Iowa Civil Liberties Union

446 Insurance Exchange Bldg.
Des Moines, IA 50309


June 9, 1997

Carl E. Olsen
1116 E. Seneca AVE
Des Moines, IA 50316

Dear Mr. Olsen:

As the executive director of the ICLU, please allow me to express our appreciation for your fine comments in yesterday's paper regarding the June 1 Des Moines Register article written by Jonathan Roos.  While the article itself was incomplete and problematic in some respects, your public affirmation of the worth of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union is something Iowans needed to hear.

I am currently working on an op-ed piece for the Register, responding to some of the criticisms and inaccuracies found in the article.  My main goal is to point out that the ICLU has adhered to its principles throughout its history by representing people - including conservative fundamentalist Christians and anti-abortion activists - regardless of their political affiliations or idealogical leanings.  I hope to counter the charges that the ICLU is a "liberal extremist group" by pointing out that we do not select the persons in our society who are in danger of having their civil liberties threatened.  That is what our politicians do.  The fact most are unpopular with right wing Christians is not our doing.  If the Iowa legislature begins targeting the rights of those favored by the right wing, we will be there for them.  I can say this because we have been there in the past.

That is the jist of what I hope to include in my op-ed.  Thanks again for your supportive letter to the editor.

Respectfully yours,

R. Ben Stone
Executive Director