Charges dropped against Operation Rescue “truth truck”

Gwinnett County Solicitor Rosanna Szabo has dropped the charges against Robert Dean Roethlisberger, the driver of the “truth truck” which contained pictures of aborted babies:

In making her decision to drop the charge, Szabo said, “I have reviewed the evidence and law in this case, and concluded that the physical display of the images in question

30 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    This came up indirectly in another thread a few days ago… but I didn’t become pro-choice on account of some deep philosophical reflection on the nature of life and its origins. I became pro-choice because when I was a teenager I went to an unrelated political event, which was disrupted by a screaming pro-life protester who literally foamed at the mouth before getting dragged off by security. I was an impressionable young age… and the impression I got was that pro-choice people seem pretty normal and reasonable, whereas pro-life people seem outright crazy.

    Dropping the charges here is a good thing, no matter how you look at it. From a First Amendment perspective, the truck owner never should have been charged in the first place. However, even from a pro-choice perspective it’s a good thing… because I honestly believe that whack-jobs like this do their side more harm than good in recruiting.

  2. Rick Day says:

    Agreed. This was the sane and common sense thing for Solicitor Szabo to conclude.

    Now, where is my “Eat a queer fetus for Jesus” poster?

  3. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    That is pretty much the most ridiculous reason to form a political opinion I have ever heard.

    An anecdotal event which occurred at a political rally (likely to produce more nutcases than anything else), and committed by a single person, caused you to paint with a single brush everyone who is anti-abortion? Perhaps attend a WTO meeting and see the liberal nutjobs come out for that one.

    People see what they want to see, and politics to most is just picking a team and cheering everything they do, while attacking everything the other side does.

  4. StevePerkins says:

    I don’t disagree with a word you’re saying, Doug. Now, I don’t mean to imply that my opinion TODAY on this issue is framed COMPLETELY by a single event that happened 15 years ago. As I’ve thought about it more carefully, my position has moderated over the years (e.g. I don’t support partial-birth abortion, I do support parental notification laws, etc). However, that experience as a kid certainly did have a big influence.

    Your last sentence really does sum it all up… 99% of politics is like picking a favorite football team. The smallest nudges when we’re young can send us in one direction or the other. I know that all of us here like to imagine that our opinions were formed through deep and careful pondering… which is why we know that they’re absolutely correct and sacrosanct. In reality though, most of our opinions were shaped by being born in a certain region, or a certain income bracket, or having a parent or influential teacher preach them to you, or reading a certain book at an impressionable point in your youth, etc. Once you’ve “picked your team”, you tend to read only the stuff that reinforces your view and attacks those of others. I’m criticizing this, of course… but that doesn’t mean I consider myself above it.

  5. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Understood. If it was just the initial assessment, one can’t fault you for that. Unfortunately, most people do not grow and learn and challenge what they have concluded at first glance. In fact, if a politician re-examines an issue and comes down on the other side, even with new evidence, they are chastised as a “flip-flopper”.

  6. Nicki says:

    My experience in becoming pro-choice was a lot more complicated than noting its proponents, but I’d be lying if I didn’t agree that it was a factor in my decision, as well. I recall first being aware of the pro-life/anti-medical-autonomy position because a cousin of mine tried to discuss it with me when I was something like 6. I had trouble then, and have trouble now, understanding why a 9 year-old would be so concerned with other people’s situations, though I had some vague nation that women were striding about like Vikings, clubbing and knifing babies, from his description. And then in junior high I went to several county fairs at which pro-life people had booths…with the ubiquitous bloody fetus photos. I found them distasteful and cheap — and I still generally do. I’m not terribly fond of the PETA packets of blood, either. Or political theater in general. But I’m rarely harangued by PETA supporters, and they don’t make legislation. Whereas the bloody fetus folks seem to have the ear of plenty a politician.

    Over time, my perspective on abortion has shifted a bit — I interpret it a bit differently, though the expression of that interpretation is basically the same. I wouldn’t personally seek an abortion unless it was medically necessary, but I consider it fundamentally unamerican to restrict the civil rights of citizens.

  7. Doug Deal says:

    Nicki,

    Good comment.

    I would add that no side wants to be judge by the most vocal or most extreme among them. I know equal amounts of ant-abortion and pro-abortion people, and they are for the most part average run-of-the-mill people, not political activists.

    The one thing that I have noticed is that both sides have a fundamental misunderstanding of who the other side is. Each seems to paint the other as those crazed activists, but in reality 99% have reasonable reasons as to why they came to the conclusions that they have. Unfortunately few people can accept that another person could come to a contrary conclusion without attributing some form of malice to them.

  8. rugby_fan says:

    “That is pretty much the most ridiculous reason to form a political opinion I have ever heard.”

    So deciding who gets your presidential vote on who would be best to have a beer with is a better reason?

  9. rugby_fan says:

    Well you say Steve’s reason is “pretty much the most ridiculous reason” for a political opinion.

    I’m asking if my example is worse.

    People make decisions on political matters less rationally than Steve did.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    I agree the other example is equally as bad. So is voting in people because “they are a good Christian”, something that could only be known by an omnicient being.

  11. StevePerkins says:

    Aww rugby, why poo-poo on a thread where people with conflicting opinions are actually engaging each other and respecting / listening to the other side? I like these kinds of threads, I wish they happened more often.

  12. Nicki says:

    (In relation to “good christian,” I have a friend who’s an embarassment to republicans. She told me she hates Hillary Clinton because she’s not a real christian. But, um, we can’t know that — that’s pretty much between Clinton and God. And inasmuch as I can tell she is more active in religious pursuits than some of the republican candidates my friend supports.)

  13. rugby_fan says:

    “a thread where people with conflicting opinions are actually engaging each other and respecting / listening to the other side?”

    Why would we want to have that?

  14. jsm says:

    I like voting for people who appear to be “good Christian[s].” However, we must remember that “religious” does not equal “Christian.”

    from The American Heritage Dictionary (emphasis mine):

    religion (n.)
    1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. 2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order. 3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. 4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

    Christian (adj.)
    1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus. 2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus’s teachings. 3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike. 4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents. 5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

  15. Nicki says:

    You must understand that from the perspective of someone who does not care if a candidate is “christian” at all, that seems like a silly distinction.

    You’ve got Clinton, who is religious, who has consistently made religion a significant portion of her life, and who appears to manifest that in some of her actions and policies. And then you’ve got, in some cases, people who do not attend church, and whose policies are rooted in less apparently altruistic motivations.

    So, I can respect the idea that Clinton’s actions do not exemplify the type of principles that you value and consider christian. I can’t, however, accept that Hillary Clinton is “not christian.” She sits in a pew, has christian advisors, and participates in christian activities, and she has for a very long time. She appears to be a christian. And furthermore neither you nor I can know how christian she is because that’s between her and God. So it’s a silly benchmark, on top of being petty — it can’t be known beyond its external characteristics.

    P.S. In a related note, I think it would be a sad thing if Mitt Romney lost the nomination due to his religion. Why does it matter which god a candidate worships if the candidate serves his/her constituency? The fact of the matter is that none of us can know what lies in a candidate’s heart — we can only know what that candidate manifests outwardly.

  16. jsm says:

    Nicki,

    I don’t follow your reasoning. You admit that Hillary’s actions do not exemplify Christian principles, but you then say she appears to be Christian because she “sits in a pew, has christian advisors, and participates in christian activities.” She can go to church all she wants, but her actions and principles are what matter to me. Those define a person.

    Someone who demonstrates the characteristics of a Christian doesn’t have skeletons riddled with ethics lapses throughout her biography.

    My perspective on this relies on the belief that someone who acts like a Christian will be honest and open with people and not intimidate or harm his/her opponents. I realize that some who bow to so-called “Christian” groups in this country defy the very definition of the word. I don’t want to vote for those people, either. A candidate doesn’t have to snuggle up to the Christian Coalition, et al., to be a Christian. He/She must live by principles that are morally right.

  17. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    You do realize that you are highlighting definition 3 (the third most common meaning), which eliminates everyone from being Christian. The most important characteristic of Jesus is that he was without sin, therefore no human could ever be Christ-like.

    The number 1 definition (the most common meaning) is “Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.” This is clearly what Hillary is doing. So either Hillary is a Christian, or both of you are not. Which is it?

    In any event, next time you compare two words, try using the same part of speech. You are comparing an adjective to a noun; try the noun form of Christian:

    1. a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and who is a member of a Christian denomination

    When you use the correct analogy, it becomes a distinction without a difference.

  18. Nicki says:

    I don’t admit anything rgarding Hillary’s actions — I’m saying I could respect a line of reasoning that is about how Clinton exemplifies one’s interpretation of those principles. (And I say that because different christians can emphasize differen principles.)

    But I don’t think one can say Clinton “isn’t christian.” That’s not for us to know.

  19. jsm says:

    Doug, play word games all you want. The definition of a word that is considered most common is not necessarily its best definition.

    Looking at all the referenced definitions and correlating them to real life experience:
    – a Christian (noun) is someone who endeavors to live by Jesus’ teachings, as seen by the way he conducts his life everyday.
    – a religious person (noun) is someone who follows a system based on any number of things including tradition, history, teaching, books, etc., as demonstrated by how often he goes to church and associates with members of clergy, religious associations, and others who go to church.

    A religion can be based on Jesus’ teachings, but not every so-called Christian religion has this basis. Therefore, religion, as perceived today, is not the same thing as Christianity. There is a distinction and a difference.

    The point I’m trying to get to in all this is that I look at how a candidate lives his life when I say, “I like voting for people who appear to be good Christians.” I say that because I believe someone who demonstrates a Christian life everyday will be honest and hardworking and will understand the benefits of freedom and personal responsibility to a society. Going to church and participating in Christian activities does not necessarily cause one’s life to exhibit these characteristics. See the biographies of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ralph Reed, and Sadie Fields, to name a few.

  20. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    In other words, you find the people you like and agree with political and label them good Christians, find the people you dislike and label them as non-Christians.

    Isn’t one of the more important planks of the Christian platform not to judge.

    So, I guess you aren’t a really Christian.

  21. Jace Walden says:

    Doug,

    You’ll find that most of the people who demagog the hardest over their supposed “good Christianity” are often the “worst Christians”.

    I’m not saying that is the case with JSM. I was just making a general statement.

  22. jsm says:

    You missed the point completely, Doug. I’m talking about a person’s character–not necessarily their political viewpoint.

    That’s another, separate factor to consider before voting for someone.

  23. Doug Deal says:

    Jace,

    I am generally very pro-Christian, but people who have the arrogance to think that they can judge whether or not someone is a “good” Christian or judge whether or not others are good or bad people solely on their evaluation of that person’s Christianity disgust me.

    It is the same with the whole Romney Mormon issue, or in years past the Catholic President issue.

    It is folks that use tactics similar to jsm that have scared so many people out of organized religion and have made “Christians” a bad word among a good portion of the population.

  24. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    You have assailed HRC’s Christianity, yet you know nothing of her person values and beliefs. Only one entitiy can know that, and you are not that entity.

    The point of all of this is that you cannot know the degree of another’s faith. To judge a person based on this is one of the most un-Christian and distasteful things that I can imagine.

    Can we leave judgements of faith in the hands of god, and political judgements in the hands of men?

  25. jsm says:

    Faith and Christianity are two different things as well, Doug. I’ll spare you the definitions this time. The word Christian was originally used to denote a group of people who followed Christ.

    I will say nothing about Hillary’s faith, but I can evaluate her character by her actions. I will stand by assessment and challenge you to prove me wrong.

    And BTW, prove to me that judging someone’s character is “un-Christian” while you’re at it.

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

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