The ACLU: There they go again

By Richard Nelson

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August 23, 2013

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Anyone familiar with President Reagan’s famous refrain, “There you go again”  will note that the President first said this remark in a bout of sighing annoyance toward his opponent, Jimmy Carter, who would offer the same repeated, tired lines of attack.

The American Civil Liberties Union is up to their usual: Finding the smallest iota of public goodwill and calling foul if religion is at the root of it.

This time, it’s happening in Kentucky. The ACLU is going after the Gideons, blocking them from distributing Bibles in Kentucky.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the ACLU-KY sent a letter to all superintendents in Kentucky warning them of potential lawsuits if the Gideons continue to be given so-called preferential treatment by allowing Bible distribution in schools.

The ACLU sells their concern under the guise of safeguarding the church and state. But what really happens is that the ACLU bullies local school districts by threatening lawsuits over one of the gravest threats to public school children these days like… Bible distribution.  According to the Herald-Leader:

"The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union warned Kentucky school districts Tuesday that they'll face a court challenge if they don't start following federal guidelines on distributing Bibles to students."  A letter dated Aug. 19 from ACLU staff attorney William Sharp said that despite past warnings, Bibles had been handed out by Gideons International in several elementary schools as recently as last year.
[…]

"The Kentucky School Boards Association also released a series of recommendations. The association noted that it is possible for a district to prohibit all outside groups from distributing materials, but such a move might be impractical because it would affect a wide variety of groups, including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and sports clubs.

"Districts and school officials cannot engage in 'viewpoint discrimination,' in determining which materials to allow or prohibit," the association said. "In general, this refers to restricting the distribution of materials simply because the subject matter is unpopular or controversial; because it expresses a particular social, political, or religious message; or simply because school officials disagree with the message."

But there’s no evidence of “viewpoint discrimination” going on as the ACLU fears. Under our system of government, if Muslims or Jews want access to distribute religious literature, they are free to do so and children are free to refuse their literature, as they are with Bibles.

"Schools are not supposed to support one religion over another and I understand that, but in the past it was a resource for students who wanted them," he said.  No other religious group has ever requested permission to pass out materials, Kemp said, "but if we allowed one, we would have to allow others."

If there were evidence of privileging one religion over another by schools in Kentucky, the ACLU would be justified in their protest. But at present, they’re doing what the ACLU does best: Milling around in no-harm situations trying to forge the Naked Public Square.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center