The American Civil Liberties Union said Monday that Vice President George Bush disorted its policy positions in his remarks during the televised debate with Democrat Michael S. Dukakis.
"Once again, (Bush) has totally twisted the nature of the organization and the role of the organization in history," ACLU President Norman Dorsen said in a telephone interview.
When Bush was asked during the debate Sunday to justify his persistent criticism of Dukakis as a "card-carrying member" of the ACLU, the vice president referred to the organization as a liberal one and attacked what he said are some of its positions.
"I don't want my 10-year-old granddaughter to go into an X-rated movie," Bush said. "I don't think they're right to try to take the tax exemption away from the Catholic Church. . . . I don't want to see 'under God' come out from our currency. Now, these are all positions of the ACLU, and I don't agree with them."
Dorsen said that Bush mischaracterized each ACLU position he mentioned and also erred in calling the ACLU "liberal."
"Over many years, we have consistently acted in a nonpartisan way on behalf of some of the most basic principles of the Constitution," Dorsen said.
He said the ACLU does not want children to see pornographic movies, but believes the ratings system amounts to illegal censorship. The ACLU opposes tax exemptions for all churches, not just the Roman Catholic, as a government subsidy of religion, he said, but has never objected to "In God We Trust."