It would be ironic if it wasn’t tragic: A black man speaks out to protect the most crucial civil right Americans have – the right to life – and is sued by what is regarded as the nation’s largest civil rights group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Ryan Bomberger is the chief creative officer of The Radiance Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife Bethany in 2009. Created to “inspire people to embrace their intrinsic value and live a life of meaning,” The Radiance Foundation was born out of his own redemptive story: a child conceived during rape, adopted early in life and now an adoptive parent himself.
In 2013, Bomberger wrote a Radiance Foundation op-ed exposing the NAACP’s pro-abortion position with the parody headline “NAACP: National Association for the Abortion of Colored People” (a phrase obtained by research, as a court order bars him from saying it.) Soon after the article went live online, an NAACP lawyer sent Bomberger a letter accusing him of “trademark infringement.”
A court battle ensued, with the case recently heard at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The Radiance Foundation and Bomberger await the three judges’ verdict. He reveals why this case, centered on the right to free speech, matters for every American.
Bound4LIFE: How is it that the historically pro-black group NAACP came to sue you, an African-American man?
Ryan Bomberger: I wrote a news article, a Google alert came up and the NAACP saw the title to my article on LifeNews.com – where their name was parodied as I detailed their radical pro-abortion actions. According to them, they were incensed that someone would actually parody their name. This is how it all started.
Bound4LIFE: Since this case has progressed, what have you learned about Americans’ right to free speech?
Ryan Bomberger: I have learned that apparently it’s conditional, and it seems to be conditional that a judge refer to actual law and the Constitution. This is the scariest part of all this: realizing that those invested with that kind of power can so selectively choose to perform their job based on the Constitution, which the job is rooted in.
It’s not just The Radiance Foundation that is being sued, it’s me personally. It’s scary to know that any multi-million dollar organization can sue someone without merit and get so far. This isn’t slander or libel. The article is all documented content on the NAACP’s pro-abortion position and actions. And the truth is – from Mark Twain to Saturday Night Live – America has a long tradition of parody as a form of free speech.
An American citizen is being harassed and dragged into a court of law, because a multi-million dollar organization saw something written they do not like.
Bound4LIFE: Why did Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU join your case with an amicus brief?
Ryan Bomberger: In their amicus brief, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) makes it very clear that they do not care for our ideological position. But they realize what we realize: that this isn’t about pro-life speech, this is about free speech.
We were actually shocked that they came to our defense. The ACLU has denounced us numerous times for our past campaigns; it is well-known that they are very pro-abortion. The ACLU even partners with the NAACP on numerous events.
But the ACLU does, once in a while, get things right. In their amicus brief, they realize the severe threat to the First Amendment and our right to free speech. The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation’s defense is very clearly laid out and very understandable. We are very grateful.
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