ACLU responds to Rowan commissioners | News
SALISBURY - The American Civil Liberties Union has now responded to the stance taken by Rowan County Commissioners at Monday night's meeting. In that meeting commissioners voted unanimously to fight the lawsuit in order to continue the tradition of sectarian prayer at meetings.
On Tuesday, WBTV reached out to the ACLU for a response. Chris Brook, Legal Director for the ACLU of North Carolina responded through an email.
"Rowan County commissioners unfortunately continue to violate the First Amendment and alienate citizens of different beliefs by opening their meetings with prayers that are specific to only one set of religious views. We continue to urge the Rowan County commissioners to end this unconstitutional practice," Brook wrote.
In addition, WBTV asked ACLU representative Mike Meno to respond to allegations made in the public comment portion of the meeting about the ACLU's mission.
"The ACLU is deeply committed to protecting religious liberty for all Americans and has defended the free exercise rights of Christians and people of other beliefs on countless occasions," Meno wrote. "You can find a list of cases where the ACLU has defended the free exercise rights of Christians and others here: http://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression."
One speaker also told the board that the ACLU was "started by communists." Is that true? WBTV asked Meno that question too:
I'd also direct you to ACLU National's website here: http://www.aclu.org/faqs#3_4
Does the ACLU have Communist roots? Was co-founder Roger Baldwin a Communist?
No, Roger Baldwin was not a Communist. Like many of his contemporaries, he observed and wrote about the social and political issues in the early years of the Soviet Union, but later he wrote, "The Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939, a traumatic shock to me, ended any ambivalence I had about the Soviet Union, and all cooperation with Communists in united fronts."
Throughout the organization's history and particularly during the McCarthy era, the ACLU, its members, staff and founders have been accused of being Communists. The ACLU has no political affiliations and makes no test of individuals' ideological leanings a condition of membership or employment. Members and staff of the national ACLU and its affiliates may be Republicans, Democrats, Communists, Federalists, Libertarians, or members of any other political party or no party at all. What the ACLU asks of its staff and officials is that they consistently defend civil liberties and the Constitution.