IRITY HAS ITS WAY, START PRAYING. THE DANGER POINT. These groups have already had alarming uccess. They have been pivotal in ‘locking passage of the E.R.A. in fifteen tates. Public school boards all over the ountry have banned books and imposed prayer and other religious ceremonies. ;tate legislatures have begun placing acreasingly severe restrictions on a voman’s right to have an abortion. And here is mounting pressure to pass laws equiring the teaching of the Biblical ecount of creation as an alternative to :volution. They have grown into a rich and powerful force in this country. How rich? In a week, the Moral 4ajority raises a million dollars with its elevision program. How powerful? In the last election, key aembers of Congress were successfully l argeted by them for defeat, because of heir positions on abortion, E.R.A., and ther civil liberties issues. And the head of the Moral Majority romises more of the same. At a press :onference a week after the election, he yarned elected officials, both Republican Ind Democrat, to “get in step” or “be repared to be unemployed.” Already there is talk of constitutional l anendments that would impose prayer in he public schools and outlaw all .bortions. And legislation has been otroduced that would strip federal courts f their authority even to hear onstitutional cases. In the Senate, Strom Thurmond will low chair the Judiciary Committee, which ontrols most legislation affecting the ourts and the Constitution. Senator ‘hurmond favors repeal of the Voting ights Act of 1965, and has announced his upport of much of the Moral Majority’s rogram. He has actively opposed civil fights and civil liberties for thirty years. Tow he may prevail. 11 We are facing a major struggle over the till of Rights. The struggle does not ivolve the question of whether the Moral fajority and other groups like them have le right to speak. They do, and we would efend that right. Even those who oppose the Bill of Rights are protected by the First Amendment. The danger lies in the content of their views, not in their right to express them. Nor is it a question of partisan politics. There have been shifts of power from one party to another before. That is not what concerns us. The American Civil Liberties Union is non-partisan and does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office. But we will make certain that, whatever other changes may occur in the political arena, the Constitution does not become a casualty of the new order. WHAT THE ACLU CAN DO. For 60 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has been the organization that’protects the Bill of Rights. As former Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote: “The ACLU has stood foursquare against the recurring tides of hysteria that from time to time threaten freedoms everywhere . . . Indeed, it is difficult to appreciate how far our freedoms might have eroded had it not been for the Union’s valiant representation in the courts of the constitutional rights of people of all persuasions, no matter how unpopular or even despised by the majority they were at the time.” We’ve been there in the past and we’ll be there in the days ahead. We will meet the anti-Bill-of-Rights forces in the Congress, in the courts, before state and local legislatures, at school board hearings. Wherever they threaten, we will be there with lawyers, lobbyists, staff and volunteers to resist their attempts to deprive you of your liberty and violate your rights. WHAT YOU CAN DO. The ACLU, like the Moral Majority, depends on individual contributions. But they raise more money in a few weeks than we raise in a year. We can only be as strong as the number of people who support us. Ultimately, the protection of your rights depends not on legislatures, not on who gets elected President, not even on the courts. It depends on individual citizens, aware of the fragility of liberty, alert to the forces that imperil it, and prepared to give of themselves in order to preserve it. In the past, when the Bill of Rights was in danger, enough people recognized the threat, and came together in time to repel it. Such a time has come again. It is up to you to assure that the Bill of Rights will be passed on intact to the next generation. Please send us your contribution before another day passes. Without your help, we don’t have a prayer. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION 600 West 7th St. ‘ Austin; TX 78701 I want to join the ACLU and help fight the new anti-Bill-of-Rights movement. Enclosed is my check in the amount indicated below. I do not want to become a member, but enclosed is my contribution. I am already an ACLU member; enclosed is an extra contribution. $25 $50 $100 $1,000 More NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP American Civil Liberties Union Texas Affiliate, John Duncan, Executive Director THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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