- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

I am not a religious man. I’m neither proud of that nor ashamed. I merely state that fact to establish where I’m coming from. I have friends who are believers and friends who are not. Where religion is concerned, I believe in live and let live. I only wish that the American Civil Liberties Union shared that attitude. I don’t like to describe myself as an agnostic or an atheist because I don’t care to align myself with the people whose own religion consists of a profound antipathy to everybody else’s.

I decided a long time ago that religion would play no part in my life, but I felt no compulsion to convert others.

Oddly enough, I never resented the folks who would ring my doorbell and try to proselytize me. Although I don’t like dealing withuninvited guests, I always thought it was nice of them to be that concerned about the eternal soul of a perfect stranger.

Having said all that, I wish to announce that I despise the ACLU for its relentless attacks on Christianity and Judaism. It’s bad enough that they will wage battle on behalf of anybusybody looking to banish Christmasand Hanukkah symbols from public places, including one’s own front yard. However, these very same lawyers will eagerly go to the mat to safeguard a Muslim’s right to wear a disguise on her driver’s license, a Navajo’s right to smoke peyote, and a cultist’s right to ritualistically slaughter small animals.

The ACLU proclaims that it is merely abiding by the Constitution’s insistence on the separation of church and state. The only problem with such a position is that the Constitution says no such thing. Although the secular left has glommed on to that catch phrase like a pitbull gnawing on a shinbone, the First Amendment simply states: “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That is a far cry from forcing apartment dwellers to remove holiday wreaths from their door, or insisting that communities remove Nativity scenes from parks, or compelling small towns to change “Christmas Holiday” in their high school calendars to “Winter Break.” The problem with the ACLU is that it is composed in equal measure of self-righteous fools and fascistic bullies.

Because so many of their members are rich and privileged, they will, on the one hand, blather on about their love of democracy, while, at the same time, assume they alone know what’s best for everyone else.

Because they are so out of step with the majority, they can rarely have their way via a democratic ballot. There are, in fact, only two means by which they ever have their way. The first is by getting liberal judges to set aside election results, as they have done over such issues as capital punishment, illegal immigration and affirmative action. The second way is by intimidating those people — be they individuals, cities or organizations — that lack the backbone or thefinancial wherewithal to defendthemselves againstthe ACLU’s mob of shysters.

If the authors of the Constitution had ever, in their worst nightmares,envisioned a group asvileasthe ACLU, I feel certainthatthey wouldhaverephrased the First Amendmentto read: “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibitingthefree exercise thereof. Period.And we’re not kidding, so help us God.”

Burt Prelutsky is an award-winning TV writer. His TV movie credits are “Aunt Mary,” “Homeward Bound,” “A Small Killing,” “Hobson’s Choice” and “A Winner Never Quits: The Pete Gray Story.”Television writing credits include MASH, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, Family Ties, Diagnosis Murder, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Rhoda.