You can burn an American flag in northwest suburban Palatine, but you can’t parade a picture of a live, healthy fetus. Controversial groups, such as PFLAG (Parents of Friends, Lesbians and Gays), are allowed to march in Palatine’s Fourth of July parade, but pro-life Catholics can’t unless they agree to have their message censored by self-pointed bowdlerizers.
As ironic as it sounds, the Jaycees, sponsors of the Palatine Fourth of July parade, held Saturday, refused to allow Palatine Area Catholics Respect Life march in the community celebration—incidentally held on public streets—because the pro-life group insisted on carrying a banner that included a picture of a live fetus. (The story is found here, in the Palatine Patch.)
The banner read: “Respect life…from conception to death.” In addition to an inoffensive picture of a fetus—the kind that can be found in high school biology texts—it also slowed an elderly woman in a wheel chair receiving loving attention from a caring aide.
It was the fetus that the Jaycees found offensive enough to ban because—as best as I can discern—the picture makes a political statement (as if the PFLAG group’s presence in the parade doesn’t.) In a statement, the Jaycee’s said it was refusing the pro-life permission to march because it:
.…refused to work with festival organizers. Unlike other groups who fully cooperate with requests of the Hometown Fest Committee, the Respect Life Group refused to budge on requests and was demanding to the Committee.
The denial was not about the issue the group represents, but that the group refused to work with volunteers to come to a mutual agreement, particularly regarding one image on their banner. The Palatine Jaycees are a non-political organization, and we neither endorse nor reject the messages of those that march in the parade. However, we do reserve the right to approve or deny the manner in which these messages are conveyed.
If this isn’t the biggest crock of idiotic malarkey that I’ve ever seen.
The pro-life group refused to “budge” because a live fetus is the essence of its message. It’s like saying that PFLAG couldn’t march because it refused to change its message.
Making the Jaycee’s action even more hypocritical was the fact that the pro-life group was allowed to march last year. (Read the interesting details here in a statement from the pro-life group responding to the Jaycee’s “explanation.”) Said the pro-life group:
Our group has chosen to take a principled stand and not replace that ultrasound picture on the banner. We firmly believe that there is nothing “graphic” about that picture. We have pointed out the double standard in not allowing our group, while still allowing a controversial group PFLAG (Parents of Friends, Lesbians, and Gays) which could be deemed ill-suited for a family-oriented 4th of July parade. If the Parade Committee would have disallowed both groups, we would not be arguing the unjustness and would have accepted that decision. But it is quite clear to fair-minded people that there is indeed a double standard here and that our group is being unfairly targeted for exclusion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that you can burn American flags and the federal government is planning to require that gruesome pictures of cancer victims be put on cigarette packages. But American eyes cannot tolerate a picture of a live fetus?
Here’s allowing that the Jaycees do good works, supporting a range of efforts that improve the community. But they need to take lessons in civics and logic. Their argument is so poorly framed that I would be seriously embarrassed to even present it.
But that the greatest outrage is that it comes on the weekend that the entire nation celebrates the freedoms that we enjoy to because of the blood of our fathers spilled I hope that someone slaps the Jaycees silly with a lawsuit that will stop this intolerant hogwash from happening again next year.