As you know, the world did not end on Dec. 21. At least I’m going ahead with that assumption.
While the Mayan calendar told us that our time would be up on that date, scientists generally conclude that the world will eventually be a goner when the sun burns out — in about 3.5 billion years, give or take.
Which means that we only have that amount of time left to surpass in idiocy a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox that North Carolina’s “Choose Life” license plates were unconstitutional because of “viewpoint discrimination” in violation of the First Amendment.
Viewpoint discrimination. Honest. That’s what he said.
According to reporting by Catholic News Service and the Catholic News Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte, the American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit on behalf of four pro-choice car owners in the state who claimed that the “Choose Life” plates were state-sponsored viewpoint discrimination. Four of them.
A little background here. According to the news reports, North Carolina, like 29 other states, was willing to sell “Choose Life” specialty license plates to car owners that requested them. These are one type of so-called vanity plates drivers can get that might have anything from environmental messages to fly-fishing hoopla. North Carolina offers NASCAR vanity plates, for example.
The vanity plates cost more and you can’t order any old message. The plates need to get legislative approval, and it took four years for the Choose Life plates to pass muster.
But since the state did not have immediate availability of a pro-abortion license plate, four pro-abortion car owners claimed “viewpoint discrimination” even though there was no requirement that they take the “Choose Life” plate. It was just the message they couldn’t tolerate.
And the judge agreed. I wonder how he’ll respond if a group of drag racing supporters claim the existence of the NASCAR plates are viewpoint discrimination?
Bottom line on all this. Always remember that if language and viewpoints are being banned, the American Civil Liberties Union will be right behind the effort. There is no more sinister organization in the United States today when it comes to censorship of speech and expression.
Sinister, because it sells itself as a kind of libertarian oasis when, in fact, it will do all in its power to ban any speech with which it disagrees. It remains in the forefront of banning religious speech from the public arena; it is now apparently moving ahead with censorship of viewpoints, religious or not, that it does not share.
The ACLU is a leading voice battling the Church’s efforts to preserve religious freedom against the government’s imposition of the Department for Health and Human Services mandate on Church-related facilities. It will support any exercise in raw government power as long as it is aimed at religious expression.
So the fact that the ACLU would kill “Choose Life” license plates should surprise nobody. What’s depressing is that it managed to find a judicial co-conspirator.
According to Catholic New York, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York, an effort to have “Choose Life” plates available in the Empire State so horrified the Department of Motor Vehicles that the state suspended any new vanity plates whatsoever. You can’t even get a 9/11 memorial plate as a result.
“It’s only words,” the BeeGees sang. But “words” can sure scare the ACLU and its ilk.
Sometimes I wish the Mayans had been right.
Robert P. Lockwood writes from Pennsylvania.