The ACLU vs America

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Focus on the Family magazine
September 28, 2005
The ACLU vs. America
by Pete Winn, associate editor

A new book exposes the underpinnings of the American Civil Liberties Union.

It has waged a war on America for eight decades — and most people don't even realize it. It opposes the right of parents to raise children with faith and values. It opposes true freedom of religion. It's seeking to redefine marriage. And it's out to remake the country into what can only be called a nightmare.That's the picture painted in the new book, "The ACLU vs. America."

Co-author Craig Osten talked with CitizenLink about the book and the ACLU's design for the nation.

Q. Craig, most people think the ACLU may have started out good in wanting to defend civil liberties, but took a wrong turn somewhere. But your book seems to indicate that's just not the case.

A. Right from the start, the ACLU was about promoting a different agenda for America. We actually went back and found original quotes from Roger Baldwin, the founder of the ACLU, and quotes from interviews he did in the mid-1970s, where he readily acknowledged that the ACLU had Communist and socialist roots.

For example, in 1935, in his 30th anniversary Harvard class book, Baldwin wrote: "I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for the abolishment of the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek social ownership of all property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."

Some of Baldwin's mentors were Emma Goldman, who was an anarchist who was actually deported to the then-Soviet Union, and Margaret Sanger, who was head (and founder) of Planned Parenthood. In fact, if you go to the Emma Goldman Archive on the Internet, you'll find that her radical thoughts and beliefs were instrumental in the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union.

So the organization is not at all the "pro-American" defender of free speech, as it would have us believe?

No it's not. In fact, from the very beginning, Roger Baldwin developed a strategy to portray them as pro-America, when they really weren't. He said in 1917: "Do steer away from making the ACLU look like a socialist enterprise. We want to look like patriots in everything we do. We want to wave a lot of flags, talk a great deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country — and to show that we really are the folks that stand for the spirits of the institutions."

So from the very beginning, the ACLU has deliberately tried to show themselves as being pro-American, but the really aren't.

I'm getting the impression that the ACLU is the foundation of — the cornerstone of — the ultraliberal movement. Is it the ancestor of everything we in the pro-family movement are fighting against?

Yes, basically, it is. These are people who wanted to reshape America to turn it into a socialist state, where all morals are relative, and the Church and the state can have no say over personal behavior.

For example, when Roger Baldwin got married in 1919, his vows basically said that both the Church and state should have no control over what people do. He said: "To us who cherish the vision of a free human society, the present institution of marriage among us is a grim mockery of essential freedom…" Sounds like the ACLU position of today.

It does, and it goes on. He said: "We deny without reservation the moral right of state and church to bind by force of law a relationship that cannot be maintained by the power of love alone." The whole group Baldwin belonged to basically believed the Church should have no moral authority in society and that the state could not have any say in controlling any kind of behavior — including sexuality, or "individual rights."

Obviously, that philosophy has carried over into today's ACLU and today's society, and as you point out in the book, they've filed lawsuits in just about every area of society in order to bring about change.

Let's talk about the ACLU's vision for America. If they had their way — and frequently, they do — what would they want to see?

America would be a totally secular state. Religious expression would be totally limited to people in their homes. It would almost be like an underground church in China. There would be no restrictions on the distribution of child pornography. There would be no prosecution of sexual predators. There would be no restrictions on abortion or on assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Marriage as we've known it would essentially be abolished. It would be redefined in several different ways, beyond same-sex marriage. The ACLU's policy guide specifically says they support the right to polygamy — which would tie-in directly with Roger Baldwin's ideas about marriage.

Keep in mind, this isn't a policy the group used to have 80 years ago, it's one they still have today. This past January, Nadine Strassen, the president of the ACLU, told an audience at Yale Law School, the following: "We have defended the right for individuals to engage in polygamy. We defend the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals."

The fulfillment of the ACLU's vision would be to use international law to supersede the U.S. Constitution to reshape America into a socialist state.

So it really is the ACLU versus — not just America — but versus the family.

A. Versus the family, versus marriage, versus religion, versus human life, versus Christmas. When we wrote the book, that's the reason we broke up the chapters the way we did, because the ACLU is basically going after every institution that symbolizes America.
Let's take their war on Christmas. Nothing is more American than Christmas. Ninety-six percent of Americans of all faiths celebrate Christmas. And yet, the ACLU goes around the country trying to censor any public expression of Christmas. For example: Nativity scenes.

Eighty-seven percent of the American public has no problem with a Nativity scene on a courthouse lawn. Even the Supreme Court has said it's OK, as long as you surround it with other, more secular, symbols. But the ACLU continues to go after Christmas. Because when you start taking away the basic American institutions — and start talking away America's heritage, you can start to mold the country in the way you want it molded — and that's exactly what they are trying to do.

Haven't they been successful in making "ACLU" synonymous, at least in the public's mind, with "free speech" and the ability of people to say what they want?

Yes, but the ACLU is very selective in how it defines free speech. They are OK with freedom of expression, as long as it is expression that they agree with. We call them the number one religious censor in the country. For example, in Louisiana right now, in Tangipahoa Parish, before the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the ACLU filed a lawsuit because a prayer was uttered in a public school. And the head of the ACLU there actually called for jail time for the people who prayed — that they be imprisoned because this prayer was allowed at a public school — and then compared them to Al Qaeda, the people who blew up the buildings in New York on 9/11.

The ACLU, on the other hand, has supported the freedom of speech of NAMBLA — the North American Man-Boy Love Association, in a lawsuit in Massachusetts, where NAMBLA had posted material on its Web site on how to rape and murder young boys. Two men got the information — and did exactly that. The same ACLU that says people should go to jail for praying in a public school, says you can't hold NAMBLA accountable for what they say.

This is the same ACLU, which, with its allies, have attacked people like Dr. James Dobson; who have taken a principled stand against homosexual behavior; and then when the Matthew Shepard case happened, tried to link the words of Dobson and other Christian leaders, and tried to say that their comments somehow led to Shepard's murder — and needed to be silenced.

My understanding is that the ACLU isn't just a passive organization which reluctantly brings lawsuits after people complain to them. They actively go out looking for people so they can file suits to accomplish their purposes, don't they?

Yes, they do. In fact, the ACLU has sent memos out to its chapters: "Go out and find Ten Commandments displays (and other public display of religion) and let us know about them so we can file lawsuits against them."

One of their latest cases is the cross at Mt. Soledad, a war memorial near San Diego. An ACLU attorney is going after that to try to have it removed, right now, even though 76 percent of the people in the area want the cross to remain.

But the ACLU has shown nothing but contempt for the will of the people. They've done this in the whole same-sex marriage battle, where constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage have been passed all over the country by overwhelming margins, but the ACLU — either before the amendments get on the ballot, or after they get voted on — has tried to get courts to deny the will of the people.

In many of these cases, they proclaim their belief that the majority of the people are out of touch, and should not have a say on certain fundamental issues.

For example, Ira Glasser, the former executive director of the ACLU, said, after Alaskan voters passed their constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage in 1998: "Today's results prove that certain fundamental issues should not be left up to a majority vote."

Not only do they seek out ways to eliminate our heritage, but they also want to deny people democracy. That's a pretty frightening prospect, Craig, especially in light of their backers. Don't they have a lot of financial support behind them?

They do. The ACLU has a war chest of $175 million, a figure which is right off their IRS Form 990, which was filed earlier this year. They have a number of corporate sponsors. For example, the Progressive Foundation, which is Progressive Insurance, has given them $8 million. The Ford Foundation has given them $7 million.

They have also received several large donations from George Soros and his Open Society Institute — Soros, of course, being the one who has bankrolled many efforts to get medical marijuana initiatives passed, essentially legalizing marijuana — and other major donors, such as Levi Strauss and Hewlett Packard.

They have amassed this huge war chest to advance their agenda.

For the last few weeks during the Roberts Supreme Court confirmation hearings, many people have been talking intensely about the need for judicial restraint — and restraining the role of the courts. What you're talking about here would seem to fit in with that.

Q. Am I right in thinking that what the ACLU wants to foist on America is exactly what we're concerned activist judges will try to force on us?

A. Right. What the ACLU is pushing is an activist court. Just recently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a current justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the former chief counsel of the ACLU, was talking to the New York City Bar Association, and told them the Court needs someone who's going to be an activist for women's rights and for international law, to trump the U.S. Constitution.

They see the court as a way to coerce the American people — so that we will be forced to accept their agenda. They know they can use the courts to bypass the voters and state legislators.

Additional Notes:

Roger Baldwin: Founder, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, 1884-1981. Biography by Robert C. Cottrell, Professor of History and American Studies at California State University, Chico.

By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America's foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation's leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin's expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush.

Believing that only the best sorts of people should be involved in an organization like the ACLU, Baldwin sought to limit the membership rolls. At the same time, theACLU became involved in a series of noteworthy cases, including those involving Sacco and Vanzetti, John T. Scopes, and the Scottsboro Boys. ACLU attorneys helped to reshape American constitutional law, with the idea of the First Amendment providing a shield for "preferred freedoms" beginning to take hold. All the while, Baldwin continued to back a number of left-wing endeavors, supporting various United Front and Popular Front enterprises, writing about and visiting Soviet Russia, and urging that radicals and liberals in the United States join together to fight fascism, racism, and poverty.

As the 1960s began, Baldwin remained a presence within the ACLU, which had become, to his displeasure, something of a mass organization under his successor, Patrick Murphy Malin.

Emma Goldman, anarchist and socialist. PBS “American Experience” at

Margaret Sanger, legacy of racism and eugenics. See: The Truth About Margaret Sanger. Planned Parenthood's legacy of racism and eugenics is firmly established through its founder Margaret Sanger.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all." [Nikita Khrushchev , February 25, 1956 20th Congress of the Communist Party]

"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society." [Hillary Clinton, 1993]

"We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans ..." [President Bill Clinton, 'USA Today' March 11, 1993: Page 2A]

November 21, 2005 11:01 AM  

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