Informationsmarktverzerrung durch Fundamentalismus am Beispiel der USA

Kapitel 1: Einführung

6. Antifundamentalistische Organisationen und Pressure Groups

von Margarete Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Margarete <1942 - >: Informationsmarktverzerrung durch Fundamentalismus am Beispiel der USA. -- Kapitel 1: Einführung. -- 6. Antifundamentalistische Organisationen und Pressure Groups. -- Fassung vom 2005-04-01. -- URL:

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-03-23

Überarbeitungen: 2005-04-01 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung an der Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Sommersemester 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

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Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung  Länder und Kulturen von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

Selbstverständlich erhebt die Auswahl der Organisationen keinen Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit. Die behandelten Organisationen sind wegen ihrer überragenden Bedeutung oder als typische Beispiele gewählt.

Abb.: Poster der San Diego Bill of Rights Defense Committee
[Bildquelle: -- Zuriff am 2005-03-17]

1. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-02

he American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is a non-governmental organization devoted to defending civil rights and civil liberties in the United States. Lawsuits brought by the ACLU have been central to several important developments in U.S. constitutional law. The ACLU provides lawyers and legal expertise in cases where it believes civil rights are being violated. In many cases where it does not provide legal representation, the ACLU submits amicus curiae briefs in support of its positions. The ACLU is non-partisan and has never supported or opposed a political candidate, though it has been harshly critical of various elected officials of both parties over the years.


The ACLU's stated mission is to defend the civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Over the years, the ACLU has consistently fought in the court system for a liberal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that allows for as much individual liberty as possible. Among other positions, the ACLU:

  • Supports the separation of church and state; under this mandate, the ACLU:
    • Opposes the government-sponsored display of religious symbols on public property;
    • Opposes official prayers, religious ceremonies, or "moments of silence" in public schools or schools funded with public money;
    • Supports the rights of public school students to pray on their own;
  • Supports full First Amendment rights of the press, including school newspapers;
  • Supports reproductive rights, including the right to choose an abortion, on the basis of an implied right to privacy in the Fourth Amendment;
  • Supports full civil rights for homosexuals, including government benefits for homosexual couples equal to those provided for heterosexual ones;
  • Supports affirmative action;
  • Supports the rights of defendants and suspects against unconstitutional police practices;
  • Opposes the criminal prohibition of drugs, and supports the legalization of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and marijuana (ACLU's Drug Policy (;
  • Opposes demonstration permits and other requirements for protests in public places

Notably absent is any position on gun control. While the national ACLU nominally argues that the Second Amendment provides only for a right to armed state militias [1] (, the issue seems outside of the organization's scope, as it has avoided gun-related cases.

The ACLU has been noted for vigorously defending the right to express unpopular, controversial, and extremist opinions on both the left and right. Some have expressed the view that the ACLU sometimes plays a role comparable to that played by public defenders, helping to ensure that even unpopular defendants receive due process. Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, President Nadine Strossen, and Legal Director Steven Shapiro currently head the organization.

History and notable cases

The ACLU was formed in 1920 as the Civil Liberties Bureau. Founders include Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin. During that year, it took the side of aliens threatened with deportation by U.S. Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer for their radical views (see: Palmer Raids). It also opposed attacks on the rights of the Industrial Workers of the World and other labor unions to meet and organize. Since its founding, the ACLU has been involved in many cases. A few of the most significant are discussed here:

In 1925, the ACLU persuaded John T. Scopes to defy Tennessee's anti-evolution law in a court test. Clarence Darrow, a member of the ACLU National Committee, headed Scopes' legal team. The ACLU lost the case and Scopes was fined $100. The Tennessee Supreme Court later reversed the fine, but not the conviction.

In 1942, a few months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the ACLU affiliates on the West Coast became some of the sharpest critics of the government's policy on enemy aliens and U.S. citizens descended from enemy ancestry. This included the relocation of Japanese-American citizens, internment of aliens, prejudicial curfews (U.S. v. Hirabayashi, 1942), and the like.

In 1954, the ACLU played a role in the case of Brown v. Board of Education which led to the ban on segregation in U.S. public schools.

In 1973, the organization was the first major national organization to call for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon, giving as reasons the violation by the Nixon administration of civil liberties. That same year, the ACLU was involved in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, in which the Supreme Court held that the constitutional right of privacy extended to women seeking abortions.

In 1977, the ACLU filed suit against the Village of Skokie, Illinois, seeking an injunction against the enforcement of three town ordinances outlawing Nazi parades and demonstrations (Skokie had a large Jewish population). A federal district court struck down the ordinances in a decision eventually affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU's action in this case led to the resignation of about 15 percent of the membership from the organization (25 percent in Illinois), especially of Jewish members. A cutback in its activities was avoided by a special mailing which elicited $500,000 in contributions. Federal Judge Bernard M. Decker described the principle involved in the case as follows: "It is better to allow those who preach racial hatred to expend their venom in rhetoric rather than to be panicked into embarking on the dangerous course of permitting the government to decide what its citizens may say and hear .... The ability of American society to tolerate the advocacy of even hateful doctrines ... is perhaps the best protection we have against the establishment of any Nazi-type regime in this country."

The ACLU filed suit to challenge the Arkansas 1981 Creationism statute, which required the teaching in public schools of the biblical story of creation as a scientific alternative to evolution. The law was declared unconstitutional by a Federal District Court.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing debate regarding the proper balance of civil liberties and security including the passage of the PATRIOT Act, led to a 20% increase in membership between August 2001 and December 2002, when its total enrollment reached 330,000 [2] ( The growth has continued; in August 2004, ACLU membership was at 400,000 [3] (

The ACLU has been a vocal opponent of the PATRIOT Act of 2001, the proposed (as of 2003) PATRIOT 2 act, and associated legislation made in response to the threat of domestic terrorism, that it believes violates either the letter or the spirit of the U.S. Bill of Rights. In response to a requirement of the PATRIOT Act, the ACLU withdrew from a Federal Donation Program that provides matching funds from the federal government for federal employees. The requirement was that ACLU employees must be checked against a federal anti-terrorism watch list. The ACLU estimates that it will lose approximately $500,000 in such contributions. See also: ACLU v. Ashcroft

Controversial defense stances

The organization believes that free speech rights must be available to all citizens of the United States. Therefore, it has taken on extremely controversial cases to defend the free speech rights of unpopular clients such as Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazi groups, and NAMBLA, a group which supports legalization of pedophilia.

The ACLU has defended Frank Snepp formerly of the Central Intelligence Agency (from an attempt of this government agency to gag him) and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North (convicted on the basis of coerced testimony—a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights).


The ACLU and its affiliated tax-exempt foundation receive substantial yearly support from the Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Field, Tides, Gill, Arcus, Horizons, and other foundations. However, recently the ACLU rejected $1.5 million from both the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations because a clause in the donation agreement stipulating that "none of the money would go to underwriting terrorism or other unacceptable activities a threat to civil liberties." The ACLU also withdrew from a federal charity drive, losing an estimated $500,000, taking a stand against the attached condition that it would "not knowingly hire anyone on terrorism watch lists."

Critics of the ACLU

The ACLU's most vocal critics are generally those who consider themselves conservatives. Many of these conservatives allege that the ACLU has not dedicated itself only to the defense of constitutional rights, but seeks to advance a liberal agenda. Some critics point to its opposition to the death penalty, which has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States while the ACLU continues to argue that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment restriction against "cruel and unusual punishment" and against international human rights norms. Critics also argue that the ACLU has not been consistent in defending all civil liberties, pointing out that it is not active in protecting gun rights (the organization believes that the Second Amendment does not preclude Congress from "reasonable" regulation of arms in general [4] ( Critics claim gun rights enjoy the similar constitutional protection as "civil rights" and should be treated equally by the ACLU if it is not motivated by a political agenda.

The Ohio chapter of the ACLU was criticized for presenting the Council on American-Islamic Relations with an award in October, 2003. Critics contend that CAIR is dedicated to the advancement of radical Wahhabism. [5] (

The ACLU also has been subject to criticism by some, mainly on the political left, who support the bulk of its mission, but object to the organization's advocacy for corporations to enjoy the protections of the Bill of Rights, e.g. corporate personhood.

Christian and other religious critics

At the local level, the ACLU often involves itself in cases involving the separation of church and state. Therefore, one of the most consistent critics of the ACLU is the conservative Christian community in the United States. Many in this community contend that the ACLU is part of an effort to remove all references to religion from American government.

In 2004, for example, the ACLU of Southern California threatened to sue the city of Redlands, California if it did not remove a picture of a cross from the city's seal. The ACLU argued that having a cross on the seal amounted to a government-sponsored endorsement of Christianity and violated separation of church and state. The city complied with the ACLU and removed the cross from all city vehicles, business cards, and police badges. Then the ACLU threatened Los Angeles County, California if it also did not remove an image of a cross from its seal. As in the Redlands case, the county board complied with the demands and voted to remove the cross from its seal as well.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the Rev. Jerry Falwell remarked that the ACLU, by trying to 'secularize America,' had provoked the wrath of God, and therefore caused the terrorist attacks to happen. Other critics of the ACLU do not make such strong accusations, but claim that the organization pushes the concept of separation of church and state beyond its original meaning.

Many minority religious groups like Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims have at times been defended by the ACLU and are ardent supporters of it. In the Mormon community, the ACLU is viewed positively by some, who cite Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, a case litigated by the ACLU on behalf of a Mormon student concerning school prayer [6] ( However, a good number of Mormons are strongly against the activities of the ACLU, and there is evidence that this is the official position of the church [7] (

A common running joke among conservatives, religious conservatives in particular, is that the ACLU stands for the "Anti Christ Litigation Unit." There have been false allegations that the ACLU has urged the removal of cross-shaped headstones from federal cemeteries and has opposed prayer by soldiers; such charges have been deemed to be urban legends. [8] (

National affiliates

Although the ACLU has a national headquarters located in New York City, the organization does most of its work through locally based affiliates that are located throughout the United States. These affiliates maintain a certain amount of autonomy from the National organization, and are able to work independently from each other. Many of the ACLU's cases originate from the local level and are handled by lawyers from the local affiliates.

At times, this has led to conflicts between the various branches. For instance, the national ACLU refused to get involved in Japanese-American internment cases during World War II. Against the threat of being kicked from the organization, the Northern California branch litigated Korematsu v. United States case, taking it to the Supreme Court.

Quotes about the ACLU

''The ACLU has stood foursquare against the recurring tides of hysteria that from time to time threaten freedoms everywhere..."—Chief Justice Earl Warren
"America needs a civil liberties union. It no longer has one. I still make my contribution because the ACLU still does some good, but if things don't change, it could become an enemy of free speech." —Professor Alan Dershowitz, 25-year ACLU member
"I'm glad the ACLU raises the objections it does, because it forces the government and Congress to be mindful of First Amendment rights." — U.S. Representative Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), 2003
"The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90% of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press, and free assembly, but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is an attempt to protect the communists ... Since its beginnings, the ACLU has waged war against Christianity..." —the Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities, 1931

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-06]

Weiterführende Ressource:

Walker, Samuel <1942 - >: In defense of American liberties : a history of the ACLU. -- 2nd ed.  -- Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, 1999. -- xxxv, 479 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN 0809322706. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}

2. Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-02

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Our Issues:

  • 'Faith-Based' Initiatives / Taxpayer Funded Religious Discrimination
  • Church Electioneering
  • Free Exercise of Religion
  • Marriage & Family Life
  • Religion in Public Life
  • Religion in the Public Schools
  • Religious Symbols on Public Property
  • Vouchers / Religious School Funding
  • Judicial Nominations

Why Separate Church and State?

Separation of church and state is the only principle that can ensure religious and philosophical freedom for all Americans. Church-state separation does not mean hostility toward religion. Rather, it means that the government will remain neutral on religious questions, leaving decisions about God, faith and house of worship attendance in the hands of its citizens.

The results of America’s policy of church-state separation can be seen all around us: Thanks to separation of church and state, Americans enjoy an unparalleled amount of religious freedom. In some nations, churches remain dependent upon government for support and aid. Religious life in these nations is often devitalized, and many churches are near empty on Sundays. Other countries merge religion and government into theocracies. Religious liberty cannot flourish under that system either; attempt by the government to enforce a version of religious orthodoxy foster only repression. By contrast, religious liberty has flourished in America and separation of church and state can take the credit.

Our Founding Fathers understood that efforts by government to “help” religion usually end up hurting it in the long run. Thanks to their vision, America has struck the right balance. Religious groups are supported with voluntary contributions, not tax dollars. Houses of worship are free to seek new members and spread their religious messages but they must use their own resources to do so. Institutions that serve Americans of many religious faiths and none, such as public schools, are free from sectarian control. The government cannot force or coerce anyone to take part in religious worship or prayer services. Americans have the right to join whatever religious group they like or refrain from taking part in religion at all. No one can be forced to support, aid or fund religious groups.

This grand tradition of religious liberty has made America the envy of the world. In countries where religion is mandated or supported by the state, people look to the American model of church-state separation with longing. Church-state separation, a policy forged by great leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, is the expression of a mature and confident republic. It represents a promise of freedom that few countries have had the courage to fully embrace.

But America had that courage, and the results of that embrace have been nothing short of remarkable. Today we are an open and free society of nearly 300 million Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists and others. All live side by side in harmony. All have the freedom to proclaim their views. All enjoy the right to worship or not worship unmolested by government officials or state-appointed religious leaders. All are equal in the eyes of the government.

That is the legacy of our Founders’ grand experiment with separation of church and state. That is the result of keeping an official distance between religion and government. That is the principle Americans United for Separation of Church and State upholds every day boldly, proudly and without apology."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-06]

3. People For the American Way

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-02

People For the American Way and
People For the American Way Foundation: A History


Jerry Falwell. Pat Robertson. The Moral Majority. The Religious Right. Religious bigotry. Anti-Semitism. In 1980, acclaimed television and movie producer Norman Lear began searching for an appropriate response to a new and disturbing political movement in America. The Religious Right was determined to impose a radical and extremist agenda, one that acknowledged only its leaders’ religious beliefs, and that sought to diminish Americans’ fundamental freedoms. Those who dared dissent, the Religious Right called “atheistic,” “immoral,” “anti-Christian,” and “anti-family.”

 Lear began his quest after conducting research for a film on televangelists who mixed religion and politics. But instead of producing a movie, Lear decided instead to create a more direct response, one that would call Americans home to their more generous roots – respect for individual liberty, celebration of diversity, love of country and of the democratic institutions at its core.

Lear’s unique approach was to create a series of television commercials celebrating difference. The ads featured a mix of recognizable faces – Muhammad Ali and Goldie Hawn, for example – with average Americans. The overwhelming response to the ads led Lear to create People For the American Way. And in the 20+ years that followed, through a variety of political battles, the organization has proudly and loudly advanced the same basic themes – embracing America’s diversity, respecting Americans’ rights, defending liberty, democracy and the American Way.


  • PFAWF founded by Norman Lear, Barbara Jordan and a group of distinguished business, religious, political and entertainment leaders. The mission: to counter the growing clout and divisive message of right-wing televangelists, including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Jimmy Swaggart.


  • PFAWF television special, “I Love Liberty” airs on prime-time network television. Featuring dozens of stars of stage and screen, the program alerts Americans to the threat and spread of intolerance.

  • PFAWF opposes efforts by Radical Right leaders to censor public school textbooks. Rev. Jerry Falwell charged that textbooks were “Soviet propaganda.” Fellow televangelist Jimmy Swaggart called the public schools, “the greatest enemy of our children today.” Also leading the charge: activists Phyllis Schlafly and Mel and Norma Gabler.

  • PFAWF campaigns to defeat Radical Right effort to banish evolution from biology classrooms, scoring significant victory: Texas raises standards for public school biology books, prompting textbook publishers to produce stronger books for use in schools across the nation.


  • PFAWF publishes “Scopes Revisited: Evolution vs. Biblical Creationism” discussion paper as part of its efforts to protect religious and academic freedom.

  • PFAWF makes broadcast history with city-by-city placement of television spots countering televangelist bigotry.


  • PFAW petitions and letters help persuade the Senate to defeat constitutional amendments mandating school prayer in public schools.

  • PFAWF takes on the Radical Right at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, prompting the New York Times to describe the group as the only countervoice to the televangelists at the convention.


  • PFAWF publishes landmark “Consumer Guide to Biology Textbooks.” Chief finding: half of all high school biology textbooks do not adequately cover evolution, and one-sixth make no mention of it whatsoever. The reason? Ongoing pressure from the Religious Right on school boards and textbook publishers, aimed at watering down evolution and replacing it with religious doctrine of Creationism.

  • PFAWF forms Legal Defense Fund to aid communities under attack from textbook challenges from Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America.


  • PFAW spotlights Reagan effort, led by Attorney General Edwin Meese, to pack federal courts with right-wing judges, challenging nomination of Daniel Manion to federal bench. Manion’s flimsy credentials become subject of hard-fought Senate controversy, resolved when Manion is confirmed by a single vote. But the pitched battle exposes the Reagan court-packing effort to public scrutiny for the first time.

  • PFAWF mines its comprehensive collection of televangelist broadcasts and direct mail to issue report on Pat Robertson’s lifelong record of political extremism, while televangelist weighs presidential run.

  • PFAWF defends public schools in Church Hill, Tennessee from legal challenge led by Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America.  The group charges that the schools’ elementary readers – books in common use in classrooms across the nation – offend their religious beliefs. Among their long list of objections: the textbook versions of The Diary of Anne Frank and The Wizard of Oz – both for promoting “unacceptable” religious beliefs. PFAWF prevails in court, in a case that came to be known as “The Scopes II Trial.”

  • PFAW report on school censorship and related challenges to public school materials subject of national attention. Its finding: censorship attempts on dramatic upswing, driven by Radical Right.


  • PFAW takes lead in battle to defeat nomination of hard-right Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. Bork opposed virtually every major pro-civil and constitutional rights decision dating back to 1950s. The Senate defeats the nomination by an historic margin.

  • PFAWF helps local parents in Mobile, Alabama defend against legal challenge to school curriculum. Religious Right challengers, backed by Pat Robertson, say ordinary textbooks in use in Mobile promote “religion of secular humanism.” PFAWF prevails.


  • PFAW rallies public support for Civil Rights Restoration Act, leading to override of Reagan veto – first override of his presidency. PFAW campaign overcomes effort by Jerry Falwell to defend the veto. Falwell employs a classic Radical Right scare tactic, claiming the law would force churches to hire “practicing, active homosexual drug addicts with AIDS” to serve as youth pastors. The law effectively reverses a Supreme Court decision severely restricting the reach of existing civil rights protections.

  • PFAWF takes on Radical Right television censor Don Wildmon, whose American Family Association attacks dozens of popular television programs, records and radio programs. Wildmon’s targets included everything from NBC’s “Cheers” and “Tonight Show” to ABC’s “Nightline.”


  • PFAW fights to protect free speech rights, leading campaign to oppose amending Constitution to prohibit flag-burning.

  • PFAW instrumental in Florida legislature’s surprise defeat of anti-choice bill. Bill was first state effort to restrict reproductive freedom following Supreme Court’s Webster decision narrowing the right to privacy.


  • PFAW battles Don Wildmon, Jesse Helms and other Radical Right leaders’ attacks on National Endowment for the Arts.

  • PFAWF establishes artsave project to help artists and arts organizations resist censorship threats.

  • PFAWF responds to lower voter turnout in 1988 with “First Vote,” voter registration curriculum aimed at high school seniors.


  • PFAW takes lead role in campaign for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

  • PFAW opposes nomination of Clarence Thomas to Supreme Court, challenging his repeated disregard for key precedents and disdain for fundamental constitutional rights and liberties. Thomas is confirmed, and proceeds to compile precisely the hard-right record PFAW predicted.


  • PFAW releases groundbreaking study of race relations among young people, “Democracy’s Next Generation.”

  • PFAW fights right-wing attacks on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

  • PFAWF First Vote registers 100,000 young people to vote.


  • PFAWF follows “Democracy’s Next Generation” study with “Students Talk About Race” (STAR) program, new curriculum aimed at improving race relations in schools.

  • PFAWF’s in-depth study of San Diego-area stealth campaigns focuses national attention on Radical Right effort to take over local school boards by running candidates who dodge public scrutiny of their radical agenda. Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed brags about opponents not knowing they’re facing serious challenge until they’re in “body bags.”

  • PFAW battles Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition and other groups in effort to take over New York City public school boards.


  • PFAWF represents First Amendment hero Lisa Herdahl in her challenge to in-class loudspeaker prayers at her children’s Mississippi elementary school. Herdahl ultimately wins in court, after lengthy battle.


  • PFAW leads charge in defense of freedom of speech, opposing Radical Right challenges to public broadcasting, federal support for the arts and humanities.


  • PFAW and PFAWF “Expose the Right!” campaign gives citizens opportunity to question presidential candidates in early primary states, forcing them to take a stand for or against Radical Right positions.
  • PFAWF launches “Good Schools” coalition-building effort in response to ongoing Christian Coalition organizing around New York City school board elections.
  • PFAW blows whistle on Christian Coalition’s biased and deceitful “voters guides,” with comprehensive state-by-state report on the guides’ distortions. Robertson group endangers churches’ tax status by encouraging them to distribute thinly veiled campaign material backing specific candidates.

  • PFAW tracks hundreds of Religious Right candidates in 1996 elections, alerts public to candidates’ surprising success rate.


  • PFAWF lawsuit on behalf of Lee County, Florida halts school board’s unconstitutional attempt to use the Bible as history textbook in public school history course.

  • PFAWF partners with NAACP to launch “Every Child Counts” campaign, major anti-vouchers organizing effort.


  • PFAW’s “Let’s Move On” national television ad campaign urges voters to reject scandal-mongering and Radical Right assault on White House.

  • PFAW helps secure passage of human rights ordinance in Miami-Dade County, Florida, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


  • PFAW is leader in effort to enact Hate Crimes Prevention Act to combat hate crimes on basis of sexual orientation.

  • PFAW’s launches major voter education and mobilization effort warning of impact presidential election will have on makeup of the Supreme Court.

  • PFAW helps defeat right-wing-backed voucher initiatives on ballot in Michigan and California.

  • PFAWF African American Ministers Leadership Council trains thousands of ministers to register record numbers of minority voters.

  • PFAWF “Arrive With Five” campaign helps bring 350,000 new African Americans to polls in Florida.

  • PFAW rushes leaders and staff to Florida the day after the presidential election to document the effective disenfranchisement of thousands of Florida voters, to hold public officials accountable, and to prevent future abuses. People For the American Way Foundation joins a lawsuit brought against Florida election officials charging violations of the federal Voting Rights Act.

  • PFAWF researchers compile and release a study documenting rampant violation of the Constitution by 14 Florida school districts. The districts are teaching Bible History courses that present the Bible as if it were a history textbook, or that otherwise fail to provide objective and secular instruction. The study, The Good Book Taught Wrong: ‘Bible History’ Classes in Florida’s Public Schools, provides clear evidence that the school districts have never fully revised their practices from the days when public schools routinely promoted Christianity to their students.

  • PFAW develops and distributes Disorder in the Courts, an analysis of efforts by right-wing political leaders and groups to delay federal judicial confirmations.

  • PFAWF produces Courting Disaster, an analysis of the devastating consequences for Americans’ rights and freedoms of additional far-right justices on the Supreme Court.


  • PFAW celebrates 20th anniversary.

  • PFAW leads challenge to nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General, follows up with careful scrutiny of Ashcroft’s stewardship of Justice Department..

  • PFAWF conducts comprehensive “Election Protection Project,” including Voter Bill of Rights and lawyer’s Voter’s 800# Hotline in Virginia and New Jersey off-year elections. Campaign slated for 15 states rollout in 2002.

  • PFAWF takes lawsuit challenging Cleveland voucher program to U.S. Supreme Court. PFAWF argues Cleveland program amounts to government funding of religious institution, since 96 percent of vouchers go to parochial schools.

  • PFAW takes a key organizing role in the “Fair Taxes for All” coalition effort to defeat the President’s reckless tax cut, and its grim implications for public funding for education and other priorities.

  • PFAW opposes the President’s “charitable choice” proposal because it would divert social-service funding to religious institutions, and in so doing weaken existing restrictions on direct government funding of houses of worship.

  • PFAWF compiles and releases Creationism in 2001: A State-by-State Report, documenting the concerted campaign by the Radical Right to deny science teachers the authority to teach their classes the most authoritative scientific information about the origins of life.

  • PFAWF successfully litigates against a Virginia Internet censorship law that would have deprived children and adults of a broad range of information related to health, literature, human sexuality, and the arts.

  • PFAWF joins with the U.S. Student Association in support of – an Internet-based nonpartisan voter education and registration campaign for young adults, ages 18-29. The project has already helped tens of thousands of new voters get registered, relying on a web site that enables visitors to register on-line, participate in electronic discussions, and link to other election-related sites.

  • PFAWF researches and publishes a series of reports on various aspects of the right-wing’s attack on public education. Five Years and Counting: A Closer Look at the Cleveland Voucher Program takes a detailed look at the sorry impact of the Cleveland voucher program’s impact on student academic performance, the real choices available to voucher recipients, equity and religious liberty issues and school accountability. A Model To Avoid: Arizona’s Tuition Tax Credit Law analyzes the damaging impact of a state law being touted as a model by proponents of tuition tax credits and other steps toward privatization of public education. Community Voice or Captive of the Right? A Closer Look at the Black Alliance for Educational Options reveals for the first time the big-monied, right-wing funding stream backing the supposedly grassroots African American organization running a series of pro-voucher television ads in key markets.

  • PFAWF joins with the NAACP, the Advertising Council and the Eastman Kodak Company to launch Success in School Equals Success in Life media campaign. The most extensive nationwide media and grassroots organizing effort ever aimed at encouraging African American and Latino parents to become more deeply involved in their children’s education, the three-year campaign includes public service advertisements on television and radio, ads in newspapers and on billboards, kiosks and mass transit facilities, and a comprehensive website where parents can find valuable information and tips to help them work with their children’s schools.

  • PFAWF compiles and publishes the 8th edition of Hostile Climate, a state-by-state rundown of anti-gay bigotry.

Former PFAW Presidents

Carole Shields

Ms. Shields, President of People for the American Way from 1996-2000, is a civic leader whose current activities focus on private philanthropy, health care for the needy, and political and charitable causes. She is the former Vice Chairman of the Public Health Trust of Dade County, Florida. The Trust administers the county's health care expenditures and governs the nation's busiest hospital, Jackson Memorial Medical Center. She has also served on the Health and Human Services Board for District 11 of the State of Florida's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, and chaired the regional panel for the White House Fellows Program.

Ms. Shields’ professional history includes service at several philanthropic foundations, including the Kettering Foundation, working primarily on issues of citizen participation. She currently serves on several boards, including the Dade Community Foundation, Florida International University Foundation, Jackson Memorial Hospital Foundation, and the Forum for Medical Ethics and Philosophy at the University of Miami.

Ms. Shields has an MBA in health administration from the University of Miami, and is an active participant in health policy debates on the national, state and local levels. She has testified on cost containment issues before committees of Congress and the Florida House, and served as speaker for many professional associations. While Vice President of Vitas Healthcare Corporation, she developed the nation's largest hospice program for persons living with AIDS.

Ms. Shields and her husband, Hugh Westbrook, are active fundraisers for a range of organizations, including People For the American Way, Habitat For Humanity, the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Medical Center, Miami-Dade Community College, and numerous causes related to AIDS, domestic violence, citizen action, and minority access to higher education. Ms. Shields and Mr. Westbrook live in Miami and have five children and eight grandchildren

Arthur J. Kropp

Arthur J. Kropp served as President of People For the American Way from 1987 until his death in 1995. Under Kropp's leadership, People For the American Way was in the forefront of "the" defining issues of the time, including the Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination, civil rights and free expression, reproductive freedom and the challenge to the Religious Right's so-called culture war.

Kropp got his start in politics as a "liberal Republican" working in local New York campaigns. While attending the College of Wooster in Ohio, he chaired area's student effort on behalf of President Gerald Ford's election in 1976. After graduating in 1979, he joined the staff of the Republican National Committee in Washington, DC. At the RNC Kropp was on the team that built the largest and broadest fundraising base in political history. Eventually his focus was on PAC and corporate fundraising.

In 1982 he was appointed Political Director for the National Society of Professional Engineers. In that capacity, he served as a lobbyist working on math and science education, industrial policy and patent issues. More significant, he managed the organization's political action committee, which during his tenure became one of the nation's largest with direct involvement in over 200 Congressional and Senate campaigns.

In 1984 Mr. Kropp was asked to join the staff of People For the American Way to serve as its Membership Director. For the next three years he oversaw unprecedented membership growth which placed People For at the top of the country's public interest organizations. In 1986 he was named Vice President.

Anthony T. Podesta

Mr. Podesta, People For’s founding President, is currently Chairman of, a 30-person national public policy consulting and public affairs firm. Legal Times declared Mr. Podesta’s firm one of ten “Winners” in its 1993 year-end issue highlighting Washington’s fields of law and lobbying.

An attorney, legislative and public relations strategist, lecturer, and commentator, Mr. Podesta is a leading spokesperson and debater on national political and public issues. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including the CBS, NBC, and ABC evening news programs, ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America, and NBC’s Today Show and Crossfire. Active in many political campaigns, he was California Campaign Manager for the Dukakis/Bentsen campaign during the general election in 1988. The 1988 Almanac of Presidential Politics calls Podesta one of the 10 “Most Valuable Players” in the 1988 campaign. He was Co-Chair of the National Earth Day Event on April 22, 1990."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-06]

4. Theocracy Watch

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-02

"Theocracy is derived from the two Greek words θεος (Theos) meaning "God" and κρατειν (cratein) meaning "to rule." Theocracy is the civil rule of God, or the belief in government by divine guidance.

The powerful Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Tom DeLay (R-TX) embodies government by divine guidance:

He [God] is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for a biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me.

Tom DeLay represents an ultraconservative religious movement seeking to impose a narrow theological agenda on secular society. Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, senior analysts at Political Research Associates, have named this movement the theocratic right:
The predominantly Christian leadership envisions a religiously-based authoritarian society; therefore we prefer to describe this movement as the "theocratic right."

Television preacher Pat Robertson sent out a memo to his political organization in 1986 calling on his followers to "Rule the world for God." That call to arms sums up the goals of the theocratic right, and explains their Congressional leadership which suspends the basic rules of Democracy: all that matters is winning, because it is for God. The ends justify the means.

This web site explores the narrow theological agenda that the theocratic right is imposing on secular society. Twenty-five years ago it targeted the Republican Party as the vehicle through which it could advance its agenda. Today it has extraordinary power in the U.S. government, with two branches solidly in its pocket and the third, the judiciary, just a couple of retirements away. It is also making great strides in schools, in the media, and in State Legislatures.

This movement values guns and the death penalty. It values the rich at the expense of the poor. It favors corporations at the expense of individuals. It seeks to eliminate virtually all regulations that protect the environment, worker safety, and public health.

It opposes international treaties and the United Nations. In his book The New World Order, Pat Robertson accused Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, and the first President George Bush of being agents for Satan because they supported international groups of nations such as the United Nations.

In an effort to fulfill the dominionist belief in the manifest destiny of "Christian" nations, the theocratic right values an aggressive foreign policy. And It claims that the principle of separation of church and state is "a myth."

It is possessed of absolute moral righteousness. It tolerates no dissent.

The theocratic right is not a conservative movement. It is striving to radically change the status quo. From a training manual of the theocratic right:

We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-15]

5. The Interfaith Alliance (TIA)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-15

"The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation - the national non-partisan advocacy voice of the interfaith movement. Our 150,000 members are from more than 70 faith traditions and people of good will united to: Promote democratic values, Defend religious liberty, Challenge hatred and religious bigotry and Reinvigorate informed civic participation.

We are The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation. Founded in 1994 by an interfaith group of religious leaders, we work to promote interfaith cooperation around shared religious values to strengthen the public’s commitment to the American values of civic participation, freedom of religion, diversity, and civility in public discourse and to encourage the active involvement of people of faith in the nation’s political life. We are local religious leaders and activists, some with years of political experience, some just starting out. We work in our communities, in state capitals, in Washington, DC and wherever else our voice is needed.

Our 150,000 members across the nation represent diverse religious and spiritual traditions – Jews, Christians,Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs – 70 faith traditions in all, as well as many Agnostics and Atheists. In Washington, DC, our national office works on Capitol Hill and with the White House, in coalition with denominational bodies and other activist organizations to make sure our unique message is communicated when and where it matters most. Our 47 local Alliances are active in their communities on local issues, carrying The Interfaith Alliance message to decision-makers, the media, and the public at large."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-03-15]  

Zu Kapitel 1.7.: Fundamentalistische Medien