There’s a reason why the Christmas season always brings out the atheist in the ACLU.
(Page 2 of 2)
That’s what made Harry Ward an even bigger dupe. More than supporting the ACLU, Ward was chairman as Baldwin served as director.
Imagine: a Christian was a founder of the ACLU. That’s Harry Ward.
When it came to sheer manipulation by communists, Ward was arguably the single greatest dupe in the entire history of the American Religious Left. Tellingly, a major Congressional report (July 1953) on communist activities in the New York City area featured more references to Ward than any other figure — twice as many as the next most-cited figure, Earl Browder, longtime face of American communism.
I found documents in the Soviet archives where communist officials in Moscow and New York deliberately targeted Ward to help push their propaganda. In one, a December 1920 letter, Ward is listed by Comintern officials as a source to get their materials on the shelves at the seminary library.
It wasn’t atheistic communism that concerned the Rev. Ward. No, it was anti-communism. Writing in Protestant Digest in January 1940, long before Senator McCarthy arrived on the scene, Ward admonished the faithful of the perils of “anti-communism,” which was being employed “under the leadership of [Congressman Martin] Dies in a new red hunt,” one “more ruthless than that of [former Attorney General] Mitchell Palmer.” (Both Dies and Palmer were Democrats.)
Alas, Christian charity compels me to concede a key fact, particularly at Christmas time. Among this not-so-holy trinity of Baldwin-Lamont-Ward, there was a measure of redemption for Baldwin at least. Baldwin eventually, after the Red Terror, after the Great Purge, after the Ukrainian famine, after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, after millions of rotting corpses, after the gulag, after the communists had violated every imaginable civil liberty, awakened to the stench of the Soviet system. He finally saw communism, and communists, as a genuine concern.
By the early 1950s, Baldwin began insisting that ACLU officers take a non-communist oath. Call Baldwin crazy, but he figured that any ACLU member who held allegiance to “totalitarian dictatorship” was not truly serious about civil liberties. Perhaps they were publicly exploiting American civil liberties to privately support a nation (the USSR) that had no civil liberties?
Good thought. Who could argue with that?
Well, Corliss Lamont could — as could I. F. Stone (who the latest evidence suggests was an actual Soviet agent), several editors at the Nation, several professors from Columbia, the New York Times, and other usual suspects. Finding a purge they could finally condemn, they objected to this ACLU “purge.” Lamont resigned.
So, yes, Roger Baldwin’s ACLU backed away from its communist leanings.
Sadly, however, Roger Baldwin’s ACLU never seems to have shirked from its atheist leanings, which haunt us still today.
Could it be that the ACLU’s alleged onetime “90-percent” commitment to defending communism has shifted to a 90-percent commitment to defending atheism? It certainly seems like it, especially this time of year. And if the ACLU doesn’t like that perception, it should do something to change it.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?