Christian Group Angry That ACLU Is Defending… a Christian Group July 15, 2009

Christian Group Angry That ACLU Is Defending… a Christian Group

It’s no surprise that the Religious Right isn’t a fan of the ACLU.

But now, a Christian Right group is attacking the ACLU for supporting… another Christian Right group.

Merrilee Carlson, the President of Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission (I don’t think they mean your families, though, you heathen scum), sent out a press release because the ACLU was defending Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

Maybe there’s a Christian out there thinking, “WBC? They’re not real Christians; they’re a hate group.”

Hate group, yes. But no doubt they believe they’re accurately following the Bible. They’re just not your kind of Christian.

And perhaps unfortunately, Phelps’ clan has the same rights as everyone else — including free speech and the right to peacefully protest. That’s what the ACLU is defending. They’re not supporting what the WBC is doing, simply their right to do it.

It’s the same reason the Ku Klux Klan would receive similar protection from the ACLU, the same reason pro-lifers who wanted to peacefully protest in front of an abortion clinic would be defended.

The ACLU doesn’t take on cases just because they support some progressive agenda; they’re here to protect civil liberties for everyone. Free speech is protected even if it’s vile and abhorrent.

So why attack them? Carlson says this:

“My son died in Iraq fighting to protect the Constitutional rights and liberties that the ACLU is now trying to exploit. This lawsuit proves the ACLU will stop at nothing to drive an agenda that disrespects and degrades our fallen heroes and their families…”

Right… the ACLU hates the troops. That makes sense.

And talk about exploitation, at the bottom of the note is a message that Carlson’s son was killed in Iraq in 2005 — the same note that is on several press releases — as if that gives Carlson the right to make ludicrous statements.

(via OneNewsNow)

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  • Richard Wade

    So much irony to go around. For the ACLU to be defending Phelps, who’d destroy freedom of speech if he could, for Phelps, who hates anything to the left of Mussolini and the ACLU as well, and for Carlson and her ilk who, while protected by the freedom of speech, have nurtured the intolerance of gays and anything else that doesn’t fit into their narrow, little world view, of which Phelps, the Human Hemorrhoid, is merely the inevitable culmination. Phelps embarrasses Carlson and other Christians? Well that’s what comes from claiming to worship a god of love while tacitly accepting the practice of hate.

    I’m renewing my membership in the ACLU today. I hope they win the case for Phelps, and then he immediately chokes to death on his own bile. If Carlson has her First Amendment rights violated, the ACLU will defend her. Oh the irony.

  • Zar

    (Off topic)

    The latest Savage Love column deals with religion and sexual freedom. The first letter is from a gay man (who never openly admits he’s gay) asking for advice on how to remain celibate for the rest of his life. Savage isn’t the best person to ask, of course, but the guy says he can’t talk to members of his faith about it. Sad.

  • SarahH

    *sigh* Emotional, controversial issues are often at the heart of cases where free speech is under attack and needs protecting the most. Religious messages – just like racist messages and homophobic messages and blasphemous messages and erotic messages and nihilist messages, etc. – are offensive to many people, but no one has the right to not be offended.

    I’m glad the ACLU is continuing to shine as an equal-opportunity defender of the Constitutional right to free speech in the US.

  • Greg

    The ACLU is doing the right thing. I’ve seen the Westboro Baptist Church protesters several times in person and it always makes me feel incredibly proud to be an American. Ashamed to be a human being, but proud to be an American.

  • Phelps simply cherry-picks a couple of hateful passages from the bible that agree with his own biases and then elevates those biases to GOD’s BIASES. All bible thumping people do this to varying degrees. Phelps is just one of the more extreme examples. Many cherry-pickers choose to pick the love passages. Phelps just goes for the hate passages. Although, most of the Christians I know had no problem with Phelps until he started to picket soldier’s funerals.

    Still, I support his right to express himself even though I disagree with him on all the hate.

  • I hate the fact that there are people out there that proclaim themselves to be Christians but are haters.. They give true followers of Christ a bad name… We are not to judge others.. we are to respect and treat others above ourselves.. regardless if your a christian, an atheist, a homosexual, or any other group… I think your post was well written. I do believe in God and His law but.. it is not up to me or anyone else to point fingers at others I don’t agree with. Not trying to start a debate on Christianity vs Atheism just the fact that we can choose what is right for us is the point and to respect it..

  • David D.G.

    Frankly, I don’t see why the ACLU is representing the WBC; Phelps and his clan include an awful lot of lawyers, so they should be well able to represent themselves!

    I don’t object to the ACLU representing an unpopular, even vile, form of expression. What I find objectionable is the ACLU using its limited resources to represent people who should be more than able to represent themselves; the ACLU, in my opinion, should be busy representing people who actually need their help.

    ~David D.G.

  • Phelps is a heretic, pure and simple. He denies the good news at its core. It is appropriate that Christians prophetically challenge the ACLU for supporting him. They’re flirting with heresy themselves for doing so.

  • Solitaire

    And I wonder what Families United has to say about this…

  • Here’s what I want to ask Carlson, and others like her:

    Does she really think the ACLU loves Fred Phelps? Doe she really think they support his agenda? Does she really think they get a big happy woody from defending him?

    Trust me. They don’t. They simply consider it their moral and legal obligation. Like it or not, Phelps and clan have the legal right to do what they do. If we don’t protect the right of ignorant, hateful, evil assholes to express their views, we have no right to expect protection for our own gems of wisdom.

    As many have said before me: The First Amendment does not exist to protect popular ideas. It exists to protect unpopular ones.

    And that is, in fact, exactly what her son died for. Members of the U.S. military take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The very Constitution the ACLU is defending… and that she seems so eager to ignore.

  • Brian C Posey

    I was just curious if anyone has read any of Phelps’s rationalizations for their positions.

    I find that the arguments are at least as good as any other christian philosophy. Actually they might make more sense.

    The main reason I don’t buy what he’s selling is because I don’t by the two primary premises — the bible is inerrant and the inspired word of god.

    I’m morbidly fascinated by this group.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Matt,
    Help me with this:

    Phelps is a heretic, pure and simple. He denies the good news at its core. It is appropriate that Christians prophetically challenge the ACLU for supporting him. They’re flirting with heresy themselves for doing so.

    What does “prophetically” challenge mean?
    By “They’re flirting with heresy themselves for doing so” who is the “they?” Does that mean that Christians are flirting with heresy for prophetically challenging the ACLU? Does it mean the ACLU is flirting with heresy for supporting Phelps? Or something else?

  • Miko

    The most fundamental question in the creation of any system of ethics is “Is my ethical system agent-neutral or agent-relative?” In other words, does system follow deontological rules (such as natural law, some types of supernatural edict, and some formulations of the categorical imperative) or does it place utilitarian control in a small cadre that holds power over everyone else?

    For myself, I’d say that any valid system of ethics must derive from agent neutral values (mainly since I don’t see how an agent relative system can avoid endorsing mass enslavement ruled over by the elites). As such, I don’t think that anyone has the right to decide for whom basic human freedoms apply.

    The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. In a way, I’m glad that Phelps is out there saying really stupid things that people would like to ban. As loathsome as he is, he serves as our canary in the coal mine for the 1st Amendment (just as those being unlawfully detained at Gitmo were a warning about the loss of most of the rest of the Bill of Rights). As long as he’s saying stupid stuff, the 1st Amendment rights are (sort of) safe.

  • Richard

    Sorry, was confusing ACLU with some of your conservative Christian groups. Excuse my foreigner ignorance, its just the thought of anyone supporting Phelps makes me see red. I should have checked deeper before shooting off my mouth. If it’s a secular organization I’ll leave it alone. Nevertheless, I stand by the gist of what I said, that any Christian supporting Phelps is flirting with heresy.


    This leads me to your comments. That I call Phelps a heretic, when I reserve that word for only the most fallen teachers and never use it for people I “merely” disagree with, indicates how seriously out of step with Jesus I take this guy to be. His teaching is not “at least as good as any other christian philosophy” because Christ is not at the centre of it. His teaching looks superficially Christian but it’s not Christ-centred, not by a long shot. It is not enough to consider scripture inspired, one must consider Christ more inspired than Moses to be considered authentically Christian. That Sodom features more prominantly than the gospel in the teaching of Phelps is undeniable, and that is out of all balance with the New Testament.


  • Richard said,

    I hope they win the case for Phelps, and then he immediately chokes to death on his own bile.

    That would be divine justice wouldn’t it 😉

  • cathy

    Matt Stone, the ACLU is a secular organization, comprised of members of the legal profession, the goal of which is ensuring Constitutional and legal rights for everyone. They have a long history of supporting human rights for oppressed groups (many landmark US Supreme Court cases for civil rights were ACLU cases). The ACLU is not a religious organization. They fight for religious freedom and freedom of speech for everyone, including people whose speech they disagree with (the ACLU does many gay rights cases). Their website is Phelps is scum, but even scum deserve basic human rights.

  • That would be divine justice wouldn’t it 😉

    Actually, “divine justice” according to Christian creed is infinite punishment for finite transgressions… an extreme example of “Cruel and unusual punishment”.

    I’m sure Richard was using hyperbole for his “choke on bile” comment. It would be nice to hear Christians admit that the ideas of heaven and hell are also just hyperbole.

  • Hmmm, not sure Ive ever seen that definition in any of the creeds.

    As for Richard, I’m just having a bit of fun with him.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m sure Richard was using hyperbole for his “choke on bile” comment.

    Yeah, you’re right, it was hyperbole. Actually, all I wish for Phelps is that he’s in some kind of accident where that megaphone he uses to disrupt the funerals is jammed all the way up is ass, ALL the way, and that the whole thing is caught in detail on video, and that an entirely new world wide web has to be constructed to handle the more than 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 hits per day by the six and three-quarters billion people on Earth who want to repeatedly watch that video, and that it is broadcast into space where a relatively close-by advanced civilization of billions of extraterrestrials will eventually pick it up and view it just as many times, and then they’ll re-broadcast it in a more powerful signal into the entire universe, where, expanding at the speed of light it will, in the fullness of time, be viewed by billions of billions of civilizations even unto the Era of Final Entropy, and that Phelps lives to see at least the start of all that.

    But yeah, the bile thing was hyperbole.

  • Hmmm, not sure I’ve ever seen that definition in any of the creeds.

    Perhaps “Creed” wasn’t the best term. The idea of heaven and hell being eternal (or infinite) is a belief among the Christians I know (Southern Baptist Convention types). Our mortal life is obviously finite in duration. The Christians I know believe that you go to either heaven or hell depending on God’s Judgment and that there is no appeal.

    Perhaps you know Christians who have different beliefs about what happens after you die.

    P.S. Richard’s suggested justice for Phelps, hyperbole or not, would be considered extremely kind in comparison with the Christian God’s judgment (as described by the Christians I know) for even the most mild-mannered well-behaved atheist.

  • Where were these people when the Phelps clan was doing it’s thing outside gay funerals? Oh, that’s right. Nobody cared when they were protesting gay funerals, which is why they switched to military funerals. Next thing you know everybody is calling for laws to ban them.

    I don’t condone what the Phelps clan is doing–not by a long shot. However all the self-righteous whiners need to realize they’re just experiencing the same sort of crap we’ve been dealing with from the likes of them for years. Gay people, women seeking reproductive health services, atheists, etc–we all suffer such harassment from people expressing their “deeply held religious beliefs”. When we ask for some relief we’re told we have to take it because they have their “freedom of religion” and “freedom of speech” .

    Ok, rant off.

  • BillE

    The ACLU? Why wouldn’t Christians support an organization that protects the rights of NAMBLA members who like to have sex with underage boys? No, the ACLU is wonderful, right? Unless you happen to have an underage son and don’t want some sweaty old man coming on to him. Believe in the one true God, Jesus Christ or spend eternity in hell.

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