The North Wind and the Sun were arguing over which was stronger. So, they decided to settle the argument with a competition. Whichever could remove the coat from an oncoming traveler would win.
The North Wind bellowed and blew. But, the traveler tightened his coat, clenching it closer to his chest. Then the Sun cast its spring rays down on the traveler, who took off his coat to enjoy the agreeable weather.
Today’s political environment often is filled with more wind than warmth, and the mainstream media has only made the problem worse. News anchors have taught the public to shout down the opposition, and when in doubt, claim their unwillingness to engage in civil debate and pull the plug on the conversation. It is no wonder that when the time comes to discuss a serious topic like abortion, each side hunkers down in their existing opinion, and shouts at each other from beneath tightened coats.
On March 20, Alliance Defending Freedom will be arguing at the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (or NIFLA) and its affiliated pregnancy centers in California. A California state law forces pro-life pregnancy centers (which offer free care to mothers) to promote the abortion industry. This law not only provides the abortion industry with free advertising, but it also undermines the pro-life mission of these centers.
We decided to cast some spring rays on the real problem at the heart of our upcoming Supreme Court case. So, we headed down to Arizona State University’s campus to ask some college students what they thought about being forced to promote a message they disagree with:
While this case has major implications for California’s pro-life pregnancy centers, the real issue at hand is compelled speech.
Is the government allowed to force its citizens to promote a message they disagree with?
These students had differing views on the issue of abortion. Yet, we were able to find “agreeable weather”: The government should not be allowed to force anyone to promote a message they disagree with. Because you might agree with the content of the forced promotion today, but the political winds may change tomorrow.
It is all too easy to force someone to promote a message that you yourself agree with—as a University of Arizona alum, I will admit that I did enjoy convincing those ASU students to don my school colors. But if the tables were turned and I was asked to wear ASU’s colors, I would object with even more fervor than those students.
With this law, the State of California has shown its colors. But none of its citizens should be forced to wear them.