Robert Knight

In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, a tyrannical government masks its activities through the use of Newspeak — saying or doing something opposite of what the word means.

The operative slogans are: War Is Peace; Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength.

A current variant comes to mind, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Florida branch, which is threatening to sue the Miami-Dade government for voting to replace a moment of silence before County Commission meetings with a prayer.

In other words, the ACLU, self-proclaimed defender of the constitutional freedom of speech, prefers silence, which the formerly cowed commission had required for the past several years.

Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition, which had lobbied for the change, praised the County Commission for “moving into the 21st century,” and described the vote as ending “8½ years of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, stuck in 1984, the ACLU will monitor the next few meetings, and work up some outrage. Then they will file a lawsuit.

“If prayers are sectarian in nature, the county will be sued …,’’ Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in the Miami Herald. “Moving away from a moment of silence is a no-win situation for the county.”

Nonsense. Even Congress opens its sessions with prayers. By the way, “sectarian” is Newspeak for mentioning the name of Jesus. The ACLU can’t actually say they despise Christianity, so they use the blanket term. Occasionally, they’ll pick on a publicly displayed Menorah, just to pretend that this isn’t about eradicating America’s Christian heritage from the growing government sector.

Over on the Left Coast, the ACLU’s allies, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, won a victory recently when a federal judge ruled that the City of Santa Monica, which had allowed religious-themed, privately-erected displays on city property for the past 59 years, could ban them.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.