Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pro-Life Free Speech Denied in California!

According to this news article (pictures included), a seventh-grade girl in California was made to change her shirt when school administrators, at the very beginnning of the day, noticed that it contained a pro-life message. That day, April 29, had been designated as "National Pro-Life T-shirt Day" by the American Life League.

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in this case. You can view pictures of the T-shirt here.

The storyline is the usual plot: Student wears T-shirt disdained by left-wing school administrators, is rudely told to change it (and does). Parent threatens lawsuit (and in this case, lawsuit goes forward).

There are two main issues to note here. First, anyone walking around a typical middle or high school today will notice a variety of T-shirts with advertising slogans, sports teams, brand names, artwork, and other content on them. Most of them are not the least bit offensive (not liking some other kid's sports team does not count!), but quite frankly, occasionally they are. They might contain images of some perverse "artist" or "rock star," or encourage behaviors that are unwise, rebellious, or immoral. [Note: Schools generally ban—as they should—T-shirts which promote activities that are illegal for minors, such as smoking or drinking.]

A T-shirt containing two photos of living human beings and which implies that abortion kills them is neither offensive nor inaccurate. To ban such a T-shirt while allowing so many others is hypocritical, and constitutes allowing "free speech" for some students and not for others. [Note #2: I would have no problem if a school decided to ban all T-shirts or even all T-shirts with any kinds of words/messages; this is consistent, and part of an appropriate dress code.]

The second and greater problem is the realization—still present in America after all these years—that there are those who hate the pro-life message and want to kill it. Free speech does not interest these people except to the extent that it allows them to speak. They care not for what is right and good.

The article concludes with this insightful quote by the mother's lawyer:

First Amendment attorney William Becker, who represents Amador, disagreed that the shirt could be seen as containing inappropriate messages.

"The message of the T-shirt is that life is sacred," he said. "One would be very hard pressed to find anything wrong with that particular idea, except that some people do object to the political message."

No comments: