Restrict “Choose Life” License Plates to Considerate Drivers

The Michigan Senate and House have both passed bills to create “Choose Life” automobile license plates. This would involve a $35.00 surcharge that would go to a subsidiary of Right to Life of Michigan. I would not pay an extra dime for a special license plate, whether a vanity plate, a college identifier, or just a prettier image. Furthermore, the state should not endorse a religious or political position without allowing equal consideration for the opposite viewpoint. Aside from all that, if the state is going to issue “Choose Life” license plates, it should also require purchasers to sign a vow of consistent humanitarian values.

A few years ago, I saw a skateboarder going south in the right northbound lane of Military Street in Dearborn. He was being approached by a motorist going north, in the same lane. There were no other cars close to the motorist and he could have moved over to avoid hitting the skateboarder. He did not. He did not slow down; his brake lights did not flash. He bore down on the skateboarder, who swerved to the curb to save his life.

The skateboarder was in the wrong. He should not have been in a traffic lane, but such a minor infraction does not authorize a motorist to impose the death penalty.

I am relating this story because the car in question displayed a Right to Life bumper sticker. It also had a plate number that I noted. Since I had access to motor vehicle records at the time, I wrote the motorist a letter condemning his behavior. To be fair, I must mention that I received a reply several years later. He stated that he appreciated my bringing the matter to his attention and he regretted acting in a way that he characterized as “unchristian.”

Some people who would buy a “Choose Life” license plate have a consistent humanitarian ethic and would identify equally with a “Choose Love” license plate (if any organization with a philanthropic ax to grind could convince the state to issue one). They would support food, medical and housing assistance programs for those who need assistance. They would support foreign aid that is not military hardware for despots. They would support rehabilitation instead of incarceration for nonviolent offenses. They would support public education, including free public education from pre-school through at least two years of post-secondary education. Unfortunately, I think they are the minority.

Too many who display Right to Life bumper stickers are only concerned with preventing abortions. They are not concerned with women’s and children’s health except during gestation – and there the concern is exclusively directed at the welfare of the fœtus. They support capital punishment, stand-your-ground, and giving the Pentagon a blank check. They oppose social programs to help the less fortunate, particularly the Affordable Care Act, and contraception in general.

If “Choose Life” plates become available and you are considering making the purchase, look into your philosophy and beliefs. Are you a truly compassionate person with a consistent humanitarian ethic or a Right-to-Lifer who is only concerned with the welfare of the unborn?

What statement are you making if you put “Choose Life” on your car? Does it include a commitment to becoming a more considerate driver? If you are advertising a commitment to value life, take that gun out of your glove box and, if necessary, sign up for an anger-management class so you won’t be susceptible to road rage. Selling “Choose Life” license plates might not be such a bad thing if when you choose to purchase and display one, you also choose love and consideration.

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200


Michigan Senate’s Religious Supremacy Bill

Health care professionals and facilities must be allowed to exclude treatments that are contrary to their religious beliefs from the bundle of products and services that they provide or pay for according to the Michigan Catholic Conference. The MCC fanatically supports Michigan Senate Bill 975, the “Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act.” which the Michigan Senate passed on December 6, 2012. This new law is in response to federal regulations that would abrogate the right of health care institutions and individuals to discriminate against those who do not share their views.

This year President Obama gutted a Bush Administration rule under the Public Health Service Act. This rule prohibited health-care providers that receive federal money from discriminating against health-care workers who refuse to provide services because of their ”religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The rule was written to effectuate the “Church Amendments” to the Public Health Service Act, and the Weldon Amendment. Known as the “federal health care provider conscience protection statutes,” these provisions do not allow doctors, pharmacists, and other health workers to be punished for refusing to participate in health care services they perceive as religiously or morally objectionable.

The Obama Administration’s wrong-headed obstruction of faith-based health care is doomed to failure. Requiring a doctor to engage in treatment he or she finds morally objectionable or a pharmacist to dispense substances that violate his or her religion violates the Freedom of Religion Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Doctors must be allowed to practice religion when they practice medicine. There can be no compromise. Furthermore, this effort at excluding religion from the treatment room or operating suite is on the wrong side of history. The tide of TEA-Party conservatism and Christian fundamentalism cannot be stopped.

If passed, Michigan’s new religious liberty bill establishes a civil infraction with an absurdly low $1,000 fine per occurrence or per day of occurrence if an institution requires an employee to provide treatment contrary to the employee’s “sincerely held convictions” based on the “tenants [sic] of an organized religion.” The employer could not even ask about a candidate’s conscience or potential objections unless a particular treatment or product is “a regular or substantial portion of the normal course” of the candidate’s work. For example, a nurse or doctor could not be asked whether his or her religion requires or forbids male or female circumcision unless it is apparent that the candidate will be working regularly in the neo-natal section of the facility. Under the new law, new parents will have the pleasure of surprise, since they will not know in advance whether their baby boy or girl will be circumcised in the delivery room.

We are at the tipping point of a revolution that will reverse the godless course of medicine, education, and law. This will involve radical changes in the curricula of medical education and licensing. Medical schools must adapt to the religious and moral precepts of medical students. No longer can Christian Scientists be excluded from medical education just because they do not believe in it. Candidates sitting for examinations must be allowed to answer questions based on their beliefs, rather than be forced to parrot back supposedly objective information based on “scientific” research and years of clinical experience.

The new Christian reality will be reflected in the textbooks ordered by the Texas School Board when conservative Christians gain the eight seats they need to have a majority. The books will reflect the fact of Creation, rather than the theory of Evolution.

Meanwhile, conservative Christian law schools like Ave Maria School of Law, Regent University Law School, and Liberty University School of Law are teaching students what the law ought to be: A First Amendment that allows mandatory school prayers and a return to Blue Laws, a Second Amendment that requires students to pack heat to school, and a Right to Privacy that does not apply to sexual matters, nor protect contraception or abortion. In short, they are being taught the supremacy of Christian legal principles, not the “opinions” of the Supreme Court. As in medicine, candidates sitting for the bar must be examined on the requirements of their religion, not on the artificial common-law precedents of secular courts.

Many deride fundamentalist Muslims who send their boys to madrasahs where they learn nothing but to recite the Q’ran. In fact the Islamists have the right idea, but the wrong book. It is time to turn away from “objectivity” and “science” which the godless secularists worship and base our education on the Bible.

The Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act, SB 0136, is now before the Michigan Senate. Hopefully, it will be strengthened by increasing the penalties – the death penalty would be barely harsh enough – and passed. Professionals must not be required to do or teach anything in disagreement with their religious precepts.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney