By now, you’ve probably heard that Ann Coulter has canceled the speech she was supposed to give at Berkeley today. Even though she had expressed a determination to go through with it in spite of all the barriers the university tried to place in her way, Coulter said she had to cancel after the Young America’s Foundation–which had been sponsoring her appearance–withdrew its support, saying that it could not “jeapordize the safety of [the university’s] staff or students.” In other words, because mobs threatened violence, and because the Berkeley town government and police refuse to do their jobs and protect people and property from that mob, an American citizen will not be allowed to excercise her First Amendment rights at an institution of higher learning that is supported by tax dollars.
“It’s a sad day for free speech,” Coulter said. “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away.”
In the midst of this bad news, however, there was a tiny ray of light. The American Civil Liberties Union, which all too often sits on the sidelines when it comes to protecting the rights of conservatives, actually expressed support for Coulter’s right to express her views without fear of harm:
The heckler’s veto of Coulter's Berkeley speech is a loss for the 1st Amendment. We must protect speech on campus, even when hateful.
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 26, 2017
Naturally, the ACLU couldn’t resist tossing in the “hateful” canard–but it is a relief to know that they can still recognize a grave threat to the First Amendment when they see it. It just remains to be seen whether their support ends with a single tweet, or if they’re willing to take up the fight on Coulter’s behalf. If they are, I welcome them as allies. The best way to face down wannabe fascists in black bandanas is to present a united front, and make sure they understand in no uncertain terms that civil liberties are not a partisan issue.
But when the ACLU goes and does something like this, you really have to question if their commitment to the First Amendment only extends to the parts that they like:
Dignity Health’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a private Catholic hospital in Sacramento, California, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought on by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after the hospital refused to perform a sex transition surgery.
According to the suit, Evan Michael Minton, a 35-year-old woman who wishes to be a man, wanted to have an elective surgery done on her that would have her vagina removed. The suit says that Minton was denied the hysterectomy because, as Minton claims, the hospital was discriminatory due to his lifestyle.
The hospital, however, tells a different story:
“At Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center, the services we provide are available to all members of the communities we serve without discrimination. We understand how important this surgery is for transgender individuals, and were happy to provide Mr. Minton and his surgeon the use of another Dignity Health hospital for his surgery within a few days.”
The hospital itself says that they could not perform the transition surgery ” in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and the medical staff bylaws.”
So basically, a Catholic hospital said that they could not allow the sex reassignment surgery to be performed there because it would violate its religious bylaws–but they were perfectly happy to refer the patient to another one of their non-Catholic affiliated hospitals, where there would be no conflict.
And yet the ACLU is suing the hospital anyway.
In case they need reminding, here’s what the First Amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It looks an awful lot like the ACLU is helping this patient to prohibit a Catholic hospital from freely exercising its religious rights. And considering that Dignity Health offered the patient a convenient alternative, this lawsuit can’t have any other purpose but to steamroll religious institutions into getting with the transagenda. Sure, they’ll probably lose in court–but not before they put the hospital through the social media grinder and make them pay a steep price for standing up for their rights.
How this squares with the ACLU’s stance on Ann Coulter is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a beef burrito. On the one hand, they’ll defend Coulter’s right to say mean things to college students. On the other, they’ll crush Dignity Health’s right to not perform a surgery that violates its religious charter. Both rights are guaranteed under the First Amendment. How is it possible that the ACLU can hold both these stances, which directly contractict one another, at exactly the same time?
It’s a state of confusion that would give that guy from Split a run for his money.