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Perhaps the most vivid and enduring visual memory of Taliban rule in Afghanistan is the image of the Islamic extremists blowing up ancient Buddhist statues in Bamiyan just a few months before they were routed from power by U.S. forces.

The towering edifices had stood on the site from the third or fourth century B.C. It took the Taliban all of a day to destroy them.

The Taliban were widely criticized for the act of destruction. There was worldwide condemnation of the act of wanton religious intolerance.

Yet, a similar kind of hateful defacement of religious symbols is taking place in America today. We have our own powerful Taliban force systematically seeking out and destroying any religious symbol in the public square – particularly if they are Christian symbols like the cross.

America’s version of the Taliban is the American Civil Liberties Union. Like the Taliban, the bigots at the ACLU use their own perverted interpretation of the law, guided by their intolerant worldview, to destroy these symbols.

Last month, as Christmas neared, we read again about countless examples of the ACLU extremists suing and threatening to sue over the displays of crosses and creches – American traditions older than the country itself. This has become an annual ritual with the ACLU, but it is a yearlong preoccupation with these zealots.

The most recent example of this insidious campaign is taking place in the Mojave National Preserve near the California-Nevada border. Not even the desert is safe from the ACLU’s prying eyes and expensive legal warfare against Christians.

In 1934, J. Riley Bembry, a World War I veteran and prospector, fashioned a cross out of welded steel pipe and set it on a hill above the desert floor. It was intended as a war memorial. Over the years, veterans would gather at the rock for Easter Sunday sunrise services.

When Bembry got too old to maintain the cross – often the target of vandals even before the ACLU noticed it – he persuaded Henry Sandoz to take over.

In 1994, the National Park Service took over management of the land. Five years later, the ACLU threatened to sue the Park Service if the cross was not dismantled. The Park Service agreed.

But area residents fought back.

Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., found out about the scrap and slipped an amendment into a bill making it illegal for the Park Service to remove the cross.

Predictably, the ACLU sued.

Last July, a federal judge in Riverside, Calif., ruled that the presence of the cross on the land was unconstitutional. He ordered the Park Service to remove it.

Now it may take yet another act of Congress to save it.

Lewis’ new strategy is to introduce a bill to transfer the land upon which the cross sits into private hands, a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, in exchange for land that Sandoz owns.

There’s no question about it – the ACLU will never quit. The organization will never be happy until every religious symbol on government property is destroyed. The Taliban would be ever so proud.

Few people have the courage to stand in the way of these modern-day brownshirts. Give Sandoz and Lewis some credit for standing up and fighting the good fight. But much more needs to be done.

The ACLU needs to be exposed for what it is. It is not an organization devoted to civil rights. It is not a group promoting and protecting the First Amendment. Rather, it is an organization systematically abusing the free exercise of religion, cheapening the Constitution and harassing and intimidating with a Taliban-like fury ordinary Americans simply exercising their civil rights.

It’s a hate group. It always has been, since the day it was founded by Soviet-loving socialist radicals like Roger Baldwin. In those early days, Baldwin advised, “Do steer away from making it [the ACLU] look like a socialist enterprise. We want to look like patriots in every thing we do. We want to get a lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of the country and show we are really the folks that stand by the spirit of our institutions.”

Our forefathers would be appalled at the work of the ACLU.

Now that we’ve destroyed the Taliban in Afghanistan, it’s time to take on their American counterparts – the ACLU.

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