Blog of Rights

Joel
Engardio

Walling off the Witnesses

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 3:57pm
(Originally posted on the Washington Posts's On Faith blog.)

Russia's Bans on Jehovah's Witnesses

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 2:28pm

(Originally posted on the Washington Post's On Faith blog.)

If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton draws inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt the same way she famously did as First Lady, maybe Clinton will speak out against the blow to the freedoms…

9/11 Families Ask for True Justice

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 1:38pm

A new ACLU video features family members of 9/11 victims calling for federal trials of terrorism suspects.

Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google…

Supreme Court Briefing 2009–10 Term

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:57pm

ACLU lawyers met with the press who cover the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. recently to provide an overview of important cases during the 2009-10 term of the high court.

Watch ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro discuss United…

Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 10:31am

Most Americans have only seen Guantánamo detainees as one-dimensional caricatures. But a new ACLU video features original footage in which the men talk about their lives — before, after and during their detention by the U.S.

Good News for Gay Christians

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 11:39am

(Originally published in On Faith at washingtonpost.com.)

There's an online group of 13,000 gays who profess their belief in Christ. The Gay Christian Network is a bit of a miracle, given how hostile some religions are to gays.

While fundamental ministers decry the "homosexual agenda" and gay activists deplore "ex-gay treatment," the members of GCN must live the tug-of-war over their sexual identity and faith. That's why gay Christians will benefit from a recent report by the American Psychological Association that says efforts to change someone's sexual orientation don't work.

This isn't news to the many GCN members who are survivors of the programs that failed to turn them straight. But it might be comforting to a number of teens in the online network who fear being sent to a "reparative therapy" camp by their parents. A new generation of gay Christians could be spared pointless misery now that the word's largest association of psychologists has definitively declared ex-gay therapy is quackery.

Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:45pm

The Sunday collection plate is as American as religion itself. Americans are religious and generous when it comes to charitable giving. They often go together. There’s Catholic Charities and Mormons famously tithe a percentage of their…

USA Today: Beyond 'Gay Marriage'

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 10:15am

Today's USA Today includes a personal essay by the ACLU's Joel Engardio. Marriage equality is in the courts, the legislature, and the media more than ever before, but "Beyond 'gay marriage'" reminds us:

At its heart, though, it’s often just…

Jimmy Carter on Accountability for Torture

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 9:10pm

Former President Jimmy Carter recently stated that he respects but disagrees with President Obama's decision to block the release of photographs that depict U.S. use of torture and other harsh interrogation methods under the Bush administration. The…

Prop. 8 Ruling a Blow to All Minorities

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 4:24pm

(Originally posted on the Washington Posts’s On Faith blog.)

Religious supporters of Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriages in California, might feel good now that the state's Supreme Court has ruled that the measure can stand. But will those religious groups that are celebrating Prop. 8 today regret it later when they consider the precedent that's been set?

Prop. 8 has made it a lot easier in California for a simple majority of voters to strip away the rights of an unpopular minority. What happens when it's your time to be the unpopular minority?

History is unkind and too often repeats itself. Members of the Mormon Church, who were major supporters of Prop. 8, have ancestors who experienced some of the worst religious discrimination ever faced in the United States. In the mid-19th century they were driven by mobs from Illinois to Missouri and across the Wild West to Utah. It was wrong then to persecute Mormons for what they believed, just as it would be wrong now to try to force Mormons to accept members or marriages in their church they deem unworthy. There is freedom of religion in America for good reason. But that and other freedoms have been watered down in California, thanks to Prop. 8. The court now has less power to fulfill the purpose for which it was created: keep the tyranny of the majority from trampling the rights of the minority. Anyone can be a minority if enough people don't like the way you live, worship or think.

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