Monday, July 16, 2007

Skeletons in the Closet of "Americans United"

In case you missed it (and if you rely on the mainstream media for most of your information, you probably did), this statement was recently released by a group of evangelical leaders in response to the mean-spirited and bigoted reactions against the Supreme Court decision upholding the federal ban on partial birth abortion.

Statement of Protestant Leaders Against Anti-Catholic Bigotry

As Protestant Christians and as Americans, we condemn the grotesque anti-Catholic bigotry that is now on display as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the constitutionality of the federal law prohibiting partial-birth abortion.

We denounce as particularly odious a cartoon published by the Philadelphia Inquirer depicting the five justices who formed the majority in the case wearing Catholic bishops’ mitres. Scarcely less offensive were the comments of law professor, and former University of Chicago Law School Dean, Geoff Stone identifying the Catholic religious affiliation of the justices forming the majority and accusing these distinguished and honorable jurists of imposing their religion rather than faithfully interpreting the Constitution.

We believe it is our particular duty to condemn the bigotry we are now witnessing in view of the history of anti-Catholicism in our nation. It is a stain on the Protestant Christian conscience that at one time many of our people accepted the vile teachings of Paul Blanshard in his book American Freedom and Catholic Power, and supported the anti-Catholic agenda of the group founded by Blanshard and others that now styles itself “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” (formerly known as Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State).

Just as Pope John Paul II acknowledged past injustices committed by Catholics, or committed in the name of Catholicism, against Protestants, Jews, and others and pledged to work against any revival of these injustices, we acknowledge past Protestant prejudices against Catholics and pledge to fight against the anti-Catholic bigotry we are now witnessing. Our Catholic brothers and sisters will not have to wait to hear our voices forcefully raised against the bigotry now directed against them.

Because evil begets evil, we are not surprised that bigotry would emerge among those who have placed themselves in the service of the moral abomination known as partial-birth abortion. For our part, we praise any judge, statesman, or citizen—irrespective of religious affiliation—who steps forward to tell the truth about the injustice of this horrific practice, or to expose the lie that baby-killing is somehow protected by our Constitution.

We call on our fellow Protestant Christians of every denomination—including those denominations that do not share our view that the life of the child in the womb must be honored and protected by law—to join with us in condemning the new anti-Catholicism that has, in the aftermath of the partial-birth abortion decision, reared its ugly head. We hope that no Protestant Christian will bring shame on himself or herself and on the great tradition of Reformed Christianity by participating in this appalling bigotry or remaining mute in the face of it.

We also call on groups that present themselves as enemies of prejudice, including “Americans United for Separation of Church and State,” to join with us in condemning the Philadelphia Inquirer cartoon and other manifestations of anti-Catholic bigotry. This is a time of testing for them. Are they selective opponents of prejudice? Do they regard anti-Catholicism as an acceptable form of bigotry? Are they content to see Catholics treated in ways that they would be the first to condemn if the victims were members of other religious traditions or minorities? By responding or failing to respond to our plea to them to join us in condemning the injustice being suffered by our Catholic fellow citizens, we will soon know whether their claim to oppose prejudice and bigotry is an honest one or mere hypocrisy.

Signed//

Gary Bauer
President, American Values

Bishop Wellington Boone
Wellington Boone Ministries

Dick Bott
President, Bott Radio Network

Phil Burress
President, Citizens for Community Values

Dr. Dale Burroughs
President, Biblical Heritage Institute

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

Charles W. Colson
Founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries

David Crowe
Director, Restore America

Elizabeth Harmer Dionne
Executive Director, Legacy Law Foundation

Mark L. Earley
President, Prison Fellowship Ministries

Diane Gramley
President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Colin A. Hanna
President, Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

Cathi Herrod
President, The Center for Arizona Policy

Dr. John A. Huffman
Pastor, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California

Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson
Pastor, Antioch Bible Church, Antioch, Washington

Phillip L. Jauregui
President, Judicial Action Group

Warren Kelley, President
Point of View Radio Ministries

Rod D. Martin, J.D.
Founder and Chairman, TheVanguard.Org

Dean Nelson
Executive Director, Network of Politically Active Christians

Dr. Frank S. Page
President, Southern Baptist Convention

Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council

Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition

Ron Shuping
Exec. VP of Programming, The Inspiration Networks

John Stemberger
President & General Counsel, Florida Family Policy Council

Jim Tonkowich
President, Institute for Religion and Democracy

Rick Warren
Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California

Dr. Hayes Wicker
Pastor, First Baptist Church Naples, Naples, Florida

Donald E. Wildmon
Founder and Chairman, American Family Association

Dr. Frank Wright
President & CEO, National Religious Broadcasters

Wendy Wright
President, Concerned Women for America

You will note the reference to the organization originally known as "Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State," now masquerading as "Americans United for Separation of Church and State." No doubt the erudite "Reverend" Barry Lynn and his bevy of barristers who are now celebrating "60 Years of Freedom" would like to keep the dark origins of their organization hidden. There is no mention of Paul Blanshard in the currently official history of the organization. Only one paragraph is devoted to the historical circumstances surrounding its founding.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State was founded in 1947 by a broad coalition of religious, educational and civic leaders. At that time, proposals were pending in the U.S. Congress to extend government aid to private religious schools. Many Americans opposed this idea, insisting that government support for religious education would violate church-state separation. The decision was made to form a national organization to promote this point of view and defend the separation principle.

Robert P. George provides a little more historical context while expressing appreciation to his evangelical cohorts. It is a history that belies this dubious claim:

Americans United celebrates the rich religious and philosophical diversity of the United States and seeks a nation where all people may peacefully pursue the truth as their consciences dictate.

"Americans United" has been a darling of the liberal media for years. It is high time it had the skeletons in its historical closet exposed to the light of truth.