For too long Christian organizations have condemned the American Civil Liberties Union as anti-Christian and anti-religious freedom, accusing them of wanting “to remove any vestige of Christianity from public life.” This accusation is false.
What the ACLU actually opposes is the promotion of any particular religion by the government or by government-run organizations. In fact, their position on religion in public schools is quite balanced, and a position that Christians should be able to stand behind (my emphasis):
The ACLU defends students’ free speech rights in the public schools and defends students’ rights to pray in the schools. Additionally, whenever a teacher allows children to choose their own topics for an assignment (such as which book to read, which song to sing, or which topic to study for a presentation), students may choose religious themes – and the ACLU has protected their right to do so. Schools may also offer courses about religion or about the Bible or other religious works.
Public schools themselves should not, however, be in the business of promoting particular religious beliefs or religious activities. While it is permissible for public schools to teach about religion, it is not permissible to promote particular religious beliefs. While public schools should not be leading children in prayers or religious ceremonies, they should be respectful of the religious beliefs of students. Further, public schools should protect children from being coerced by others to accept religious (or anti-religious) beliefs. Public schools should seek to create an environment conducive to learning by all students and not act as vehicles proselytizing for religious or anti-religious beliefs.
The ACLU believes that the religious education of children should be directed primarily by parents, families, and religious communities – and not the public schools.
This isn’t just rhetoric. For example, in 2004, the ACLU sued a school for censoring a student’s yearbook entry which contained bible verse.
But you’ll never hear a pastor talk about how the ACLU defended religious liberty, will you?
Right now, the front page of the ACLU web site prominently displays a Bible verse.
But of course, the ACLU is an evil organization bent on destroying America’s Christian culture, right?
The ACLU says that the government and the schools shouldn’t be trying to influence your kid’s–or your–religious beliefs. That’s what the separation of church and state is all about. Why would you want the government telling you what to believe?
Christians: Stop attacking the ACLU. You’re only hurting people trying to protect your religious liberty.
UPDATE: Further investigation turns up “The ACLU Fights for Christians,” a collection of news links demonstrating that the ACLU fights for–and not against–Christians. For example: The ACLU defends a girl who wants to sing “Awesome God” at a school talent show, ACLU demands that a county put up a Christmas tree, and the ACLU helps free a street preacher from prison.