In Victory for Free Speech, NAACP Loses Court Battle to Silence Black Pro-Life Activist

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: May 19, 2015 6:30 PM
In Victory for Free Speech, NAACP Loses Court Battle to Silence Black Pro-Life Activist

Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, has a penchant for speaking the truth—on abortion, civil rights, and a host of other social and cultural issues. If there’s one thing the Left hates, however, it’s the truth.

So when Bomberger, an Emmy-award winning creative director, wrote a snarky column in January of 2013 about the NAACP’s position on abortion that parodied the civil rights group’s name, referring to it as the National Association for the Abortion of Colored People, they weren’t too pleased, and thus, the legal battle began.

One month after the column ran on LifeNews.com, the NAACP threatened to sue Bomberger, The Radiance Foundation, and the pro-life website for what it claimed was “trademark infringement, confusion and dilution.” Bomberger then filed a declaratory action in federal court to determine that he and his organization were protected under the First Amendment so the threat could be dismissed. Shockingly, the request was denied. As Bomberger explains:

In federal court, the once great civil rights group convinced Judge Raymond Jackson to disregard our civil rights as well as all of the documentation proving how radically pro-abortion the NAACP has become. The judge ruled against The Radiance Foundation, declaring that the parody we employed isn’t, technically, a parody because he didn’t find it to be “funny”.So, he banned us from even mentioning the parodied name or ever parodying the NAACP’s name in the future. Contradicting all presented evidence, Judge Raymond Jackson declared “the NAACP has no formal position or policy regarding abortion” despite the fact that the NAACP itself declared, in its own press release, that it “took an historic pro-choice position” back on February 24, 2004.

Fortunately, Bomberger and his foundation didn’t stop there but took the case, which was defended by Alliance Defending Freedom, before the Fourth Circuit of Appeals. Today, more than two years after the whole ordeal began, Bomberger, The Radiance Foundation and the First Amendment, won a decisive victory in federal court.

“I never would have thought that I, as a biracial (black/white) adult, would be the target of such inequality,” Bomberger wrote in a Townhall column in March. “I could never have conceived that I would be sued (along with The Radiance Foundation) by the very organization I used to revere all because I exercised one of my most basic civil rights--free speech. When the ACLU sides with us over the NAACP acknowledging the abuse of trademark law to silence speech, you know just a little bit of hell has frozen over.”

Abortion is killing black babies at an astounding rate; fatherlessness in the black community is an epidemic; and those children who do make it into this world and are raised in this milieu are significantly more likely to live in poverty than their peers raised in a two-parent married home. The silence on these crucial issues affecting the black community from the NAACP is deafening. Bomberger’s “crime” in this whole legal saga was that he actually said something about it. And the NAACP spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to silence him going forward.

Justice may have been served in this case but the fight to protect the First Amendment is, sadly, never ending.