Protest Ethics: Christmas, the ACLU, and Ignorance

A silly e-mail is circulating again, as it has this time of year since 2005, encouraging recipients to engage in a pointless and ignorant protest against the American Civil Liberties Union.

It reads:

Want to have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD this year.

As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world..

Make sure it says “Merry Christmas” on it.

Here’s the address, just don’t be rude or crude. (It’s not the Christian way, you know.)


125 Broad Street

18th Floor

New York , NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn’t know if any were regular mail containing contributions.  So spend 44 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a ” Holiday Tree”. . .  It’s always been called a CHRISTMAS TREE!

And pass this on to your email lists. We really want to communicate with the ACLU! They really DESERVE us!!

For those of you who aren’t aware of them, the ACLU, (the American Civil Liberties Union) is the one suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian away from us. They represent the atheists and others in this war.

Help put Christ back in Christmas!

Here is what is wrong with this “protest”:

  • It is a waste of time and money for everyone. The ACLU isn’t going to be stopped or frozen by a flood of Christmas cards. At worst it might be annoyed.
  • The protest is based on inexcusable ignorance of the role of the ACLU. The organization isn’t “trying hard” to do anything other than to provide support and representation for unpopular or minority positions and opinions, and to make sure that the Constitutional safeguards against government infringement of First Amendment rights are rare, ineffective, and repudiated by the courts. The organization’s “client” is the Bill of Rights, not any political group or point of view. Do the people who send these emails really think that the ACLU defended the right of the American Nazi Party to march in Skokie, Illinois because it likes Nazis? It was properly defending the right of any political group, even loathsome ones, to hold  peaceful demonstrations.
  • The ACLU is emphatically not “suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian” away from anybody. The ACLU’s logical and defensible position is that when a government entity sanctions the religious aspects of Christmas (manger scenes in the town square, singing “Joy to the World” in public school assemblies), it is putting its seal of approval on one religion over the others, and thus is violating the Constitution’s prohibition against the government establishing a religion. Yes, some foolish towns and schools have misused the ACLU position to issue ridiculous prohibitions on kids singing “Frosty the Snowman” or making tree ornaments. That is only because these people are ignorant too, and  frightened of lawsuits from the kind of professional trouble-makers who complain that their children are “oppressed” by having to listen to “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  You can’t blame the ACLU for that.
  • Even if this campaign wasn’t based on a failure to read, think, and learn something about American values, it would be an unethical exercise. It is not aimed at enlightening and teaching, changing opinions or laws. Its sole purpose is revenge and punishment–punishing hard-working, under-paid advocates of basic American rights because their courageous mission requires them to defend unpopular positions. Attacking such dedicated and patriotic Americans is not fair, responsible, respectful or good citizenship.

The senders of these e-mail appeals would be grateful for the ACLU if their children went to a public school that suddenly decided to celebrate only Islamic holidays, because then the organization would be fighting on their side.  Standing up for constitutionally protected speech and other freedoms when doing so steps on the majority’s sesitve toes is a tough job, but an essential one. Yes, I wish the organization would be more aggressive about getting involved in certain issues, such as political correctness on the Left, but that just means it isn’t perfect. The ACLU is still essential, and does a difficult job well.

It doesn’t “deserve” harassing Christmas cards. It deserves thank-you cards from every Americans, for helping to keep us free.

10 thoughts on “Protest Ethics: Christmas, the ACLU, and Ignorance

      • That may be true that other organizations look after the Second Amendment, but it does show that the ACLU is selective in what Rights it supports. And conclusively shows it’s Liberal bias.

    • Erik: there’s no question that the ACLU has a liberal bias; I implied as much. It overcomes its bias when it counts most, I think. The organization is far from perfect. It still does a good job on the whole.

      As for the 2nd—the ACLU obviously believes that the Amendment is a dead letter, like a lot of legit legal scholars. I disagree with them, but nothing in their mission requires an absolutist interpretation.

  1. Bob—I replied over at Ethics Challenge. The summary: I like the displays, but acn’t see how one can argue that if a city erects a creche, it’s annointing a particular religion. A minor breach is still a breach.

    • To Bob & Jack,

      I read Bob’s article a couple days ago, and now it’s come up here, where I do my posting. I have to agree with Bob on this one. I’d rather see some Jewish and Islamic displays in town center to accompany Christian displays than no displays ever.

      I think too many times, people look at a lack of Islamic or Jewish recognition as bias in support of Christians. I look at it as laziness on their parts to promote their holidays. Just because everyone else sits on their rights shouldn’t mean that Christians should lose theirs.

      I know the next logical argument is to bring up Atheists and how it is offensive to them to even witness religion or holiday spirit. Quite frankly, I’ve never come across a more intolerant point of view.

      The idea that a person can set themselves up to never experience another person’s point of view in a mixed society or any society is ludicrous. It would be akin to having a religion of a master race and having to interact with “lesser humans” that offend you because of their physical appearance and other genetic factors.

      • I don’t disagree with any of this. My bias as a lawyer comes into play, however: I see no genuine harm in a town having displays of a community cultural event, including displays that relate to the eligious origins of the holiday. I agree that candy canes and Santa without “Silent Night” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a rather denatured Christmas. STILL: the establishment clause says what it says. A government celebrating ( or appearing to celelebrate) one religion or ist symbols while not doing so for others is close enough to “establishing” for Supreme Court horse shoes. So there we are. I didn’t say I liked it.

        Did the F.Fathers intend this result or foresee it? Of course not. They didn’t see the Supreme Court having the power it has now. It didn’t anticipate politically active atheists, either. And Christmas wasn’t celebrated like it is now. There WAS no secular aspect of it.

        None of which says that the ACLU is trying to kill Christmas.

  2. I otherwise enjoyed the article and agree that the ACLU is well intentioned but sometimes misguided. That is to be expected when you have a case that pits 2 freedoms against each other.

    I personally believe that whoever is defending the 3rd Amendment is doing an amazing job. I seriously think they’ve upheld it 1000% percent of the time and applaud their efforts.

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