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The American Legion Urges Immediate Floor Vote on PERA in both Chambers Take Action!

Time is limited! Only 19 Legislative Days Left in this Congress before Election recess

The House Judiciary Committee approved HR 2679, the Public _Expression of Religion Act introduced by Representative John Hostettler last night, adopting the language of a companion piece in the Senate introduced by Senator Brownback as S. 3696, the “Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006”. These bills are aimed at amending U.S. Statutes to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected _expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees
The American Legion has fought for passage of this reform legislation since the ACLU sued the Mojave Desert WWI Veterans Memorial and obtained a federal judge's order to destroy the solitary cross at that veterans' memorial. The ACLU then sought, and received, $63,000 from that same judge as an attorney fee award--although neither the ACLU nor its mascot plaintiff, Frank Buono, retired former Assistant Superintendent of the Mojave Desert Preserve, had any actual attorney fees. The $63,000 went directly into ACLU coffers as profit.

Most Americans remain unaware the ACLU and other organizations have been reaping millions of dollars in taxpayer-paid profits from lawsuits against veterans memorials, the Boy Scouts, the public display of the Ten Commandments and other symbols of our American heritage. In recent testimony to the Senate, Rees Lloyd, former ACLU attorney and Department of California District 21 Commander, provided these examples of ACLU awards of taxpayer money. Approximately $950,000 in attorney fees was awarded to the ACLU in a settlement with the City of San Diego in its lawsuit to drive the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park. In the Judge Roy Moore Ten Commandments case, the ACLU received $500,000. In a recent "Intelligent Design" case against a school board, the ACLU received $2,000,000 in attorney fees by order of a judge--although the law firm that represented the ACLU informed the court and public that it had acted pro bono and waived any attorney fees; these fees was pure profit to the ACLU.

Past National Commander Bock has said the ACLU’s threat of the imposition of taxpayer-paid attorney fees to force local elected bodies--city and county councils and school boards--into surrendering to the ACLU's demands to secularly cleanse the public square of any evidence of America’s religious heritage is “judicial blackmail, plain and simple”.

Of particular concern to most veterans are the legal attacks on veterans’ memorials. Passage of S. 3696 and H.R. 2679 would end the abuse by the ACLU and other organizations of well-intended laws. Past National Commander Bock has said, “This reform of the law should be supported by all Americans across all party, ideological, philosophical, and religious lines. The ACLU's profiteering at taxpayer expense by exploitation of benevolently intended civil rights laws designed to benefit poor people is a disgrace.”

The American Legion publication, In the Footsteps of the Founders - A Guide to Defending American Values, provides detailed information and is available free on request to [email protected].

It is imperative that all Members of The American Legion Family contact their Members of Congress and urge them to bring this measure to a vote in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Time is limited! Both the House and the Senate have limited days left before adjourning to concentrate on the November Elections, so we must pour on the heat now and let our lawmakers know how important it is to us that this receive a vote on the floor
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