thank god for the aclu

Fortunately, as the Bush administration continues to force federal social spending through so-called “faith-based” initiatives, the ACLU is there, pushing the issue in the courts, and trying to keep the line between church and state from being completely obliterated. And, it seems like, at least in one recent case, they were able to hold back the tide of government-funded evangelical extremism. Here’s a clip from the LA Times:

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suspended a $75,000 grant to the Silver Ring Thing, a sexual abstinence program for teenagers, saying it was concerned that the program “may not have included adequate safeguards to clearly separate in time or location inherently religious activities from the federally funded activities.”

The silver ring in the program’s title refers to a ring worn by participants. It is inscribed with the message, “God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of sexual sin.” The ACLU had charged that the Silver Ring Thing used “taxpayer dollars to promote religious content, instruction and indoctrination.” A lawyer for the program, which has received about $1.3 million in federal funds since 2003, insisted that “any religious teaching that goes on is separate in time and place from what the government is funding.”

Do you believe it’s gotten to the point in our country where a court case has to be filed before the administration will acknowledge that a program built around jewelery that says, “God wants you to be holy,” is crossing the line?

(note: I wonder if I could get funding for this idea I have for bracelets that say, “Save your Cherry for Satan.”)

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  1. Shanster
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I think the ACLU will, and probably should, win out, unless The Ring Thing provides alternate secular rings, like Mark’s idea or one with the inscription “Big Brother wants you to purethink” or “Goldberg wants you to lust”.

    I don’t have many opportunities to agree with the ACLU, so I do it when I can. This article shows that they sometimes do defend Christians (even in Ypsilanti!), although it seems they prefer to defend Pentacostals, Baptists, and Catholics (are those considered non-evangelicals, therefore apolitical and safe?).

  2. Posted August 31, 2005 at 9:51 am | Permalink


  3. chris
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    No Shanster, they are NOT apolitical, threfore they are NOT safe. What makes some of the churches you mentioned so dangerous is that they are assumed to be apolitical.

    But then again the ACLU, wouuld just as soon defend an evangelical as they have a Nazi. Because what they defend are Americans’ constitutional rights not American political groups.

    The ring thing is very creepy. Did you read the article in the NYT’s some time ago where a ring w/ the same concept was given to a girl by her FATHER? Eewww. If that is what is meant by keeping sex ed at home I would rather learn about it an alley.

    Do you think Jenna and Babs where such rings? Of course, I am sure their Dad would settle for an AA keychain. And no, navel rings don’t count. So yeah mark, at this point I will believe anything. Try me.

  4. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Teen pregnancy rates would certainly go down if we put very tight “rings around things,” but I don’t think that’s what they have in mind.

  5. Doug Skinner
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The message on the ring could be clearer. What about a simple “My church hates sex”?

  6. Teddy Glass
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    “Jesus Sealed My Pussy.”

  7. Dan from Austin
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    We all know that the Cherry is the devil’s work.

    I don’t think I’ve ever used the term “Cherry” as in hymen in a sentence before.
    Thanks Mark.

  8. john galt
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    The other day, the New York Times reported on a Nebraska couple, Matthew and Crystal Koso, who got married in May after he made her pregnant. Their daughter, Samara, was born last week and is apparently doing fine. His father is in some trouble, however: Mr. Koso is charged with raping his wife.

    Mr. Koso is 22, and Mrs. Koso is 14. The pair went to Kansas, where the law permits girls as young as 12 to wed with parental consent–a law the Times reports has Kansas’ Gov. Kathleen Sebelius “embarrassed.” She “has said she will propose a raise in the minimum age when the Legislature reconvenes in January,” the Times adds.

    In an editorial yesterday, the Times endorsed the proposal:

    The Koso marriage is indeed legal, and that is the fault of the Kansas State Legislature, which should heed a call by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and raise the age as soon as it reconvenes in January. Kansas is not the only state that has failed to fix antiquated laws permitting 14-year-old boys to marry 12-year-old girls if the parents permit. . . .

    The fact that parents are willing to go along with these unions does not make them right. Chances are that in most of these cases, as apparently happened with Mr. Koso’s family, when the parents found out that a baby was on the way, they were eager for the child to be born to married parents. But neither parental nor state approval makes it right to tie a girl as young as 12 to another

    Indeed. A 14-year-old is a child, far too young for something as serious as marriage. At that age, she should be focusing on childish things like playing with dolls, going to sock hops, and having abortions.

  9. mark
    Posted September 1, 2005 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I have a somewhat distant relative that married at 14, to a fellow who was 16. They are still married, now some 50 years later. (He became a well-respected school superintendent, and, now that he’s retired, helps the Amish sell their furniture.) I guess you can never tell how those things will work out… In spite of that, I’m inclined to agree that the legal age for marriage should be raised.

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