Join 3,562 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Yes Virginia, There are Christian ACLU Lawyers
December 27, 2004 2:22 PM   Subscribe

A call for Christian lawyers who have worked for the ACLU. The ACLU tries to be balanced , but considering the amount of effort they have put forth to inhibit Christian influence from/to the government, should a Christian lawyer work for them?
posted by urlnotfound (65 comments total)

 
Wow. This is so fucking stupid I don't even know where to start.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:29 PM on December 27, 2004


Probably the ones who actually believe that stuff about the hypocrites praying on street corners and the real believers going to their room to privately pray, yeah, I'd say those Christians - like the ones who've READ THE BOOK THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE IN - would dig the ACLU.
posted by u.n. owen at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2004


(to be fair, eyeballkid, I'm fairly sure based on posting history that urlnotfound isn't doing this to be a christian shill.)
posted by u.n. owen at 2:33 PM on December 27, 2004


It is an honest question. I am an atheist and a big supporter of both the ACLU and the separation of church and state. There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own). My question stands. Should a Christian lawyer work for the ACLU?
posted by urlnotfound at 2:38 PM on December 27, 2004


Fundynuts, get it in your goddamn heads: Secular people ain't the ones destroying your religion.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:38 PM on December 27, 2004


Stupid commie pinkos and their dastardly dislike of bible thumping, theocracy loving, Beatitude ignoring, fire and brimstone preaching zealots. I can't wait till jesus part deux and this time he's bringing his guns. Suck on that you liberals! We're gonna put the 'Christ' back in "Jesus Christ, don't shoot, it's only a library card and an NPR tote bag!"
posted by rocket_skates at 2:41 PM on December 27, 2004


To be honest, the ACLU is not what it used to be. It's gone from promoting honest-to-god minority causes (if you don't know the story of Skokie then it's worth a read) to promoting popular liberal causes without regard for the "civil liberties" nametag.

One doesn't have to disagree with the causes that the ACLU supports today to recognize that some positions they hold are not based on their traditional mission. The most glaring example in my mind is their stance on abortion (pro-choice). Being pro-choice may or may not be a good thing, but it's hardly a "civil right" in the same sense that free speech or habeus corpus is. If there is a legitimate argument about the "civil right" (in this case, the "right" of the mother to an abortion versus the "right" of the fetus to not be killed) then it's probably not the sort of thing the ACLU should get involved in.

That, and the annual anti-Christmas litigation is getting tiring. See a good perspective about anti-Christmas litigation in the WaPo (written by a Jewish columnist).

On preview - AlexReynolds one doens't have to be a fundamentalist to see problems with the ACLU. Not everybody is a religious fundamentalist, nor is every liberal Michael Moore.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2004


Alex. I agree with you...but I thought it was interesting to pick apart your sentence.

"fundynuts, get it in your goddam heads."

But wouldn't the fundy's believe they are the least to be condemned by God? Just interesting.

Like I said, I agree with you. Christians eat their own...and have been for a while. (and I personally think out of the broad span of believers in Christ...fundy's are the ones neck-deep in the tar pits).
posted by Hands of Manos at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2004


ok, so that's way over the top but i'm just so sick of all the bitching about the "war on christmas." go fuck yourselves. and happy new year.
posted by rocket_skates at 2:43 PM on December 27, 2004


Well, Mr. Reynolds, when you say it like that...

Part of the problem is that the lawsuits brought by the ACLU on behalf of atheists and Christians are largely opposite sides of the same coin. Lawsuits brought by atheists are most often premised on the Establishment Clause; those suits seek to restrict the government from endorsing religion or religious practice. Most lawsuits brought by Christians are premised on the free exercise clause; these suits often seek to restrict government action designed to disestablish religion but which crosses the line into treading on religious exercise. Most lawsuits brought or supported by the ACLU against the government in this area are based on the Establishment Clause, and therefore tend to be disproportionately by atheists.

Being pro-choice may or may not be a good thing, but it's hardly a "civil right" in the same sense that free speech or habeus corpus is.

Except for that whole pesky Roe v. Wade thing...
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:46 PM on December 27, 2004


To be honest, the ACLU is not what it used to be. It's gone from promoting honest-to-god minority causes (if you don't know the story of Skokie then it's worth a read) to promoting popular liberal causes without regard for the "civil liberties" nametag.

right...........
posted by rocket_skates at 2:48 PM on December 27, 2004


To be honest, the ACLU is not what it used to be. It's gone from promoting honest-to-god minority causes (if you don't know the story of Skokie then it's worth a read) to promoting popular liberal causes without regard for the "civil liberties" nametag.

yeah.....
posted by The White Hat at 2:59 PM on December 27, 2004


The ACLU tries to be balanced , but considering the amount of effort they have put forth to inhibit Christian influence from/to the government, should a Christian lawyer work for them?

Take your strawman and get him out of here. You you are so stupid I'm sure Fox or Bush have a job for you in their troll corp.
posted by Bag Man at 2:59 PM on December 27, 2004


The "Jesus with guns" and the "I know the sins first hand in order to cure them" Jesus has already passed...

Koresh?

We've moved right up to rapture-enddays-armegedon with the whole antichrist professing to follow the true path leads the land of sinners down the road to hell...

I think... Maybe I should read that book again,,,


I think that the ACLU is a VITAL part of a democracy... even when they vie for the child molestors, and murders, and talk show hosts who are wacked out on dope and spew bullshit for a living...

That's just part of a free society... Something that shouldn't be given up in order to save for that 1-in-a-million chance that something might happen to YOU!!! (fnord)
posted by Balisong at 3:00 PM on December 27, 2004


hey, bag man, uncalled for. read his comment in the thread. i and others i think were reacting to having heard so much griping over the holidays but no need to call names. my comments were in jest, though a little potty mouthed. let's all be friends. after all, i believe today is the second day of kwanza.
posted by rocket_skates at 3:02 PM on December 27, 2004


ok, i'm hungover and that was a horribly worded post. for shame.
posted by rocket_skates at 3:04 PM on December 27, 2004


What are they going to do with those "child molestors" after they vie for them, Bali?
posted by digaman at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2004


Rocket_Skates - the plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

I didn't say all of the ACLU's recent acts are pure liberal. I said more. Good for them defending all talk show hosts.

And, in the article, they even admit their liberal reputation:
"For many people, it may seem odd that the ACLU has come to the defense of Rush Limbaugh," ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said in a released statement.

On preview - Balisong - I fully agree with you in spirit and would more fully agree with you if that's what the ACLU were still doing. I was a card-carrying member and paid my dues regularly. But, where WAS the ACLU when a regustered sex-offender was intimidated into moving out of Marin County, CA and basically back into jail? This was over the summer, I can't find a good link. Maybe they were there and just failed, but I didn't remember seeing aything. Nor are they raising a big stink about the brand new Megan's Law website in CA that lets you search by address to find all of your local offenders with pictures and full addresses.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:06 PM on December 27, 2004


There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own).
Erm OK.
Our discussion is closed. No Christian, even liberal mainline Protestants or Roman Catholics, should *ever* work for civil liberties. Because an atheist says it goes against your religion.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:13 PM on December 27, 2004


Sorry Digiman,,, I didn't mean Vie, I meant Vai.
posted by Balisong at 3:19 PM on December 27, 2004


Devildancedlightly == re the plural of anecdotes is not "data"

so where is your data?



posted by Slagman at 3:30 PM on December 27, 2004


Actually what I meant was.. That even if someone is accused of murder-rape-pillage-etc. that I hope there is a system in place that will make sure that every possible avenue to make sure, one way or the other, that this person's rights that WE afford to all aren't violated because of heated topics such as murder, talk show hosts, pedofiles, insurgents, militas, and terrorists don't cloud the facts relevant to any particular case.

If and when found guilty, at least the ACLU used the tools at it's disposal to ensure that our rights IN GENERAL aren't trampled over in order to attack an opponent, perceived, or otherwise...
posted by Balisong at 3:35 PM on December 27, 2004


Slagman - working on it... can't find a good way to measure the amount of money spent by the national and various state-level ACLU groups per cause.

In the meantime, how come nobody has mentioned the recent ACLU privacy scandal in which the ACLU was caught violating their own website privacy policy?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:40 PM on December 27, 2004


(interesting to see that the blog post suffers from the same problem as mefi, and as currently discussed in meta).

anyway, i think impressions of the aclu are biassed somewhat by the kind of government you have. the govt is right-wing, so aclu, being based on a largely apolitical principle - appears left wing. but imagine, for a minute, if it were in cuba. no way would it appear left wing then.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2004


apolitical -> apartisan
posted by andrew cooke at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2004


> Nor are they raising a big stink about the brand new Megan's Law
> website in CA that lets you search by address to find all of your local
> offenders with pictures and full addresses.

When did we discover a right to be a sex offender on the quiet? I'd say that one's up there with the well-known right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.
posted by jfuller at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2004


I paid $5 for a membership to this?
posted by metaldark at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2004


"There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own)."

I don't see the conflict, actually. I know of Christians who show their faith through their good works and let how they live their own lives act as their testimony to non-Christians; it is for the non-Christians to make the decision whether this testimony is persuasive enough for them also to accept Christ. In other words, not every Christian is looking to convert the heathens at the point of a sword, or plaster the Ten Commandments in every court room.

Of course, I would also dispute the idea that the goal of the ACLU is "to each his own." The goal of the ACLU is the defense of the Constitutionally-protected civil liberties of the citizens of the United States, which does not directly equate to "to each his own," except to say "to each his own, as allowed within the framework of the Constitution of the United States of America."
posted by jscalzi at 3:43 PM on December 27, 2004


Note: someone just posted a link in this thread to www.foxnews.com.

Question (which I hope can be answered here in passing with a simple Yes or No): does the "guideline" regarding "NewsFilter" apply in the Blue comments section, as well as on the Front Page?

And on preview, "me too" to andrew cooke's comment of 3:41 PST .
posted by davy at 3:45 PM on December 27, 2004


Don't mean to, urm, derail, but...

urlnotfound: It is an honest question. I am an atheist and a big supporter of both the ACLU and the separation of church and state. There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own). My question stands. Should a Christian lawyer work for the ACLU?

I think this is a pretty interesting question, if I have it right: Is there a conflict of goals between Christianity and modern liberal democracy? All religions are not created equal in this respect. Judaism seems, at least to judge from the Torah, to take for its starting point the founding of a nation, even if it has now become a dispersed nation; it therefore has a fairly well-defined set of political practices. Islam (to my untrained eye, at least) looks to be a much more political and theocratic religion, as well. (That might be a good thing. My mind is open to the possibility, at least.) Christianity is more shifting; it started as a sort of rebel movement among outlaws worshipping what seemed like a blasphemous innovation; a few hundred years later, it was handed an empire, and handled it with varying success.

One could imagine a religion that's completely compatible with democratic freedoms and equalities. I think that would look something like the "deism" some of the "founding fathers" professed. Some people (I'm thinking of de Tocqueville here especially) seem to have suggested that the particular form of Christianity is quite amenable to democratic institutions: it is individualist, it seems to embrace the concept that "all should worship as they see fit," it dislikes church authority, et cetera. But is it really Christianity? Even if it is, is it really helping democracy?
posted by koeselitz at 3:48 PM on December 27, 2004


thedevildancedlightly- at least i provided something, you just spat an opinion out.
posted by rocket_skates at 3:51 PM on December 27, 2004


Should a Christian lawyer work for the ACLU?

I'm a lapsed Catholic and I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see any inconsistency. There's nothing specific to Christianity about how the state should behave, and it seems to me that a secular, neutral state is in the best interest of most religious people, allowing them to worship as they see fit. That's what I've never understood about people like konolia, who want the state to reflect their beliefs within its laws.

If there is a legitimate argument about the "civil right" (in this case, the "right" of the mother to an abortion versus the "right" of the fetus to not be killed) then it's probably not the sort of thing the ACLU should get involved in.

This conflict always exists! There is always a conflict between rights and/or duties; the legitimate argument can always be made that the majority has its own rights. The question is simply where the line will be drawn. There are no absolute rights.

Fundynuts, get it in your goddamn heads: Secular people ain't the ones destroying your religion.

What's the point of this response? Who do you expect to convince with it?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:56 PM on December 27, 2004


can't find a good way to measure the amount of money spent by the national and various state-level ACLU groups per cause.


my thoughts exactly.

davy I don't see why it would apply. Shouldn't your question be in MetaTalk anyway?
posted by rocket_skates at 3:59 PM on December 27, 2004


devildanced and davy please excuse me if my comments came off a little too snarky or confrontational. my apologies.
posted by rocket_skates at 4:03 PM on December 27, 2004


There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own).

Don't anthropomorphize Christianity. It hates it when you do that.

Your statement says more about what you think Christianity (and the ACLU is, than what either one of them actually is.
posted by spock at 4:03 PM on December 27, 2004


rocket_skates - taken in the right spirit. But, my inability to find that data in 5 minutes of Googling doesn't mean that it doesn't exist or that the point is invalid.

My "data" was based on simply going to www.aclu.org and seeing how many of the causes are traditional ACLU versus "modern" causes were listed. Contrast "free speech" with "reproductive rights" and "racial justice" for example.

I don't disagree with any of them, but don't think that things like abortion rights is a traditional constitutional right. Yes, Roe v. Wade said it was, but let's be honest and say that the justices made up a right to get the result they wanted. And it's not like there aren't plenty of other organizations fighting for reproductive rights (I'll assume you can Google for those).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:07 PM on December 27, 2004


What people often don't seem to get about the separation of church and state is simply that the state can't have an opinion about religion, and can't use its offices to express an opinion, or the APPEARANCE of one, be it for OR against.

Because of that, the Alabama judge wearing the 10 Commandments to work is obviously in the wrong. However, reachers who tell their students that they can't talk about Jesus in the classroom are equally wrong. The TEACHER can't express an opinion as to the validity of any religion, but that doesn't have anything to do with the STUDENT'S liberty to do so (or not to do so.) Suppressing religious conversation by students in school has the effect of expressing an opinion as to its validity.

If people would just get that separation simply means 'no opinion', many of the conflicts would just.... go away. To the fundies, I'd ask, "Is your religion so weak that you need the government to push it?" And to the atheists I'd ask, "Is your argument so inept that you need the government to suppress opposing viewpoints?"

There are many, many complex social issues in the world. This isn't one of them.
posted by Malor at 4:08 PM on December 27, 2004


I was a member of the ACLU at one time. I'm not, now, because I think it uses the dues of its members poorly. It spends time and effort to defend large corporations like Nike and multi-millionaires like Rush Limbaugh (same link as above), who are perfectly capable of defending themselves. Similarly, the ACLU has received significants amounts of money from the tobacco industry, and has then lobbied against legislation barring tobacco advertising.

When the ACLU stops helping those who are already well off, and focuses on protecting those who are not, I'll consider rejoining.
posted by WestCoaster at 4:15 PM on December 27, 2004


"There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the 'salvation' of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own)."

That's a deeply ignorant assertion. It confuses all sorts of disparate ideas.

Sometimes it's embarassing to be an atheist. Because of, you know, some of the other atheists.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:33 PM on December 27, 2004


Yes, Roe v. Wade said it was, but let's be honest and say that the justices made up a right to get the result they wanted.

Uh, how about we don't, and instead examine the historical antecedents of Roe, like Griswold v. Connecticut, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Meyer v. Nebraska. Justice Douglas, writing for the majority in Griswold, wrote:
The association of people is not mentioned in the Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights. The right to educate a child in a school of the parents' choice--whether public or private or parochial--is also not mentioned. Nor is the right to study any particular subject or any foreign language. Yet the First Amendment has been construed to include certain of those rights.
Similarly, just because the Constitution does not explicitly include abortion, that absence does not mean that abortion rights are not subject to constitutional protection.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:36 PM on December 27, 2004


monju_bosatsu - Fair enough, but to go the other direction, one could argue that Roe v. Wade was based on Dredd Scott (MonkeyFilter, sorry) which established property rights of slave owners in their slaves. Not exactly a proud Constitutional right.

Can we agree to hold off on this until the next SCOTUS appointment? I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to debate this then.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:49 PM on December 27, 2004


Sometimes it's embarassing to be an atheist. Because of, you know, some of the other atheists.

It's OK, EB. In that respect, it is much the same as many other belief sets.
posted by weston at 4:50 PM on December 27, 2004


Monju: As you know as an attorney, the right involved in Roe and Griswold is that of "privacy", the constitutional basis of which is pretty flimsy and your other citations conceptually more distant . Also, I think a lot of people across the political spectrum agree that Roe was not a great decision in these terms.

"...but let's be honest and say that the justices made up a right to get the result they wanted."

...to which you responded:

"Uh, how about we don't..."

Lots of respected constitutional scholars all across the political spectrum believe that that court, like many in that era (and, frankly, today and through all its history) was doing just that. Sometimes their rationales are more credible than others.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:54 PM on December 27, 2004


Ahh yes, equating Roe v. Wade with Dred Scott.. You're a good little Bush soldier, aren't you?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:06 PM on December 27, 2004


Space Coyote - the very link I posted for "Dred Scott" was in the context of Bush mentioning it as a test for SCOTUS nominees. RTFA before you snark, okay?

My point was merely that there are a lot of views on Roe v. Wade (see Ethereal Bligh's comment) and his aren't particularly stronger than any others.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:44 PM on December 27, 2004


I mean "Dredd Scott", excuse the spelling
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:47 PM on December 27, 2004


"There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the 'salvation' of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own)." makes sense in terms of Christianity being an ultimate explanation of the Universe, vs. The "Enlightenment Project" of western philosophy that promotes the idea that individuals can depend on their own individual understanding rather than that of political leaders, church leaders, gods, etc.
posted by protea at 5:52 PM on December 27, 2004


I'm not saying that the privacy rationale underlying the protection of reproductive rights is rock solid, but it is far more than "pretty flimsy." Justice Brandeis made a name for himself as a practicing lawyer by publishing a seminal article on the right of privacy, and concluded that the privacy rationale was extensive enough to support even a private cause of action in tort. The textualist camp of conservative legal theorists have made it a central project to discredit the right of privacy, and they have been quite succesful at it, unfortunately so in my opinion. As a side issue, I think the notion of a free-floating abstract right of privacy is something of a strawman, anyway. The cases in the "privacy" line, a few of which I cited above, find specific privacy rights in certain areas, like reproductive rights or marital rights. A topic for another day, perhaps...

As for the point that the decision in Roe v. Wade was politically motivated, I think any intelligent legal observer will agree with the notion that legal realism does have some explanatory power. Nonetheless, I stand by remark above that we should not flippantly disregard the reasoning of the majority in a Supreme Court decision simply because we think it may have been politically motivated. Certainly abortion politics were controversial at the time Roe was decided, and so they remain. Nonetheless, the Court did not pull its decision out of thin air; the history underlying Justice Blackmun's decision runs deep ("law office" history though it may be). A casual dismissal of the Court's decision is tantamount to declaring it wrong because you disagree with the political result.

As for the Dred Scott (and it is Dred, with just one trailing d) issue, I'll leave that aside for now. I should note, however, that the comparison between Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade, valid or not, is premised on the purported judicial activism exhibited in the two opinions, not any similarity between the rights upheld in each. I wish I had more time to discuss these issues in depth. Alas, I have a much more pressing and much less interesting trial of my own to prepare for.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2004


"My point was merely that there are a lot of views on Roe v. Wade (see Ethereal Bligh's comment) and his aren't particularly stronger than any others."

This implies that the majority of the Supreme Court in 1973 based their judgement on a ruling long obviated by Amendments 13-15, inclusive (not to mention the US Civil War), rather than standing law directly on point, which had not been rendered irrelevant by a nation-rending war and a subsequent revision of the Constitution.

I find this doubtful.

It's also why I find any supposed link between Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott deeply unconvincing on its face other than as now-exposed code for certain groups who prefer their agenda sneak under the radar of more politically moderate Americans.
posted by jscalzi at 6:01 PM on December 27, 2004


It really doesn't matter what the legal underpinnings of Roe are, the issue will be moot pretty soon. You can see the dread foreshadowing in the speed with which Bobbie Jo Stinnett's late-term fetus became a baby in the media; all that had to happen to it was being cut out of its strangled mother by the murderer. If the thing is that close to being human--only the thickness of a uterus away--then might as well quit being so self-deceiving, and call it human even on the other side of the thin flesh curtain. But that's impossible to square with the animating principle of Roe, which permits the thing to be killed any time right up until it's fully emerged. Ergo, animating principal (and decision) are on the way out, and soon.

Well, Roe was a dumb decision anyway, one that couldn't have been expected to last more than a swing or two of the pendulum. But, you know, it isn't legal arguments that are going to neuter it, it's people seeing those late-term 3D ultrasounds. Coming soon in full color. Heh, science marches on, self-centered self-deception heads for dustbin of history. Gotta love it.
posted by jfuller at 6:41 PM on December 27, 2004


As an aside, someone said in an earlier discussion involving the ACLU that they felt the Institute for Justice is more successful these days in the protection of individuals' rights from the interference of the state.

The IFJ and its "Merry Band of Litigators" have taken on a number of interesting cases, including breaking the taxicab monopoly in Denver.

Nothing to do with religion or the ACLU, I know, but if you're disenchanted with the ACLU, the IFJ may be worth checking out.
posted by F4B2 at 6:51 PM on December 27, 2004


Jfuller writes: "But that's impossible to square with the animating principle of Roe, which permits the thing to be killed any time right up until it's fully emerged."

"However, Justice Blackmun found that some abortion restrictions may pass muster. The decision established a system of trimesters, whereby the State cannot restrict a woman's right to an abortion during the first trimester, the State can regulate the abortion procedure during the second trimester "in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health," and in the third trimester, demarcating the viability of the fetus, a State can choose to restrict or even to proscribe abortion as it sees fit." (from Wikipedia)

Before we too-hastily consign Roe to the dustbin of history, let's try not to be so ignorant of what it says -- and additionally attempt to pass along that ignorance to others as snarky color commentary, hmmmm?
posted by jscalzi at 7:16 PM on December 27, 2004


Right, jfuller. Because people will see this and "know" that it's a "human being." Big news--late-term abortion has been illegal except in extraordinary cases of medical emergency since jump. Blastocysts, on the other hand, are not people, babies, fetuses, or even embryos.

And I'm a churchgoing Christian who supports the ACLU and who believes wholeheartedly in the separation of church and state in the US.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:23 PM on December 27, 2004


Part of the problem is that the lawsuits brought by the ACLU on behalf of atheists and Christians are largely opposite sides of the same coin...

Someone should inform the Christians that the fellow who runs the ACLU is actually a devout Catholic, not a pagan atheist commie fag.

Fundynuts, get it in your goddamn heads: Secular people ain't the ones destroying your religion.

What's the point of this response? Who do you expect to convince with it?


I don't expect to convince anyone. I am simply expressing my frustration with intentionally stupid people repeatedly putting forth questionable ideas and calling them smart.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:57 PM on December 27, 2004


jfullerem -- For the sake of argument only: Regarding the 3-D ultrasounds and 3rd trimester pregnancies (which Roe doesn't limit), would it make more sense to just allow pre-birth abortions and post-birth infancicide? (I can't find a good Peter Singer link, but his basic idea is that the distinction between birth and not-yet-born is arbitrary.) Therefore we should just allow abortion/infanticide anywhere from conception to 6 months of life...

That's FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:19 PM on December 27, 2004


I'm both a Christian and a card-carrying member of the ACLU. (And sometimes I wish I were a lawyer.)
posted by Vidiot at 9:16 PM on December 27, 2004


Note: someone just posted a link in this thread to www.foxnews.com.

And ... ?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:24 PM on December 27, 2004


Monju: I'm not happy to be in bed with the people I'm in bed with when I criticize Roe (I mean, I'm a card-carrying member of both ACLU and NARAL), but I think it's a bad decision (and that's a learned, though lay, judgment). I agree with (for example) Jefferey Rosen that in overreaching this way the SCOTUS polarized an issue that would have been decided in the pro-choice direction by the democratic process that was short-circuited by the decision. In my view, RvW is a good example of the hidden cost associated with well-intentioned "judicial activism". (A term that I accept as legitimate but, contrary to conservatives, I believe also applies, increasingly, to the Rehnquist court.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:33 AM on December 28, 2004


I believe there's a line in the Gospels that goes something like "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" and so forth.

Isn't "Christian" is a follower of Christ's teachings and whatnot? They surely can't all want to wear ugly robes with commandments on them and worry about two words in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Of course, I'm not really any good at oversimplification. I don't see why a Christian couldn't be an ACLU lawyer, but I can see why some would think it impossible.

I can't see the Commandments-wearing judge as once, that's for sure.
posted by codger at 7:51 AM on December 28, 2004


er, as "one" not "once".
posted by codger at 7:59 AM on December 28, 2004


I don't see a disconnect between the two groups neither. In fact, I thought the point of the ACLU was to help ensure inclusion for all groups.

So, in answer to the original question, I don't see why there would be a problem with a Christian lawyer, or a Muslim one, or a Satanist or atheist or Zoroastrian or Druid or unfrozen caveman lawyer. That inclusiveness is the ACLU's reason for being, and also its main PR problem.

I'm proud to support them.
posted by chicobangs at 8:46 AM on December 28, 2004


I'm with Steve_at_Linnwood on this one. And? I'll post a link to Fox and Harvard University. So?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:50 AM on December 28, 2004


There is a conflict of the goals of Christianity (the "salvation" of everyone) and the ACLU (to each his own). My question stands. Should a Christian lawyer work for the ACLU?

"The goals of Christianity?" Are people genuinely oblivious that if there is such a thing as "Christianity," it is an entirely conceptual beast, and as a consequence, cannot have "goals?" There is a body of individuals who refer to themselves as Christians. There are organizations called Christian churches. There are bodies of writing detailing different viewpoints of what individuals believe Christianity means. So when soemone starts talking about something the goals of Christianity I'm calling bullshit with an agenda right off the bat.

The "goal" of the ACLU, a single identifiable organization, is quite a bit easier to peg, you can read it right at the "about" section of their website - "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." One of the guarantees of the constitution is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Obviously there is an argument in progress in this country with respect to exactly what that means. Many of us take it to the extent that there should be an absolute separation between the church and the state. And yes, many of us who hold this view are, like myself, what you would identify as Christians (this is not how I think of myself but that's another discussion). I consider this interpretation of the First Amendment to be not only best for society but best for religious organizations and individuals with specific beliefs. I also believe it to be entirely consistent with my beliefs. I also know that there are many self-described Christians who believe likewise.

The ACLU promotes this viewpoint as well, and so takes parts in cases where it believes religion is playing an innappropriate part in government. Since the conglomerate of self-professed beliefs and organized churches identified as "Christianity" happens to be the dominant one (by its self-reported incidence in the population) in this country it is inevitable that this issue will arise most frequently with the influence of the "Christian" religion. "Christians" who believe as I do are not bothered by this and do not feel personally threatened by it because we agree with the principle.

So, the ridiculously obvious answer to the question, "Should a Christian lawyer work for the ACLU?" is certainly, if she or he supports the principles which that organization promulgates. If, on the other hand, an individual was of the belief that the interpretation of the First Amendment is incorrect or at odds with their beliefs then no, they probably shouldn't work for the ACLU. Thanks, this thread is now finished. NEXT!
posted by nanojath at 10:30 PM on December 28, 2004


I'm both a Christian and a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

I, for one, am shocked. Card-carrying is the root of all evil. Unless of course you mean baseball cards.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 AM on December 29, 2004


It actually makes perfect sense to me. It should be remembered that the first amendment (and what part of "no law" is so difficult to understand) came out of the realization that separation between church and state was perhaps the only alternative to civil war. Some American denominations such as The Religious Society of Friends and Unitarians tend to be strong separationists because they know their history. One of the historic fallouts of the reformation wars is that a lot of the dissident sects developed separationist ideologies. Out of this comes Madison's comment that mixing church and state diminishes both. "Render onto caesar what is caesar's and render onto God what is God's" is interpreted as a literal call for government neutrality in religious matters.

While today we talk about Chistians as one big happy family, in the 18th century, having the full scope of civil liberties meant not only being a Christian, but being a member of the sect favored by whoever ran your local government. There is a parallel between the "under god" phrase in the pledge today, and the required oath to the Church of England 200 years ago. What most of the people making appeals to the Founding Fathers for wanting a Christian nation forget, is that there was no such thing as a "Chistian" nation. There were Catholic nations, Lutheran nations and of course England.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2004


« Older The real Spirit of 1776....  |  Alabama judge wears robe with ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments