On August 31, 2007, the president of Clemson University opened a letter from the South Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that read, “Coach [Tommy] Bowden . . . has abused his authority as . . . head football coach by imposing his strong personal religious beliefs upon student-athletes under his charge.” In published reports, cited in the letter, the coach encouraged his players to attend one church service as a team during the two-a-day practices each preseason.
Even though “Church Day” was voluntary, and those who declined to attend suffered no penalty on or off the field, the ACLU urged the university president to end the practice of Coach Bowden taking his team to church. This practice of legal intimidation, directed at both individuals and organizations who affirm traditional values, we label as SLAPP, for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.” The ACLU ploy is not new; it invokes the requirement of “pluralism” to secure submission to the doctrine of a secular, naked public square. Anything religious, especially if it is associated with the religion with which nine of ten Americans identify, must be denied public salience. The free exercise of religion becomes synonymous with “theocracy,” and its practice declared to be a threat to democracy and the public order.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Why we whisper
In a post at the First Things blog, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Dr. J. David Woodard talk about legal intimidation as a tactic that is used to promote and spread secularism.