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Cowardice, American Style

The United States Supreme Court heard two cases of interest to all freedom loving Americans this last week (12/04/2002.) In the first, right to life groups are pitted against the National Organization of Women. NOW is using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to make legal claims against the pro-life groups.

In 1970, the United States Congress enacted RICO, an act directed at organized crime - specifically the business of extorting money by intimidation, violence, or other illegal acts. Like so many other laws, RICO is now being used far beyond its original intended purpose. Two abortion clinics and the National Organization of Women have brought a RICO suit against Joseph Scheidler, the founder of the Pro-Life Action League and Operation Rescue, another pro-life organization. (These two organizations engage in passive acts of civil disobedience in protest of abortion.) Alleged in the suit is that these organization's actions constitute extortion as defined by RICO.

The second case is Ben Chavez v. Oliverio Martinez, which deals with Fifth Amendment rights. The future of Miranda rights (e.g. the right to remain silent when interrogated by police) may be at stake with this High Court decision. (Don't be confused, we will still “have” these rights no matter what the Court decides – our rights originate from God and are guaranteed by the Constitution, but little good that will do if officials don't respect those rights.)

There's an interesting link between these two cases and the present concerns about terrorism. It seems that the Bush administration is in favor of suspending Miranda rights as long as the information coerced from the one being interrogated is not used in the case against that person. Apparently Bush thinks he may need this as yet another weapon in his arsenal to fight terrorism.

An important lesson can be learned from these two Supreme Court cases: That is, an overly vicious guard dog often turns to bite his own master. RICO was never intended to be used against the likes of pro-life organizations. And although Bush would say that the suspension of Miranda rights is necessary to fight against terrorism, one would be shortsighted indeed if he did not realize that the loss of this liberty will one day come back to bite honest, law-abiding citizens.

Cowardly Americans are too willing to give up the blood-bought freedoms that our forefathers secured for us. Whatever happened to the "give me liberty or give me death" attitude that once prevailed in our great country?

'The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion." PRO 28:1

By: Ron Calzone
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