Sunday, March 05, 2006

Deltona Mayor Who Censored Religious Paintings Has Ties To ACLU

Deltona Mayor Who Unsuccessfully Tried to Censor Religious Paintings Says the ACLU Shaped His Political Philosophy

A week after Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit over censored religious paintings, Deltona Mayor Dennis Mulder sent an email to George Griffin, President of the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the ACLU, stating: "The importance of the ACLU is immeasurable to me, my life, and my political philosophy." Explaining why he was unable to attend the ACLU meeting, the next sentence asked Griffin to "Please share my thoughts with the group."

After Mayor Mulder and acting City Manager/City Attorney, L. Roland Blossom removed paintings by Lloyd Marcus from a Black History Month display due to their religious themes, Liberty Counsel sent two letters, one explaining the law and the second demanding the paintings be returned. When Mulder and Blossom refused, Liberty Counsel filed suit. At an emergency meeting of the City Commission, Mulder and Blossom backed down and the paintings were displayed.

Public records now reveal that Mayor Mulder has close ties to the ACLU. In one email sent to Mulder, ACLU President, George Griffin, suggested that Mulder could "save face" by claiming that he sought a "second, expert, legal opinion" from the ACLU and decided to display the paintings. The ACLU wrote that if Mulder would state he got advice from the ACLU, "it would irritate the hell out of them [Liberty Counsel]." A week later, Mulder wrote to Griffin that the "importance of the ACLU is immeasurable to me, my life, and my political philosophy."

Since Mulder's political philosophy has been shaped by the ACLU, we looked at a list of some activities of the Florida ACLU. Their web site reveals the group opposed an ordinance to seal magazines deemed harmful to juveniles, opposed the use of school property for use after school hours by religious organizations, opposed the distribution of Bibles by the Gideons, opposed a committee to review films and course material for state schools to comply with community standards on pornography, fought for physician-assisted suicide, fought to overturn a ban on homosexual adoption, opposed parents being notified of their child's abortion, supported partial birth abortion, defended a nude demonstration, tried to force a school district to censor religious speech of students, and opposes the right of citizens to pass an amendment that declares marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The web site does not reveal that the ACLU lost is 8-1/2 year attempt to silent student religious speech, a case Liberty Counsel defended. The web site also does not reveal that the ACLU lost its attempt to evict churches from renting school facilities after school hours, a case also defended by Liberty Counsel. Perhaps Mayor Mulder should have done a little more research about correct legal philosophy before censoring religious expression.

Rather than having his life and political philosophy shaped by the ACLU, Mayor Dennis Mulder should read the Constitution. He would find that the First Amendment is a friend, not a foe, of religious expression.