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ACLU - Membership?

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Maybe not being a native born American is the reason that I don't know very much about the ACLU. The real truth is that I don't know very much about them.

I have a little sister that is a well known Barrister in the UK. She is what might be called a "Leftist". At present she is crusading in the area of employment law. I kinda think that if she was over here that she might be a member of the ACLU. How does someone become a member of the ACLU? And who funds their activities?

I'm not really interested in what your opinion of the ACLU is. I have seen enough postings to have a fair idea of where you stand!!

I do wonder with Americans having such easy access to the court system, is there really still a need for a group such as the ACLU?

I also have to wonder if the Civil Liberties of all Americans are in such a wonderful state, that this group can't find more important battles than the placing of Nativity scenes or the few dollar's that the BSA or BSA groups receive? Surely there are bigger fish that they could go after.Looking at the laws that were past after 9/11. I would have thought that there was enough material there to keep them busy for a very long time?

Of course I admit that I my perception of them coming after us (Me!!) is very biased.

Please don't tell anyone but while I am proud that the BSA has stuck to their guns and not allowed the values that we hold near and dear to be compromised even in the face of lost funds and adverse publicity. I have to say that they have acted in much the same way, they have held true to what they see is not right and carried on regardless of the adverse publicity that has come their way.


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Hello Eamonn,


These are all good questions. One can join the ACLU by going to their website and contributing $20. They are a non-profit and "non-partisan" organization according to their website. I'm not sure who funds their activities besides contributors.


I think the idea that Americans have "easy acess" to the court system is somewhat of a myth. Litigation is expensive. Most people cannot afford to sue (outside of small claims court where you don't need a lawyer) and go through a trial unless they can recover a large amount in damages or they are independently wealthy. That is why criminal defendants are provided with lawyers funded by the state if they cannot afford one. Suing to enforce civil rights (which is the mission of the ACLU) is outside the price range of most people.


In addition to what many might consider minor matters (banning the use of "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, for example), the ACLU is doing some very important things. The ACLU recently forced the government, through the Freedom of Information Act, to release documents showing that abuse and torture of war detainees is more widespread and systemic than believed. Americans need to know about this.


America's moral standing and leadership in the world has been profoundly diminished by this. It is impossible to overstate this. Now Bush wants to appoint Alberto Gonzales, author of memos justifying the use of torture and abandonment of the Geneva Conventions. How do you think this looks to the rest of the world? Do you think it affects our ability to accomplish our foreign policy goals? (These are rhetorical questions :))


The ACLU is doing an invaluable service here.


Eamonn, congratulations on your little sister's career! Becoming a barrister is very difficult (the English system has two kinds of lawyers; barristers and solicitors. Barristers can appear in court.)


I'm not involved in the BSA, so I won't comment on the ongoing battle with the ACLU. I do think the BSA will survive and evolve over the years no matter what happens.



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I actually don't believe in bashing the ACLU, but I will bash the more "enthusiastic" members who seem to push their own agenda at every opportunity.


I think the principle behind the ACLU stands up to what every conservative and liberal in America want . . . our rights. No more and no less.


Like Republican vs. Democrat and Democrat vs. Republican, I think the goals are very, very similar (if not the same,) but the methodology and priority of which right is most important vary greatly. The other thing that varies greatly is "who does what to whom and when?"


If I were the ACLU director in Richmond and saw Boy Scouts selling popcorn outside of my office, in all sincerity, I probably would have chuckled and inwardly thanked them for defending there first amendment rights and believed they weren't going to sell any popcorn.


I would have had to swallow hard to congratulate them for selling so much after a speech by a radio man, and would have wondered whether I was doing the right thing.


I happen to believe that the ACLU has outlived it's purpose. I'm not going to change the mind of the die-hard and they aren't going to change mine.


I'm glad the ACLU fights for free speech. That is a good thing, but most people can do that on their own. I don't think the big issues the ACLU should be facing is atheists or homosexuals in the BSA (which has morphed into ending government sponsorship of the BSA.)


I don't see the ACLU fighting for mutual benefits for homosexuals or marriage for homosexual couples. Shouldn't that be a bigger fight if they're so liberal?


I'm against homosexual marriage, btw, but the ACLU that I have seen, has issued no stance on the issue.


Perhaps they have and I have just not noticed.


Why has the ACLU done nothing to defend the rights of smokers. I happen to believe smoking is an expression of free speech, but they're not knocking on my door as town after town votes in "no public smoking" ordinances or ordinances banning smoking in bars. Are they waiting for me to ask? If so, I'll ring a doorbell tomorrow.


Now . . . I'm done bashing the ACLU, if that's even what I've been doing.


I think there's an inordinate amount of publicity regarding the BSA and the ACLU. The BSA is a big boy on the block of non-profits. We've enjoyed the benefits for decades. The ACLU, in all fairness, is an up-and-comer and decided to take on the big boys.


Now we have news stories.



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Here is the response of the ACLU director in Richmond from OGE's link. It seems to be just what uncleguinea had in mind:


"Kent Willis, executive director of the Virginia ACLU, said he doesn't begrudge the Scouts for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech or using the ACLU name to generate sales.


"That's par for the course these days," said Willis, who said a group of youths identified as the United Conservatives of Virginia delivered a tin of Boy Scout popcorn and a Christmas greeting to his office yesterday. "We raise funds with our membership by pointing out what the organizations that oppose us are doing, and they raise money with their membership by pointing out what we are doing."


The ACLU, Willis added, isn't opposed to the Boy Scouts or their right to exist. "The ACLU's concern here is with the government funding of the Boy Scouts so long as there is a religious test to be a member of the Boy Scouts."



The ACLU and BSA are approximately the same age, so I'm not sure I would define the ACLU as an "up and comer."


Reasonable people can disagree on whether the ACLU is furthering its mission in supporting or not supporting gays and atheists in suing to prevent an organization whose membership policy excludes them from using public funds.


I think the torture of detainees by our government (and I do believe that some officials at very high levels have permitted this; I do not believe it is a few bad apples) is an extremely important issue because these actions are a violation of our most fundamental American, human and religious values, and the ACLU performs an extremely important service in helping to bring this to light.

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Is torture of these prisoner's wrong? Yes. But why is the ACLU involved at all? Are they defending Americans? No. If Kerry won the election would the ACLU be involved? Don't think so. I feel the only reason the ACLU is involved is politics. Nothing more and nothing less.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

A blessed Christmas to all!

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For the best bang for the buck, join through the local state chapter of the ACLU. That way you will get news at both levels. Ed, I support the ACLU and similar organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center - primarily for their work on civil rights. Unless you think racial bigotry is good, you must at least understand those issues. But in a broader sense their work, whether you recognize it or not, helps protect you as well. And me. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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"Which reminds me of the time my UCLA alumni card was mistaken for a ACLU membership card. I just wanted to purchase some BBQ, but the dyslexic fellow was certain I was a "pinko lawyer"... "


Cheap Son of a Gun lawyer trying to use a student ID to get discounts. Typical liberial.





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This is probably the wrong thread to post this in, but after reading several posts, I figure here is as good as any...


The ACLU is an organization that protects the Civil rights of ALL Americans. This means that sometimes, those that think they are right are on the wrong side of the ACLU, even when they are in the Majority.


I can sight several current examples, some of which are discussed here.


Boy Scouts and Gays.

The ACLU was actually split on this issue.

First there is the rights of a private organization to define membership and requirements.

Second came the Rights of Homosexuals.

and Third was what defines a private group.


The ACLU determined that the BSA is a private group, but is funded in part by money that comes from taxes (as in the case of Military BSA units and the use of a Military base, at government expense for the Jamboree.)


The ACLU then decided that if it is publicly funded, that the Courts should decide if they fall under the equal protection acts or not.


By bringing the suits that they have, they hope to define, one way or another where the lines are drawn.


Nativity / Christmas / God in the pledge.....


Religion and Government don't mix. That is a common theme in the federalists papers.

We decided as a country to incorporate it, albeit less defined, in the bill of rights.


ANY government facility whether it be federal, State, or Local, Does not have the right to push their religious beliefs on others.


Turn the situation around a bit.

Let's say the Federal Court House in DC decided that they were going to promote Pagan Holidays (And being a Pagan myself I can say these things without it being Pagan Bashing :-P)

Suddenly you drive by and see a scene of a nude woman being chased by a Satyr, or worse yet, having sex with said Satyr. (for those interested, cf Pan and Fertility Festival)


How offended would you be?

Would you then allow your daughter to go on a field trip to that same court?


In reverse, for us Pagans, It really is offensive (though most will never say so) to see Christmas displays that promote a Christian Christmas, but not Yule (Which is where 90% of the Christmas traditions come from)

Examples of the above:

Evergreen / tree (life amoung lifelessness and the promise of a rebirth - Sumerians et al.)

Mistletoe - Fertility and Life (Celts)

Carols - Long before Christianity, these were song by Pagans during the festival.



I do not want this to digress into a debate on Holiday and traditions etc...

I simply want to make a point that the Minorities have just as much right as the Majorities.


And that is what the ACLU is there to ensure.


You can try to make counter arguments like prayer in school, since everyone with a religion prays, but consider this...


There are some Pagan Sects that pray skyclad (skyclad = nudes)

You allow prayer in school in any form, then you must accept this as well. So when a 14 year old girl, strips down and starts praying, and the boys see it, and they get the hormones flowing, how many of them do you think will want to convert to Paganism? :-)


Enough of that...


God in the Pledge...

I think that if the phrase, "Under God" was in the pledge from the beginning, it would not be an issue.

But considering the fact it was added in during the cold war to show that the russians were evil and Godless and that we were good and righteous, is no different in concept then when Hitler espoused that all jews were evil because they are the ones that had Christ killed. It had the same effect as well btw, albeit no where near as deadly as the Hitler Effect (cf. McCarthy Era)


I know a lot of you will not agree with this position, or with everything that is written here, but I ask that you be open minded about it and look at it from all sides of the issue.


The ACLU is not going after the BSA per se. They are going after some of the government policies in reference to the BSA.


Personally, I find some of their crusades to be dumb. I find some of their tactics to be despicable (such as lawsuits against schools that have a Christmas Play)


I think there are better ways to accomplish their goal (Such as educating the schools on being non-secular in their holiday festivals)


But then again, That is just me......


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