Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't believe the hype: ACLU goes to bat for Christians

If you're sitting around the Thanksgiving table this week and some turkey says the ACLU hates Christians, tell them to stick this in their pipe and smoke it.

A church in Jefferson County maintains a small shelter for homeless people, which has been in operation for four years. Housing the least of these among us: Could there be a more Christian thing to do?

Well, the local borough didn't like it and ordered the shelter shutdown.

So who stepped in to defend the church? The American Center for Law and Justice? Survey says, "Errr!" The Alliance Defense Fund? Not so much. The Thomas More Law Center? Thanks for playing, and we have some wonderful parting gifts for you.

Nope, nope, and nope, it was the ACLU. Our own Witold "Vic" Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director, told the New York Times
“At the core of this is that it’s difficult for the borough officials to wrap their mind around the concept that church use is more than a Sunday service,” said Witold J. Walczak, the organization’s legal director. “This entire church is set up to help the least fortunate.”

Then there's this quote from the town's attorney:
“I’m a small-town lawyer, and I’m not using that as an excuse, but I had not read those 2007 and 2008 federal decisions on this law,” Mr. French said. “The way I see it, it’s an abuse of federal power to override our zoning laws.” (my bold)

That's right, folks, Mr. French believes that local ordinances should override the Constitution of the United States.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette gave the love today in an editorial:
Enter the American Civil Liberties Union, often unfairly derided as an enemy of religion. It filed a lawsuit and request for a temporary order arguing that a town cannot use its zoning regulations to prevent a church from engaging in its religious ministry. That's a violation of the church's rights under the Constitution and federal and state law. Further, the ACLU argued that the prohibition shouldn't be applied in this case because the group home classification refers to a "licensed care facility" such as a nursing home.

On the eve of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, wisdom won the day.

Andy in Harrisburg

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