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Palatine Pro-Life Group Out Of Parade Over Banner

The Palatine Area Catholics Respect Life Group were denied participation in the July 2 Hometown Fest parade after refusing to change a banner that included a picture of a live fetus.

A pro-life group is out of the Hometown Fest July 2 parade after refusing to drop a banner that included a picture of a live fetus.

"They decided that an unborn baby is too offensive," said Martin Kelley, co-founder of Palatine Area Catholics Respect Life. "It's an ultrasound photo. It's not a picture of an aborted baby."

The banner also includes a photo of an elderly woman.

Hometown Fest is organized by the Palatine Jaycees, a private organization. Jaycees officials said the pro-life group was rejected because they refused to work with parade organizers, not because of their message.

"The Respect Life Group was denied participation in the Hometown Fest parade
because [they] refused to work with festival organizers regarding their display materials," the Jaycees said in a prepared statement. "Unlike other groups who fully cooperate regarding display materials, the Respect Life Group refused to make any changes to the banner or even have a discussion about it."

Jaycees officials said that if the group dropped the banner, they might still be able to march in the parade. So far, there are about 80 entrants in the parade. The Jaycees do not receive funds from the village to organize Hometown Fest, although the village supports the parade by providing police officers for crowd control.

Jaycees public relations chairman Bill Pohlman said festival organizers have a fine line to walk when it comes to parades and politics.

"What is offensive is subjective," said Pohlman, who also is an unpaid blogger on Palatine Patch. "Everyone's trying to promote their message. What crosses the line? The event organizers felt this crossed the line."

The Jaycees are a nonprofit, leadership training organization for 21 to 40 year olds. The nonpartisan, international organization seeks to develop community leaders through activities such as Hometown Fest.

Kelley was a Jaycees member until the banner issue and has resigned from the organization. He said changing the banner was not an option.

"It's a stand on principle," Kelley said. "[Catholics] believe that life begins at conception. It kind of defeats the purpose to have a newborn baby or a three-year old. It was necessary for our message."

Kelley said the banner was used in last year's Hometown Fest parade. In a mass e-mail, Kelley asserted politics was behind the decision, blaming Jaycees President Chrissy Trilling-Raices for it.

Kelley stated while a picture of an unborn baby was deemed inappropriate, the Jaycees are allowing "Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to walk in the parade. Apparently she (Trilling-Raices) does not feel that it is inappropriate to subject families to have to explain to their young children about homosexuality. We believe this is a double-standard with the attempt to silence the pro-life message."

Pohlman said Trilling-Raices did not make the decision to reject the parade application. He said the decision was discussed and made by the Jaycees board and the event chairman.

Pohlman said there have been issues with materials other groups intended to hand out or display, however, those groups worked with the Jaycees.

"[Parade organizers] made suggestions, but they [Palatine Area Catholics Respect Life] refused to bend in any way, shape or form," Pohlman said.

Ellen June 26, 2011 at 05:35 PM
There is no such thing as a pro-abort. The usage of this term is an instant indication of a radical agenda. I see Casey is still using me to spread his or her crap -- even after being asked not to many times over . This article is about the Jaycees having the right to refuse a group that won't follow the rules. Casey seems to have quite a problem following any rules or showing any respect for anyone who has an opinion that is not the same as his. Casey, Stop using my name to spread your radical, religious beliefs. There is no magic man in the sky just as there is no nurse you are using to attempt to make your fanatical case against the freedom we have in the USA to make choices. You COULD just keep posting your garbage without using my name but, just like those catholics who allegedly respect life, you chose to be divisive and disrespectful.
Ami June 27, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I just want to say thank you to the Jaycees for all you do for the community- I am very thankful for all of your time and efforts!
casey July 01, 2011 at 10:59 PM
I just want to say I agree with the ad in today’s Herald stating that although the Jaycees may do many good works, this wasn’t one of them. They should be ashamed of their cowardice, bigotry, and prejudice
Ellen July 02, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Chris, I submit that the level of anger at what you said has only to do with the fact that people like you want to take a July 4th parade and turn it into a controversy with people trying to shout each other down. Even if I believed in the magic man in the sky, I would still find this divisiveness offensive. Let the kids enjoy the parade and the day. I've seen these offensive placards plenty of other places around Palatine. This is not the time or the place for it. And the only rights under attack are the rights of each woman to make that difficult desicion with her family and not be told by the government or any church that many of us don't believe in. Nature is the Creator. Sorry, I forgot; God does exist. I know this because man created him out of neediness.
casey July 03, 2011 at 04:03 AM
I just want to say that I agree with the Herald ad that stated that "the Jaycees do many good things but this wasn't one of them. Shame on the Jaycees"..

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