Star Parker

Storm troopers of the American Civil Liberties Union have chalked up their latest victory in their ongoing campaign to stamp out any hint of religion in American public life.

Under threat of an ACLU-initiated lawsuit, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to remove a small cross from the seal of the State of California because of its alleged unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity.

Contrary to ACLU claims, these actions make our country less rather than more free.

This is of more than academic interest to me. The ACLU has invaded my home turf. The headquarters of my organization, the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), is in Los Angeles. But, more importantly, the ACLU is invading my turf in an ideological battle for the hearts, minds and souls of African-Americans in deeply damaged inner-city communities that CURE works to help rehabilitate.

ACLU has my folks targeted. From the ACLU Web site: "We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men and transgendered people; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor. If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled."

My constituency is the poor, particularly the African-American poor, and I have a far different sense of what this community's problems and needs are than does the ACLU.

It is instructive, for instance, to scan through the groups that ACLU has lumped together under its umbrella of the oppressed. Freedom means nothing if one does not believe that, at the individual level, people have some kind of free choice. However, apparently for the scholars at the ACLU, there is no distinction in the role that personal choice plays regarding one's race, criminal behavior, sexual lifestyle, physical disabilities or economic status.

I started CURE 10 years ago as result of my personal experience with the welfare state and my conviction that its politics and programs destroy the very communities they claim to help. After seven years on welfare, I saw how the politics of entitlement and victimization destroy human dignity and initiative and produce slaves on a government welfare plantation rather than free, responsible human beings. My personal experience, along with data showing the damage that 40 years of welfare state politics has produced in America's inner-cities, paints a convincing picture that the welfare state/ACLU worldview produces anything but freedom and free men and women.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.