Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

American Civil Liberties Union On The War Path

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is on the war-path against the "threat" of religion, especially as that "threat" is aimed at the youth of America. For instance, it wants to get the Boy Scouts (BSA) out of the public schools. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago on March 14 to prevent schools, military bases, and other groups from sponsoring Boy Scout troop meetings at their facilities. The suit names as defendants the Chicago Public Schools and the United States Transportation Command, whose headquarters is at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois. It did not allege that anyone suffered discrimination because of programs sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools, said Robert Hall, attorney with the school system. "It is regrettable that the ACLU would seek to deny these boys access to the scouting program simply because they promise to do their duty to God," Gregg Shields, national BSA spokesman, told the Associated Press. The ACLU is a longtime critic of the Boy Scouts.

Another instance. The ACLU has its forces moving to eradicate religious "lunch clubs" at schools. The school board at Tangipahoa Parish in Hammond, La., has allowed them at three high schools. Such meetings are led by Steve Farmer, director of Face It Ministries. Students talk about God and eat pizza, according to Sightings, a publication of The Public Religion Project. They avoid discussing specific denominations, and students initiate any prayers, Farmer said. Most school board members approve, but now the Louisiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has asked the superintendent to stop them. The disagreement centres on whether the federal Equal Access Act allows the clubs. The law was passed by Congress in 1984. It lets students meet for religious reasons on school property if the school allows any other group to meet for "non-curricular" activities. Club meetings must be "voluntary and student initiated," there must be no "sponsorship" of the meetings by the school, and "non-school persons may not direct, conduct control, or regularly attend" the activities. It is likely that the club can continue to meet, but possibly without Farmer, Sightings said.

Now that OÕHare has laid down her arms (or at least has disappeared from the scene) the ACLU will take up the battle against "threatening" Christian influences.

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