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Email: ACLU Objects to Marines Praying

Netlore Archive: Has the American Civil Liberties Union objected to U.S. service personnel praying while on duty in response to a photo showing a group of Marines bowing their heads?

Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: Nov. 2003
Status: False

Email contributed by Nicholas P., Nov. 30, 2003:

ACLU Objects to Marines Praying

ACLU Upset At Marines

If you look closely at the picture above, you will note that all the Marines pictured are bowing their heads. That's because they're praying. The incident took place at a recent ceremony honoring the birthday of the corps, and it has the ACLU up in arms. "These are federal employees," says Lucius Traveler, a spokesman for the ACLU, "on federal property and on federal time. For them to pray is clearly an establishment of religion, and we must nip this in the bud immediately." When asked about the ACLU's charges, Colonel Jack Fessender, speaking for the Commandant of the Corps said (cleaned up a bit), "Screw the ACLU."

Analysis: False. In an email response to queries about the anecdote above, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) stated the following:

In regards to the latest urban legend that includes a picture of Marines praying and a quote from a supposed ACLU spokesperson, we have no knowledge of this event nor have we ever had a spokesperson by the name of Lucius Traveler.

Nor does the Commandant of the Marine Corps have a spokesman named Colonel Jack Fessender, for that matter. I couldn't find evidence that the ACLU has ever taken a position against U.S. military personnel — or, indeed, federal employees in any branch of government — engaging in prayer. This "incident" is a complete fabrication and was evidently written with satirical intent.

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Related Netlore:

ACLU vs. Crosses on Federal Property
From the Netlore Archive

Sources and further reading:

ACLU Position on Religious Liberty
American Civil Liberties Union

Last updated: 07/03/09

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