Doing Well By Doing Bad
by Gail Jarvis
by Gail Jarvis
Imagine that you are a painting contractor whose company has fallen on hard times. In fact, if you don't get a new job soon, you may go out of business. So you concoct a brazen scheme to save your company. You travel to a nearby city and arrange a meeting with the Mayor and council. You inform them that a member of their community, Mary Smith, objects to the color of the courthouse. Therefore the courthouse must be repainted the color Ms. Smith desires. You insist that your company be hired to do the painting.
City officials refuse, claiming that the current color has been used for over a hundred years and is still the preferred one by the vast majority of citizens. But you stand firm. You adamantly state that you don't care what the majority of the community wants, the courthouse must be repainted. At this point, the Sheriff escorts you from the council chambers.
The next day you bring your crew to the courthouse and unload your paints, brushes, canvasses and ladders. You repaint the courthouse the color favored by Ms. Smith and present the city with an exorbitant bill for your services. Obviously, they refuse to pay it. So you ask the courts to decide the matter. The state courts reject your claim so you take it to the federal district court. Incredibly, the federal court rules in your favor and the city is forced to pay you for a service that its citizens were firmly opposed to.
Let's take this a step further and assume that the payment you received for unwanted and unapproved services is exempt from federal and state income taxes. Your gamble has paid off far beyond your wildest dreams. You have not only been compensated excessively for services the local community disapproved of, but the money you received is not subject to income tax. This sweetheart deal prompts you to move on to the next community and work your scam again.
Some of you are thinking this is just a fairy tale. It couldn't happen in the real world.
Well, it might not work for a painting contractor or other entrepreneur but it has been enormously successful for the American Civil Liberties Union - the new carpetbaggers. This organization has amassed millions of dollars with this modus operandi. It files law suits against cities, counties and states challenging customs and practices. The removal of religious language and symbols is one of its primary goals. All the ACLU needs is a single complaint from a disgruntled citizen, often a member of a local atheist organization or Freethought Society. Then it can begin its legal demolition of local customs. Activist federal judges often overrule state courts and side with the ACLU. The federal courts also award the organization enormous legal fees; fees that are tax-exempt.
One of the most publicized examples is the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama courthouse. The ACLU claims that the monument violates the legal requirement for a "separation of church and state." While it is true that the founders generally believed that church and state must each function independently without coercion from either side, there is not, and never has been, a law requiring such a separation.
The only mention of the word "religion" anywhere in the U.S. Constitution are these sixteen words in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ." Over the years, these few words have been "reinterpreted" far beyond anything the founders originally intended. In the Alabama case, the ACLU "reinterpreted" these words to mean that religious displays on government property are prohibited.
What the ACLU is actually saying is that having a "display" is tantamount to "enacting" a law. It represents a state sanction and promotion of a particular religion.
The Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU and ordered Alabama to remove the Ten Commandments monument. Also, the ACLU was awarded $175,000 in legal fees. But, much to its annoyance, another organization, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, had also jumped into the case and was awarded $190,000. Refusing to be denied its chance to stick its hands into taxpayers' pockets, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed its own law suit and was awarded $135,000 in legal fees! Alabama taxpayers should be relieved that no other "altruistic" organizations joined these three.
Kentucky has paid $121,500 to the ACLU for its action against the Ten Commandments display outside its Capitol and a county in Tennessee paid the organization $50,000 for the same "offense." Currently, numerous other ACLU law suits against Ten Commandments displays are under way throughout the nation. These include Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, North Carolina, and Iowa.
In the Iowa case, the ACLU has taken a different approach. It claimed that the King James version of the Ten Commandments was posted rather than versions used by Catholics, Lutherans and Jews. The ACLU maintained that this showed "government favoritism" for one religion over another. But the local Catholic League stated that it "would like to see the display of the Ten Commandments in every statehouse, and it matters not a whit whether it is the Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish version."
Of course, consistency is not a defining trait of the ACLU. In North Carolina, the organization forced a local government to remove a Ten Commandments monument from City Hall grounds because it "endorses" a certain religion. On the other hand, the ACLU supported the University of North Carolina's selection of the book "Approaching the Qur'an" as required reading for students. The book, a study of the Koran, comes with a CD of recitals in Arabic, including a chant to call the Muslim faithful to prayer.
The "separation of church and state" ploy was also utilized by the ACLU to deny the Boy Scouts of America the use of San Diego's Balboa Park as a summer camp - a practice that dates back to 1915. The organization maintained that the Scouts' refusal to accept gays and atheists and its oath "to do my duty to God and my country" is sufficient evidence to prove that the Boy Scouts of America is a "religious organization." Thus the Scouts could not hold a lease for city property. This time the ACLU hit the jackpot: $790,000 in legal fees plus $160,000 in court costs.
However, the ACLU raised no objections to other religious groups holding leases with the City of San Diego, including a Korean Church and a Jewish Community Center. The ACLU is little arbitrary in its choices of which churches the state must be separated from.
If you review the language of ACLU agreements you will find that they are thick with worn-out PC terminology like "pluralistic society", "diverse religious traditions" and "celebrating diversity." Abstruse phrases like "celebrating diversity" should alert anyone that someone is being duped. The pluralistic society sought by the ACLU is one where "all opinions are equally valid" and, if so, moral relativism prevails. To attain such a society, the influence of Christianity, especially Christian ethics, must be diminished or eliminated. Because moral relativism is diametrically opposed to Christian ethics, one must give way to the other. And, as the power of religion is reduced, the power of the state increases.
Eliminating religious language and symbols from all public places will be quite an undertaking. Courthouses throughout the nation display the Declaration of Independence with its' references to "God" and "creator"; they also display the Magna Carta which is replete with religious references such as; "by the grace of God" and "the honor of God and the advancement of his holy Church."
The Lincoln Memorial contains the Gettysburg Address with the words "this nation, under God." The Lincoln Memorial also contains a mural depicting an angel. The Jefferson Memorial contains language such as "the altar of God", "Almighty God hath created the mind free" and "the Holy Author of our religion." The Martin Luther King Memorial in Atlanta, which is maintained by the National Park Service, contains religious references including the inscription; "Thank God Almighty."
So it appears that the American Civil Liberties Union will have a full docket of cases for years to come. And with the exorbitant fees it is awarded by federal judges, it will continue to seriously drain the treasuries of many local governments. Future law school graduates might be advised to shun positions with the large prestigious law firms and send their resumes to the ACLU instead.
April 28, 2004
Gail Jarvis [send him mail], a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, is an advocate of the voluntary union of states established by the founders.
Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com