Our fine public servants are at it again, showing their disrespect for the lives and memories of the unborn. As you may recall from my article on October 29th, someone had uprooted the memorial crosses pro-lifers had placed in the ground along New York St. as a part of our huge “We’re Here for Life” rally on October 27th. That time they at least had the courtesy to leave them laying on the ground so our faithful prayer warrior Bruce could stake them back in place later that day. Yesterday police and city workers came by and removed the crosses again, this time taking them into police custody. After some inquiries, our purloined property was restored to us and the crosses are now safely stored, ready to be put back where they belong. Why write about this again, you may ask? We seem to be in a constant struggle with police that goes “Take this down…move this over here…you can have a sign but you can only set it down for 6.5 seconds.” What’s the significance of a few crosses moved here or there? The significance is twofold. First, these crosses are a memorial for the dead, each one of them bearing a name given to a baby lost to abortion, representing a tiny fraction of those lost. And second, the actions of city officials in this case clearly violate the cities own standing ordinances on the subject of memorial signs. These crosses represent the prayers and petitions of pro-lifers and their mourning for lost lives. Not only do common human decency and all religious traditions respect this kind of memorial, the City of Aurora itself has expressed this respect in legal form in an ordinance excepting memorials of this kind from the typical sign related ordinances:
CODE OF ORDINANCES City of Aurora, Illinois Codified through Ord. No. 006-167, Enacted Dec. 19, 2006 (Supplement No. 41) Chapter 41 SIGNS . . . Sec. 41-8. Exemptions. A permit shall not be required for the signs covered by this section. However, the owner of the sign is still responsible for the erection and maintenance of the sign in accordance with the requirements of this article. Such signs shall be permitted in any location on any frontage, subject to any conditions specified herein: (1) Model home signs. (2) Street numbers up to eight (8) inches high. (3) Nameplates, plaques, cornerstones and memorial signs. (4) Private informational signs up to four (4) square feet in area. (5) Government signs. However, such signs which project over the public right-of-way are considered projecting signs. (6) Temporary real estate and construction signs of less than sixty (60) square feet. (7) Window signs. However, total window signage shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of total window area on a facade. (8) Political or personal expression signs in single-family and two-family dwelling districts. a. Such signs shall be no more than six (6) square feet in area. b. No such sign shall be permitted on the public parkway, in order to preserve traffic safety. (9) Political or personal expression signs in other than single- and two-family dwelling districts. Such signs which are ground or projecting signs shall be set back a distance at least equal to the height of the sign. . . . (Ord. No. O03-159, § 1, 12-9-03)
“Desecration” is exactly the word for what the city has done. The ordinance clearly states that memorials are an exception to the city’s sign ordinances. Word on the street has it that one complaint was lodged by a disgruntled city employee and the City’s legal department went right along with the complaint, ordering police to violate a city ordinance and desecrate a sacred site. Not only is this desecration against the law, it’s also unconstitutional. What we have here is a Heckler’s Veto, where police silence the speech of one group of people on the grounds that another group is made uncomfortable by it. This is absolutely unconstitutional and must not be allowed to continue. So please continue to pray that the City of Aurora will begin to enforce its own laws. Prayer is the strongest weapon we have. Also, get involved with local politics. If justice is to be brought to bear on this situation, we must make our voices heard.