On Thursday’s discussion of church and state, someone mentioned an organization called the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which apparently has fought the ACLU on some church/state-related issues. I had not heard of the ACLJ. But, you might be interested to know that it was founded by Pat Robertson to be a kind of counter to the ACLU. ACLJ’s mission is to defend the rights of religious groups in the public sphere, I guess.
You might be interested in knowing that Robertson’s organization has just filed a lawsuit to block the construction of the “Ground-Zero Mosque” (i.e., the 2-blocks from the ground zero non-mosque community center dedicated to interfaith dialogue). As this Yahoo News report shows, this is pretty ironic. The ACLJ has:
“…a history of arguing in court that local governments can’t use laws like that to prevent houses of worship from being built…[the ACLJ] has argued repeatedly and forcefully in federal court on at least three occasions that local land-use laws such as historical landmark designations don’t trump the religious and property rights of religious groups to build houses of worship. So has the Anti-Defamation League, which controversially came out in opposition to the mosque last week. The group has filed no less than five amicus briefs in federal court arguing that local governments can’t use zoning laws to prevent the building of churches and synagogues.”
Indeed, these groups all compose part of a large ecosystem of religious-rights organizations; members of such groups have made frequent use of a federal law that erects significant barriers for local governments seeking to interfere with religious buildings. With few exceptions, in the case of Cordoba House, these groups have either been silent or directly contradicted their own history of statements and action.”
I guess some religions are more equal than other. Sorry, but this one just infuriates me. Needless to say, this does not mean that the ACLJ was wrong in the case we discussed on Thursday, which had to do with the ACLU allegedly trying to intimidate schools by threatening legal action. But, really, Pat Robertson?