Today is the first day of a three-day federal trial in the case of The Radiance Foundation v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Coincidentally, it also happens to be International Human Rights Day. The pro-life movement fights every day for the rights of the preborn. This case serves as a sad reminder that in the process, we often must fight for our own rights as well.
The Radiance Foundation is a
pro-life group led by Ryan Bomberger (right). Bomberger is a vocal critic of the NAACP. In particular, he criticizes its support for abortion and alliance with national abortion groups. In the course of this criticism, Bomberger created videos and graphics referring to the NAACP as the “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.” [Update: To clarify, Bomberger’s criticism was not limited to videos and graphics. This LifeNews article in particular appears to have rankled the NAACP.]
The NAACP then sued the Radiance Foundation for trademark infringement.
Bomberger argues (in my opinion as an attorney, correctly) that his political satire is not trademark infringement, and has counter-sued for a judicial determination of the Radiance Foundation’s free speech rights.
The First Amendment has long protected parody and satire. Perhaps you’ve seen this entertaining Tumblr full of altered corporate logos:
|Pictured: Not a federal case.|
And when the speech in question is about a political subject, which the Radiance Foundation’s speech clearly is, the First Amendment protection is even greater.
The sad thing is that the NAACP used to be a First Amendment champion. In fact, one of the landmark Supreme Court cases on the freedom of association is National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama, in which the NAACP successfully protected its members’ right to remain anonymous (an important consideration for NAACP supporters in Alabama in the 1950s, for obvious reasons).
Now, the organization that once boldly stood for equality and freedom has been corrupted by opposition to the basic human rights of the most vulnerable members of the human family, and with it, the pro-choice movement’s love of censorship. They could certainly use some constructive criticism. But whether they use it or not, Bomberger will continue to offer it!