Having paid off $85,000 in punitive fines levied against them for their legal challenges to Planned Parenthood, a pair of California Christian lawyers are looking forward to the next battle.
"We're all paid up and ready to return to the battlefield," said Richard Ackerman of the Pro-Family Law Center, Temecula, California.
He and Gary Kreep (U.S. Justice Foundation, Escondido, CA) were fined $15,000 personally and another $75,000 against the USJF for filing "a frivolous lawsuit" against Planned Parenthood (see http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/0401/040121duigon.php). Several California judges refused to hear their charges that Planned Parenthood failed to report cases of child abuse. Kreep took out loans and sold personal property to make the payments.
The purpose of the fines, Ackerman said, was to punish them for challenging the abortion industry, to silence them and put them out of business, and to make an example of them.
"First Peter promises us exactly that," Ackerman said. ("Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you … But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings … If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye …" 1 Pet. 4:12–14.)
"The good news is that's how we know we're doing the right thing. The bad news is that persecution doesn't feel so good. But we believe that God is grooming us for something special in the future," Ackerman said.
A New Challenge
The climate for California Christians seemed to grow worse on September 22 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB1234, a sweeping new "hate speech" code. (For a description and discussion of the law, see http://www.savecalifornia.com/bills/analysis.cfm?billid=2004SB1234.)
"The thrust of this law," Ackerman explained, "is that now anything that can be perceived as hate speech is hate speech. It's purely subjective."
Critics of the law say it will be used to muzzle Christians and stifle debate over moral issues like abortion and homosexual "marriage." But Ackerman is thinking of another way to use it.
"We're going to hit first," he said. "We're going to do a little constitutional judo and use the Left's own weapons against them. We'll be going after them by finding real-life applications for the kooky laws they pass. They can dish it out, but they're not too strong on defense."
The Pro-Family Law Center plans to use the new law to sue Planned Parenthood for hate crimes, Ackerman said. "We have a number of former Planned Parenthood employees who will testify that white women on the staff at the abortion clinic habitually refer to African-Americans as 'niggers.' I'd say that was creating an 'unwelcoming' or 'threatening' impression." Most of the "customers" at Planned Parenthood's urban abortion clinics are young black women.
Ackerman doubted a constitutional challenge to the "hate thought" law could succeed in California.
"It'd go to the 9th Circuit [federal court], and we'd never win there," he said. The 9th Circuit Court became nationally infamous last year when it declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because of the words "under God." That ruling was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We'll get nowhere, challenging this law in court," Ackerman said. "Using it against the people who backed it is the best remedy."
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.