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ACLU: The Left Hand Doesn’t Know What the Right Hand is Doing!

Most everyone has read the most recent case the ACLU has inserted themselves into.  The case involves a second-grader who wants to sing “Awesome God” at a voluntary, although school endorsed, talent show.  Here’s a brief snapshot of the ACLU’s position (emphasis mine):

"There is a distinction between speech by a school and speech by individual students," said ACLU of New Jersey cooperating attorney Jennifer Klear of Drinker, Biddle & Reath in New York City. "The Constitution protects a student’s individual right to express herself, including the right to express herself religiously."

According to the complaint filed by the second-grade student and her parents, an elementary school in Frenchtown prohibited the student, Olivia Turton, from singing the song "Awesome God" in a voluntary, after-school talent show. The talent show was open for anyone from first through eighth grades who wished to play solo instruments, dance, perform a skit or sing to karaoke. Students were permitted to select their own songs or skits so long as they were “G-rated.”

Because the school left the choice of songs up to each individual student, the ACLU said, no reasonable observer would have believed that the school endorsed the content of each student’s selection.

On the outside, one could think this was a favorable move by the ACLU.  One may actually believe that the ACLU is doing what we expect and encourage the ACLU to do - stand up for the civil liberties of an American.  Perhaps this is the case, but do you recall the position that the ACLU has on Boy Scouts chartered via public schools? (emphasis, again is mine)

The Boy Scouts of America is pulling the charters of thousands of scouting units from public schools in an effort to spare them from lawsuits threatened by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In a letter sent to the BSA last month, the ACLU vowed to take legal action against public schools and other taxpayer-funded governmental agencies that charter Scout groups, claiming their sponsorship amounts to religious discrimination and violates the separation of church and state.

The ACLU specifically takes issue with the Scouts’ pledge of allegiance to God and country and the organization’s prohibition of homosexuals as scout masters.

What, my friends, is truly the difference between the two and why does the ACLU have completely different positions in these cases?

  1. Both take place in the public school building
  2. Both are "endorsed" by a public school
  3. Both are voluntary
  4. Both take place outside of school hours
  5. Both have religious components

No one is obligated to participate in the talent show and no one is obligated to show up to watch the talent show.  Boy Scouts - if you don’t want to belong, you certainly don’t need to show up after hours at a school to participate.  In both the case of the second-grader’s song and in the tradition of the Boy Scouts, clearly there are religious components.  Why is it that the ACLU would come to the defense of the second grader under the disguise of "freedom of religious expression" and comes out fighting against the boy Scouts under the umbrella of "religious discrimination" and violating "separation of church and state?"  Aren’t we dealing with cross-purposes here?  Whoops….I probably shouldn’t use the word "cross" huh?  …and, again, this quote:

Because the school left the choice of songs up to each individual student, the ACLU said, no reasonable observer would have believed that the school endorsed the content of each student’s selection.

Whether or not the school picked the songs for the students, it is a SCHOOL SANCTIONED EVENT and a natural conclusion can be drawn that the school was aware of what the students were doing - heck, they even established guidelines for them, right?  So, according to the ACLU, the school should allow her to sing religious songs at a SCHOOL SANCTIONED EVENT but does not feel that schools should endorse a group that has religious beliefs?

…and then they wonder why their organization has lost credibility on both sides of the proverbial fence.

Jay said:

Very good points Merri. We still believe the ACLU is a bunch of leftards.

Seth said:

The only consistancy here is that a school is the ACLU's target.

Merri said:

Seth - you do have a point!