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The ACLU's Battle for Perceived Value: Being on the Right Side of a Contentious Issue

By       Message Timothy Cavanaugh     Permalink
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I recently received an email from a close friend of mine. Now this friend and I get along very well because I am, as he would describe me; a hippie, welfare-state, bleeding-heart liberal (although I dress more conservatively then he does and believe strongly in hard work) and he is, in my opinion; a NASCAR, red-state, made-in-America conservative (although I don't think he's actually a race fan and he lives in California). As you can imagine this ideological polar-opposite relationship makes for some pretty spirited conversations.

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For my readers who already know me here is just a little bit more about him. He's the kind of person that will only own an American car and loves to make fun of my Honda while I'm driving us to lunch. No surprise, he's a proud member of the Republican Party. Now I don't think he's so loyal to the GOP that he won't admit there have been some bad Republican politicians and policies over the years (although very few if you ask him) but he is enough of a loyalist to say that shy of a few Dem-superheros (JFK comes to mind) there are no good Democrats. Suffice it to say he is a hard-core conservative.

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Now this email he sent me was of a kind that I'd received numerous times from him before. These emails cover many different subjects but they are always; dripping with patriotism, very often include a religious agenda and unfortunately, consistently light on reasoning. This particular one was a list of all the state preambles, the majority of which included a reference to God. As well it had a statement at the end that attacked the ACLU (a common theme in these literary masterpieces) and ""out-of-control federal courts"" for being "wrong" on their position in the separation-of-church-and-state debate. Wrong? I'm sorry; I thought America included the right to think as you pleased.

This email hit on two issues that I absolutely can't stand the prevailing American opinion of. First is the mission and value of the American Civil Liberties Union. Most Americans, primarily due to bad press, think that the ACLU is made up of a bunch of Godless, liberal, commie, religion-hating attorneys and that all they do all day long is look for ways to stifle religion in this country. Quite to the contrary the ACLU stands for one thing and one thing only which is the preservation of the civil liberties guaranteed to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution. And as far as their efforts, they are fighting for equality, civil liberties and fair treatment under the law, now how can that be a bad thing? And by the way after they put in all the work fighting for our rights all Americans, even the hard-core conservatives that love to hate them so, receive the benefits. The ACLU should be applauded for it's commitment to the preservation of the principles in our constitution and not vilified by those not sophisticated enough to understand what they are doing.

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My name is Timothy Cavanaugh and I am an independent writer specializing in political, environmental and social justice issues. I regularly submit op-eds to various newspapers and blogs and I enjoy debating my positions with others when I get the (more...)
 

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