In response to my post yesterday regarding the First Amendment, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia wrote the following on her Facebook page:
At first I was a bit confused as to how anyone could come to that conclusion, since I in no way call for the elimination of the Establishment Clause. It is an absurd conclusion. But the more I thought about her statement, the more I realized that in one sentence, she actually confirmed everything that I said.
Think about it. I argue that the Free Exercise Clause should not be subjected to the Establishment Clause. That free exercise of religion comes from God, not from government. She reads, allowing free exercise equals the elimination of the Establishment Clause. And further, that allowing free exercise equals the “recognition of a state religion”!
In the ACLU’s world, allowing free exercise is an establishment of religion. That is exactly what I said is the philosophy of the secular left, and is an irrational and incorrect reading of the First Amendment. It is, quite frankly, a remarkable admission on her part.
Clearly, the ACLU believes that free exercise of religion is not God-given, but something the government throws our way when it’s convenient to the government (i.e. religion that is benign, within the walls of the church, worthless and subject to the whims of culture, and most importantly, controllable).
And just for the record, we’re very fond of the Establishment Clause, properly interpreted and applied. The state has no business, as Jefferson put it, forcing us to “be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” I just wish the ACLU recognized the other words of Jefferson, that no man “shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” [Emphasis added]
All men. You know, like chaplains. Or students in our public schools.