George Grant, a graduate from the University of Houston, is the founder of HELP Services and is the executive director of Legacy Communications. He has been a pastor, community organizer, radio and television commentator, editorial director, and political advisor. He has written 12 books ranging in topics from homelessness to Biblical principles for political action.
When it comes to the Christian faith, the spokesmen, policy-makers, and attorneys for the ACLU have made their position painfully clear: they're against it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Although they have fought for the free speech and expression "rights" of pornographers, witches, abortionists, homosexuals, convicted criminals, child molesters, occultists, Communists, lesbians, Nazis, illegal aliens, AIDS patients, and Satanists, they have resolutely attempted to deny those same privileges to Christians. As a result, according to Richard and Susan Vigilante, they have effectively reduced "the place of religion in American life" and have restricted religious speech "in a way they would never allow other forms of speech to be restricted." 
Their discriminatory intolerance is a matter of record.  Recently, they have sought to:
As Patrick Buchanan has all too obviously pointed out, "That is not a record of tolerance." 
Interestingly, the ACLU is led into this absurd contradiction of its stated purpose because it sees the Christian faith as "an almost irresistible persuasive force."  Gadfly liberal columnist Nat Hentoff has said that the ACLU seems to be "afraid of making religious speech first-class speech, the way all other speech is" because it really ascribes "extraordinary powers to religious speech."  In other words, the ACLU fears Christianity in a way that it fears nothing else.
Of course, its fear is cloaked in high-sounding Constitutional concerns--its bigotry is not overly blatant. It makes much ado over the principle of "separation of church and state." It brandishes the idea of "the wall of separation" like a saber. And it fixates on the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment. According to Barry Lynn, the ACLU's Legislative Director:
There is clearly a distinction made between religious speech and activity and any other speech and activity...There is an establishment clause which limits and tempers only religious speech and activity. There is no establishment clause which in any way limits economic, cultural, historical, or philosophical expression. Thus, the state may embrace any economic, political, or philosophical theory; it may not embrace or enhance any religious activity. 
Thus, according to the ACLU, the Christian faith is so powerful, so dangerous, and so intrusive that the founding fathers had to design the Constitution in order to protect us from it. Despite the fact that such a reading of history is convoluted at best, the ACLU has been very successful in pressing it upon our courts, schools, and communities all across the country. For all intents and purposes, says Russell Kirk, it has been able to "harass out of existence" public expressions of faith. 
The ACLU's almost Bolshevik understanding of the separation of church and state was by no means shared by America's framers. In fact, they readily admitted that their new nation was utterly dependent upon a Christian social order--and its incumbent Christian influences. America was founded as a Christian nation.
Joseph Story, the foremost historian of the founding era, underscored this truth in his book, Commentaries on the Constitution, published in 1833:
The First Amendment was not intended to withdraw the Christian religion as a whole from the protection of Congress. At the time, the general if not universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was compatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of worship. Any attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference would have created universal indignation. 
More than a century later liberal Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas reaffirmed that historical verity:
We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We guarantee the freedom to worship as one chooses. We make room for as wide a variety of beliefs and creeds as the spiritual needs of man deem necessary. We sponsor an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not, would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe. We find no such Constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence. 
Justice Douglas went on to assert without hesitation that, "The First Amendment does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of church and state." 
It is true that the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution to clearly differentiate between church and state. There was to be no intermingling. They were to be separate institutions--with separate jurisdictions, separate authorities, and separate functions. They knew that a Christian social order depends on this kind of distinction. When any one institution begins to encroach upon another, chaos and tyranny inevitably result. The Biblical notion of checks and balances begins to break down. They knew that from personal experience.
Thus, they made certain that the state could not meddle in the affairs of the church. The church was to be outside the state's jurisdiction. This really is the force of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The state has no authority over the church and therefore was not to regulate, impede, or interfere in its work. Local municipalities and even individual commonwealths were free to render support to the church--as often they did--but never were they to have control over it. Certainly they were never to gag the church in the manner the ACLU has sought to gag it.
The framers also wanted to make certain that the church did not meddle in the affairs of the state. The state was to be outside the church's jurisdiction. They wanted to protect their fledgling Republic from any and all tyrannies. They wanted to avoid statism--in the form of imperialism, socialism, or even democracy. And they wanted to avoid oligarchy--in the form of caesaro-papism, agathism, or even ecclesiocracy.
Even so, this did not mean that they wanted to ensure that church and state had nothing to do with each other. On the contrary, they simply wanted to clear the way for church and state to cooperate with each other in building a Christian cultural consensus. Church and state were to balance one another. They were to serve one another. They were to check one another. They were to encourage one another. In other words, the founding fathers never envisioned a "wall of separation." Instead, they saw church and state as distinct but cooperative and interdependent. The state was to protect the church with just laws and a righteous restraint upon the citizenry so that the Gospel could do its work in peace and harmony. The state was to do and facilitate good deeds and encourage social enhancement. The church on the other hand, was to teach the Bible--the common standard of law for both church and state. It was to mobilize the forces of mercy, truth, and justice. And it was to expose sin, encourage the magistrates, and train the people.
The framers thus set up the American system as a decentralized, confederated, and self-consciously Christian social structure. It followed the Biblical order of multiple jurisdictions, separate but cooperating, under the sovereignty of God and the rule of His law.
That is a far cry from the ACLU version of Constitutional law.
But the facts are inescapable. Throughout our early history, the necessity of a free and expressive Christian witness was shared by all our great leaders:
Notice, that many of these men were not themselves orthodox Christians. Adams and Jefferson were Unitarians, and Franklin was a deist. But each of them understood the importance of integrating the Christian faith into the fabric of society if the great American experiment of freedom and liberty were to succeed in any measure. They did not--and in fact, could not--imagine a separation between faith and polity, between individual morality and civic morality.
Even if the voices of those great men were silenced by the subverters of our history, the rocks and stones themselves would cry out.
In our public buildings, irrefutable evidence of our country's Christian heritage abounds: the Ten Commandments hang over the head of the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court; in the House and Senate chambers appear the words, In God We Trust; in the capitol rotunda is the figure of the crucified Christ; carvings on the capitol dome testify to, "The New Testament according to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"; the Great Seal of the United States proclaims, "Annuit Coeptis," which means, "God has smiled on our undertaking"; under the seal is inscribed the phrase from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, "This nation under God"; the walls of the Library of Congress are adorned with the words of Psalm 19:1 and Micah 6:8; engraved on the metal cap of the Washington Monument are the words, Praise be to God; and lining the stairwell are numerous Scripture verses that apply the Christian faith to every sphere of life from the family to business, from personal character to government. 
The men who built this nation knew what we must know that America depended upon Christianity for its founding, and that it shall ever depend upon it for its perpetuation.
According to Russell Kirk, "True law is rooted in ethical assumptions or norms; and those moral principles are derived, in the beginning at least, from religious convictions."  In the United States, the religious convictions upon which our law is based are Christian. That means that if we attack public expressions of the Christian faith--as the ACLU would have us to do--we actually attack our very foundations of justice and liberty. If we institutionalize hostility to Christianity we instigate a riotous revolution which can only undermine the entire culture.
The issue of church state relations is not so much one of civil liberty, toleration, and justice as it is one of survival--the survival of Western Civilization in general and of American Culture in particular.
As George Washington so aptly and prophetically asserted:
Morality is the necessary spring of popular government. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without Christianity. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. 
Editor's note: This article is excerpted from Trial and Error: The ACLU and Its Impact on Your Family by George Grant, published by Adroit Press, Box 680365, Franklin, TN 37068.