Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments
Is the ACLU good for America?

1. ACLU & Defense of Individual Rights

"If America has the most secure rights and freedoms of any nation, it is in large measure because of watchdogs like the ACLU. Is there an organization which has contributed more to the birth of our modern concepts of constitutional rights and liberties? One can hardly think of 'civil rights' without the ACLU coming to mind... In the headlines and behind the scenes, the ACLU has been the leader among America's most influential forces in the defense of individual freedom."

F. LaGard Smith, JD
Scholar in Residence for Christian Studies, Lipscomb University
ACLU: The Devil's Advocate

"Active in lawsuits, legislatures, the media and academia, the ACLU certainly is working to 'defend rights.' The inconsistency of its record, however, raises the question of just whose liberties they are working to preserve. An examination of the ACLU's involvement in and comments about individual rights reveals that it may not be working to defend 'every person in this country.' Becoming a 'card-carrying member of the ACLU' may make you a member of the world's largest organization for hypocrites...

Although the ACLU lobbies Congress and state legislatures, its accomplishments derive chiefly from judges who share the ACLU's view of the Constitution as a 'living document' - more accurately described as the 'Gumby' version. Only a constitution that can be stretched, twisted and tied in knots could support most of the causes advocated by the ACLU."

Concerned Women for America (CWA)
"ACLU: Guardians of Liberty or 'Card-Carrying' Hypocrites?"
Sep. 2, 2002

2. ACLU & Religion

"Far from attacking religious liberty, the ACLU is the premier organization in this country working to preserve religious liberty. It does this by making sure that no religious beliefs get mixed up with government in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The United States was not founded as a Christian country. Many of the founders were deists who had good knowledge of the persecution (mostly by Christians against other Christians) that can occur when religion gets mixed up in government. They wanted the U.S. government to be secular and totally neutral with respect to religion, hence the First Amendment. The ACLU works hard to maintain that separation of church and state."

Capt. A. Schneider
Retired - U.S. Air Force
letter to Retired Officer Magazine
June, 2002

"The American Civil Liberties Union has a public agenda, and that agenda appears to be this: to make the United States in all her public manifestations reflect an atheist's view of the nation's Founding and continuing existence.

[T]he ACLU's... calls for the elimination of 'In God We Trust' from our coins... 'Under God' must also be torn from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Commandments given Moses must never appear as public symbols under government auspices.

This nation must so thoroughly appear to be atheist in public as to be, in fact, and for all practical purposes, atheist in all public spheres."

Michael Novak
Chair in Religion and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute
"The Atheist Civil-Liberty Union?"
National Review July 12, 2002

3. ACLU & Rights of the Minority

"I want to recognize the ACLU for its commitment to protecting our civil liberties. You have a long and proud history of standing up to defend the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution... The ACLU seeks to prevent the 'tyranny of the majority' from destroying our fundamental liberties."

Robert Mueller, JD
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Speech to the 2003 Inaugural ACLU Membership Conference
June 13, 2003

"We are going on the offensive. We are going to expose the ACLU for their true anti-God, anti-America, anti-family stance... For too long, the ACLU has hidden behind a claim to fight for people's rights, while it actually takes them away and subverts the will of the American people."

D. James Kennedy, PhD
Minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
"New Task Force to Monitor ACLU Activity, Impact,"
Coral Ridge Ministries' IMPACT Newsletter
Mar., 2003

4. ACLU & Defense of Criminals

"The ACLU doesn't believe in 'going soft' on criminals. The ACLU supports just, reasonable law enforcement - even tough enforcement. However, the organization believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial. The due process rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights should be respected and upheld for all, not just a few."

American Civil Liberties Union
Accessed Jan. 24, 2004

"I never will be a member [of the ACLU] because they're always coming down on the side of criminals."

George H.W. Bush
Former U.S. President
Speech to Fraternal Order of Police in Columbus, Ohio
June 26, 1988

5. ACLU & Liberal Bias

"I rarely associated ACLU and the government except as adversaries... In response to the accusation of 'conservatives' I maintained that ACLU is the most 'conservative' organization in the country because it stands up for the nation's oldest document - the Constitution, and 'laws... in Pursuance thereof' enforcing civil liberties as 'the supreme Law of the land."

Burton Caine, JD
Professor, Temple University's Beasly School of Law
"ACLU in Communist China?" posted on ACLU Pennsylvania website
Accessed Sep. 25, 2006

"I believe that the American Civil Liberties Union is based upon a noble purpose. However, they often work against that very purpose due to a radical interpretation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights... They are an arm of the radical left...

The ACLU is not non-partisan. Social reform, in a liberal direction, is the sine qua non of the ACLU. Its record is far from showing impartiality. It is full of attempts to reform American society according to the ideals of liberalism. The truth of the matter is that the ACLU has always been a highly politicized organization."

William A. Donohue, PhD
President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Interview with Stop the ACLU
Aug. 23, 2006

6. ACLU & Communism

"The [Mar. 1953] Reed Harris hearing demonstrates one of [Senator Joseph McCarthy's] techniques. Twice he said the American Civil Liberties Union was listed as a subversive front. The Attorney General's list does not and has never listed the ACLU as subversive, nor does the FBI or any other federal government agency. And the American Civil Liberties Union holds in its files letters of commendation from President Truman, President Eisenhower, and General MacArthur."

Edward R. Murrow
Broadcast Journalist
"A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy,"
See it Now, CBS
Mar. 29, 1954

"The American Civil Liberties Union may be definitely classed as a Communist front or 'transmission belt' organization. At least 90% of its efforts are expended on behalf of Communists who come into conflict with the law. While it professes to stand for free speech, a free press, and free assembly, it is quite obvious that its main function is to protect Communists in their activities of force and violence in their program to overthrow the government."

7. ACLU & Nazis' Rights

"When you hear about the ACLU defending these horrific people, you react with revulsion. The Klan, Nazis, who knows what. Awful, awful people. But then you think about it, and you say, 'Is this the right of the Nazis to march in Skokie or is this the rights of unpopular people to march in an area where they're terrifically unpopular?' And if you look at it that way then you have to stand with the ACLU."

Julian Bond
Chairman, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Defending Everybody - A History of the American Civil Liberties Union

"In a sense, the ACLU and conservative bigots are hand-in-glove. Like criminals and police, they understand each other's method of operation, mentality, and objectives. There is a tacit understanding of how each shall behave, and how each shall gain from the other. Indeed, primarily because the Ku Klux Klan and similar clients are so bad, the ACLU gets to feel romantic and virtuous -- and the rest of us, who despise racism and bigotry, are seen as benighted fools because we do not understand how the First Amendment really works. But we do. The bigot is not a stand-in for Tom Paine. The best way to preserve lizards is not to preserve hawks. Reality is not paradoxical. Sometimes, defending Nazis is simply defending Nazis."

Richard Delgado, JD
Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
and David Yun, JD
"The Speech We Hate: First Amendment Totalism, the ACLU, and the Principle of Dialogic Politics,"
Arizona State Law Journal

8. ACLU & War on Terror

"The countless times I have been asked to discuss ‘balancing liberty and security post-911’ underscores a predominant assumption... that civil liberties were a luxury that belonged to an irretrievably bygone era, and which henceforth all rational people will gladly forsake in order to preserve the lives of ourselves and our loved ones, as well as our Western democratic societies...

I am not suggesting that we don’t now face all-too-real terrorist threats. Rather, believing that liberty and security are, on the whole, mutually reinforcing rather than antagonistic concerns, I am convinced that scapegoating civil liberties as a purported solution to the real dangers we face will only make us less free, not more safe."

Nadine Strossen, JD
President, American Civil Liberties Union
Speech at "Life, Liberty and Politics after 9/11" forum
Sep. 8, 2006

"Talking Points firmly believes the ACLU wants to undermine the military effort in the war on terror. The ACLU opposes the Patriot Act, Guantanamo detentions without lawyers, military tribunals, coercive interrogation, the war in Iraq, and pretty much all aggressive action against terror.

Now I'd really like to know exactly how the ACLU would wage war against terrorists or if it even would. Unfortunately, the ACLU does not answer those kinds of questions, being too busy criticizing any and all action taken into terror war."

Bill O'Reilly
Media Personality
The O'Reilly Factor,
Fox News Channel
Feb 21, 2005

9. ACLU & Abortion

"As we mark the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision establishing a woman's right to abortion, we have cause for celebration: Girls grow up never having known a time when illegal, degrading, and sometimes fatal abortions were common. But we also have cause for concern: As the right to abortion turns 30, for more and more women, legal abortions are increasingly out of reach, and the gap between those who can exercise their right to choose and those who cannot is widening. In short, reproductive freedom is in trouble.

We cannot let them succeed in blocking access to abortion for all but the most privileged, taking us back full circle to the pre-Roe days when the lack of access to legal, safe abortions devastated the lives of too many women and families."

Louise Melling, JD
Director, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
"Roe v. Wade 30 Years Later: A Right Curtailed,"
Jan. 21, 2003

"[T]he ACLU couches its aggressive activities... as a noble struggle for 'reproductive freedom.' But it's hard to classify any freedom as 'reproductive' that despises unborn children and endorses their savage destruction up to the moment when all but their skull has emerged from the womb.

Indeed, it's hard to credit as 'freedom' a movement so single-minded in its determination to silence, even punish, so many expressions of alternative viewpoints.

How can any organization be so vocally committed to happiness and 'freedom' but yet be so deeply opposed to recognizing the infinite value of – and the right to – life itself?"

Alan Sears, JD
President, Alliance Defense Fund
"The ACLU's Enthusiasm for Death,"
Oct. 13, 2005

10. ACLU & Christmas

"This year, several groups are once again introducing the Christmas season with some heated and misleading military rhetoric... One particularly bizarre charge is that there is 'a thorough and virulent anti-Christmas campaign.' Without a shred of evidence, they pretend that there is an effort afoot to remove 'God' from the Declaration of Independence. Two groups even announced that they have assembled hundreds of lawyers to protect Christmas against this imaginary threat...

First, Christmas displays — including nativity scenes — are perfectly acceptable at homes and churches. This religious expression is a valued and protected part of the First Amendment rights guaranteed to all citizens. Second, governments should not be in the business of endorsing religious displays.

Religion does best when government stays out of the business of deciding which holidays and religions to promote. Religion belongs where it prospers best: with individuals, families and religious communities.

And finally, as a seasonal greeting to all Christians: Merry Christmas from the ACLU!"

T. Jeremy Gunn, PhD
Director, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief
"A Fictional 'War on Christmas',"
USA Today
Dec. 18, 2005

"The ACLU is at it again. With an outrageous boldness that only they could muster, the ACLU has, once again, set their sights on Christmas celebrations. In their never-ending quest to completely eradicate all things religious from public life, the ACLU’s latest lawsuit is an all-out frontal attack on the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.

Let me ask you—when did a children’s Christmas program become 'an illegal activity'? When did the nativity story and Christmas songs become unconstitutional? This is the outrageous and dangerous charge the ACLU has leveled against a school district in Tennessee. A children’s Christmas program has been deemed to be an 'illegal act' because of the ACLU.

Today the American Center for Law and Justice has launched a nationwide campaign entitled 'Keep HIM in Christmas.' We want to make sure that Jesus is at the center of this holiday. We want to keep HIM in the nativity scenes, keep HIM in the music, keep HIM as the focal point—and not allow the ACLU to operate as our nationwide censor."

American Center for Law and Justice
"The ACLU Targets Christmas,"
Nov. 28, 2006