Pro-Life Group Upset After Police Ban Sidewalk Chalk Abortion Msg to Obama
by Steven Ertelt
January 12, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group is upset that the Washington, D.C. police department has prohibited it from going forward with its sidewalk chalk plan. The Christian Defense Coalition has planned to line the sidewalks of the inaugural route Barack Obama plans to use with pro-life messages.
Other messages and artwork were slated to appear in front of the White House on Saturday, January 24 so Obama could be shown the pro-life perspective as he takes office.
The group told LifeNews.com over the weekend that it is calling for the D. C. Metropolitan Police Department to lift a ban on pro-life displays in front of the White House.
If police officials do not lift the ban by today, the CDC will file a lawsuit accusing the police department of infringing on its First Amendment free speech rights.
The department sent the pro-life group a letter saying the activity of the Christian Defense Coalition "would constitute defacing public property in violation of D.C. Official Code."
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney says he was surprised by the letter because, for 16 years, law enforcement officials in Washington have given permission to his group to conduct numerous demonstrations involving sidewalk chalking.
Responding to the letter, James Henderson, a top attorney for the America Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, points out that the City of Washington has sponsored public sidewalk chalk art displays.
Mahoney said he’s "troubled that the City of Washington, after allowing public chalk display for years, chooses now for the first time to ban sidewalk chalk because it contains a pro-life message and would be displayed in front of the White House."
"Will the City of Washington, D.C. now begin to ban free speech that disagrees or is offensive to President Barack Obama?" he asked.
"The foundation of this nation is that every American has the right to peacefully share their views, thoughts and opinions in the public square free from government interference and harassment. It should not matter what the particular content of those views might be," he concluded.
"The streets in front of the White House should be open to all views, opinions and thoughts. It should be not be a place of censorship or intimidation. I hope this was not the kind of change President Obama was talking about," Mahoney said.
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