A Court Just Ruled That A Pro-Life License Plate is the Same as Pornography and Bans It!
A federal appeals court has decided that the New York DMV can refuse to issue a license plate stating simply “choose life” because the DMV (and court) finds the plate “patently offensive.”
The rejection based on the “patently offensive” criteria is the same measure used to ban pornography from public view. The court ruled that since the message of life is “patently offensive” to so many New Yorkers, it could cause road rage, and therefore it is acceptable to ban.
Where do I start in criticizing this absurd ruling by the court?
Let’s start with the idea that it is better to ban a license plate someone might find offensive than to allow on the grounds that it may cause an incident of road rage. First of all, if adults are not capable of driving on the road with another car carrying a license plate with a message they disagree with without engaging in road rage – I’m not sure they are fit to have a driver’s license. This line of reasoning is in itself “patently offensive” as it implies that people are not able to control themselves when faced with a message they disagree with.
And yet, every day millions of calm, sane individuals exit their homes into a world where many of the sights, sounds, and messages they come into contact with are “patently offensive.” And they do so without incident. For the court to hold that it is better to ban this license plate to avoid road rage than to uphold the free speech rights of those desiring to put the plate on their car is egregious, at best. And, be concerned, as the underlying message is simply that all speech considered “patently offensive” to the current agenda will be quashed.
A recent article carried comments by Alliance Defending Freedom on equality of free speech as it pertains to this case:
“Pro-adoption organizations should have the same speech rights as any other organization. While the district court affirmed this basic freedom, the circuit court denied free speech in favor of government censorship. The state doesn’t have the authority to target The Children First Foundation specialty plates for censorship based on its life-affirming viewpoint. The state has wrongly gotten away with speech discrimination against our client for more than 10 years.”
But let’s talk about the message the court is sending. This court has decided to openly align itself with the abortion agenda. By suppressing the message of life the court has given a silent – though not subtle – nod to the abortion industry. Is anyone really so naïve to think the court (or DMV) would refuse to issue a license plate with the message “Abortion Rules” on it? So the court has made their position clear: abortion is acceptable but life is not.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about the insanity of calling the pro-life message “patently offensive.”
Is the court not aware that a majority of the country is self-identified as pro-life? So when the court says the pro-life message is offensive it is siding with the minority. But what exactly does the court find offensive? Is it the idea that adoption is a worthy alternative to abortion? The group seeking to have the license plate issued is an adoption agency promoting adoption as an alternative solution to abortion. Is that really offensive?
Would all the kids whose mothers chose adoption over abortion really agree with the court that adoption is indeed offensive? I find that hard to believe. Or have we really sunk so low as a nation as to consider just the mere message of life offensive? Is it now offensive to simply say that I support life and oppose abortion? How long before that sentence is considered hate speech?
It’s interesting to see how this court decision aligns very closely with something Marco Rubio said about Christians and hate speech. In an interview Rubio made the following comment:
“If you think about it, we are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what’s the next step after that? After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and there’s a real and present danger.”
Now, first of all, don’t assume that I’m endorsing Rubio for president. I posted a comment, not a link to his fundraising website. However, the comment is relevant in light of this court decision.
Think about it, the court just ruled that a viewpoint held by millions of Americans is “patently offensive.” Squashing free speech in favor of political correctness, the court has decided that a view intrinsic to the Christian faith, and many others, is offensive and not worthy of protection. So, as I pondered earlier, how long before it’s called hate speech?
Rubio has a valid point that bears attention. Not just about same-sex “marriage” but about many things. Inherent in the Christian faith is many messages that are no doubt considered “patently offensive” to others. Will they be banned? Prohibited as hate speech?
Christians believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That must be terribly offensive to many people of other faiths. Will that message be banned for its offensiveness? If so what will happen to the Muslim message that Allah is the only true god? That’s terribly offensive as well, right?
The problem here, that apparently the court isn’t capable of seeing, is that if you start banning every message that someone else might find “patently offensive” you will be left with nothing. A free society must foster tolerance. The way to do that is to encourage people to live peaceably with those they disagree with. If our government starts suppressing free speech and banning “offensive” messages we are on the verge of losing our rights.
Too bad the people that want to ban the pro-life message don’t understand that. Then again, maybe they do.