On Monday, the most photographed bridge in the world — to many immigrants, their first glimpse of America, the land of political freedom — was the scene of another blow to the free-speech rights of young conservatives defending the sanctity of human life. Pro-life shirts have been banned from the Golden Gate Bridge.
In late April, a high school student in Texas was told by his principal he could not wear his pro-life sweatshirt at school because it might be controversial. The sweatshirt displayed the message “Abortion is Homicide.” But after hearing from the student’s legal representatives, school officials reversed their decision against the young pro-lifer.
It remains to be seen if the result will be the same concerning a similar prohibition exercised on Monday, when pro-life college students kicked off their eighth annual Crossroads “walk across the country” from San Francisco. While crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the right-to-lifers were stopped by the bridge patrol for wearing T-shirts with the world “Pro-Life” on the front and an American flag on the back.
Crossroads director Adam Redmon says the bridge patrol informed the walkers that the shirts were a form of political protest and disrupted traffic.
“The walkers were told that if they did not take off their shirts, that they would be fined $10,000 or jailed up to one year in prison,” Redmon explains. “So the walkers did what the patrolmen said. But then we began to question [if] this [was] against our constitutional right. We weren’t formally protesting on the bridge — we were beginning our walk across the country, which is a peaceful, prayerful protest.”
Each year, the group walks across America to educate the public about the dangers of abortion. But Redmon says on this particular occasion, free-speech rights were attacked.
“That’s one of the reasons why we walk across the country,” he says. “As pro-lifers and … young college students, we do not have an outlet to express our views in most media markets. We cannot describe our views, we are pretty much blocked out — so we have to take drastic measures.”
“If that means walking across the country and talking to people one-on-one to educate America at a grassroots level, then by all means, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
Redmon says it is ironic the pro-lifers were threatened with arrest because pro-abortion forces frequently march across the Golden Gate Bridge without that threat. Crossroads is in contact with the Thomas More Law Center and is considering legal action over the incident.
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