Ringing the Bell for Christ and the ACLU — Again!
Recall, if you will, my call for lawyers who are Christian and work for the ACLU to come forward to refute the belief a correspondent of mine had, that there were no Christian lawyers at the ACLU. I’ve already rung the bell, but I’m ringing it again, because I’ve hauled in a big one:
Will the judgmental soul who doubted there were Christian lawyers with the ACLU please prepare to pony up another $50. I am a lawyer, law professor more precisely, and the immediate past President of the ACLU of Alabama. I am currently on the ACLU of Alabama Board of Directors and additionally serve on its Executive Committee. And, yes, I am a Christian.
I know of my own personal knowledge that the ACLU brings just as many lawsuits under the Free Exercise clause supporting various religious groups (including Christian churches as shown earlier in this thread) in their ability to practice their faith, as it does under the Establishment Clause attempting to prevent the overt endorsement of religion by government.
The true client of the ACLU is the Constitution of the United States. We represent specific, individual clients in order to promote constitutional rights. When we act to defend helpless individuals against oppressive government (a common scenario), I believe the ACLU acts in a truly Christian manner (although this is not intended as such, and my non-Christian colleagues on the ACLU Board would distance themselves from this). After all, Christ enjoined us to help the least among us, and often the ACLU finds itself representing the friendless and the scorned.
For myself, my beliefs are not so fragile that they require blaring public pronouncement, and especially public pronouncement by less-than-honest politicians. So what if there are no public statutes or monuments to any particular religious faith? Of what value is a belief system that needs such constant reinforcement?
I also ask myself what I would feel if I were a Muslim or a Hindu, living in the United States and constantly being made to feel second class by virtue of the religious prattle that comes out of the mouths of public officials. I would not want that for myself, and, as Christians, how can we possibly force onto others that which we would not want for ourselves?
David J. Langum
Whoever issued this challenge can please direct the $50 to: Office Manager, ACLU of Alabama, 207 Montgomery Street, Suite 825, Montgomery, Alabama 36104.
I’d already donated the $50 in question to the national organization, but I’m feeling good about this one, so I think I’ll tip in another $50. It also covers the other ACLU Christian lawyers that popped up in the thread — and my sincere thanks to them as well.
Anyway: Mission Accomplished. I feel good.