On "The Point," Hyman falsely claimed ACLU "abhors individual religious freedom"
Research ››› ››› SIMON MALOY
On the March 31 edition of "The Point," Sinclair Broadcast Group commentator Mark Hyman falsely attacked the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming: "Not unlike the Communist Chinese, the ACLU abhors individual religious freedom, and it supports only those civil liberties that fit its narrow political agenda."
In fact, the ACLU has supported religious freedom on numerous occasions, including the following:
- The ACLU joined with the Rev. Jerry Falwell to successfully challenge the constitutionality of a Virginia law that prevented churches from incorporating, on the grounds that the law "violate[d] the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free exercise of religion."
- In June, 2004, the ACLU threatened legal action against a park manager who had not permitted a Baptist church to perform a baptism in a Stafford County, Virginia, public park.
- After the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an argument by two American Indians that their use of the hallucinogen peyote was protected under the First Amendment (Employment Division v. Smith, 1990), the ACLU joined a number of other secular and religious organizations in requesting a rehearing of the case.
- According to a September 22, 2000, press release, the ACLU "heralded President Clinton's plan to sign into law today legislation that will protect religious freedom from unfair government restrictions."
In addition, while Hyman did not offer a definition of "individual religious freedom," the ACLU website presents the group's definition: "The free exercise clause of the First Amendment guarantees the right to practice one's religion free of government interference. The establishment clause requires the separation of church and state. Combined, they ensure religious liberty." The website also declares the group's intention to protect religious liberty: "The ACLU will continue working to ensure that religious liberty is protected by keeping the government out of the religion business."
The ACLU website lists numerous instances in which it has defended the religious liberty of individuals and organizations.
Media Matters for America leads SinclairAction.com, a coalition of groups and individuals protesting Sinclair's continued misuse of public airwaves to broadcast one-sided, politically charged programming without a counterpoint.