A Nation Under God?: The ACLU and Religion in American Politics
A Nation Under God? raises the question of why the ACLU relentlessly attacks public expressions of mainstream religious faith. The answer, according to the book's argument, is that the work of the ACLU is informed by a larger political project-modern liberalism-to transform American government and society into an administrative-welfare state. Modern liberalism requires two decisive changes in American politics if it is to be successful: First, the government of limited powers mandated by the Constitution must become a government of unlimited powers and scope. Second, free, self-reliant, and independent citizens must become dependent on and understand themselves as subservient to government. The ACLU's drive to remove religion and morality from the public square advances both goals.
Limited, constitutional government rests on the idea that rights come from God; the power of government should be limited commensurate to the limited purpose of legitimate government: to protect our natural, God-given rights. With God removed from the public square, it becomes much easier politically to argue that government is the source of rights, and that every expansion of government power is tantamount to an expansion of rights.
Further, self-reliant citizens are not in need of and are unlikely to support large government welfare programs. But self-reliancy is largely a function of self-control and moral responsibility. Immoral and irresponsible citizens are incapable of providing for themselves and their families. Driving God and morality out of the public square serves to break down public morality, which in turn creates classes of citizens who are dependent on government assistance and regulation.
Through endless litigation against public expressions of religion and morality and its distorted interpretations of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, the ACLU reveals its real agenda and its real allegiance, which is not to the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but to a radical liberal ideology that seeks
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THE PROGRESSIVE REJECTION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDING
THE BIRTH OF THE ACLU AND THE RISE OF MODERN LIBERALISM
BUILDING THE WALL OF SEPARATION THE ACLU TAKES RELIGION TO COURT
IMMORAL RELIGION? THE ACLUs SELECT DEFENSE OF RELIGIOUS FREE EXERCISE
GEORGE WASHINGTON FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS 1789
GEORGE WASHINGTON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION 1789
GEORGE WASHINGTON LETTER TO THE HEBREWS AT NEWPORT 1790
GEORGE WASHINGTON FAREWELL ADDRESS 1796
JAMES MADISON A MEMORIAL AND REMONSTRANCE 1785
THOMAS JEFFERSON VIRGINIA STATUTE FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY 1786
THOMAS JEFFERSON LETTER TO THE DANBURY BAPTISTS 1802
SAMUEL WEST SERMON ON THE RIGHT TO REBEL AGAINST GOVERNORS 1776
DOCUMENTS FROM THE FOUNDING ON RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IN CONGRESS JULY 4 1776
NORTHWEST ORDINANCE 1787
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION 1787
STATE CONSTITUTIONS ACKNOWLEDGING GOD
SAMUEL COOPER SERMON ON THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE MASSACHUSSETTS CONSTITUTION 1780
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
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ACLU ACLU’s Amendment Amendment’s American Founding American Political argued authority Baldwin Bill of Rights blessings Christian church citizens civil government Claremont Institute Commerce Clause common Congress Creator decision Declaration of Independence defend dictates divine duty equal ernment establish this Constitution Establishment Clause establishment of religion exercise of religion faith Founders Free Exercise Clause free speech freedom grateful to Almighty happiness Harry Jaffa human idea inﬂuence Jaffa Jefferson Justice justify practices inconsistent law of nature Lemon test Leo Strauss Madison magistrates mankind means ment mode of worship modern liberalism moral relativism nation natural rights obey ordain and establish person place of worship political philosophy prayer principles progressive progressivism prohibiting promote protection reason regime religion and morality religious belief religious liberty religious test rights of conscience RLUIPA Roger Nash Baldwin rulers Samuel West sect secure Supreme Court Ten Commandments tion tyranny violate Virginia virtue