Saturday, January 10, 2009

ACLU Takes Aim at USNA

Written 5 August 08

The American Civil Liberties Union is at it again, trying to deny a group of Americans their freedom of religion.

This time they’ve targeted the United States Naval Academy, specifically their noon-time prayer, claiming it violates the First Amendment.

The prayer, a tradition, since 1845, is completely voluntary and non-sectarian, usually led by chaplains from all denominations. Academy Midshipmen can choose not to pray if they like.

But ironically, the ACLU is trying to deny the very men and women who will one day fight for the First Amendment the right to exercise that Amendment themselves.

Because nine current and former agnostic/atheist Midshipmen complained that the prayer made them uncomfortable, the ACLU has threatened a lawsuit against the Academy.

So here we are again with the ACLU and a handful of people ready to strip freedom of religion from thousands of others. They will claim to do so in the name of defending the rights of the nine, denying the same right to the thousands.

That in itself exposes the mission of the ACLU, to abolish religion from America. Their aim is not freedom of religion, it is freedom from religion.

So what’s next? No crosses, crescents, or stars as headstones at military cemeteries? Those are religious symbols on federal ground, that’s not separation of church and state. No praying during funerals at national cemeteries? That’s practicing religion on federal ground. No chaplains in the military? How can we use federal funds to pay a religious man?

All sarcasm aside, these become quite plausible if the attack on a meal-time prayer becomes the legal precedent by which all other assaults against religious freedom can be furthered. After all, given the ACLU’s reasoning and their goal, religion can not happen among government workers or aboard government property of any kind for any reason, as it intertwines the two. Thus, any presence or practice of religion involving the military will likely be targeted.

Taken to its ultimate, logical conclusion, the ACLU would probably prefer to ban all military personnel from practicing religion at all.

Undoubtedly, the time was coming for us to draw the line in the sand and collectively tell the ACLU, “No More!” This is the time and place where we need to make that stand.

Prayer is far too important for those of all religions to have it stripped away. It is a cornerstone of one’s faith. It’s particularly significant for those who choose to stand and fight for our country.

From experience, I know it can lead their daily lives, provide guidance and protection, help them find solace in loss, and peace in troubled times.

Especially necessary is prayer for dealing with death and being in the business of performing deadly acts.

Prayer can be the only thing that gets one through the rigors of military training (especially at some place as strenuous as the Naval Academy).

Prayer is what carries you through the arduous days of stress, grief, intensity, and danger of a combat zone. As someone once said, “There are no fox-hole atheists.”

It’s too important to let prayer be taken from us, even when taken in small pieces, and to let the rights of so many be eroded as they are.

Along with any action we can take against the ACLU in support of our rights (praying, calling elected officials, public commentary, letting the Academy know you support their decision to ignore the ACLU, etc) there is also a legal group taking up the fight against the ACLU and defending the First Amendment this time.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is working to counter the ACLU. They were critical to the case in which a cross was allowed to stand as part of the Veteran’s Memorial at Mount Soledad near San Diego. Now they’re mobilizing to defend the right of our future military leaders to pray.

The ACLU’s attacks against the Naval Academy have crossed the line, and maybe the ACLJ will be successful in turning the tide of the ACLU’s onslaughts. But the most power for preserving freedom will come from the prayers and actions of those to whom freedom has been given.

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