Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Why The ACLU is Right.

In a small town about one hour from Indianapolis, the city is removing a cross from their Christmas tree in the town center.  The cross stood atop the tree in Knightstown IN until a local resident questioned its legality and engaged the ACLU to file a suit.   The city, in its wisdom, realized that the cross violated the 1st amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court and removed the cross, stating they couldn't win.  Of course a wave of people attacked the ACLU as anti-Christian suggesting they should leave Christmas alone.  This is a common tome coming from people who think their rights are being violated if they can't have their government support their religious view.  But the 1st amendment is there to protect us all.  The ACLU has been a champion for that protection since its beginning.  They want to hold the government accountable to the limits placed on it by the Constitution.  While the cross might seem innocent it makes a statement of the government is choosing to elevate a single faith tradition over another.  That is what the court and the founders both were worried about.  It isn't that the cross if offensive it is more about the fact that it is picking the life choices of some citizens over another when it comes to faith.  Some people are worried that if we take the cross off the tree that the next thing will be taking them off churches.  That is not a good argument as the ACLU would fight FOR the churches in that situation.  What is more likely is that the more we allow the government to support a single religion the more likely they will discriminate against another.  We have seen it in the past and thankfully we are more aware of the diversity that has been part of our country from the beginning.  To point out that the ACLU will fight for religious rights for Christians (one of the accusations was that the ACLU is anti-Christian remember) you can look here and pick any of the cases where the ACLU championed Christian rights http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/

In the case of Knightstown the majority of people there want the cross, but the Constitution is not concerned with the majority.  Just like communities that have a majority of people who would ban guns, the Constitution stops them because the founders felt freedoms were more important that the opinions of a group of people.  Rights are not up for a vote.  But the people of Knightstown do have a response that is both powerful and legal.  They are putting crosses on their lawns and windows.  Where they should be.  No one is stopping the people from celebrating their important holiday but the government should be free of choosing a religion to elevate and that is good for all of us.

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