
11-18-2009, 08:53 AM
Why do people dislike (even hate) the ACLU? When I hear the Conservative pundits on the radio they're quick to demonize this "liberal" organization. Don't they defend issues that are not considered liberal as well? Seems to me like Conservatives would be supportive of an organization that is looking out for their freedoms (seems like they're always talking about their fear of losing them). If there's so much dislike for this organization is there an anti-ACLU organization that specializes in fighting them?

There's a lot of anti-conservative vitriol in this thread, which is kind of a shame. Some of it is true, particularly that there are uninformed people who have a knee jerk dislike of the ACLU because they know it's popular to dislike it.

But I think any advocacy organization like the ACLU is going to eventually anger a lot of people just because people on average are moderate on any issue. The ACLU's raison d'ętre is to be a zealous advocate of civil liberties. They're never going to take the position that an infrignement on civil liberties is reasonable just like NOW won't support limitations on a woman's right to control her own body or some pro-gun groups will oppose any limitation on gun ownership (I realize the NRA hasn't done that). Eventually they take up a cause 'ordinary' people can't support.

Really? You had to fight for the Nazi parade in the Jewish neighborhood? Well, yeah, they did. But you can't expect everyone to understand that.

cckerberos
11-18-2009, 08:59 AM
it takes no view on the wisdom of gun control as a policy
As you note they do make claim to not "take a position on gun control itself," but at the same time they state that they feel that its a "collective right" and that the regulation of guns does not raise a "civil liberties issue." It's entirely disingenuous for them to claim that that does not add up to a "position on gun control." And its a strikingly restrictive one given how expansive their interpretations generally are when it comes to the Bill of Rights.

I generally support the ACLU and its actions, especially when it comes to 1st Amendment and privacy laws. But they take positions and action on other issues for which multiple, legitimate viewpoints exist. And in those cases they tend to support positions that are more popular on the left than the right. They support affirmative action, oppose the death penalty, etc. It's not all free speech cases (though that's what people tend to bring up when defending them, as shown here).

It may make some feel good to pretend that opposing the ACLU = opposing the Constitution, but it's really not that simple.

Shodan
11-18-2009, 10:15 AM
I'd guess that the ACLU is perceived as liberal because most of it's members and staff are liberal because conservatives don't give a fuck about defending civil rights. The first part is true; the second is foolishness.

But at least one of the founders (and its first executive director) of the ACLU was a Communist.
I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is, of course, the goal. Cite. (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Roger_Nash_Baldwin) To be fair, he later denounced the USSR, although not socialism.

The ACLU has a different view of civil rights than I do, so I don't generally support them. Their view of the Second Amendment was one that basically stripped it of any meaning. The ACLU is automatically and unhesitatingly pro-abortion (cite, (http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/aclu-salutes-abortion-providers-national-day-appreciation) cite, (http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/abortion)).

It is mostly a left-wing pressure group, except on free speech issues.

Regards,
Shodan

Kearsen
11-18-2009, 10:29 AM
I can't say I "dislike" them but I do not agree on principle that there should be anything remotely related to percentages of white, latinos, black , asians, etc for any particular company position. If you are the most qualified person for the job, goodie for you. The color of your skin or the heritage behind it should have NO basis upon determining hiring practices.

Livardo
11-18-2009, 11:08 AM
is there a conservative version of the ACLU or is that like saying "is there a yellow version of corn" ?

MovieMogul
11-18-2009, 11:13 AM
I can't say I "dislike" them but I do not agree on principle that there should be anything remotely related to percentages of white, latinos, black , asians, etc for any particular company position. If you are the most qualified person for the job, goodie for you. The color of your skin or the heritage behind it should have NO basis upon determining hiring practices.Unfortunately, when it's mostly white guys doing the hiring, they manage to find that other white guys (the ones they can best relate to) are usually--quite magically and coincidentally--disproportionately "most qualified". How convenient!

I don't want to sidetrack this into an AA debate, but it's awfully glib to respond that somehow such decisions are unambiguously objective, when institutional bias continues to exist (quite invisibly) at times that make "fair" situations from one perspective seem equally unfair to the other.

Pray for peace
11-18-2009, 11:18 AM
Well, there's Washington Legal Foundation.

Kevbo
11-18-2009, 11:19 AM
Because they don't defend the liberty defined by the second amendment.

dangermom
11-18-2009, 11:33 AM
Many conservatives are more likely to want an exclusive society (only conservative heterosexual christian white males)
So a very short-lived society then, without any method of reproduction. :)

MovieMogul
11-18-2009, 11:39 AM
Because they don't defend the liberty defined by the second amendment.Too true! If only there was some organization out there that dedicated itself to defending this poor, vulnerable, overlooked amendment...

BobLibDem
11-18-2009, 11:45 AM
Too true! If only there was some organization out there that dedicated itself to defending this poor, vulnerable, overlooked amendment...

Actually, it's only half of that amendment that they give a rip about.

cckerberos
11-18-2009, 11:47 AM
Too true! If only there was some organization out there that dedicated itself to defending this poor, vulnerable, overlooked amendment...
I don't particularly care if they actively work for the right or not, but I hate that an organization nominally devoted to civil liberties make hypocrites of themselves on this issue so as not to hurt their bottom line.

Algher
11-18-2009, 12:08 PM
The ACLU does some great work (I have donated in the past). Their work on the behalf of freedom of speech, on behalf of search & seizure type laws is great and needed.

However, sometimes their targets (while justifiable) tend to hurt their image. They sue the Boys Scouts, the Girl Scouts, they attack decades old memorials that have Christian symbols, they go against the Nativity scene at the local park, they tell the school not to sing Christmas carols.

ALL of these I understand - but you ARE going to make some enemies doing this. It doesn't help that they rarely fight for conservative plaintiffs. When I worked for a conservative newspaper in college, we contacted the local ACLU office for some help with the University. They had no desire to help us. Now, that was probably just one person who answered the phone - but the incident stuck with several of us.

The ACLUs stance on the 2nd Amendment does not help either. They seem to pick and choose which "people" they want to protect. Did they come down on the side of the Kelo people, or on the side of the government?

I don't hate the ACLU - I consider them to be the equivalent of our Soviet allies in WWII. We need their help, we can support them, but we need to remember that there are times when we will be in conflict.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is another group that tries to fight for people that the ACLU tends to ignore:

http://community.pacificlegal.org/Page.aspx?pid=183

DanBlather
11-18-2009, 01:02 PM
The ACLU does some great work (I have donated in the past). Their work on the behalf of freedom of speech, on behalf of search & seizure type laws is great and needed.

However, sometimes their targets (while justifiable) tend to hurt their image. They sue the Boys Scouts, the Girl Scouts, they attack decades old memorials that have Christian symbols, they go against the Nativity scene at the local park, they tell the school not to sing Christmas carols.But that's what is so great about them. They have the guts to take on cases that they know will be controversial. In the end, the court will rule. If the court rules for their position it's because they were "correct" by definition. I'd hate to live in a world where it's OK for "cute" organizations that discrimionate.

ITR champion
11-18-2009, 01:31 PM
Sometimes the ACLU fights to prevent torture, defend free speech, and ensure that accused criminals get a fair trial. I support all of this. Other times the ACLU fights to impost censorship, support intrusive government, and punish innocent people. I oppose all this.

In the first category, for instance, are their legal struggles to expose America's torture campaign at Guatanamo Bay, to have Guatanamo inmates granted trials in court, and to let civil rights groups organize and march in public. All of this is in the Constitution. (8th, 5th, and 1st amendments respectively.)

In the second category would be having the government forcibly silence a student because she's a Christian (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/14/criminal-prayer-case-stirs-protests/?feat=home_headlines), using the government to forcibly knock down a privately built war memorial (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/090ophpg.asp), demanding federal censorship of county seals (http://www.stoptheaclu.com/2005/11/06/democracy-be-damned-the-aclu-will-have-no-crosses/), and fighting tooth and nail to prevent poor children from getting a decent education. (http://reason.com/archives/2005/12/01/let-a-thousand-choices-bloom/) None of this is in the Constitution. The ACLU constantly claims that the first amendment prevents government money from being used for any religious purpose. The First Amendment (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html) says no such thing, nor does any other part of the Constitution. That interpretation was made up by judges in the last few years. The ACLU and other opponents of free speech cling desperately to the judicial rulings because they know that there's no way any democratically chosen government would ever choose to impose such censorship in the United States. The case of school vouchers is of particular concern to me because I believe that the quality of a kid's education largely determines the quality of their life in some cases. Poor black and Hispanic kids in particular mostly get horrible education in America's public schools. The ACLU will fight tooth and nail to deny them access to our vastly superior private schools, even when it could save the government (http://www.friedmanfoundation.org/newsroom/ShowNewsItem.do?id=80298) money. I can't talk about the national organization, but my Dad's branch of the ACLU in Kentucky is 100% white, so I basically see rich white people fighting to deny poor minorities a decent education. Or, in other words, trying to restore Jim Crow.

So in short I like it when the ACLU supports freedom and dislike it when the ACLU opposes freedom.

Airman Doors, USAF
11-18-2009, 01:38 PM
Too true! If only there was some organization out there that dedicated itself to defending this poor, vulnerable, overlooked amendment...

Said organization would not exist in the form it does today if the ACLU had not taken the position that it has and aligned itself with the policy statements of the Democratic Party. The ACLU had ample opportunity to step up to the plate and defend it as a part of the Bill of Rights as vigorously as it defends the other amendments, but it chose not to for apparent political reasons. It wasn't until 1975 (http://www.nrahq.org/history.asp) that the NRA became politically active.

The ACLU also suffers from a bit of an image problem at times. They support cases that defend people who are widely seen as scumbags. While they may be on the right side of things, that doesn't change the fact that the results in cases like Texas v. Johnson (http://aclu.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=537) were widely unpopular. It's the perception, not the reality, that matters when talking about image.

I have a few issues with the ACLU from time to time, but I generally don't have any problem with what they stand for.

whorfin
11-18-2009, 01:42 PM
But that's what is so great about them. They have the guts to take on cases that they know will be controversial. In the end, the court will rule. If the court rules for their position it's because they were "correct" by definition. I'd hate to live in a world where it's OK for "cute" organizations that discrimionate.

Exactly--first, the controversial cases are the important ones. Nobody has a problem defending civil rights when, by doing so, you further a moral good (say, protecting the innocent from unconstitutional searches)--the issue is much harder, and the right more important, when our moral instinct is to trample on the right (banning hate speech, protecting those who probably did it from unconstitutional searches and seizures). I admire the ACLU because they're willing to stand for rights on principle--even when I, and every other reasonable person thinks that the exercise of the right is a moral wrong.

Also, I feel that the ACLU's stance best protects my civil rights--and support it for that reason. As you say, it gets the question of who is exercising their rights out of the picture. I would argue that my rights (and I would suggest, all of yours) are better protected by the principle that rights are always protected, no matter what, than by any weaker principle. So I admire the ACLU's stance specifically because defending civil rights on principle, and refusing to make an exception even in extreme cases, is the best way of ensuring that my rights will be respected in ordinary, or mundane cases.

ElvisL1ves
11-18-2009, 01:45 PM
Said organization would not exist in the form it does today if the ACLU had not taken the position that it has and aligned itself with the policy statements of the Democratic Party.Et cetera.

It's also possible, ya know, for both the ACLU and the Democrats to have aligned themselves with the intent of the Second as stated in its own text, and for a group or party whose goals require ignoring half of it to be doing so for "apparent political reasons".

Skald the Rhymer
11-18-2009, 01:47 PM
For that matter, #2 is also often a matter of defending religion - since it leads straight to #1 if your particular religion isn't in power. I think a lot of people don't realize that, for example, your typical lawsuit against prayer in school is brought not by atheists or agnostics; but by believers who don't want their children forced to say someone else's prayers someone else's way.

While I agree that the statement I bolded is likely correct, I would appreciate a cite, as I have not been able to find one myself. I'm not arguing, just looking for verification.

whorfin
11-18-2009, 02:06 PM
While I agree that the statement I bolded is likely correct, I would appreciate a cite, as I have not been able to find one myself. I'm not arguing, just looking for verification.

One good example is this case (they haven't filed yet, but presumably they will): http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-and-americans-united-demand-connecticut-school-district-stop-holding-graduation


In a letter sent today to the attorney for the Enfield Public Schools, the ACLU and Americans United say that graduating students, their families and other guests are unconstitutionally and "coercively subjected to religious messages as the price of attending high school commencement," and that "students and family members of minority religions, as well as those who do not subscribe to any religion at all, are immersed in a religious environment of a faith not their own."

so there, the people opposing the school's actions are both nonbelievers and believers who don't share the religion endorsed by the school.

A better example (not in the school context--which means the plaintiff is an adult, and so we have more information about him) is the "mojave cross" case--where the plaintiff is a roman catholic, and is suing for the very reason cited--because he is opposed to government-sponsored religion.

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/salazar-v-buono-the-cross-in-the-desert-argument-preview/

theR
11-18-2009, 02:14 PM
Even if they had they are still on the opposite side every other time. But yes, i do believe you are right.

So they are on the wrong side, except when they were on the right side? Who would have imagined?

DanBlather
11-18-2009, 03:13 PM
Said organization would not exist in the form it does today if the ACLU had not taken the position that it has and aligned itself with the policy statements of the Democratic Party. Really? The party of white southern apologists that fought for segregation? Those democrats? They don't reflect the tradition of liberal Republicans that made up a significant wing of the party until Nixon's "Southern Strategy" pushed the bigots into the Republican party they loathed since Reconstruction?

DanBlather
11-18-2009, 03:17 PM
I've mentioned this before, but I was glad of the school prayer ruling because I was subjected to the Roman Catholic version of prayer in my grammar school. Back then I was very religious and thought I would go to hell for saying the wrong prayer. It must have been worse for the Jews. I don't think we had Muslims in the city back then.

The US is one of the most religious of the western, industrialized countries. Not despite separation of church and state, but because of it.

gonzomax
11-18-2009, 03:19 PM
People who defend religion in schools assume their religion will win the day. In Dearborn there are schools with a majority of students who are Muslims. Because of their beliefs should school stop during the day for their prayers? Is that fair to the Christians? What about the nonbelievers. They get trapped into school arguments that are none of their concern. religion should have no place in schools.

DanBlather
11-18-2009, 04:30 PM
People who defend religion in schools assume their religion will win the day. In Dearborn there are schools with a majority of students who are Muslims. Because of their beliefs should school stop during the day for their prayers? Is that fair to the Christians? What about the nonbelievers. They get trapped into school arguments that are none of their concern. religion should have no place in schools.Exactly. Can you imagine the disaster if religion was taught in schools? What version of the Bible do you use? Parochial Catholic schools were formed over this very issue. What version of the 10 commandments do you post? What day do you teach is the Sabbath? Do you get into heaven on faith or deeds? Is LDS a Christian sect or not? Is the doctrine of Immaculate Conception true? And that's just for Christianity? What about Judaism, if the majority population of a school is Jewish do we teach Jewish beliefs? If so, which variety: Orthodox or Reformed? Do we close schools for all religious holidays or just those of the majority? What if no one religion makes up more than 50%, do we form alliances? Reformed Jews and Christians against Muslims and Orthodox Jews. It'd be a nightmare.

Skald the Rhymer
11-18-2009, 04:36 PM
One good example is this case (they haven't filed yet, but presumably they will): http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-and-americans-united-demand-connecticut-school-district-stop-holding-graduation



so there, the people opposing the school's actions are both nonbelievers and believers who don't share the religion endorsed by the school.



I'm sorry if I was unclear. I was looking for support of the idea that persons suing to stop obligatory prayer in schools tend to be adherents of minority religions rather than atheists.

whorfin
11-18-2009, 04:53 PM
I'm sorry if I was unclear. I was looking for support of the idea that persons suing to stop obligatory prayer in schools tend to be adherents of minority religions rather than atheists.

Well, the first case I pointed to is such a case. So there's one. More generally? I don't even know if statistics are kept on the religious beliefs of litigants--I haven't seen any.

That being said, the concept seems right to me--since, at least from a quick google, only about 2% of the US population describe themselves as atheists (a number that was, historically, smaller)---it would be weird if 2% of the population brought all of these cases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

However, another rough measure also seems to support the fact that such cases are mostly brought by the religious. I had a quick look at the prominent supreme court cases on school prayer (on wiki). My count (ignoring the number of plaintiffs in each case) is two sets of religious plaintiffs, one case with a religious and an atheist plaintiff, and two can't tell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Independent_School_Dist._v._Doe

--catholic and mormon plaintiffs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abington_School_District_v._Schempp
-one unitarian, one atheist plaintiff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engel_v._Vitale
-at least some of the plaintiffs were jewish--but the claim is phrased as school prayer infringing on their "religious beliefs"--so I'll count them as "religious"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_v._Jaffree
-can't tell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_v._Weisman
-can't tell

ITR champion
11-18-2009, 05:39 PM
Exactly. Can you imagine the disaster if religion was taught in schools?... It'd be a nightmare.
Why do we need to imagine anything? Religion is taught in plenty of private schools, and no disaster or nightmare results. They may be familiar to you because the academic performance of their students is so vastly superior to that of the ACLU-ruled public schools. It's the public schools that are the nightmare.

whorfin
11-18-2009, 05:46 PM
Why do we need to imagine anything? Religion is taught in plenty of private schools, and no disaster or nightmare results. They may be familiar to you because the academic performance of their students is so vastly superior to that of the ACLU-ruled public schools. It's the public schools that are the nightmare.

Of course, that comparison ignores the fact that people can choose which private school they want to go to. Private school students can choose not to go to private schools with religious instruction contrary to their faith. So you're not likely to see a Catholic who'd be offended by jewish observances in class choosing to go to a yeshiva.

On the other hand, if you had a religious (say, catholic) public school, what are the Jewish students in the neighborhood supposed to do, exactly, to receive an education that doesn't also teach them that Jesus is the messiah?

Skald the Rhymer
11-18-2009, 06:09 PM
Of course, that comparison ignores the fact that people can choose which private school they want to go to. Private school students can choose not to go to private schools with religious instruction contrary to their faith. So you're not likely to see a Catholic who'd be offended by jewish observances in class choosing to go to a yeshiva.

On the other hand, if you had a religious (say, catholic) public school, what are the Jewish students in the neighborhood supposed to do, exactly, to receive an education that doesn't also teach them that Jesus is the messiah?

All of that is true, and I would like to add that private schools have an advantage over public schools in that they are not obliged to keep students in who vex them. Also, the fact that the students' parents must pay tuition makes it more likely that the students will have support (and pressure) at home to do well so that the parents have a return on their investment.

ExTank
11-18-2009, 06:18 PM
Et cetera.

It's also possible, ya know, for both the ACLU and the Democrats to have aligned themselves with the intent of the Second as stated in its own text, and for a group or party whose goals require ignoring half of it to be doing so for "apparent political reasons".

The Supreme Court disagrees with your interpretation of the prefatory clause of the 2nd. Amendment.

In fact, they agree with the interpretation you have consitently, in multiple threads over the years, told me is wrong, and not in keeping with yours and some lower court's interpretations of same, subsequent to Miller.

So I'm going to tell you, with some relish, what you've essentially told me over and over again through some years:

I don't care what you think the 2nd. Amendment means; the Law of the Land agrees with me.

Cite. (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=07-290) Bolding mine.


1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2-53.

(a) The Amendment's prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause's text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2-22.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court's interpretation of the operative clause. The "militia" comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens' militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens' militia would be preserved. Pp. 22-28.

(c) The Court's interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28-30.

(d) The Second Amendment's drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30-32.

(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court's conclusion. Pp. 32-47.

(f) None of the Court's precedents forecloses the Court's interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264-265, refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47-54.

So do not assert as fact that the prefatory clause changes in any way the operative clause. It does not.

Do not assert as fact that 2nd. Amendment supporters ignore the first half of the amendment; we do not. It has been interpreted to mean what I have told you, over and over, in multiple threads for several years, what it means.

ETA: Sorry for the hijack, but I couldn't let a load of unmitigated bullshit pass without curb-stomping it.

sleestak
11-18-2009, 06:23 PM
I think the ACLU does do some good work.

However they also, at times, do some questionable things.

For example:

In 1982, the ACLU became involved in a case involving the distribution of child pornography (New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747 [35].) In a controversial amicus brief, the ACLU argued that the New York State law in question "has criminalized the dissemination, sale or display of constitutionally protected non-obscene materials which portray juveniles in sexually related roles", while arguing that child pornography deemed obscene under the Miller test deserved no constitutional protection and could be banned [36]. The ACLU's stance on this case has drawn great criticism from conservatives [37]. In a 2002 letter, the ACLU stated that it "opposes child pornography that uses real children in its depictions" [38].

Linky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_Liberties_Union).

Basically the cops busted a porn store owner who sold the cops two movies of under age boys masturbating*.

Now, I don't really give a damn what two consenting adults do (assuming that no one gets seriously hurt or killed of course), but underage porn is unacceptable. Heck, I am not sure if I care what two consenting 16 year old kids do (once again assuming no one gets hurt) in private. I do, however, have a big problem with distributing kiddie porn.

I sorta half remember a couple more cases that the ACLU took on which I found rather disturbing but can't seem to locate them. I'll do some more digging tonight.

Slee

*I have no idea why the ALCU would think movies of kids masturbating would not meet the obscenity test.

Hellestal
11-19-2009, 05:29 AM
Et cetera.

It's also possible, ya know, for both the ACLU and the Democrats to have aligned themselves with the intent of the Second as stated in its own text, and for a group or party whose goals require ignoring half of it to be doing so for "apparent political reasons".Come on.

I don't care for guns at all. While they might not be a sufficient condition for the horrible murder rates in our society, they are certainly a necessary condition. But I care a great deal for the other parts of the Bill of Rights, and so I advocate for a broad reading of every one of those rights, including the poorly written one found in the Second Amendment. I'm not going to pick and choose which rights I'd like to read most narrowly, because I don't want other people doing the same sort of narrow reading with the other nine amendments.

Kimstu
11-19-2009, 06:16 AM
I think the ACLU does do some good work.

However they also, at times, do some questionable things. [...]

I have no idea why the ALCU would think movies of kids masturbating would not meet the obscenity test.

I don't think you have any reason to think that the ACLU does think so. There's no evidence from anything you posted about New York v. Ferber that the ACLU was defending in any way the creation of pornography involving minors.

What they did, AFAICT, was to file a "friend of the court" brief objecting to the broadness and vagueness of the statute under which the case was originally prosecuted, pointing out that it might be interpreted to criminalize medical books about child sexuality and such things which certainly shouldn't count as kiddie porn.

The transcript of the oral argument of the case is here (http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1981/1981_81_55/argument).

I think the impression you have of this case may have been influenced by conservative ACLU opponents trying to portray the ACLU as pro-kiddie-porn. There seem to be a lot of them out there, and they don't always seem to have any great respect for facts.

BobLibDem
11-19-2009, 06:24 AM
Ex-Tank, I would concede the point if Heller had been a 9-0 vote. But it was a 5-4 partisan vote and the majority blew it. So I maintain my position on the fact that the first half limits the second half and that the NRA (who has the the Second Half of the Second Amendment carved into its building) is wrong. My fervent hope is that someday, with the continuation of Democratic presidents appointing leftist judges, Heller will be overturned. I even dream that someday the entire Second will be repealed.

Shodan
11-19-2009, 08:10 AM
This a demonstration of why the ACLU is not in support of the Constitution. It is in support of a certain political view, and want this to be imposed on the Constitution.

The ACLU and various other political groups argue that the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it does. Therefore, by definition, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says. Anyone who says that the Constitution says anything else is wrong.

The Supreme Court has said that the Constitution does guarantee an individual right to bear arms. The ACLU says that it does not. Therefore, they are arguing against what the Constitution says, by their own definition.

In the case of the Second Amendment, therefore, the ACLU is against a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Regards,
Shodan

DanBlather
11-19-2009, 09:07 AM
Why do we need to imagine anything? Religion is taught in plenty of private schools, and no disaster or nightmare results. They may be familiar to you because the academic performance of their students is so vastly superior to that of the ACLU-ruled public schools. It's the public schools that are the nightmare.You present a compelling argument. I'm sure that the Dearborn schools will improve once they start teaching the Koran.

shiftless
11-19-2009, 09:25 AM
I was a strong supporter for a while. During the darkest years of the last Bush administration I think they fought a valiant fight to keep a lot of our constitutional rights from being taken away - sometimes. When they work to keep speech free or to uphold our right to trial, for example, I think they do an invaluable job. Our rights would be in tatters without them. That said, I think they've gone off the rails somewhat, so much so that I stopped sending them money.

First, they have embraced a number of social issues that I don't think really fall within the area of the bill of rights. While I support most of those issues, they mostly fall in the "liberal" category IMO. For example, while the Bush folks were busy pushing the Patriot act (ugh, don't get me started), the ACLU seemed fixated on same-sex marriage and abortion rights. I support those issues but I'm not convinced yet that those are Bill of Rights issues that the ACLU needs to focus on - there are some important threats to our actual basic rights.

Secondly, they started driving me crazy with all the solicitations, I would guess I got about 4 or 5 things in the mail from them each week. When I got three mailings from them in one day (yes, three) I just gave up. Seriously, do the math, they were probably sending me over 200 letters a year, each one begging for more money!

ElvisL1ves
11-19-2009, 09:38 AM
The Supreme Court disagrees with your interpretation of the prefatory clause of the 2nd. Amendment.Within the limits described in Heller, yes. There is now a SCOTUS-created right to bear arms for hunting and security, even though that has jack to do with well-regulated militias. Even that does not endorse your cherished preference for a blanket, unlimited right, however, no matter how much "relish" you choose to pour on it.


So do not assert as fact that the prefatory clause changes in any way the operative clause. It does not.

Do not assert as fact that 2nd. Amendment supporters ignore the first half of the amendment; we do not.

Those statements are mutually contradictory.

BlinkingDuck
11-19-2009, 10:00 AM
All in all, I support the ACLU. Haven't been a member in awhile...it just slipped away during a financial rough patch and I never thought of them since then...hmmmmm.

However, it was extremely tough. As Todderbob said, my first exposure to the ACLU was them trying to discriminate against me getting a job soley because I was a white, young male.

Now, I know what you are thinking...but hold on...they were trying to discriminate against ME because I was a white young male...I was in competition for a faculty position and the ACLU challenged me as a the one picked because the other guy was black. They tried to get me unhired and the other guy hired.

It is really tough to form a positive opinion about an organization with which that is your first experience!

I also met members of the ACLU and their attitudes/beliefs repulsed me. They believed:

- That is a man and woman are equally capable of doing a job, that the woman should be hired over the man [pro-discrimination! - and if you think it isn't then I should be able to switch man and woman around with no change of heart from you]

Crap...meeting... have to go.

ExTank
11-19-2009, 10:37 AM
Within the limits described in Heller, yes. There is now a SCOTUS-created right to bear arms for hunting and security, even though that has jack to do with well-regulated militias. Even that does not endorse your cherished preference for a blanket, unlimited right, however, no matter how much "relish" you choose to pour on it.

Please provide a quote from me that I have ever endorsed a "blanket, unlimited right." Or withdraw the statement. You cannot falsely attribute words or positions to people that they do not subscribe to, and have not said.

The word for that is "lying."

I can provide several links to threads in which I have endorsed, in theory, the licensing of gun owners and the registration of firearms. I have expressed serious reservations about the implementaion of such measures, due to the political nature of gun-hostile politicians and states co-opting such measures to enact defacto bans.

In fact here's one such thread. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=473709) In the second post in the thread, I lay out what I think could be considered reasonable restrictions on firearm ownerships.

I assume (perhaps foolishly) for the sake of argument that the "other side" would negotiate and behave (in a regulatory sense) in good faith.


Those statements are mutually contradictory.

Within what passes for logic and grammar in your mind, that's a given.

Kimstu
11-19-2009, 10:59 AM
For example, while the Bush folks were busy pushing the Patriot act (ugh, don't get me started), the ACLU seemed fixated on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Huh? The ACLU has been heavily involved in challenging the PATRIOT Act (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/national-security-letters):

The National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act radically expanded the FBI's authority to demand personal customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions and credit companies without prior court approval. [...]

The ACLU has challenged this Patriot Act statute in court in three cases. The first, called Doe v. Holder, involves an NSL served on an Internet Service Provider. In September 2007 a federal court struck down the entirety of the National Security Letter (NSL) provisions of the Patriot Act. [...]

The second case, called Library Connection v. Gonzales, involved an NSL served on a consortium of libraries in Connecticut. In September 2006, a federal district court ruled that the gag on the librarians violated the First Amendment and the government ultimately withdrew both the gag and its demand for records. [...]

The third case, called Internet Archive v. Mukasey, involved an NSL served on a digital library. In April 2008, the FBI withdrew the NSL and the gag a part of the settlement of a legal challenge brought by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In addition, the ACLU has filed a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about the government's use of NSLs. [...]

Several other challenges to PATRIOT Act provisions by the ACLU are detailed in their recent report (http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safefree/patriot_report_20090310.pdf) on the Act and its impacts.

I think perhaps your view of the ACLU's priorities may be a bit skewed by media reporting trends. Challenging the government's intrusive use of library records may not be as sexy from a reporter's standpoint as submitting a brief in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, but that doesn't mean that the ACLU doesn't consider it a top issue.

ElvisL1ves
11-19-2009, 11:59 AM
Please provide a quote from me that I have ever endorsed a "blanket, unlimited right."Weaseling.

The word for that is "lying."Gawd. :rolleyes:

Within what passes for logic and grammar in your mind, that's a given.
That's all you've got left? :D

ExTank
11-19-2009, 12:09 PM
Weaseling.

Liar.

Todderbob
11-19-2009, 12:25 PM
Ex-Tank, I would concede the point if Heller had been a 9-0 vote. But it was a 5-4 partisan vote and the majority blew it. So, what's your opinion on Roe v. Wade?

Marley23
11-19-2009, 01:13 PM
Liar.
Don't call other posters liars in Great Debates.

Airman Doors, USAF
11-19-2009, 01:25 PM
Ex-Tank, I would concede the point if Heller had been a 9-0 vote. But it was a 5-4 partisan vote and the majority blew it. So I maintain my position on the fact that the first half limits the second half and that the NRA (who has the the Second Half of the Second Amendment carved into its building) is wrong. My fervent hope is that someday, with the continuation of Democratic presidents appointing leftist judges, Heller will be overturned. I even dream that someday the entire Second will be repealed.

Not only will Heller not be reversed, but I would bet you a good bit of money that it will be incorporated next year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v._Chicago). That would leave nothing but repeal, and that won't ever happen. I'd bet you an even more considerable sum that there will never, ever be a time where a majority of the House, 67 Senators, and 38 states vote for repeal of the Second Amendment. As it is, 34 states support incorporation, including California (!) (http://www.chicagoguncase.com/2009/07/07/thirty-four-states-support-second-amendment-incorporation/)

Sorry to dash your hopes like that.

ExTank
11-19-2009, 01:49 PM
Don't call other posters liars in Great Debates.

He did lie. I busted him out on it. I have never advocated universal unrestricted right to keep and bear arms.

Didn't I read somewhere something about falsely attributing words/positions to people? Or is that not already covered under "Don't be a jerk?"

But I guess that's okay, as long as we don't call a lying liar a liar.

Marley23
11-19-2009, 01:57 PM
He did lie. I busted him out on it. I have never advocated universal unrestricted right to keep and bear arms.
You're still not allowed to call him a liar, and that's stated very clearly in the forum rules (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=9294644#post9294644). If you'd like me to talk about this with the other mods, I will, but the rules are straightforward. That said:

But I guess that's okay, as long as we don't call a lying liar a liar.
Yes, you still can't call another poster a liar here.

ExTank
11-19-2009, 02:02 PM
You're still not allowed to call him a liar, and that's stated very clearly in the forum rules (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=9294644#post9294644). If you'd like me to talk about this with the other mods, I will, but the rules are straightforward. That said:


Yes, you still can't call another poster a liar here.

So he can just make up anything he wants here in GD about what I have said and stand for, and that's not a rules violation?

Marley23
11-19-2009, 02:09 PM
So he can just make up anything he wants here in GD about what I have said and stand for, and that's not a rules violation?
I'm not going to weigh in on the merits of anybody's argument; you can argue with him however you want as long as you don't insult him. If you want to discuss this further, send me a PM or post in ATMB.

BobLibDem
11-19-2009, 03:16 PM
Not only will Heller not be reversed, but I would bet you a good bit of money that it will be incorporated next year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v._Chicago). That would leave nothing but repeal, and that won't ever happen. I'd bet you an even more considerable sum that there will never, ever be a time where a majority of the House, 67 Senators, and 38 states vote for repeal of the Second Amendment. As it is, 34 states support incorporation, including California (!) (http://www.chicagoguncase.com/2009/07/07/thirty-four-states-support-second-amendment-incorporation/)

Sorry to dash your hopes like that.

It may not happen in my lifetime, but it will happen in the next 100 years. As the nation becomes more urban, I think the demographics will catch up to the Second Half of the Second Amendment. In 100 years, we'll think of the notion of individuals owning handguns to be as quaint as snuff boxes and buggy whips are today.

Todderbob
11-19-2009, 03:35 PM
It may not happen in my lifetime, but it will happen in the next 100 years. As the nation becomes more urban, I think the demographics will catch up to the Second Half of the Second Amendment. In 100 years, we'll think of the notion of individuals owning handguns to be as quaint as snuff boxes and buggy whips are today.And yet quaint snuff boxes and buggy whips aren't illegal.


In fact, firearm laws have become increasingly liberalized (in the true sense of the Liberalization, not in the "liberal" overly restrictive sense) in recent years. Despite the (obviously failed AWB) and increase in urbanization and demographic change of the United States.

Mr. Moto
11-19-2009, 03:43 PM
In 100 years, we'll think of the notion of individuals owning handguns to be as quaint as snuff boxes and buggy whips are today.

I wouldn't mind at all if that were the case - since last I checked ownership of said snuff boxes and buggy whips was legal.

I don't care how many other people own guns, or whether you care to own them. I own them and I do not want my right (or your unexercised right) to do so infringed.

BobLibDem
11-19-2009, 04:06 PM
I'm just saying the tide isn't going to be in your direction long. Demographics are killing you. The Hispanic population grows, what do Republicans do? Smear the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court. The black population grows, what do Republicans do? Call the president a liar in the House chamber, which is unprecedented. All you've done since January is permanently alienate two growing segments of the population. You keep purging from the party anyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh. I seriously doubt there will be any more Republican presidents in my lifetime. No more Republican presidents, no more right wing Supreme Court justices. Get rid of Scalito and Uncle Thomas, your Heller ruling doesn't look so invulnerable.

Todderbob
11-19-2009, 04:21 PM
I'm just saying the tide isn't going to be in your direction long. Demographics are killing you. The Hispanic population grows, what do Republicans do? Smear the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court. The black population grows, what do Republicans do? Call the president a liar in the House chamber, which is unprecedented. All you've done since January is permanently alienate two growing segments of the population. You keep purging from the party anyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh. I seriously doubt there will be any more Republican presidents in my lifetime. No more Republican presidents, no more right wing Supreme Court justices. Get rid of Scalito and Uncle Thomas, your Heller ruling doesn't look so invulnerable.Ahem, you seem to be under the impression that the only people who are against banning firearms are republicans. They're not.

And, you seem to think that "you" (as in, me and the rest of us in this thread) are republicans -- I can't speak for anyone else here, but for the most part I consider myself a Democrat, or Independent.


And, for the first bit of Bush's presidency, people said "We'll never see another Democratic President! The Democrats are a dead party!"


Yeah, that turned out to be dead on, didn't it?

Airman Doors, USAF
11-19-2009, 04:28 PM
I seriously doubt there will be any more Republican presidents in my lifetime. No more Republican presidents, no more right wing Supreme Court justices. Get rid of Scalito and Uncle Thomas, your Heller ruling doesn't look so invulnerable.

So? Heller doesn't have to be invulnerable. It needs only be the basis for a decision that incorporates the Second Amendment. Has the Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, ever taken away an incorporated right? I think you know that the answer is no, and I think you know that once the Second Amendment is incorporated it is rock-solid, so why harp on Heller's alleged vulnerability?

Anyway, this has now become a gun thread, again. If you want to continue this, we can take it elsewhere, but for my part I'm done hijacking this thread.

Zoe
11-21-2009, 10:58 PM
Todderbob: And, for the first bit of Bush's presidency, people said "We'll never see another Democratic President! The Democrats are a dead party!"

Don't much think so, Todderbob. The Democratic Candidate (Gore) actually won the Popular Vote and I seem to remember an unusually close election that required weeks to determine a "winner."

ITR champion: ...so I basically see rich white people fighting to deny poor minorities a decent education. Or, in other words, trying to restore Jim Crow.

The ACLU does not have a closed membership. Anyone is welcome to join.

What about the First Amendment Rights of the students who filed the complaint against the school principal and the teacher (who admit wrong-doing)? Maybe these educators should be working in private schools if they cannot respect the rights and/or the religious beliefs of other Americans in public schools. The principal and teacher could have prayed SILENTLY.

It is not mean white people and Jim Crow Laws that are keeping poor children out of private schools. It is a lack of money. Who will pay for the poor children to go to the private schools? The government can't even pay to keep decent public schools open now.

I'm not entirely opposed to vouchers. But I do wonder what will be left behind in our inner cities when all of the good students pull out to go to private schools. (That shouldn't be the concern of the good students, though.)

Your comments have been interesting even when I don't always agree.

The Cleveland Steamer
11-21-2009, 11:23 PM
Ex-Tank, I would concede the point if Heller had been a 9-0 vote. But it was a 5-4 partisan vote

It was not a partisan vote.

The majority was 5 Repubs, and the dissent was 2 Repubs and 2 Dems.

Argent Towers
11-21-2009, 11:33 PM
All in all, I support the ACLU. Haven't been a member in awhile...it just slipped away during a financial rough patch and I never thought of them since then...hmmmmm.

However, it was extremely tough. As Todderbob said, my first exposure to the ACLU was them trying to discriminate against me getting a job soley because I was a white, young male.

Now, I know what you are thinking...but hold on...they were trying to discriminate against ME because I was a white young male...I was in competition for a faculty position and the ACLU challenged me as a the one picked because the other guy was black. They tried to get me unhired and the other guy hired.

How in the everloving fuck could you not only support, but JOIN an organization that did that to you? If that happened to me, I would dedicate every second of my free time for the next two years to discrediting and condemning the ACLU. Why on earth would you want to be a part of something that tried to fuck you over? Talk about the frog and the scorpion. What would you do if someone robbed your house at gunpoint - offer him a cigar and a snifter of brandy?

11811
11-22-2009, 07:53 AM
Even if they had they are still on the opposite side every other time. But yes, i do believe you are right.

This is at the heart of it. You've basically said that they have no loyalties (although I think they are loyal to the truth and to the law). They take enough cases on both sides of the political divide that there are both lefties and righties that can't stand them.

Bryan Ekers
11-22-2009, 12:00 PM
I have no idea why the ALCU would think movies of kids masturbating would not meet the obscenity test.

They probably don't, but it serves the interests of justice that the guy be vigorously defended because maybe the video isn't of two kids but adults who merely look like kids, or possibly it can't be proven the defendant knew they were kids, or possibly the undercover officers helped the situation along in a manner that suggests entrapment, or really any number of potential elements that should be explored in lieu of just grabbing the GUILTY! rubber stamp which in a case like this, a great many people would be happy to do.

The ACLU can't and doesn't (and indeed shouldn't) win all its cases, but the role it (and the defense attorney in general) plays is still critical as a check on the state.

sqweels
11-22-2009, 03:32 PM
It looks like there are 3 kinds of people when it comes to the ACLU: Those who support them across the board, those who support them to some degree but call them out on certain contradictions or biases, and those who put them on the sort list of people who are destroying America.

spifflog
11-22-2009, 03:35 PM
. . . I seriously doubt there will be any more Republican presidents in my lifetime. . .

Not to hijack, but I've read and heard this before here, and in the real world and it just about makes me want to laugh out loud.

At first I thought people were saying that because they wanted to believe it, but more are more I think they are serious. Maybe they are just too young to have seem the ebb and flow of both parties. Both this comment is just ridiculous. And it was equally nonsensical when Republicans argued it when they had control of the White House for 20 of the last 28 years at the end of the second Bush administration.

This country is pretty evenly split. I think members here at time believe that TDS is representative of the county at large, which is obviously not the case. More and more I think the the true believers on each end of the political spectrum are significantly outnumbered by the moderates in each party and the true independents in the middle.

By and large the American people like the friction that is produced by the dems the pubs going at it, and will keep them both in the game.

sqweels
11-22-2009, 03:55 PM
How in the everloving fuck could you not only support, but JOIN an organization that did that to you? If that happened to me, I would dedicate every second of my free time for the next two years to discrediting and condemning the ACLU. Why on earth would you want to be a part of something that tried to fuck you over? Talk about the frog and the scorpion. What would you do if someone robbed your house at gunpoint - offer him a cigar and a snifter of brandy?
What if, after seeing the robber caught and convicted, you discover that he's a much better person than you are in spite of that one incident (stealing as he was to feed his handicapped kids)? You could wind up being a positive influence in his life--and he yours.

If BlinkingDuck went on to support the ACLU despite being subjected to blatant racial discrimination, doesn't that bespeak of how great the ACLU is overall, rather that what an idiot BD is?

(And you can put me in category #2 from my previous post).

BlinkingDuck
11-23-2009, 11:33 AM
How in the everloving fuck could you not only support, but JOIN an organization that did that to you? If that happened to me, I would dedicate every second of my free time for the next two years to discrediting and condemning the ACLU. Why on earth would you want to be a part of something that tried to fuck you over? Talk about the frog and the scorpion. What would you do if someone robbed your house at gunpoint - offer him a cigar and a snifter of brandy?

Because I looked into the organizations history. I noticed that they took on some very unpopular fights...some of which I didn't agree with. However, most of them I did. It was the only organization really doing something like this. In the whole, the good far outweighted the bad and I didn't have an alternative choice that had less bad.

ITR champion
11-23-2009, 12:01 PM
Of course, that comparison ignores the fact that people can choose which private school they want to go to. Private school students can choose not to go to private schools with religious instruction contrary to their faith. So you're not likely to see a Catholic who'd be offended by jewish observances in class choosing to go to a yeshiva.

On the other hand, if you had a religious (say, catholic) public school, what are the Jewish students in the neighborhood supposed to do, exactly, to receive an education that doesn't also teach them that Jesus is the messiah?
There are plenty of parents in America whose religion is Jewish, Muslim, or miscellaneous other, but who choose to send their children to Christian schools. It would appear that they're less frightened about a few daily minutes of prayer in a Christian school than about the militant scourging of all religion from the curriculum in the public schools. (Or perhaps they just want their kids to learn reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.) Also, there are many private schools not officially attached to a church that still include some religious instruction and prayer at school events; I work at one such school. We have no problems with the wide variety of religious beliefs among the student body, nor any conflicts about the non-sectarian prayers that we read. It simply is not true that agreement can't be reached on these issues. In a country with freedom of religious practice not everyone gets to run the show in public schools, but people have a much greater ability to negotiate than you give them credit for. Governing public schools democratically would satisfy almost everyone, while governing them by lawsuits makes almost everyone unhappy.

Todderbob
11-23-2009, 12:12 PM
There are plenty of parents in America whose religion is Jewish, Muslim, or miscellaneous other, but who choose to send their children to Christian schools. It would appear that they're less frightened about a few daily minutes of prayer in a Christian school than about the militant scourging of all religion from the curriculum in the public schools. (Or perhaps they just want their kids to learn reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.) Also, there are many private schools not officially attached to a church that still include some religious instruction and prayer at school events; I work at one such school. We have no problems with the wide variety of religious beliefs among the student body, nor any conflicts about the non-sectarian prayers that we read. It simply is not true that agreement can't be reached on these issues. In a country with freedom of religious practice not everyone gets to run the show in public schools, but people have a much greater ability to negotiate than you give them credit for. Governing public schools democratically would satisfy almost everyone, while governing them by lawsuits makes almost everyone unhappy.Rights are fundamental, whether the democratic plurality or majority is okay with them being violated.

whorfin
11-23-2009, 01:14 PM
There are plenty of parents in America whose religion is Jewish, Muslim, or miscellaneous other, but who choose to send their children to Christian schools.

Emphasis added. Nobody objects to people choosing to go to a christian school--I did so myself. That is very different from the question of what is appropriate, or what is constitutional for the state to do.

Public schools have two attributes that are distinct from private schools: (1) they are run by the government, and (2) people are, at the margin, compelled to go to them (if they cannot afford private school, for example).

If public schools have a religious component, then (1) means the government is endorsing some religion, and (2) is the government compelling students to engage in religious observances/go to religious schools, regardless of their beliefs.

I contend both of those are unconstitutional, and are wrong.


It would appear that they're less frightened about a few daily minutes of prayer in a Christian school than about the militant scourging of all religion from the curriculum in the public schools.

As I point out--people can, quite legitimately, make that choice. Putting religion in public schools is denying that choice to others. That is very different.

Further, the ACLU is, as I understand it, not about "militant scourging of all religion" from the curriculum--Religion is, quite appropriately, in the curriculum at public schools in the study of history, and perhaps social studies. That is learning about religion. Teaching, or compelled observation of one religion is very different.


Also, there are many private schools not officially attached to a church that still include some religious instruction and prayer at school events; I work at one such school. We have no problems with the wide variety of religious beliefs among the student body, nor any conflicts about the non-sectarian prayers that we read.

Good for you. You are, I assume, teaching at a private school, where people choose to go to a school with such religious instruction--and can, perhaps, choose between one that takes a relatively liberal approach (as yours seems to), and, for example, a Catholic school where all official observances are in that faith.

So the fact that it can work at a school people choose to go to says nothing about the propriety of religious instruction at a school people don't get to choose to go to.

In a country with freedom of religious practice not everyone gets to run the show in public schools, but people have a much greater ability to negotiate than you give them credit for. Governing public schools democratically would satisfy almost everyone, while governing them by lawsuits makes almost everyone unhappy.

First of all, let's be clear--public schools are governed by lawsuits when their administrators refuse to respect the law of the land, that forbids government-sponsored religion. I think it is not just inappropriate for the schools to do so, but it is wrong to support such school administrators when they decide to violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That law was created in a negotiation that formed this country. Why should it be devalued? Why should it not be respected?

Also, just to put out the point--I assume you're a christian. Would you object if (say), you lived in Dearborn, Mich (where muslims are a very substantial proportion of the population), and sent your children to school where, according to your "democratic" principles, the schools would contain muslim prayers and observances? What if you couldn't afford to send your kids to private school?

I contend you would not.

Further, I note that you haven't responded to the question in my post--what should our hypothetical Jewish student do, if they cannot afford private school, and if the public schools contain christian observances--observances that directly contradict a tenet of the student's faith?

The answer is simple: Religion in private school is well and good. Religious observances in public school are unconstitutional and wrong. That is the only way of ensuring people's freedom of religion--by avoiding forcing any religious observances on them.

Algher
11-23-2009, 01:33 PM
Today's LA Times has an editorial on this very subject:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-aclu23-2009nov23,0,716408.story

The American Civil Liberties Union is vilified by conservatives as a left-wing lobby disguised as an advocate for free speech for all. And certainly it's true that many supporters of the organization are liberal in their political views. But to its credit, the ACLU often puts its commitment to free expression above those opinions. The latest example is its support for a student group at the University of Nevada, Reno, that invited Jim Gilchrist, an extreme opponent of illegal immigration, to take part in a panel discussion.

Again, I think that the animosity towards the ACLU comes from perceived sins of omission (failing to protect the rights of the 2nd amendment) and commission (backing discrimination in the name of affirmative action, activities wrapped up in the so called "War on Christmas").

Where someone falls on the spectrum of support ("Card Carrying Member) vs. hatred (AC stands for Anti Christian) depends on your politics and whether something you believe in / support has been a target of one of their attacks.

whorfin
11-23-2009, 01:41 PM
Also, just to put out the point--I assume you're a christian. Would you object if (say), you lived in Dearborn, Mich (where muslims are a very substantial proportion of the population), and sent your children to school where, according to your "democratic" principles, the schools would contain muslim prayers and observances? What if you couldn't afford to send your kids to private school?

I contend you would not.

to clarify my typo: I of course meant to say that I think ITR would object in my hypothetical--that he would not be as willing to accept the "democratic" forcing of another, inconsistent religion on his family as he seems to expect others to be.

Chris Luongo
11-23-2009, 01:47 PM
When I worked for a conservative newspaper in college, we contacted the local ACLU office for some help with the University. They had no desire to help us. Now, that was probably just one person who answered the phone - but the incident stuck with several of us.
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Similar story here.

My father once told me that he had been turned down for a high-level job at a popular local radio station, and he believed it was based on his race, and the race of the other candidate for the job.

He telephoned the local ACLU office asking for help, and they wouldn't stop asking to know the race of the involved parties. My father says he answered that it shouldn't matter, but it seemed clear to him that it mattered a lot to the ACLU.

Similar to Algher's case, this is from a single, two-minute conversation with my father, about a single phone call back when I was small, but it has stayed with me.

Anne Neville
11-23-2009, 02:07 PM
Similar story here.

My father once told me that he had been turned down for a high-level job at a popular local radio station, and he believed it was based on his race, and the race of the other candidate for the job.

He telephoned the local ACLU office asking for help, and they wouldn't stop asking to know the race of the involved parties. My father says he answered that it shouldn't matter, but it seemed clear to him that it mattered a lot to the ACLU.

How could they possibly know if someone might have a valid race discrimination case without knowing their race or the race of the other candidate for the job? That sounds like the kind of basic question any lawyer would ask anyone considering a race discrimination suit.

BlinkingDuck
11-23-2009, 03:07 PM
How could they possibly know if someone might have a valid race discrimination case without knowing their race or the race of the other candidate for the job? That sounds like the kind of basic question any lawyer would ask anyone considering a race discrimination suit.

Because if it turned out the person calling was White then they woudn't be interested. If the caller wasn't White...then they might be interested.

What they SHOULD be about is anti-discrimination...when, in fact, they are actually PRO-discrimination so long as it is asymmetrical they way they want.

This makes them hypocrites and they should be called on it. (and this statement from someone who tends to be pre-ACLU)

Mr. Excellent
11-23-2009, 04:34 PM
I had the privilege of interning (and later, volunteering) with an ACLU affiliate (state office). One thing worth noting in this discussion, I think, is that people tend to think of "the" ACLU as a single, homogenous entity. That's not entirely wrong - the ACLU national organization sets broad policy, does a lot of the headline-grabbing litigation, and testifies before Congress on a regular basis.

However, the state affiliates do the majority of the ACLU's litigation and advocacy, and they have a tremendous degree of autonomy. Not unlimited, of course - a state affiliate that declared waterboarding to be fine and dandy would find itself in hot water. But state affiliates can, and do, decide their own advocacy priorities and preferences, and they vary greatly from one another. Some of the posters in this thread said they dislike the ACLU because they feel it engages in too many "social justice" issues that are far removed from core constitutional values - well, yes, some affiliates will do that. Others, however, do take a narrower view of civil liberties - they'll do free-speech issues, but rarely (or never) touch on economic justice, for example.

My point is that, if you're on the fence about "the" ACLU, you might want to see what your local affiliate is up to, rather than just the actions of the national organization. You can find your local affiliate here: http://www.aclu.org/affiliates/ .

ITR champion
11-23-2009, 04:49 PM
Public schools have two attributes that are distinct from private schools: (1) they are run by the government, and (2) people are, at the margin, compelled to go to them (if they cannot afford private school, for example).
...
First of all, let's be clear--public schools are governed by lawsuits when their administrators refuse to respect the law of the land, that forbids government-sponsored religion. I think it is not just inappropriate for the schools to do so, but it is wrong to support such school administrators when they decide to violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That law was created in a negotiation that formed this country. Why should it be devalued? Why should it not be respected?
Firstly, nothing in the Constitution (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html) in any way stops government-run bodies from practicing religion. We have military chaplains paid by the federal government on every military base. We have chaplains in fire departments and police departments paid by local governments. We have prison ministries in every state (except Virginia) paid by state governments. We have Park Rangers who conduct services in the national parks. As far as I know, no one--not even the ACLU--objects to these things or dozens of others like them, so I have to conclude that no one really believes that the government isn't allowed to fund religious activities. At most, they believe that such funding is disallowed in a few, select cases. At the same time, the ACLU does object to many things done with private money. (See the link in my first post regarding Salazar v Buono for one example.) Hence I have to conclude that whatever the ACLU's beef is about religion, it has nothing to do with government spending.

Second, the Constitution does not say that everybody gets to be free from observance of anything remotely religious. If 98 percent of the students at a ceremony want a prayer and the remaining 2 percent don't, someone must end up with an observance that's not the one they prefer. Unfortunate, but luckily we have a process called democracy to deal with cases like this. That the ACLU's claims come from "the negotiation that formed this country" is just not true. For nearly all our history, students have prayed and studied the Bible in public school. Those who didn't want to participate merely stepped out of the classroom. The system worked fine for generations. It's only in the last couple generations that the ACLU has placed government by lawsuit ahead of democracy on this issue.
Also, just to put out the point--I assume you're a christian. Would you object if (say), you lived in Dearborn, Mich (where muslims are a very substantial proportion of the population), and sent your children to school where, according to your "democratic" principles, the schools would contain muslim prayers and observances? What if you couldn't afford to send your kids to private school?
As I make clear in every thread on this topic, I support democracy and local decision-making everywhere, regardless of who's in charge. I would not object.
Further, I note that you haven't responded to the question in my post--what should our hypothetical Jewish student do, if they cannot afford private school, and if the public schools contain christian observances--observances that directly contradict a tenet of the student's faith?
Deal with it just as their ancestors did.

Todderbob
11-23-2009, 04:56 PM
Firstly, nothing in the Constitution (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html) in any way stops government-run bodies from practicing religion. We have military chaplains paid by the federal government on every military base. We have chaplains in fire departments and police departments paid by local governments. We have prison ministries in every state (except Virginia) paid by state governments. We have Park Rangers who conduct services in the national parks. Those military chaplains don't force you to attend their services.

I'm not intimately familiar with them, but I'd assume those park rangers also don't force you to attend their services.

On the other hand... you are forced by law to attend public school. You are mandated by the government to attend, under penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment to send your child to an institution which actively encourages a certain religious viewpoint.

Simply saying "But they can ignore it" is not sufficient.


Deal with it just as their ancestors did.By feeling ostracised and isolated from society at large?

Voyager
11-23-2009, 05:02 PM
As I make clear in every thread on this topic, I support democracy and local decision-making everywhere, regardless of who's in charge. I would not object.

Deal with it just as their ancestors did.

2,000 years of oppression, but that's fine because it was oh so democratic?
And might I remind you that the Jim Crow laws were passed democratically also. The ACLU exists in part to protect us from positions like yours.

Llama Llogophile
11-23-2009, 05:06 PM
Further, the ACLU is, as I understand it, not about "militant scourging of all religion" from the curriculum--Religion is, quite appropriately, in the curriculum at public schools in the study of history, and perhaps social studies. That is learning about religion. Teaching, or compelled observation of one religion is very different.

Religion was given a great deal of curricular time when I was in high school. I remember it being a big part of social studies, sociology and philosophy. My sociology teacher in particular went to great lengths. We had a different speaker every week for a couple of months: A priest, a rabbi, and I think even some Hare Krishnas among others. When I was a teacher I saw some similar stuff.

I think ITR's "militant scourging of all religion" from public school curricula is at best an exaggeration. At worst... well, just paranoid silliness. Sorry, but there it is.

ITR champion
11-23-2009, 05:18 PM
The ACLU does not have a closed membership. Anyone is welcome to join.

...

It is not mean white people and Jim Crow Laws that are keeping poor children out of private schools. It is a lack of money. Who will pay for the poor children to go to the private schools? The government can't even pay to keep decent public schools open now.

I'm not entirely opposed to vouchers. But I do wonder what will be left behind in our inner cities when all of the good students pull out to go to private schools. (That shouldn't be the concern of the good students, though.)
I've already candidly admitted that my perception of their racial composition is shaped by only one group. Perhaps ACLU offices elsewhere are stuffed with blacks and Hispanics, but I doubt it. The fact is, however, that voucher programs provide the biggest advantages to students of those races, because students of those races typically live in urban areas that have the worst schools. Hence, killing voucher programs has an extra-large effect on minorities.

For example, just look at Washington D. C., and its notorious worst-in-the-nation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/09/AR2007060901415.html) school system. The public school student body is 96% minority and 4% white. (http://www.publicschoolreview.com/state_statistics/stateid/DC). By contrast, the city itself is 61% minority and 39% white. (http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/states/11000.html) It seems that nearly all the white people send their kids to private schools, while minority kids mainly get stuck in the public schools (unless they're named 'Obama'). Hence an anti-voucher stance hurts blacks and Hispanics more than whites. I doubt that most ACLU members are personally racist, but it's a plain fact that their anti-voucher stance hurts black and Hispanic kids.

Studies have shown that voucher programs not only let some kids get a better education in private schools, but also improve nearby public schools (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030504.html) because the competition keeps 'em honest. Vouchers also save money (http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10254).

What about the First Amendment Rights of the students who filed the complaint against the school principal and the teacher (who admit wrong-doing)? Maybe these educators should be working in private schools if they cannot respect the rights and/or the religious beliefs of other Americans in public schools. The principal and teacher could have prayed SILENTLY.
While the ACLU always thumps its chest about the 1st amendment, their cases actually rest on the 14th amendment. They claim that the 1st prevents federal religious observance, while the 14th expands that to state and local. But the founders never meant the Constitution to curtail religious expression by government employees. That's demonstrated clearly enough by the words of every president from George Washington (http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/firsts/thanksgiving/original.html) to Barack Obama. Nor did the Congress of the reconstruction era intend for the 14th to have anything to do with the running of public schools. All of that is extra meaning tacked on by judges in the last 50 years or so.

Todderbob
11-23-2009, 05:21 PM
But the founders never meant the Constitution to curtail religious expression by government employees. And no one, even the ACLU, is claiming that government employees can't observe religion -- what they're claiming is that you can't do it in a way that may potentially influence students.

Miller
11-23-2009, 05:36 PM
Deal with it just as their ancestors did.

You mean, engage in centuries of bloody factional conflicts, pogroms, and holy wars?

whorfin
11-23-2009, 05:40 PM
At the same time, the ACLU does object to many things done with private money. (See the link in my first post regarding Salazar v Buono for one example.) Not true. The ACLU's issue in Salazar has nothing to do with the fact that the cross was erected with private money--but that it was erected on government land. The fact that private money is used is simply irrelevant to the issue in the case.

Second, the Constitution does not say that everybody gets to be free from observance of anything remotely religious.

I don't think anyone has suggested this. For one thing, the constitution only limits the actions of federal (and after XIV, state) government. So I don't see where you're getting this argument.

If 98 percent of the students at a ceremony want a prayer and the remaining 2 percent don't, someone must end up with an observance that's not the one they prefer. Unfortunate, but luckily we have a process called democracy to deal with cases like this.

We have a process of democracy, subject to the constitutional protection of certain rights--such that there are things the majority can't do, even if they want to. That is the nature of constitutional rights today--inherently antimajoritarian--for, ironically, exactly the reason you point out--that the majority gets its own way even if no rights exist.

That the ACLU's claims come from "the negotiation that formed this country" is just not true. For nearly all our history, students have prayed and studied the Bible in public school.

Funnily enough, as I understand the history, Public schools weren't systematically created as a service for all students until the middle of the nineteenth century. More importantly, public schools, as part of state governments, weren't subject to the first amendment until 1868. So a good half of our history is simply irrelevant to his debate.


Those who didn't want to participate merely stepped out of the classroom. The system worked fine for generations. It's only in the last couple generations that the ACLU has placed government by lawsuit ahead of democracy on this issue.

Or, alternatively, the ACLU has forced the government to take our constitutional rights seriously. This is not a necessary result of that right existing. See, for example, the fact that it took nearly a hundred years to go from the Fourteenth Amendment to Brown v. Board of Education, or (assuming, arguendo, that Heller v. DC is correct, more than two centuries to go from the Second Amendment to its proper interpretation being upheld by the courts.) Should we ignore the second amendment, or repudiate Heller because the system where governments got to regulate firearm ownership has worked fine for generations?

So the fact that it took a long time to effectively enforce the right is neither here nor there.

Furthermore, regardless of the history--here and now, the clear understanding of federal constitutional law is that school-sponsored religious observances in public school are forbidden. To, for example, have teachers pray at the start of class is a simple violation of the law as it is now.

So, just to be clear: Do you support school administrators today who intentionally choose to violate federal law, as it now stands? Do you think others should support them?

Deal with it just as their ancestors did.

This is exactly why the right is protected--to stop people deciding that others should just "deal with it."

sqweels
11-23-2009, 07:29 PM
There are plenty of parents in America whose religion is Jewish, Muslim, or miscellaneous other, but who choose to send their children to Christian schools.
*snip*
Governing public schools democratically would satisfy almost everyone....
What would happen if enough non-Catholics--say, 7th-Day Adventists--began going to a Catholic school that the majority was able to get religious instruction to include some themes that blatantly violate Catholic teachings?

...governing them by lawsuits makes almost everyone unhappy.
You mean governing them by law?

sqweels
11-23-2009, 09:17 PM
It would appear that they're less frightened about a few daily minutes of prayer in a Christian school than about the militant scourging of all religion from the curriculum in the public schools.
ITR, what exactly is that you want? Do you want students to be educated thoroughly immersed in religious environment so as to bring down divine intervention, or so that a lot of students become Saved, or at very least that they grow up to be highly religious citizens?

Or are you saying, what's the big deal, it's only the occasional little non-sectarian prayer? If that's the case, then what is the big deal? What religious profit is there in religious expression so watered down that anything less amounts to a "militant scourging of all religion"?

(Nice victim playing there, Hamlet. These aren't cases where the ACLU is simply being extreme sticklers for Separation of Church and State, no, they're militantly assaulting religion, and getting it out of government is just the beginning. )

It seems to me that the more significant an expression is religiously, the more significant it is constitutionally. And we have to draw the line somewhere, you know.

R. P. McMurphy
11-24-2009, 12:01 AM
This just in from the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/us/24crime.html?exprod=myyahoo

None other than Ed Meese realizes that an organization like the ACLU has its place in protecting Constitutional rights.

Kevbo
11-24-2009, 12:16 AM
I... The public school student body is 96% minority and 4% white. (http://www.publicschoolreview.com/state_statistics/stateid/DC). By contrast, the city itself is 61% minority and 39% white. (http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/states/11000.html)

Those numbers suggest that there is a good deal of confusion about the meaning of the word "minority."

Todderbob
11-24-2009, 01:14 AM
Those numbers suggest that there is a good deal of confusion about the meaning of the word "minority."Whites are a minority, blacks are plurality in DC.

That data set, at least as it was presented by ITR is somewhat confusing, yes.

ITR champion
11-24-2009, 12:01 PM
Those numbers suggest that there is a good deal of confusion about the meaning of the word "minority."
Not really. The word "minority" is commonly used in the United States to refer to racial groups other than whites. However, if you don't like it, you may mentally replace each occurrence of it with "blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and various other groups that represent only a tiny fraction of the population."

None of that, however, has much effect on the main argument that our current system allows the wealthy, chiefly white population to have a good education in private schools, while confining large sections of the poor, chiefly black and Hispanic population to crummy, inner-city public schools.

ITR champion
11-24-2009, 12:27 PM
Not true. The ACLU's issue in Salazar has nothing to do with the fact that the cross was erected with private money--but that it was erected on government land. The fact that private money is used is simply irrelevant to the issue in the case.
The cross was not erected on government land. It was erected as a monument to American soldiers on unclaimed land, which later became part of a federal preserve. No government effort has ever been put into it in any way, shape, or form. The ACLU's claim is that because one person finds it "offensive", it needs to be torn down. Nothing in the Constitution can rationally be construed as meaning that war memorials on government land should be vandalized at taxpayers expense merely because there's a person who finds them offensive.

Funnily enough, as I understand the history, Public schools weren't systematically created as a service for all students until the middle of the nineteenth century. More importantly, public schools, as part of state governments, weren't subject to the first amendment until 1868. So a good half of our history is simply irrelevant to his debate.
The time up to 1868 is not a good half our history. Of the time when the Constitution has been in effect, it's barely a third. But, in any case, judges did not start reaching these far-fetched conclusions about the fourteenth amendment demanding a ban on all religious expressions on government property until the late 20th century. The fourteenth was intended to protect people from slavery, unlawful imprisonment, and so forth. The Congressmen who passed the it in 1868 would be utterly baffled by the way that the ACLU uses it to enforce censorship.

Or, alternatively, the ACLU has forced the government to take our constitutional rights seriously. This is not a necessary result of that right existing. See, for example, the fact that it took nearly a hundred years to go from the Fourteenth Amendment to Brown v. Board of Education, or (assuming, arguendo, that Heller v. DC is correct, more than two centuries to go from the Second Amendment to its proper interpretation being upheld by the courts.) Should we ignore the second amendment, or repudiate Heller because the system where governments got to regulate firearm ownership has worked fine for generations?

So the fact that it took a long time to effectively enforce the right is neither here nor there.

Furthermore, regardless of the history--here and now, the clear understanding of federal constitutional law is that school-sponsored religious observances in public school are forbidden. To, for example, have teachers pray at the start of class is a simple violation of the law as it is now.
That is the clear understanding of people who understand it that way, which is certainly not everybody. It is certainly not a straightforward interpretation of the words of the Constitution, nor is it based on the intent of the founders, nor is it traditional, nor is it based on popular opinion. So, in the final analysis, it's based on the decision of a few judges in very recent times, and nothing more. And, of course, there's no guarantee that judges will maintain this odd interpretation indefinitely.

As I said in my first post, the ACLU governs by lawsuit for a reason. There is no way that the voting public would ever choose, through it legislators, to imprison people for praying, or to vandalize crosses erected in honor of our soldiers, or to censor the publications of local governments, or any of the other bizarre attacks on free expression that the ACLU routinely makes. Hence, the ACLU's only hope in these cases is the uses the judiciary to overrule democracy. To point to historical cases in which the judiciary overruled law justly does make not the process just in these cases.

So, just to be clear: Do you support school administrators today who intentionally choose to violate federal law, as it now stands? Do you think others should support them?
I will answer by quoting the words ("http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html') of another man who went to jail for saying things that the government disapproved of.
One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Miller
11-24-2009, 12:52 PM
I will answer by quoting the words ("http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html') of another man who went to jail for saying things that the government disapproved of.

That's a pretty good quote. Here's another one, from the same gentleman, on the subject of the courts finding against prayer in public school:

“I endorse it. I think it was correct,” King said. “Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision. They have been motivated, I think, by little more than the wish to embarrass the Supreme Court. When I saw Brother Wallace going up to Washington to testify against the decision at the congressional hearings, it only strengthened my conviction that the decision was right.”

From here: http://blog.au.org/2006/01/13/speaking_truth_/

Brother Wallace is, of course, Alabama segregationist George Wallace.

sqweels
11-24-2009, 04:26 PM
Again, ITR, you seem to be more interseted in playing the victim and indulging in hyperbole rather than clarifying what you think the proper role of religion in government should be.

After all, religion consists of a lot of dubious and often contradictory claims about supernatural forces.

Shouldn't government be reality-based? It's one thing to condone a bit of "ceremonial deism" slipping through, but we don't rely on majoritarianism to tell us that one religion is right and the others--and science--are wrong.

ITR champion
11-24-2009, 04:56 PM
I don't believe that government should be entangled with religion at all, neither for promoting it nor for vilifying it and trying to stamp it out in schools or anywhere else. A voucher program that allowed parents to choose their child's school would be ideal, as it would reduce conflicts about religion in schools while also saving taxpayer money and improving education. With such a program in place, there would be more customers for private education, and we'd see more groups (secular and religious) setting up schools and more choice for everyone.

In the meantime, however, I find it perfectly reasonable to have a law like the one we had in Kentucky until a judge shot it down, where the students got to vote on whether to have a prayer at graduation. Most people who work in public schools do not view themselves as part of a government, but rather as teachers and support staff. They entered education because they wanted to help kids. That's also how the students at the community at large view them: as educators, not as part of government. Basic things like prayers at graduation and sporting events are parts of a ceremony that most people don't associate with the government at all. When a majority of participants want them, having them is natural. Having the courts intervene to ban them is, by contrast, a major intrusion of the government into community life.

(And I think that government is roughly the least "reality-based" organization in the world, as demonstrated by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, corn ethanol requirements, Cash for Clunkers, and countless other examples. Having the federal government attack anyone else on the grounds that they make "dubious and often contradictory claims" is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.)

Bosstone
11-24-2009, 05:06 PM
I don't believe that government should be entangled with religion at all, neither for promoting it nor for vilifying it and trying to stamp it out in schools or anywhere else.The first part of your sentence is why they are doing the second part.

Miller
11-24-2009, 06:52 PM
I don't believe that government should be entangled with religion at all, neither for promoting it nor for vilifying it and trying to stamp it out in schools or anywhere else.

How do you propose disentangling government and religion, when you are adamantly opposed to any effort to prevent the government from funding religious observances? In these threads, you've consistently characterized any attempts to keep government religiously neutral as an unconscionable intrusion of government into people's religious freedoms. Can you provide an example (hypothetical, if necessary, but real world would be ideal) of a government taking a positive stand on religion that you would view as an unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion?

In the meantime, however, I find it perfectly reasonable to have a law like the one we had in Kentucky until a judge shot it down, where the students got to vote on whether to have a prayer at graduation. Most people who work in public schools do not view themselves as part of a government, but rather as teachers and support staff. They entered education because they wanted to help kids. That's also how the students at the community at large view them: as educators, not as part of government. Basic things like prayers at graduation and sporting events are parts of a ceremony that most people don't associate with the government at all. When a majority of participants want them, having them is natural. Having the courts intervene to ban them is, by contrast, a major intrusion of the government into community life.

Regardless of how they view themselves, how is someone who receives their paycheck from the government anything other than an employee of the government? What standard are you using to define whether someone is part of the government or not? The only reasoning I see here is how the person views his role. If a congressperson says that he doesn't "view himself as part of the government," and only got into the field because he wants to "help people," does that make him not a part of the government, and therefore, immune to laws regulating government action? If not, how is our hypothetical congressperson different from teachers?

Polycarp
11-24-2009, 07:14 PM
I don't believe that government should be entangled with religion at all, neither for promoting it nor for vilifying it and trying to stamp it out in schools or anywhere else. A voucher program that allowed parents to choose their child's school would be ideal, as it would reduce conflicts about religion in schools while also saving taxpayer money and improving education. With such a program in place, there would be more customers for private education, and we'd see more groups (secular and religious) setting up schools and more choice for everyone.

In the meantime, however, I find it perfectly reasonable to have a law like the one we had in Kentucky until a judge shot it down, where the students got to vote on whether to have a prayer at graduation. Most people who work in public schools do not view themselves as part of a government, but rather as teachers and support staff. They entered education because they wanted to help kids. That's also how the students at the community at large view them: as educators, not as part of government. Basic things like prayers at graduation and sporting events are parts of a ceremony that most people don't associate with the government at all. When a majority of participants want them, having them is natural. Having the courts intervene to ban them is, by contrast, a major intrusion of the government into community life.

(And I think that government is roughly the least "reality-based" organization in the world, as demonstrated by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, corn ethanol requirements, Cash for Clunkers, and countless other examples. Having the federal government attack anyone else on the grounds that they make "dubious and often contradictory claims" is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.)

If a majority of students are devout Catholics and decide the school should pray a novena to the Blessed Virgin, should that be binding on other students? Is having a religious faith a prerequisite to playing football?

sqweels
11-24-2009, 07:52 PM
Basic things like prayers at graduation and sporting events are parts of a ceremony that most people don't associate with the government at all. When a majority of participants want them, having them is natural. Having the courts intervene to ban them is, by contrast, a major intrusion of the government into community life.
The these people are just plain wrong because public schools are government intitutions and that's all there is to it.

(And I think that government is roughly the least "reality-based" organization in the world, as demonstrated by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, corn ethanol requirements, Cash for Clunkers, and countless other examples. Having the federal government attack anyone else on the grounds that they make "dubious and often contradictory claims" is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.)
Don't be ridiculous. These recent issues are far, far, FAR too narrow to be definitional of secular government as a basic principle to be upheld.

And even so, they were indeed reality-based: Global warming and attacks by WMDs are reality-based fears; fears of evil spells or the wrath of God are not. Reducing inefficient fuel consumption and sending in troops are reality-based solutions; prayer or sending in witch doctors are not.

It's also reality-based to acknowledge that the government is fallible.

ITR champion
11-25-2009, 09:00 PM
How do you propose disentangling government and religion, when you are adamantly opposed to any effort to prevent the government from funding religious observances? In these threads, you've consistently characterized any attempts to keep government religiously neutral as an unconscionable intrusion of government into people's religious freedoms. Can you provide an example (hypothetical, if necessary, but real world would be ideal) of a government taking a positive stand on religion that you would view as an unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion?
I would basically go back to the founding fathers to respond to this. They wrote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" Now at the time, England has an establishment of religion, namely the Church of England, and I know no one who disputes that the founding fathers had this in mind when they wrote the establishment clause. In England at the time, only members of the Church of England could run for office, vote, teach in universities, hold certain ranks in the military, etc... The founding fathers disapproved of this, in large part because so many of the colonies were founded by refugees seeking religious freedom. Hence they wrote the First Amendment to guarantee that there would never be a Church of the United States, with basic rights restricted to its members. That's the reason for the establishment clause, and I find it a very praiseworthy reason, and one I'd be happy to defend.

The types of cases that the ACLU gets involved in are very different, typically demanding that the federal government restrict what individual employees of lower governments can say or do while on the job, or what can be displayed on government property. Nothing in the Constitution or any amendment supports such an interpretation. Basic government property such as parks and public schools is there for the benefit of the people, at least in theory. To censor all religious expression on public parks, or by public school employees, is not being "neutral", but rather is taking an active stand against religion. (Besides which, as we've seen, the ACLU tries to shut down volunteers and students as well as employees.)

And even if the original intent of the Constitution was to silence all on-the-job government employees on religious topics, the scope of government has changed since 1789. Back then, there were very few employees and very little government property. Now the government owns almost half the country and employs millions, most of whom consider themselves just ordinary people. So censorship of government employees and government property would be much more severe today than back in the 18th century.

Regardless of how they view themselves, how is someone who receives their paycheck from the government anything other than an employee of the government? What standard are you using to define whether someone is part of the government or not? The only reasoning I see here is how the person views his role. If a congressperson says that he doesn't "view himself as part of the government," and only got into the field because he wants to "help people," does that make him not a part of the government, and therefore, immune to laws regulating government action? If not, how is our hypothetical congressperson different from teachers?
Don't our politicians speak frequently about religion in public? If so, isn't it obvious to ask why low-level government employees, volunteers, and students are not allowed to say things which Congresscritters and Presidents are?