The Gray Line Tour: Watch out! The ACLU might sue!

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2002


When a columnist is sometimes stuck for a column idea, usually a ready source of material can be found in the morning mail.

On top was a press release from the Louisiana House of Representatives which caught my eye. The release, from Rep. A.G. Crowe, stated that according to the American Family Association, the American Civil Liberties Union will not sue over displaying the national motto, “In God We Trust,” in public school classrooms.

Crowe’s involvement with this came from his proposed legislation during the 2001 regular session to allow such posting of the motto. The bill passed in the House but stalled in the Senate Education Committee.

The committee said there’s no problem now, so the bill is unnecessary. Crowe called this a victory over the ACLU.

Now, first of all, I’m not a member of the ACLU. Never have been. However, I do agree with some of their ideas, but not all. Sort of like the Democratic and Republican parties. Some ideas I can agree with, and others not.

But let’s look at this.

First off, it would be kind of silly for the ACLU to sue over the issue. Look at their contributions. On every coin and every scrap of paper money is the motto. They use this money, too. I don’t know if any feel threatened by a dime declaring “In God We Trust,” but it spends the same.

Next, Crowe said he strongly encourages community leaders to “stand up for what you believe to be the truth and do not be forced to keep quiet because the ACLU might sue you.” I don’t know but I don’t think the ACLU was even threatening a lawsuit on this matter.

Next, Crowe mentions the American Family Association in his press release. Apparently, one of their newsletters informed him of the ACLU’s “decision.” Was it, indeed, an issue to begin with.

I don’t know a whole lot about the American Family Association, so I don’t know exactly what they espouse or who funds them. I don’t know if I entirely agree or disagree with their viewpoints. Like the ACLU, I may not agree or disagree with them.

Finally, it’s been awhile since the session ended. Why issue the press release now? But I suppose that’s politics for you. Grab a headline if you can.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor for L’Observateur.