Just when you thought STACLU had stooped as low as it could go you find this post by Glib Fortuna and this staggeringly dishonest claim:
With American judges relying more on foreign law (yeah, yeah, “instructive, but not binding,” suuuuuuure) when that pesky US Constitution just doesn’t lend its support for the implementation radical Leftist agenda. The ACLU itself has been a proud advocate of bans on pro-life speech. Additionally, it is on record, through its execrable 2003 International Civil Liberties Report taking the position that,
“It is clear that we can no longer count on the Constitution alone to protect fundamental freedoms in the United States.”
Sounds like a perfect recipe to create something like the hideous attack on free speech and religious liberty that regularly occurs among “our betters” in “enlightened” Europe.
Talk about taking a quote out of context and completely distorting its meaning! Let’s look at the full quote from that report:
It is clear that we can no longer count on the Constitution alone to protect fundamental freedoms in the United States – let alone the freedoms of those affected by our government’s actions abroad. Increasingly, our government refuses to comply not just with international human rights norms but also with the Constitution, even in the treatment of its own citizens. The government’s actions here and abroad inevitably encourage other governments to violate human rights. Our response as social justice advocates must be swift and multifaceted. We must combine grassroots advocacy, documentation, policy work, public education and litigation. We must work with
young people to spread the work about human rights. They understand the inextricable links between globalism, poverty, and racism. We must emphasize the positive face of globalization, the globalization of freedom and
democracy. We must use human rights documentation to hold our government accountable for its actions here and abroad. We must raise human rights arguments more frequently in our domestic litigation, and provide the courts with more opportunities to – at least – reference international human rights. We must persuade more cities and towns to adopt human rights conventions like CEDAW and CERD locally. All of these actions would add fuel to a grassroots movement to ratify and implement human rights treaties. In short, we must stop at nothing to ensure that every human being – citizen or non-citizen, black or white, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor – has the fundamental rights enshrined in both the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Glib presents this quote as though the ACLU was saying that the Constitution is a bad thing and we should adopt European-style hate speech laws. In fact, they are saying quite the opposite – that the Constitution is a vital tool for protecting human rights but that we also have to protect those rights in other ways, particularly by educating people about the importance of protecting the rights of all people not just a chosen few.
As for the claim that the ACLU “has been a proud advocate of bans on pro-life speech”, perhaps Glib could offer some specifics. They’ve certainly been opposed to allowing anti-abortion protesters to accost women or prevent them from entering a clinic. And yes, I do think that sometimes they’ve allowed their support for abortion rights to overshadow their support for free speech.
But it’s also true that the ACLU has often defended the rights of those who protest abortion. For instance, they went to court in 1992 to prevent the Clinton inauguration planners from keeping anti-abortion protesters far away from the inaugural activities. They’ve also defended an Ohio member of Operation Rescue and his right to engage in an anti-abortion protest during a parade there. They also defended the right of an Arizona church to take out anti-abortion ads on city buses.
He also cites, uncritically, the same posting from a Belgian blog that Dembski did, which declares, “Secularist Europe Silences Pro-Lifers and Creationists.” But the report is actually about a Lutheran minister jailed for holocaust denial. Now that’s wrong too and I have strongly protested such laws, but it is ridiculous to equate that with locking up pro-lifers or creationists. This is typical religious right hyperbole. The Council of Europe put out a report saying that creationism needs to be kept out of school science curricula and Dembski and STACLU claim that means they’re about to lock up creationists. This is beyond lunacy.