On November 15, Dr. Glenn L. Archer died at the age of 96. In 1948, he served as the first executive director of Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State; he held this post until he retired in 1976 (the organization changed its name to Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 1982).
On November 21, Barry Lynn, the current executive director of Americans United, issued a statement saying, “Glenn Archer was a figure of towering energy and intellect” and cited him as “a strong defender of religious liberty through the separation of church and state.”
William Donohue answered Lynn with the following news release:
“Barry Lynn’s appraisal of Glenn Archer is incomplete. As with anyone, no doubt there was a good side to Archer, but it remains undeniably true that he used his ‘towering energy and intellect’ to bash Catholicism.
“It was under Archer’s tutelage that the Roman Catholic hierarchy was dubbed in 1949 as being ‘more dangerous and clever than communism.’ That this was said after Stalin had murdered tens of millions of his own people—starving the Ukrainians to death in the world’s first man-made famine—is truly astonishing. It was Archer who petitioned the FCC to deny TV licenses to Jesuits because they were ‘an alien organization.’ It was Archer who demanded that cardinals in the Catholic Church have their citizenship revoked. And it was Archer who asked the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate ‘the intentions, scope and achievements of Vatican espionage here,’ charging that the Catholic clergy had learned ‘American secrets hardly anyone except the president knows.’
“Not to acknowledge that Archer was an inveterate Catholic basher who received his largest per capita contributions from Christian Scientists, Seventh-day Adventists and Jews is to wash the face of a bigot.”
Americans United Spins the Truth:
“Thanks to Dr. Archer’s vision and hard work, Americans United was established as a permanent presence in American life and has built a reputation as a strong defender of religious liberty through the separation of church and state.”
—Americans United press release, November 21, 2002