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The ACLU Giveth, the ACLU Taketh Away

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The ACLU's inconsistencies can furiously frustrate. How can they be so right...and yet, so wrong?

First, when State representative, John Adams (great name, I know), arranged for a high schooler, Elisabeth Trisler, to receive a routine legislative resolution of achievement on the floor of the Ohio House, Speaker Armond Budish refused to allow the event. Why? Because Elisabeth won the National Right to Life Oratory Contest. And Speaker Budish “had a problem with the subject matter,” according to the House clerk.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

In other words, Speaker Budish is pro-abortion and prefers not to recognize high school students who disagree. Ohio Right to Life Executive Director, Mike Gonidakis, rightly called out Speaker Budish. "Perhaps his (Budish's) real message to Ohio's teens is that excelling in public speaking isn't worth being honored if their views are different than his." So much for the quaint old notion of the free exchange of ideas.

If free speech is not valued in a state's legislature, where might it find life? More embarrassing to Speaker Budish, Ms. Trisler was not even being invited to address the House but rather merely being celebrated for her oratorical achievements.

The ACLU of Ohio Executive Director, Christine Link, criticized the Speaker's move for creating a "troubling precedent." Ms. Link pointed out the troubling totalitarian approach of the Speaker. "Instead of teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us, legislators should be modeling how to address difficult issues thoughtfully and listen respectfully to others." Well done. Score one for the ACLU.

Budish backed down and agreed to recognize Trisler. It is heartening indeed to see the ACLU stand for free speech. That should be the mission and goal of any group who values personal liberty, protecting America's precious freedom of speech, not to mention the freedom to disagree.

However, on the other hand, it is hard to comprehend how the ACLU has gotten it so wrong in California, unless the obvious geographic distinction between Ohio and California provides explanation enough.

Brad Lopez is one of several Fresno City College instructors who teach Health Science I, which the catalog describes as a survey of "contemporary science concepts and medical information designed to promote health." Topics include sexuality, nutrition, substance abuse, physical fitness and heredity. One would reasonably expect to encounter a variety of scientific explanations and discussions in such a setting. After all, the goal of education is not merely to impart politically correct pablum but rather to help students learn to evaluate data and think for themselves.

Unfortunately for Mr. Lopez, he is also a Christian, a designation which seems to have gotten under the skin of the ACLU and two of Lopez's students. Therefore, the ACLU is calling into question his ability to express his opinions, scientific theories and interpretations. Were he a mere Marxist at an American college, it is doubtful anyone would have taken notice of his interpretation of scientific data.

The ACLU of Northern California has written a letter to the school's administration complaining that Lopez quoted the Bible as proof that human life begins at conception and that he characterized homosexuality as a mental illness. The letter claims that such teaching violates California laws protecting gays from discrimination and prohibiting religious indoctrination at public schools. The ACLU asks Fresno City College "to act immediately to ensure that all its health classes provide only accurate and unbiased information."

First, such a statement about homosexuality is certainly one of a number of scientific positions regarding the “health” of gay behavior. For example, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association maintained such a position well into the 1970's. It is now a minority opinion but one still held nonetheless by a number of scientists. There is no such thing as “unbiased” information when it comes to assessing homosexuality. Sexual behavior is hardly comparable to the law of gravity. All scientists and thinkers interpret the data and emerging research. Shall Mr. Lopez not offer his own interpretation or should he instead ask what interpretation the ACLU would categorize as “unbiased” and “accurate”? After all, he is the teacher of the class, and that is what teachers do – share their opinions and interpretations of the data.

Jacqueline Mahaffey, 24, had Lopez as a teacher last semester, and said his personal beliefs appeared on the first day of class when he made a point of contradicting their textbook, which listed cancer as the leading cause of death. Lopez told the class that abortions kill more human beings than cancer. Of course, Mr. Lopez is technically correct although that fact seems not to hold much weight against a tidal wave of political correctness. Again, what might be “accurate and unbiased” information regarding the beginning of human life?

Most scientists (and theologians) agree that human life begins at conception. What they dispute is when a human receives a “soul.” But few scientists deviate from the idea of human life's beginning at conception.

Ms. Mahaffey said she nonetheless stayed in the class and earned an A. Lopez clearly was not inculcating religious belief, or Ms. Mahaffey's disagreements with his positions would surely have prevented her from earning an A in the course.

Evidently, in the ACLU's world, only one interpretation is welcome: An interpretation where abortion is not viewed as destroying a human life and one where homosexuality is seen as a lifestyle equivalent to any other. That is their definition of “accurate” and “unbiased;” to disagree invites censoring. And I thought universities were places for the free exchange of ideas and thought. Silly me.

It is little wonder that American college campuses contain the last vestiges of Marxism in the world. Free speech is refused, free inquiry is denied and free thinking is squelched, all in the name of political correctness. Bill Ayers would be proud. And the ACLU should be embarrassed.

Some thoughts and ideas simply cannot be explored. Feelings are more important than truth. And that is a scary place to be.

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