In the ongoing controversy over the San Diego Police Department's use of nunchakus on Operation Rescue protesters, Bishop Leo T. Maher has written to the pastors of all San Diego parishes urging a letter-writing campaign against this practice. He states that "the precious rights of assembly and free speech should not be endangered."
Bishop Maher needs to be reminded that the protesters' assembly is unlawful. The issue is not the endangerment of their so-called precious rights. Rather, it is their violation of the rights of others by blocking and occupying clinics where abortions, and many other legal medical services, are occurring.
Although Operation Rescue blockades have not succeeded in preventing abortions from being performed, they have temporarily restricted access to clinics for a medical service which is legal, and which a substantial majority of Americans (at least two-thirds) believe should remain legal.
Police officers should not have to suffer injury in order to remove these protesters. Nor should officers be characterized as the "bad guys" for supposedly using excessive force. The Operation Rescue people are breaking the law, and the police are doing their job.