The electoral college essentially forces a two party system on us. It takes far too much effort to ever get a footing when the 2-3% of the votes you're receiving count for absolutely nothing. Combine that with the fact that the GOP and Democrats have a vested interest in never allowing a third party to gain traction and you're looking at a situation where third parties will present an occasional blip on the radar and nothing more (Ross Perot, George Wallace).
Still, there's nothing wrong with a statement vote, especially when we live in a political climate where the GOP seemingly runs further off the rails with every passing day.
death penalty; supporting gay marriage and the right of gays to adopt; supporting birth control and abortion rights; eliminating discrimination against women, minorities, and gays; supporting the rights of prisoners and opposing torture; supporting the right of religious persons to practice their faiths without government interference; and opposing any government preference for religion over non-religion, or for particular faiths over others.
Not sure how much of that falls under protecting our rights found in The Constitution...
I fail to see how this disagrees.
I agree more folks should vote third party. That was my sorta point, that rather than voting for a person, Ron paul in this case, youd be better served voting for someone who is running and at least has a chance at garnering enough support to potentially help that cause or party out in the future. If I only voted for nader or kusinich as a write in rather than supporting say a green party candidate id think its just as foolish. And id say the libertarian party has an actual chance at gaining 5% or more if all their supporters got on the same page.
The ACLU protects both civil liberties and civil rights. Civil liberties tend to be thought of as things listed in the bill of rights while civil rights tend to be thought of more as natural law and formulated in statutes.
I would add the First Amendment to what you have listed. Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion, and I abhor laws that effectively impose religious ideas on others. If not for religious notions, I think that gay marriage and other gay rights would have been recognized long ago.
I think that a lot of Christians fail to appreciate that the First Amendment was intended to keep religion out of government. If someone believes that life begins at conception, then that is their right to believe that and to never have an abortion. But it is wrong to impose their view on some 17 year old woman who gets pregnant and does not want to have the baby. The same for gay rights.
To me, free speech exists to give everyone a voice - including voices that dissent or disagree with us. That would include the ability to profess one's faith and the need for the country's laws to reflect that. Religion is always going to infiltrate government at some level because the law is often built on moral ideas and moral ideas often comes from religion. Where the ACLU and others need to draw the line is where the freedom to express one's religion infringes on the rights of another - which is very different than what you said.
The two issues you cite are complicated because abortion is an incredibly messy exchange of morals even for people who are "pro-life" and the idea of "rights" in this scenario has always bothered me. Likewise, marriage is a privilege not a right. I think you'd find if you analyze more of the religious ideas you want gone from discourse you'd realize that they too get caught in difficult moral dilemmas. That isn't for the ACLU to decide and when I hear their members say similar things I am very worried.
The strange thing about abortion is that Protestant religions either ignored it or openly supported it in the wake of Roe v Wade. This wasn't an issue until the mid 80s outside of the Catholic Church.
And I find that kind of hypocrisy maddening. The pro life movement was largely born out of the desire to create a wedge issue, not out of any real concern for life.
That said, morals can't be the end all. A majority of Americans have, at certain times in our history, supported lesser rights for women, homosexuals and other minorities. A lot of this discrimination was based on religious and moral teachings. This is a link of southern pastor Phil Snider supporting same sex relationships by comparing the discussions now and of racial segregation made 50 years earlier.
The ACLU has done a great job of supporting people's right to express their religious views. They represented the idiot Baptists that protested military funerals, for instance. The ACLU gets a bad rap b/c it'll step in and stop a city from supporting certain religious views and people forget about the ACLU supporting individuals religious rights.
When donors to the Boy Scouts take tax deductions, it effectively increases what other taxpayers must pay. In this way, the Boy Scouts are different from a private club, such as a country club. Members of country clubs don't get charitable deductions for supporting such clubs. But donors to the Boy Scouts are subsidized by other taxpayers.
If the Boy Scouts want to stop sucking on the taxpayer teat by receiving tax deductible contributions, then I will not mind them discriminating. In the meantime, I resent indirectly subsidizing their discrimination.