The ACLU has been highly praised and criticized. In this post, I will evaluate the validity of these praises and criticisms, and attempt to answer the highly controversial question: is the ACLU good for America? Liberals claim the ACLU has preserved the Constitution by defending liberty against government abuse and illegal policies. On the other hand, Conservatives argue that the ACLU is a threat to the United States, and that it uses the courts to subvert the Constitution, protect criminals, and attack religion. I believe that while the ACLU has defended some important liberties, their atheistic agenda has caused more harm than good.
At this point in my evaluations, I usually address the strong and weak points of both the Liberal and Conservative perspectives. However, this issue must be analyzed differently. Both viewpoints have a fatal flaw: they use their personal values as evidence to support their claims that the ACLU is good or bad for America. Their logic is flawed because they are basing their claims on evidence that is based upon opinion. Therefore, I will be unable to provide a definitive answer to this issue, but will instead provide an answer based upon my own values.
First, let’s begin by talking about abortion. I firmly believe that abortion is morally wrong and should only be considered in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergencies. The ACLU claims that women have the right to abortion and support women’s reproductive rights. Liberals strongly agree with this position and therefore conclude that the ACLU is good for America. Conversely, I and most Conservatives are pro-life and therefore view the ACLU as a threat to the United States.
Another controversial issue is whether it should be illegal to burn the American flag. Liberals and the ACLU believe that freedom of speech must be protected at all costs. Even when we disagree with the message being expressed. I, however, agree with the Conservatives. They claim that while protecting the First Amendment is important, it is also important to preserve the symbol of our freedom and our nation.
Despite disagreeing with many of their positions on how to protect our First Amendment rights, I would be amiss to not acknowledge the good causes the ACLU has supported. A poignant example is their efforts to prevent racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. The ACLU has played a huge role in limiting racial disparities in sentencing. Specifically, there has been a lot of racial disparities in cocaine sentencing. “As part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, Congress ignored empirical evidence and created a 100-to-1 disparity between the amounts of crack and powder cocaine required to trigger certain mandatory minimum sentences.” 1* This is significant because, “…the majority of people arrested for crack offenses are Black. By 2004…. Blacks served virtually as much time in prison for a nonviolent drug offense (58.7 months) as whites did for a violent offense (61.7 months). In 2010, 85 percent of the 30,000 people sentenced for crack cocaine offenses… were African-American.” 1* The ACLU has fought and continues to fight against such racial discrimination in the criminal justice system and other areas of society.
In order to reach a conclusion on this question, we must balance the importance of many controversial issues against each other. Although I disagree with the ACLU’s position on burning the American flag, I consider the issue of abortion more important. We must make such judgements when forming our opinion on this question. Because I value the issue of abortion more than other issues, I believe the ACLU poses a threat to America.
Most Conservatives have reached the same conclusion. Despite the good things the ACLU has accomplished, their bad deeds outweigh them. One of the ACLU’s “mantras” is that “Freedom can’t protect itself” so we must fight to protect our liberties. The problem is, the ACLU protects, ”dope dealers, terrorists, serial killers, rapists, American Nazis, pornographers and illegal aliens.” 2*
In addition to disagreeing with many of the ACLU’s positions, I also disapprove of its atheistic perspective. The ACLU claims this country was not based upon Judeo-Christian principles, but I firmly disagree. By loosely interpreting the Constitution to fit its needs, the ACLU is trying to undermine our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage. The ACLU is trying to get rid of “In God We Trust” from our coins and “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
To conclude, the ACLU has protected some people’s freedoms. From decreasing racial discrimination in the justice system to defending many people’s individual rights, the ACLU has demonstrated their determination to uphold our freedom of speech. However, in my opinion, the ACLU is a threat to America because of its belief in abortion and other Liberal issues. This organization is also bad for the United States because of its atheistic perspective, which it tries to enforce by loosely interpreting the Constitution.