Wed 21 Dec 2005
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-by Aaron Stemplewicz
Last December Fox News broadcasted footage of carolers, sent by a conservative group called Public Advocate for the United States, gathered around ACLU offices in Washington D.C. These Carolers were singing Christmas carols and holding signs that said “Merry Christmas” and “Please Don’t Sue Me.” The people taking part in the demonstration seemed to be under the delusive impression that the ACLU was currently engaged in a concerted assault on Christmas.
However, the interesting part of the story turned out to be what was not shown on the broadcast. Fox News apparently decided that it was not in the best interest of their “war on Christmas campaign” to air the footage of ACLU staff members bringing warm drinks and cookies to the carolers, and then singing with them. They also did not show how one staff member, who was an ordained Baptist minister, spoke to a now befuddled crowd about his own faith. No, instead Fox decided to show some quick select footage of a few zealous carolers, and then move on to another one of their “fair and balanced” reports. 
This premeditated piece of propaganda only further proves to undermine any attempt by Fox News to present an evenhanded report on the activities of the ACLU. The religious right’s conjuration of a secular war on Christmas is part of a larger conservative movement accusing the left of attacking Christianity as a whole, and therefore attacking and eroding the moral foundations of the United States – and the ACLU has been caricatured with militiristic rhetoric as being one of the most radical of these “crusading” groups. However, ultimately the ACLU prides itself on being the gardian of the very moral principles on which the United States was founded, one of which is religious liberty.
Roger Williams, a religious reformer and the founder of the first Baptist Church in the United States, claimed that there should be a “hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.” In other words Williams would argue that in order to preserve the inviolability and sacredness of Christianity (or any religion for that matter) from from the corrupt forces of government there must exist a degree of seperation between the church and the state. The ACLU would agree, arguing that religion flourishes and is most free when it is unfettered from government interference. The ACLU within the last two years has been extremely active in protecting the religious liberty of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. Here are a few examples of some such cases:
- August 4, 2005: ACLU helps free a New Mexico street preacher from prison.
- May 25, 2005: ACLU sues Wisconsin prison on behalf of a Muslim woman who was forced to remove her headscarf in front of male guards and prisoners.
- December 22, 2004: ACLU of New Jersey successfully defends right of religious expression by jurors.
- November 20, 2004: ACLU of Nevada supports free speech rights of evangelists to preach on the sidewalks of the strip in Las Vegas.
- November 9, 2004: ACLU of Nevada defends a Mormon student who was suspended after wearing a T-shirt with a religious message to school.
- August 11, 2004: ACLU of Nebraska defends church facing eviction by the city of Lincoln.
- July 10, 2004: Indiana Civil Liberties Union defends the rights of a Baptist minister to preach his message on public streets.
- June 3, 2004: Under pressure from the ACLU of Virginia, officials agree not to prohibit baptisms on public property in Falmouth Waterside Park in Stafford County. 
All of these examples have arisen within the last year and a half, and unfortunately you will never hear about any of these from the pundits at Fox News. Ultimately, the vision fo the ACLU is to represent those who true Christians strive to embrace most: the last, the least, the lost, and the left-behind. It seems that the ACLU actually represents many of the same people who Jesus cared most for himself. In a time when Christians are celebrating the birth of Christ and recongnizing the many things he accomplished, it is important for Christians to also remember that, while the ACLU may excersize occasional legal overreach, in the end, this organization’s final goal is to protect the very religious freedoms that Christians now enjoy.
 Gunn, Jeremy, “A fictional ‘war on Christmas,’” USA Today, 18 December 2005.
 “ACLU’s Defense of Religious Liberty,” 20 December 2005 http://www.aclu.org/religion/tencomm/16254res20050302.html