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The ACLU’s Campus Campaign Against God Threatens More Than Religious Liberty

The American Civil Liberties Union may be worse than useless when it comes to defunding international terrorism or enforcing immigration laws, but at least we can count on them to step in whenever somebody does something really bad…like mentioning Jesus.

The Associated Press reports:

GREAT FALLS – Montana State University’s lawyer says MSU-Northern officials don’t have to apologize for inviting a Christian pastor to give the invocation and benediction at the school’s graduation in May.

The ACLU of Montana had filed a complaint and asked for an apology after some faculty members said Pastor Tim Zerger of the Community Alliance Church proselytized during the May 8 ceremony. They say Zerger repeatedly referred to Jesus as a personal savior.

Leslie Taylor, chief legal counsel for MSU, says in her response to the ACLU that university officials had no intention of endorsing religion when they invited Zerger to speak.

ACLU communications director Amy Cannata says the university’s position is unfortunate but the group won’t pursue the issue in court.

Wow…can you imagine if we heard something that offensive in our educational institutions every day?

There’s nothing oppressive or unconstitutional about hearing the occasional prayer or religious reference in a public institution.  All the First Amendment was meant to do regarding the “establishment of religion” was to keep Congress from establishing a national, tax-subsidized church to which Americans owed their allegiance.  Even if we accept a broad interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporation doctrine, that leaves us with, at most, a prohibition on individual states doing the same—a far cry from the rigorous self-censorship the ACLU demands of everyone with any level of involvement in a public institution’s events.

We know that the Left seeks to uproot the United States’ Judeo-Christian heritage not out of concern for religious liberty, but to supplant America’s founding values with faith in the state.  Much has been said of this destructive cultural transformation, but there’s another effect that hasn’t been discussed as much.

By crying discrimination and lawyering up every time we hear something in the public square we don’t want to hear, we’re failing to teach the next generation how to handle differing speech and ideas in a healthy way, to put it mildly.  Instead, we’re creating a culture of grievance-mongering, in which it’s proper and customary not to think about or respond to ideas you don’t like, but to try to shut them up, to isolate yourself from uncomfortable thoughts that challenge your comfort zone.

This is not the way to raise a generation that reveres freedom of religion, the free exchange of ideas, or is fit to keep a republic.


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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