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…

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…

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.

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.

Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 8:26am

The ACLU has taken on a patent case for the first time in its nearly 90-year history. The government's been allowing private companies to patent human genes. The ACLU thinks that violates the First Amendment and patent law. This is heady, complicated…

An al-Marri Timeline

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 2:54pm

Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, talks us through the timeline of one of the more important cases he has worked on: the al-Marri, or domestic enemy combatant case. It asks the fundamental question: Can the…

Obama's Child Soldiers

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:42pm

Six days after the inauguration of President Obama, the U.S. is scheduled to begin the first trial of a child soldier accused of war crimes since World War II. This video shows why President Obama must take swift action to end the unconstitutional…

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