Can Your Pro-Life Bumper Sticker Actually Get You in Trouble?

When George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004, someone I know who lives in the greater Los Angeles area put a bumper sticker with the president’s name on his vehicle. When he returned to his car one day, someone who didn’t share his enthusiasm for Bush had smashed the bumper where the sticker was with a hammer, causing lots of damage.

I knew Bush was unpopular in some circles, but that seemed a bit much.

Writer Tim Brown recently (9/21/2012) posted an article on entitled, “DOJ: Your Bumper Sticker May Indicate You’re A Terrorist.”

Brown writes, “The Department of Justice funded a training manual used in the State and Local Anti-terrorism Training (SLATT) program for law enforcement. Apparently certain political bumper stickers can put you on the ‘could be a terrorist’ list, including opposition to the United Nations and support for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” Included in that list are those who oppose abortion.

This seems to fit with a fascist pattern: Free speech for me, but not for thee. What is free speech if it isn’t really free?

This kind of thing would never pass constitutional muster. Twenty years ago, the High Court caused quite a controversy when they declared that burning a U.S. flag is protected free speech. If that is the case, then how much more should bumper stickers be considered free speech?

Here’s the verbatim wording found on two of the pages of the DOJ training manual:

Terrorism Training for Law Enforcement
Special-Interest/Single Issue Terrorism
•Extremists who seek to force the government or population to alter a specific aspect within the country
•Usually do not seek to overthrow or greatly alter the government
•Often represent a fairly popular point of view
p. 13 of BJA- SLATT Program Law Enforcement Sensitive

Special-Interest/Single Issue Terrorism (continued)
Most common areas of concern are
•Animal rights
•Anti-genetic engineering
p. 14 of BJA- SLATT Program Law Enforcement Sensitive

“Anti-abortion”? “Often represent a fairly popular point of view”? It’s disturbing when the views of ordinary Americans could be categorized as dangerous to society.

This reminds me of the report from April 2009, under the direction of Janet Napolitano, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, entitled: “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

A footnote on p. 2 of this document states: “Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Since abortion comes up as an issue in both of these government documents, I think it worthy of addressing. The people who are pro-life tend to be consistently pro-life. For example, they do not sanction the killing of abortion doctors or personnel.

When I read the leading atheist’s book of our day, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, I was intrigued by a phrase he occasionally used, “the American Taliban.” Who was he referring to? Finally, I realized he was talking about those who kill abortion-related personnel.

But you can count on one hand people who fit in that category. They are not in the mainstream of the pro-life movement. Only one or two that I know of were even professing Christians. That’s not the way of Christ. It never has been and it never will be.

Suppose someone had killed the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson before he had repented and became pro-life? Dr. Nathanson had presided over 60,000 abortions. The same applies for Carol Everett, who was partly responsible for 35,000 abortions, as a part owner of a few abortion clinics in the Dallas area. Today she is staunchly pro-life. And no, she’s not a terrorist.

In a day where your bumper sticker might get you in trouble, we should remember that tolerance should apply to all—even to those who hold politically incorrect views. True tolerance, which means respect for those with whom we disagree, seems to be disappearing in our time. I believe it’s because of the disappearance of Christian influence in public discourse.