Let’s Stop Paying the ACLU to Sue Us!

So far Rodney Alexander and Bobby Jindal are the only members of the Louisiana congressional delegation who are cosponsors of the Public Expression of Religion Act, or PERA (H.R.2679). The bill would prohibit judges in civil suits involving the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause from awarding attorney’s fees to those offended by religious symbols or actions in the public square – such as a Ten Commandments display in a courthouse or a cross on a county seal. If passed, the ACLU would have to spring for its own attorney’s fees in suits such as the one pending in Tangipahoa Parish where it persuaded a former-state-ACLU-president-turned-federal-district-judge to order the duly elected parish school board members to stop opening their meetings with prayer.

Introduced by Congressman Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind in May of this year, the legislation declares that its purpose is “to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney’s fees.” As WorldNetDaily reported, Hostettler’s proposal would amend the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, to prohibit prevailing parties from being awarded attorney’s fee in religious establishment cases, but not in other civil rights filings. This would prevent local governments from having to use taxpayer funds to pay the ACLU or similar organization when a case is lost, and also would protect elected officials from having to pay fees from their own pockets. For too long the ACLU has used the law to enrich itself at the expense of taxpayers and as a means to silence public officials who don’t want to be sued personally. The ACLU says it is a civil rights organization that collects no fees for the many lawsuits it files to remove any reference to God from the public arena. Where does the money come from for these new newspaper ads? Where does the money come from to pay for the lavish ACLU headquarters in New York City and the six figure executive pay of its management? Much of it comes from your pocket. The ACLU files lawsuits against school districts, usually districts that have few funds, such as in Pontotoc, Mississippi. They then demand that the schools pay their legal fees, which often run in the $300 to $500 an hour range, plus expenses that include staying in luxury hotels. Under a bill passed by Congress years ago to help the civil rights movement, the schools have to hand the money to the ACLU to help them take away the authority of the local school board. The Public Expression of Religion Act (RH 2679) would put an end to tax payer funding for the ACLU. They would have to turn to Norman Lear and George Soros for their funding. The Public Expression of Religion Act would eliminate the federal rule that allows the ACLU to collect attorneys’ fees when filing these kinds of lawsuits. In the past Congressman Hostettler has not found enough support in the House to bring his bill to the floor; however, with the ACLU now filing lawsuits to remove “religious” reference from memorials to the veterans who have lost their lives fighting for our freedoms, there may be new momentum for the bill. Please call your congressman about the Public Expression of Religion Act. (Click here to hear interview of Congressman Hostettler and former ACLU attorney Rees Lloyd. This is an MP3 file)

Louisiana’s congressional delegation needs to hear from concerned citizens. After all, our next generation’s future depends on our actions today.

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