In my previous post, I discussed the Liberal perspective on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this post, I will consider the Conservative viewpoint. While the Liberals claim the ACLU has greatly benefited the United States, Conservatives argue the ACLU is a major threat to the U.S and is, “a left-wing organization that uses the courts to subvert the Constitution, protect criminals, and attack religion.” 1*
First, the ACLU supports Liberal causes in the majority of its cases. The Conservatives compare the ACLU to ‘card-carrying hypocrites’, claiming that “only a constitution that can be stretched, twisted and tied in knots could support most of the causes advocated by the ACLU.” 2* Conservatives claim that the ACLU advocates for Liberal causes that are wrong, including abortion and protecting criminals. President of the Alliance Defense Fund, Alan Sears, JD, inquires, “How can any organization be so vocally committed to happiness and ‘freedom’ but yet be so deeply opposed to recognizing the infinite value of- and the right to- life itself?” 2*
Mary Meehan, writer and public speaker, echoes Sears’ claims. She argues that the ACLU has “violated its own traditions and principles” by advocating for women’s reproductive rights. 2* According to their website, the ACLU, “…helped to finally secure insurance coverage for abortion for women serving in the Peace Corps whose lives are in danger or who are survivors of rape or incest. (Their) …work was fundamental to advancing the Shaheen Amendment, which provides health care equity to women serving in the military.” 3* The ACLU has also supported Planned Parenthood, which is abhorred by many Conservatives. Conservatives are pro-life, and firmly believe that abortion is equivalent to murder. By supporting women’s reproductive freedoms, the ACLU becomes a major threat in Conservatives’ eyes.
The ACLU also protects criminals and other minorities like communists and terrorists. The ACLU claims they are improving the criminal justice system. “By fighting for nationwide reforms to police practices, indigent defense systems, disproportionate sentencing, and government abuses of authority in the name of fighting crime, and drug policies which have failed to achieve public safety and health while putting an unprecedented number of people behind bars, Criminal Law Reform Project is working to reverse the tide of over incarceration, protect constitutional rights, eliminate racial disparities, and increase government accountability and transparency.” 3*
However, according to a New York Times article, “Conservative groups like the Washington Legal Foundation charge that the A.C.L.U. represents ”dope dealers, terrorists, serial killers, rapists, American Nazis, pornographers and illegal aliens.” 4* Indeed, President Bush himself declared he would never become a member of the ACLU, “…because they’re always coming down on the side of the criminals.” 2*
The ACLU also tries to drive its own agenda. According to the American Enterprise Institute, the ACLU is trying to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from our coins, ‘Under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance, and the ten commandments from all public places. 2* Minister D. James Kennedy, PhD of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church says that the ACLU “has hidden behind a claim to fight for people’s rights, while it actually takes them away and subverts the will of the people.” 2* Conservatives claim the ACLU, “…is certainly working to defend rights. The inconsistency of its record, however, raises the question of just whose liberties they are working to preserve.” 2*
Conservatives claim this left-wing group enforces its agenda by loosely interpreting the Constitution to fit its needs. Conservatives believe that the government should respect the people’s religious rights. Liberals believe that the founding fathers were not Christians, and the U.S. was not established as a Christian nation. Because they wanted the government to be neutral with respect to religion, the founding fathers created the First Amendment. 2* However, Conservatives claim that the ACLU’s atheistic perspective is still a religion and, by trying to enforce it through the court system, they are violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment. They are also going against the majority view. Many conservatives, such as Executive Director of the American Immigration Control Foundation, Phil Kent, claim that the ALCU is attempting to, “undermine our Judeo-Christian heritage.” 2*
In short, Conservatives claim the ACLU poses a major threat to the United States. The majority of ACLU cases are fought using Liberal values, and Conservatives claim issues such as women’s reproductive rights and the ACLU’s criminal reform program are morally wrong. The ACLU also enforces its agenda on the United States by loosely interpreting the Constitution to suit its needs. Through the court system, the ACLU is trying to force its atheistic values on the people of the United States.