Anti-abortion group going before SCOTUS to argue for their right to lie.

I normally don’t write much on weekends, but this is just too…good?  Well, it’s pretty lame, but you know what I mean.

Back story: the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List put up dishonest billboards about an Ohio politician.  The billboards were blocked and the courts have upheld the decision.

During the 2010 election cycle, Susan B. Anthony List accused then-Rep. Steven Driehaus (D-Ohio), who was running for reelection against Republican Steve Chabot, of endorsing taxpayer-funded abortions by voting for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus complained to the state election commission that the group’s proposed billboard ads saying, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion,” were false, since federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer money for abortion funding. The state blocked the billboards.

Now it’s going before the SCOTUS on the following grounds:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear a challenge to an Ohio law that forbids candidates and issue groups from making false campaign statements.

The case, involving an anti-abortion group’s claim that Ohio’s False Statement Law violates free speech, will likely be argued in April, with a ruling announced during the last months of the Supreme Court’s term in May or June.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to have our arguments heard,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a press release Friday. “The Ohio Election Commission statute demonstrates complete disregard for the Constitutional right of citizens to criticize their elected officials.”

Yes, because if you can’t lie then you can’t possibly criticize your elected officials.

Freedom of speech may very well cover the right to tell lies, but unless you’re of wispy thin moral fiber and more concerned with winning than winning for a just/true cause, why is that a right that anybody would want?  I suspect that many who purport to oppose things like abortion and gay marriage on moral grounds will cheer the fight to allow for the use of lies in the service of those causes.  Hypocrites.

I don’t think religion makes a person more moral.  I think it does make them more self-assured regardless of how moral/immoral they are.  I think believing an all-knowing god has vetted your every action and given his cosmic approval lends itself to a dearth in humility – the type of humility that would usually make a person examine their motives for consistency and virtue.  Is there a more clear example than this case (and every other I write about on a daily basis)?

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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