Pat Boone's ACLU Lies

The Worldnutdaily, for some strange reason, has made Pat Boone - yes, that Pat Boone - a weekly columnist; I guess Perry Como was busy. Most of his columns are just plain embarrassing, of course, but this one about the ACLU was even worse than usual. Let's see if we can count how many lies, falsehoods and exaggerations he can pack into a single article. He starts by claiming that they favor "Eradication of any reference to the Ten Commandments or the Bible from public buildings or hillsides or even cemeteries." This is false. They have no objection to such things in cemetaries, as long as the family or the individual decides to put them on a headstone. Then he goes on to make a long list of things the ACLU allegedly opposes:

Any Christian display in public

Absolutely false. The anti-ACLU crowd loves to use this vague "in public" phrase. The ACLU doesn't even oppose all Christian displays on public property, much less in public view. Where there is a designated public forum, Christian groups have just as much right to use such a forum to express their views as any other group (they cannot, of course, have exclusive access to such forums) and the ACLU does not challenge that. There are Christian groups all over the country that use public parks, courthouse or city hall grounds or other public property to hold rallies, prayer vigils, seminars, speeches, and even church services virtually every day. The ACLU does nothing to stop them as long as all groups have equal access to use those facilities.

Any reference to God, let alone Jesus, in a school child's speech, paper or essay answer!

Again, totally false. In fact, the opposite is true. The ACLU has often defended student's rights to sing religious songs in talent shows, write essays about their religious views (when appropriate for the assignment, of course), paint religious paintings in art class, distribute religious material to their classmates, and so forth.

Was I exaggerating? I've only scratched the surface!

Not only exaggerating, but wildly exaggerating and perhaps even lying. He then gives another list of suits filed by the ACLU:

leading to the U.S. Defense Department banning military units from sponsoring Boy Scout troops or even letting them meet on government property;

False. Boy Scout troops can continue to use government property on the same footing with any other community group. If there is a designated public forum, the Boy Scouts may use it just like any other group can. What the ACLU suits have attempted to do is prevent the government from giving any special deals to the Boy Scouts, or to provide specific funding for their events because they discriminate, and since they are a private group, they have no claim to public funding.

Are you noticing a pattern here? It's one that is shared by almost all of the anti-ACLU screeds you'll ever see - exaggeration for the purpose of obscuring important distinctions. There is a major difference between being opposed to religious displays paid for by the government, or being given exclusive access, and being opposed to all religious displays "in public". There is a major difference between opposing all use of government property by the Boy Scouts and being opposed to providing taxpayer funding for them, or giving them exclusive access to such property that other groups do not get. This is the stock in trade of anti-ACLU types.

supporting an 18-year-old man accused of raping a 14-year-old mentally handicapped boy, arguing that teens should be "free from state compulsion";

Again, a total distortion of reality. The ACLU did not defend the man and say he should not be charged. The ACLU argued that the 18 year old man who had sex with a 14 year old boy should be treated no differently than an 18 year old who had sex with a 14 year old girl. The state law gave a penalty many times longer for gay statutory rape than for straight statutory rape. That's certainly nothing like "supporting" the criminal.

representing the pro-pedophile North American Man/Boy Love Association - at no cost! - after two group members were accused of raping and murdering a 10-year-old boy;

I love the fact that he threw in "at no cost!", as though that makes it worse. The ACLU defends all its clients at no cost. And of course, he words this to make it sound like the ACLU defended the criminals against charges of raping and murdering; that is absolutely false. The two men were convicted and are in prison, and I'm sure everyone in the ACLU is quite happy about that. They had nothing at all to do with the criminal trial. They defended, in a civil case, the principle that you cannot hold person A responsible for advocating a change in the law when person B decides to break the law.

That's a very important principle, one that the same people who criticize the ACLU would absolutely support if the tables were turned a bit. They defended the website The Nuremberg Files in a civil suit when someone tried to blame them for someone else killing an abortion doctor (the website had posted the dead doctor's picture with "wanted: dead or alive" on it, and had given his home address). So they recognize the importance of that principle, yet they use it to score cheap political points by distorting the ACLU's defense of that same principle in the NAMBLA case.

All of this just scratches the surface of the standard set of lies, distortions and exaggerations that are omnipresent in anti-ACLU screeds like this.


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Well said. I would suggest only that you remove the "perhaps" from the claim that Boone is lying. Of course Boone is lying.

Is a blind man lying when he says he can't see what's in front of him?

He is lying if he says that he can see what's in front of him, especially if what he says is wrong.

By natural cynic (not verified) on 13 Aug 2006 #permalink

Pat should bone up on his commandments.

#9. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor"

Okay, so Pat Boone gets himself an opinion column, and the best he can do is republish anti-ACLU Internet spam? My ill-informed niece forwarded me a long diatribe that decried the supposed oppression of Christians in America. It hit all the high points of the extremist catechism: kids can't pray in school, the Bible is banned, Dr. Spock opposed all forms of child discipline, etc. I'm sure my niece swallowed every bit of it. The whole piece is here, along with the detailed response I sent to my niece in return. She's not troubled me with any further "inspirational" messages, but I guess I can just read Pat Boone now.

They defended the website The Nuremberg Files in a civil suit...

The ACLU did, or their critics? You could be more clear there.

"Of course Boone is lying."

He prefers to think of himself as a "factual stylist."


Their critics did (as did I, I might add). The difference between me and the ACLU critics is that I apply a principle consistently, not just when it's convenient for my preconceived ideas.

I think this could be the start of some very amusing anti-ACLU songs from Pat.

I think there is a platinum album in all of this.

I clicked through to the Boone column, and it is even worse than you described. His use of a disease metaphor -- the ACLU as a "cancer", a "poisonous growth" -- is straight out of Nazi propaganda techniques. The ACLU, in this view, is not just wrong or misguided -- it's existence is potentially fatal to the country and so of course the only thing to do with such a disease is to eliminate it.

Picking through the misstatements of fact in such a piece is sort of missing the point, which is to be found in the vile propaganda techniques (also employed by Ann Coulter and many talk-radio types).

Fortunately the US is not Germany in the 1920s, and this kind of dangerous paranoid lunacy seems to be hot air, not likely to solidify in an actual political movement. If we get serious economic hard times though, I would not be at all surprised to find this kind of hateful talk turn to hateful action.

"Sit down, Mr. Citizen. I hate to tell you this, but I guess the best thing is just to spit it out. You've got cancer.

"And not just a localized cancer, but a malignant, fast-spreading strain of cancer. It's already attacked all your vital organs and is infiltrating through your circulatory system to even your outer extremities. Unless we take every action available to us and attack this disease on all fronts with the strongest possible treatments, you will surely die a painful, lingering, wasting death. And, I am bound to tell you this: It may already be too late for us to turn this thing around. This cancer is that virulent, that aggressive. I'm sorry, Mr. Citizen."

Well - whether we realize it or not - you and I are living right now under such a sentence, such a diabolical attack. The disease is called ACLU. This cancerous organization, this poisonous growth - fraudulently self-named the "American Civil Liberties Union" - is attacking every one of our foundational bases, our vital organs...

Re: Pat Boone vs ACLU (Aug 13)
This retired English teacher has no love for Pat Boone nor any of his ilk, but may I suggest that if you want to be taken seriously your spelling skills should at least equal his?

eg "cemetaries" vs "cemeteries"


"...the ACLU's use of the fantasy 'establishment clause'..."

How is it that people like Gribbit can maintain the delusion that the ACLU has somehow single-handedly perverted what they believe is the true meaning of the First Amendment? There have been literally hundreds if not thousands of cases not involving the ACLU in which rulings have favored the reality of church-state separation. Apparently Gribbit feels that his anger over Christians' inability to co-opt the entire federal government translates into license for him to interpret the Constitution any way he likes.

I guess Perry Como was busy

Perry Como has been so busy for about the last 5 years, no one has actually seen or heard from him.
Cue Eugene Levy's classic '70's SCTV sketch: "Perry Como: Still Alive!" -- laying on stage crooning "I Like the Nightlife" and in bed "I Will Survive".

OTOH, attempting to parody Pat Boone is unnecessary.

Their critics did (as did I, I might add).

I have to disagree, Ed. Doesn't that cross the line between free speech and incitement?

I may just stay here and listen to old Pat Boone records. Try and find some hidden meaning because basically I believe that man is a misunderstood genius.
- Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam

"Pat Boone is still alive? How old is he now, 90?"

He's 72, if Wikipedia has his birthday correct. According to the article Mr. Boone "argued that Democrats and others who are against the Iraq War cannot, under any circumstances, be considered patriotic". Nice guy.

By Jeff Rients (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

Remember that scene in Journey to the Center of the Earth? The one where a num came upon Pat, who was naked and proceded to grab a sheep? And he thinks the ACLU is misbehaving?