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WHO’S RUNNING Washington City Paper these days? Judging by Jonetta Rose Barras’ crude attack on the ACLU (“Taking Liberties,” 2/2), I’d guess William F. Buckley, or perhaps Pat Robertson. Barras chides the ACLU for denying the majority’s will, but she fails to understand that what majorities want at a particular moment may not be legal, constitutional, or even good public policy. It’s possible that a majority of D.C. residents are offended by the risqué ads in City Paper. Does that mean they should be able to ban the publication?
Yes, a majority of city residents may favor “nonsectarian” prayer in schools, but that doesn’t mean public schools can start usurping the role of churches. The First Amendment mandates a separation of church and state, meaning that government can’t get into the business of promoting religion or requiring citizens to take part in worship ceremonies.
I have been an ACLU member for almost 10 years. I can’t say I agree with every stand the organization takes, but most of the time it is right on the money. I shudder to think what shape the Bill of Rights would be in todayand indeed wonder if the country would even still have a Bill of Rightswere it not for the diligence of the ACLU.