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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

ACLU Withdraws From Lawsuits

Two wrongful termination lawsuits the ACLU filed last week were thrown into disarray as today the ACLU suddenly petitioned the court to be allowed to remove themselves from representing the plaintiffs. The two unrelated cases were both free speech cases, one plaintiff maintaining he had been fired after making controversial statements about the Vietnam War, the other claiming he had been fired after making controversial statements about the Founding Fathers.

"When we heard these people had been fired for making controversial statements, we rushed to their defense," said Henry Weezel, Central Regional Director of the ACLU. "We are always interested in protecting free speech and plus it makes great publicity. But then we found out something that we could not stomach, and realized we could no longer represent these two plaintiffs.

"We found out ... you won't believe this ... they are Republicans.

"Can you believe that? Republicans! We just couldn't believe we were in the position of defending those people. We stand for freedom for everybody to say and do what they want, which is something Republicans are totally against. How can we stand for freedom and liberty, while at the same time helping a right wing nut spout his hate speech about 'hard work' and bootstraps?"

The first plaintiff, Steve Gardner served on the same swift boat as John Kerry. He was interviewed by Douglas Brinkley for Time Magazine about Kerry, whom Gardner said he did not support for President. The next day, Gardner was laid off his job, where he had just received a positive review and was responsible for operations in two states.

The second plaintiff, Stephen Williams, a teacher, first got in trouble when a student asked why 'under God' is in the Pledge of Allegiance, since it had been in the news the night before. Instead of saying "go ask your parents," Williams held a class discussion on the history of religion in early America. He was later fired for handing out copies of text including the Declaration of Independence, which includes the word "Creator", as well as the Constitution, which contains the word "Lord."

"As you can see, these men are disgusting," Weezel said. "Imagine trying to force your right wing views on others. First of all, 30 years ago we learned, thanks to the courage of John Kerry and Jane Fonda, that all military personnel are war criminals that cut up babies for fun, so why should we listen to anything someone like Gardner has to say? He should be in jail for war crimes, not spouting his uninformed opinions. Just because he was there he thinks he knows something.

"Secondly, even worse is the case of Williams. I mean, a teacher handing out documents mentioning God? Luckily he was fired before Thanksgiving, or he might try something really oppressive, like saying during Thanksgiving, they were thanking God. Just because he's a history teacher he thinks he can talk about anything that happened in the past?

When asked about several public schools presenting Muslim speakers to talk about Ramadan, he said "That is not promoting religion, it is just a cultural exchange. It's only promoting religion if it has anything to do the Christian God, then we have a duty to stop it.

"Freedom of speech isn't free, but comes with responsibility. We can't just let anybody say what they want."