May 16th 2012 Father Norman Weslin died in Michigan, where he was born August
29th 1930. He was the leader of the Lambs of Christ, a dedicated rescue group which carried out a
sustained series of rescues all over
the country beginning in April of 1989.
In their first two years, the Lambs rescued 25 times. That is a pretty good average considering
that they were regularly locked up in jail for weeks and even months at a
time. These were actions in which people
sat down in the entrance of an abortuary until they were arrested and carried
away. Sometimes they locked themselves
together to delay their removal and keep the abortuary closed as long as
possible. They had a remarkable
discipline which included Jail, No Bail. Everyone stayed in until everyone was
released Time Served, however long it
took. Ninety-five of them were locked up
in Burlington Vermont for 79 days, in the spring of 1990--their longest
result was that they were able to keep on rescuing at the expense of the legal
system, instead of being bogged down with trials and fines etc. That's how to do it. Pro life activists from Denver, including
Ken Scott, Rob Mauldin, Dolores Chavez, Sandra Cordts and DeAna Robinson
rescued with the Lambs. In the summer of
1992, 85 of us rescued in San Antonio with Father Weslin's group plus the Pro
Life Action Network. We refused to give
our names or cooperate in any way with the jail authorities until we were all
released a week later Time Served.
meant that no one had to go back for a trial, it was over and done. And they didn't get one dime from any of us--it was their treat. No one paid a fine, no one put up a bail
bond. We didn't even accept personal
recognizance, we didn't give our names, and no one left, until the last person
was unconditionally released. It was
either time served for everybody or
keep us until you get tired of feeding us.
All of the rescue rally speakers and all of the rescue leaders were
right in there with us. Since we filled
up one whole dormitory, we had it all to ourselves and it became a week long
retreat in the company of some of the most Spirit-filled people that I have
ever met. It really was a privilege to
be there !
the Lambs joined those in jail for the Dobbs Ferry rescues in January of 1991 it ended in a major success
for the rescue movement. The sustained
rescue campaign at an abortuary in Dobbs Ferry, New York continued for more
than a year. On January 20th 1990, 85
were arrested including three nuns.
There was a series of pickets and rescues during the summer and rescuers
were still in jail when Tom Herlihy of born (Bi-state Operation Rescue
Network) and Pastor Skip Robokoff led a rescue of 38 people on September 28th
1990 where krypto locks were used. They
were still in jail when the Lambs
rescued at Dobbs Ferry on January 8th and January 24th 1991, also using the krypton locks which slow the arrest
procedure and keep the abortuary inoperable.
All of them maintained a non coop discipline, refused to give their
names and refused to bail out.
finally broke the system, was a week of rescues by national Operation Rescue in
which more than 400 people were arrested in Dobbs Ferry and White Plains. These rescuers were released without going to
jail, because of the large number of noncooperating rescuers already in
there. A group of determined
noncooperators from Philadelphia were simply put out of the jail without even a
ticket, when they refused to give their names.
they had to let them all go. Two
thousand people turned out to welcome the 71 pro life prisoners released from
the Westchester County jail on February 4th 1991. Twenty eight of them from born
had been in more than four months, since September 28th 1990, and had refused
any cooperation with the injustice system the whole time ! The other 43 were the Lambs who were also
refusing to cooperate.
the three rescue organizations, the Dobbs Ferry abortuary had been under
constant pressure because of a heavy picket line organized as Operation
Goliath. They shut the place down
without any arrests when they mustered 500 people there on June 16th 1990. On June 29th 1990, seven rescuers closed the
place by chaining themselves on the floor.
Bishop Austin Vaughan and 350 others picketed there on December 8th
1990. Cardinal O'Connor visited the
rescuers in jail and said Mass for them.
made the difference in the battle of Dobbs Ferry was the cooperation of local
and national rescue organizations. The
hundreds who picketed. The thousands who
gave support from outside the jail. But
the heart of the battle was the spirit of those who entirely sacrificed
themselves to win a spiritual fight. In
the battle for the goods of this world, war is the decider. In the ultimate battle between good and evil,
there can be no victory without a moral equivalent of war, a willingness to pay
the full price. It is because of that
spirit that these heroic rescuers won the battle of Dobbs Ferry.
original group of rescuers from born were committed in advance to
total noncooperation with the injustice system.
They pledged to remain in jail for an indefinite period of time, without
posting bonds or paying fines. They had
no attorneys. They wouldn't give their
names, except for a "baby doe" pseudonym. They passively resisted any cooperation with
the court and jail system by going limp.
When dragged into court, they spoke only once, to demand that the court
free them to rescue more babies. They
told the court that, even though it had power over them, it had no authority
over them, while it used its authority to further the killing of babies.
rescuers were physically attacked by the guards in the Westchester County Jail
when they refused to give their names or let themselves be fingerprinted. Some were choked, others had their wrists
twisted. A guard kept stepping on the stomach
of one rescuer who was passively noncooperating. But even the routine conditions inside the
jail were hard. One of the worst things
was loud rap music piped into the
cells 14 hours a day from 11 am to 1 am, with no way to escape it or turn it
off. Imagine putting up with that for 4
months ! Plus the cockroaches. And the rescuers had no idea when they
would get out. You trust in God, but you
start wondering if God hasn't forgotten about you. The
Lambs Trust in God to Bail Them Out.
[ One partial remedy for a noisy
jail is to make ear plugs from a wet paper towel. ]
of the born
rescuers that I talked to was Ralph Traphagen, a Pentecostal minister who had
been rescuing since Atlanta in August 1988.
He was in jail with the Lambs in Vermont in the spring of 1990. But this was his longest sentence. Why does he do it ? In jail they sang a hymn which expressed it
best for him: I have decided to follow
Jesus. . . . though none go with us, we will follow, no turning back, no
turning back. As a follower of
Jesus, he is called to witness and to sacrifice. The prison letters of Joan Andrews were a
major inspiration. In them and in his
own faith he finds the idea that the unborn children are the
least of these; that you have to identify with them and sacrifice for them;
that the cross today has to be the burden of trying to save them from death,
regardless of the consequences; that whether you succeed or not, you keep the
children company by suffering with them; that you bear witness against the evil
nation that kills babies.
Herlihy, who led the born rescue, says that they made the
commitment to total noncooperation for both moral and practical reasons. They denied the very right of the police and
the courts to stop them from rescuing babies.
And they couldn't let themselves be prevented from future rescue efforts
by cooperating with the courts and making deals that would lead to bonds,
trials, probation and stay-away orders.
The only "deal" they were offering the court was, in effect: turn us
loose so that we can save the babies--you have no right to stop us.
longest previous sentence was the 79 days he spent with the Lambs in Vermont in
the spring of 1990. This time he was in
for 130 days. He thought the major
factor in their release was Father Norm Weslin and the Lambs, who came to
return the favor of the born group which helped the Lambs in
Vermont. The witness of Joan Andrews was
a major influence on him. Courage is contagious, just like fear he
says, and her courage put the men to shame.
Towards the end, Tom Herlihy said, his faith was severely tested. But when it was over, he had no doubt that
they had won a pitched battle against the
almighty state, by the grace of almighty God.
Jail, No Bail
Jail, No Bail was a basic principle of Nonviolent
Direct Action, which was usually abandoned in practice. The Freedom Riders of 1961 were supposedly
pledged to Jail, No Bail, but, after
all the leaders bailed out, so did the rest except for a handful of die hards
including me, who were committed to it on principle. The failure to stick with Jail, No Bail gave the Mississippi
authorities the legal weapon they used to stop the Freedom Rides. The spiraling
legal and transportation costs forced CORE to call a halt. That part of the story is left out of the
1962 a group of anti war marchers stayed in jail for a couple of months
until Police Chief Laurie Pritchett
finally agreed to let them march through Albany, Georgia. He had successfully shut down the civil
rights movement there after they failed to maintain the Jail, No Bail discipline.
After Martin Luther King bailed out, they all did. And that killed the Albany Movement. This group of anti war marchers, led by Brad
Lyttle, showed how a group which stays committed to the basic principles of
nonviolent direct action can prevail in even the toughest situation. And that is what Father Weslin and the Lambs
demonstrated during some 30 rescues. [
Father Weslin's book is available from the crisis pregnancy home he started,
Mary Weslin Homes, P.0. Box 241281, Omaha NE 68124 ]
the end, the Civil Rights Movement succeeded mainly because of spectacular
atrocities by people like Commissioner Eugene Bull Connor of Birmingham and
Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma in full view of national and international media
which put the story on the front page and the pictures on the evening TV
news. And ML King et al learned how to
use the media. In Birmingham, in the
spring of 1963, Connor deployed police dogs and fire hoses against kids walking
down the sidewalk carrying signs. And
the pictures were on front pages all over the world. Two years earlier, the Freedom Riders made
the front page after Connor allowed a Klan-led mob to beat them up. The mob beat up the reporters and
photographers as well. That gave them a
little motivation to fully report on it.
In 1965, Sheriff Clark's mounted posse rode down peaceful voting rights
marchers while the cameras rolled. The Cossacks Ride Again ! The result was that everybody and his brother
joined the March from Selma to Montgomery.
And the federal government was pushed to pass the Voting Rights Act of
1965. The Civil Rights Movement should
put up a monument to Connor and Clark.
They deserve an award for Best Supporting Villainous Actors.
pro life action movement suffered worse atrocities at the hands of the police
during the 1989 rescues, but the media made them disappear from public
view. The policy of the mainstream media
towards the pro life action movement is ignore
them if you can, smear them if you can't.
A little bit of nonviolent direct action and a lot of front page media
is not going to work for us the way it once worked for the Civil Rights
Movement and the Anti War Movement of the 1960s. But a serious and sustained campaign of
nonviolent direct action, relying upon the means of communication that belong
to us, would work.
the early rescue movement
early rescue movement in Philadelphia and St. Louis was mostly Catholic. In Philadelphia, Joe Roach, a former banker,
led a series of rescues. Joe Wall of
Philadelphia was arrested some 33 times there and elsewhere. He was part of the first Denver rescue in
1986 when National Right to Life and the National Organization of Women had
conventions here the same week. National
Right to Life, under Wilke's leadership was already distancing the organization
from any kind of direct action, but a group of delegates carried out a rescue
at 20th and Vine. National Right to Life
has grown wimpier by the year, although it is hard to see how they manage to do
it. Catering to the cowards is the
bottom line of their program. The
rescuers in 1986 were roughly and unprofessionally handled by the police.
Andrew's book You Reject Them, You Reject
Me has a good history of the St. Louis rescue movement. She started rescuing there in March 1980. In 1986, she was given a 5 year sentence
after she unplugged a suction machine in a Florida abortuary. Here are some excerpts from my account in Pro
Life Action bulletin # 4:
Joan Andrews: the spirit of rescue
I'm just a little peon rescuer, she said, holding her thumb and index
finger 2 inches apart to illustrate what she meant by little. I happened to get publicity.
is a little peon rescuer who started rescuing in 1980 and who is still going
strong a decade later after 150 arrests.
She got some publicity--half what her case deserved--when she was given
a five year prison sentence for a rescue in Florida and for her subsequent
refusal to knuckle under to the pro abort court.
is obviously a truthful woman, but her modesty makes her untruthful about what
she is. She is at least a big peon rescuer to carry the weight
she carries for the pro life movement.
remarkable courage and spiritual toughness, which stymied the system that tried
to break her, made her a major inspiration to the pro life movement. Her name and her witness seem to come up
whenever you ask hard core rescuers about what motivates them.
isn't the only pro life hero or heroine who has labored in the vineyard from
the first hour but if you have to pick one to stand for them all, none of them
will argue with the choice of Joan Andrews.
is hard for most people to comprehend the character of a person like Joan
Andrews--I'm not sure that I do. Even
for those in the pro life movement who also engage in nonviolent direct action
and who get arrested for it she seems to be in some other dimension.
is, first of all, the problem of her relationship with Jesus Christ and then
her relationship with the preborn children she rescues. It is simple enough in a way--she takes
literally the gospel about accepting the cross and identifying with the least of these. But that is so uncharacteristic of normal
Christians that it strikes us as a kind of heathen fanaticism. Instead of interpreting the gospel, she tries
to live up to it. We all know that it
can't be done, so we naturally suspect her of being mentally unbalanced.
else would she insist on staying in prison when she could get out just by
cooperating a little, by deferring to the judge. We all have to defer to the judge don't we
? Only stubborn and foolish persons
think you can defy the judge.
non-cooperation in prison was essentially a contest of wills between one lone
woman and the government, which gave her a five year prison sentence for trying
to rescue the babies. They put her in
the worst prison in Florida, in a cell with no window, surrounded by hard
cases, half-crazy from being locked up for years. Every month they gave her the chance of
getting an early release if she would start cooperating. Every month she refused. They insisted they would keep her the whole
five years, but finally, after two and a half years, they released her--in
October of 1988. She immediately went
back to rescuing and she has been doing it ever since.
got some help from the outside. As best
they could, with no help from the media, no help from the federal government
and very little help from the Church, the pro life movement mounted a pressure
campaign against the State of Florida.
But it was mostly her own unconquerable spirit that finally effected her
Kingdom of God Is Within You, Leo Tolstoy says that most people
understand why the individual must lay down his life for something larger than
himself--for his family or his nation.
But they don't yet comprehend what Jesus showed us, that we must lay
down our lives for what transcends the nation, just as He did. I think that describes what Joan Andrews has
are some of the things she has to say about herself, about rescue and about
noncooperation. Quotes are from the talk
she gave here in Denver September 19 1990 and from her book of prison letters: You Reject Them, You Reject Me:
+++If there is a mining accident,
everyone in the community helps to rescue the trapped miners. So we are all called to help rescue the
+++Without rescue, baby-killing becomes
just another issue. It's debated as an
issue. It's compromised as an
issue. It shouldn't be debated at
all. There can be no compromise with
+++Rescue says that these little
pre-born babies are our brothers and sisters.
We block the execution with our bodies.
So, for the execution to take place, they first have to get rid of those
that love the children.
+++The closer we are to the preborn
children, the more faithful we are, then the more identically aligned we become
with them. This is our aim and goal: to
wipe out the line of distinction between the preborn and their born friends,
becoming ourselves discriminated against.
Good ! This is necessary. Why should we be treated any differently
? The rougher it gets for us, the more
we can rejoice that we are succeeding.
No longer are we being treated so much as the privileged born, but as
the discriminated against preborn. We
must become aligned with them completely and totally or else the double
standard separating the preborn from the rest of humanity will never be
eliminated. I don't want to be treated
any differently than my brother, my sister.
You reject them, you reject me. (cf. Mt. 25:45)
+++We do not expect justice in the
courts. Furthermore, we do not seek it
for ourselves when it is being denied our beloved preborn brothers and
sisters. Thus I plead a case for
complete and total vulnerability in court by refusing self-defense and all
legal argumentation for self protection.
We should in truth tell the court that we, as defenders and friends of
the preborn, expect no justice and no compassion, as the true defendants, the
preborn children, received none and were killed without due process on the day
of the rescue attempt. We only stand
here in their stead, being substitute defendants by a compelling and painful
logic. They died for the crimes of being
preborn and unwanted. We expect no
justice from a judicial system which decrees such savagery and a government
which allows it. If it is a crime
punishable by death to be unwanted, maybe it should be a crime, punishable by
death, to love the unwanted and to act to protect them.
[ In the Roman Empire,
unwanted babies were exposed to die and it was a capital crime to rescue them
from death. But the early Christians did
rescue them. ]
+++One of the arresting police officers
went into a rage when I refused to walk out, and he locked me in a stranglehold
by the neck and demanded I walk out. He
kept choking me and almost got hysterical.
Finally he just dragged me out because I wouldn't submit. He cursed and raged all the way back to the
station. I always remain silent in the
face of rage unless I am asked a direct question. My throat and jaw was bruised for more than a
week. Having faced this particular
officer and others like him before, I think it is an inability for them to
accept a disregard for their authority, which of course they don't have in this
area. We are always polite with the
police, but we obviously cannot acknowledge their authority to force us to
leave a death chamber while we are trying to rescue the victim, and some
officers are just not able to accept that.
And you know, I am not surprised that many officers do not acknowledge
the humanity of the preborn, and I'm not surprised that there are those who,
though they do realize children are being legally murdered, yet follow orders
and feel it is their duty to stop our rescue attempts. And so I can't be surprised either that this
makes many of them, probably the majority, act in an unprofessional and
hot-headed manner. Especially I am not
surprised by this when you consider that though there are many, many people in
our society who are opposed to abortion, knowing it kills our youngest
children, that there are also many of those who do little or nothing to stop
the killing, not even by casting a pro life vote, or publicly voicing a pro
life opinion, because they are afraid of being viewed unfavorably by friends
and peers. So one can understand why
police officers behave as they do. Which
is what makes officers like Dave Buford, who gave me the rosary, and Officer
Fitzgerald, who broke down and wept after arresting John Ryan and Miriam, so
[ Chet Gallagher, a Las
Vegas police officer, became convicted in the middle of a rescue and joined the
rescuers, thereby giving up his job. He
and Joan Andrews both later rescued with the Lambs. ]
+++I feel deep peace and acceptance for
whatever comes. Let others know this in
case the sentence is a heavy one. There
will be a time when the courts will begin hitting us hard. We must be prepared. At the same time we must not shrink back when
it comes. We need to pray for strength
that we hang together and accept in perfect submission whatever trials and
[ written just before
she was given the five year sentence on Sept 24 1986; the courts did begin
hammering rescuers with extreme sentences;
and the police used pain
compliance on them in a number of cities ]
+++I firmly believe that we should
physically make the community deal with us, put us out of the way, in order to
carry out the killing in any given community.
This holocaust could not exist if even just the avowed prolifers in this
country decided in unison to refuse all cooperation with it. It doesn't take large numbers, but it does
take great dedication by the few.
+++Numbers are impotent if those who
comprise them are not willing to take up the Cross. And not even jail is the real
cross--especially as, with numbers, our people would be pretty safe from the
threat of jail. The real cross is dying
to image-consciousness and being willing to confront the holocaust
head-on. Not just at the death camps,
but in court and everywhere. To totally
refuse cooperation with any aspect of the holocaust and its rancid support
system. Forgive the soap box preaching,
but I truly believe this is the way we have to go. We have to step out from safety, no holds,
and let each other be our protection in the Body of Christ.
+++It is my sincere belief that we will
not be able to halt the killing, even were we to win a High Court reversal of
Roe and Doe and even were we to gain a Human Life Amendment, until and unless
our people stop the killing physically with their own bodies. If this is not made clear, if we do not make
the protection of children a fact by the obvious means we have always had at
hand--our own bodies, our own lives--then abortion will continue barely abated
once it's made illegal. It will simply
go "underground"--and barely will it have to do that, as the
powers-that-be will simply turn a blind eye to it just as they did in the last
years prior to 1973.
+++I should be on death row, not merely
in confinement. These courts and this
society have ruled that all preborn children as well as newborn handicapped
children can be placed on death row and summarily executed without so much as a
mock trial. So at the very least we
should be condemned to death also after a mock trial, because we love these
children and we try to defend them.
+++The most important reason why I
cannot compromise is that it is the very issue of compromise--regarding
cooperation--which has become the basis and structure and backup of the entire
abortion holocaust. I have been as
guilty of this as anybody over the years.
But if we ceased compromising with the holocaust, we could end it
her book she says that the new archbishop of St. Louis, John Lawrence May, told
diocesan priests not to participate in the rescues and this was one of the
reasons the St. Louis rescue movement shut down. The main reason was probably the increasingly
harsh sentences and atrocious treatment of rescuers.
there were other heroic rescuers who followed Joan Andrews. A trio of Catholic women who called
themselves Missionaries to the Unborn
carried out a series of rescues in Vermont.
They stuck to total noncooperation.
They were here for the PLAN conference in 1993 in connection with World
Youth Day. One of them, Kay Trudell, has
written some remarkable poems on pro life themes like the one called In
Defense of the Throwaway People.
Milwaukee Pastor Matt Trewhella has led one of the strongest pro life groups in
the country, the Missionaries to the
Preborn. Many of their rescuers
received long prison sentences for persistent rescues. Jim Soderna got two years. Tom Nowak got one year. Bryan Longworth and number of others served
long sentences. We should remember those
who put it all on the line to save the babies.
They laid the foundation for the persistent movement we have today. And they are still going 20 years later,
bringing the reality of abortion to the middle of the city via giant posters
and passing out pro life leaflets.
March 1989, dozens of women rescuers were physically and sexually abused and
maltreated by Pittsburgh police and guards at the Allegheny County jail. The Direct Action News (St. Louis) of August
1989 reported: Warden Charles Kozakiewicz and those acting under him, dragged, kicked,
punched, stripped, and molested these defenseless women. Two women were stripped naked and dragged
down a corridor in front of cells holding regular male prisoners, while police
laughed and uttered graphic obscenities. Most of these women were Catholic and a number
of them were Steubenville coeds. [ the
Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, not far from Pittsburgh; ] There are more detailed and graphic accounts
of the treatment of these rescuers. A
lawsuit on their behalf was unfortunately dismissed, because of the court house
situation and also because of mishandling by incompetent attorneys.
happened to these rescuers was part of a nation-wide pattern of attack on the
rescue movement. Bishop George Lynch and
several priests were among those severely injured by police mistreatment of the
West Hartford Connecticut rescue on June 17th 1989. Many of these rescuers suffered lasting
injuries. Judah of The Lambs was sidelined with a severe knee injury suffered
in the West Hartford Connecticut rescue.
A similar pain compliance
attack upon rescuers took place at an abortuary near Los Angeles. Senator William Armstrong later held hearings
into these attacks on rescuers which received very little attention in the
media. They documented the fact that entirely peaceful psalm-singing rescuers were violently handled by
police in a number of cities.
April 1989 the first Operation Rescue
rescue in this area went to Leslie Durgin's Boulder
Valley Women's Clinic and completely shut it down. The Boulder police used a wheel chair to
wheel the arrested rescuers away. A
large number of rescuers were arrested.
Anglican Catholic Bishop James Mote was one of several rescuers who refused
to pay a fine and stayed in jail.
July 8th 1989, the rescue came to 20th and Vine in Denver. Over 100 police officers surrounded it as the
Mayor demonstrated his support for Planned Parenthood. The police used pain compliance on the rescuers--twisting their arms and thumbs to
force them to stand and walk, a procedure I had never seen used against
peaceful protestors. A number of rescuers suffered injuries which were
still bothering them a year later.
who persisted in rescuing were given extreme sentences. In Pennsylvania, Steubenville students Mike Schmiedicke and Kevin Cleary did two years in
prison. Father John Osterhout and 6 Steubenville students were given a year
in jail for a rescue in Allentown. They
could have been released had they agreed to stop rescuing babies but they all
refused. They were finally released in
May of 1993. In Boston, Father Thomas Carleton got 2 & 1/2
years for a rescue. Meanwhile, the Catholic voters of Massachusetts
continued to re-elect Ted Kennedy. Here
in Denver, Vern and Susan Kirby were given extreme sentences, as described
Schmiedicke was finally released on June 13th 1992 after he and fellow
Steubenville student Kevin Cleary spent almost two years in prison for
participating in two rescues in Pittsburgh, and for refusing parole offered on
condition that they not rescue.
told me that, when he was in college, he had too much beer to drink one
Saturday night and wound up in jail. And
thought he would kill himself if he ever wound up there again. And yet, by God's grace, he spent two years
in jail when he could have gotten out just by agreeing to the judge's demand
that he quit rescuing This is part of a
letter he wrote to me. [ from bulletin #
Testimony of Mike
is in its essence charity, in fact, it is the fullness of charity, when done in
the proper spirit, for no greater love
hath a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. That is why rescue is indispensable, that
is why we must rescue, because this is a spiritual battle, the Truth
confronting the Lie . . .
is why rescue is so important, because it is the ultimate act of charity, which
is the ultimate weapon against the Lie.
When we go there, we unequivocally assert the value of that child's life
by showing that it is worth exactly as much as our own. We love our neighbor as we love ourselves
can't always be justified in terms of temporal effectiveness. Currently, I am serving four years for two
days of shutting down clinics--a prime example of foolishness and
ineffectiveness. Yet because this is a spiritual battle, I emerge, with
Christ, as the ultimate victor through the paradox of the Cross. Christ, at the time of his death, had some
twelve followers, all of whom then deserted him as he went to the Cross. Not a very effective evangelization
program. Yet because of what he did--He
loved--He made possible the true conversion of millions and millions. Likewise, rescue has a similar success
record: first minimal and eventually
long as all you do is picket, counsel, etc. you relegate yourself to saving a
few children in an endless stream of victims.
You might appear at first to be more effective than rescue, but the
stream never ends. While you save a few,
you do not strike at the source and put an end to it. It would be like Christ continuing on with
his preaching/healing ministry but never carrying the Cross. While He would
heal many, it would be a position of despair in the end, because there would be
no final victory of good over evil.
Sooner or later, if you love enough, you must choose with Christ the
desperation of the Cross.
rescuer who goes to prison is confronting the totality of the Lie with the
fullness of the Truth and is then bearing the consequences of that
confrontation 24 hours a day. Every hour
he is in prison, he is a witness to the truth that children are good and worth
even the sacrifice of a life. He is
constantly tempted with opportunities to capitulate--to accept parole or
probation on condition that he promise not to rescue. The temptations are hard and, if you refuse
their "mercy" and their "generosity", then it's off to
if you agree to go and strive with Christ, to go like a lamb, you become, in
union with Him, a constant stream of intercession to the Heart of the Father,
your body a living sacrifice, holy and
pleasing to the Lord, your whole
will utterly crucified with Christ to make an offering that wounds with tender
pity our Father's merciful Heart. What
we seek is the power of the Resurrection.
That alone can end abortion. But
the Resurrection, the ultimate victory of Love over the Lie, comes only after
the Crucifixion. It depends not on how
many go, only that they go in love and persevere in faithfulness. "
The Meaning of Rescue
can't argue with the self sacrificing dedication of those heroic rescuers who
set the highest standard of personal commitment. I will argue with the assumption that sitting
in and getting arrested is the way to
save babies from abortion. Rescue is not a term which should be
exclusively reserved for sitting down in the clinic entrance and getting arrested. Anything you do which saves a baby from death
by abortion is a rescue properly
is just what Sidewalk Counsellors do every day of the week standing out in
front of the abortuary with their signs and literature. That is what people do by handing out pro
life leaflets in front of the high schools.
It requires as much courage to get out there with a sign all by yourself
as it does to risk arrest with 100 others.
We have people who have been coming faithfully once or twice a week for
20 years. And we have rescued a couple of babies every
we had the big rescues here in 1989,
they happened two months apart and then quit entirely. Most of those who participated had never done
sidewalk counselling, or picketed an abortuary or passed out pro life
leaflets. And they still haven't. They bailed out the same day and that was the
end of it. After that, they voted for
time you participate in nonviolent direct action you may find yourself talking
to someone in a blue uniform. The risk
of being arrested accompanies serious efforts to save babies, just as the risk
of getting wounded accompanies combat.
As witness the 100 plus arrests we accumulated over the years despite
trying to stay within what we naively supposed to be our First Amendment
Rights. A good soldier doesn't just hide
out where he runs no risk of being wounded.
But neither should he stroll out into a field of fire and get himself
killed for nothing. A similar sensible
standard applies to rescuers.
is too easy to fall into that psychology where a bunch of people get arrested
as an end in itself and as a one time
adventure, not as the beginning of a serious and sustained commitment to
rescuing babies. That was a conspicuous
feature of the later Civil Rights Movement and it showed up again in the later
Rescue Movement. Too many of them used
a one time involvement with rescue as
an excuse for doing nothing thereafter by way of personal witness. I
Rescued, therefore I am Saved was their attitude.
became a one time fad. People got
their Rescue medal and decided they
only needed one. 60,000 rescued
once. 6000 rescued twice. 600 rescued three times. 60 rescued four times. We ended with half a dozen die hards still rescuing. Meanwhile, before they gave it up entirely,
Operation Rescue degenerated into Rescue
for Tourists--those that could afford $ 1000 to fly some where and rescue and then bail themselves out and
are called to be martyrs, which was
an old Greek word meaning witness. Called to bear witness to the truth even unto death. But not all of them were called to be killed
right away for refusing to participate in emperor worship and the wars of the
empire. Most were called to bear witness one day at a time, to live
Christian lives and serve the brethren. To pay out your life one day at a time in the
Lord's service is also to be a martyr,
a witness. Sometimes it is harder to live for a cause
than to die for it.
If going to prison is the only way to make a complete
commitment, then many people in the pro life movement have a very good
excuse--their small children--for not making a complete commitment. A major part of the pro life movement is made
up of women with lots of small children and the men who work hard to support
them. It can't be right to ask these
people to spend months in jail, to risk losing their jobs or to pay heavy
fines. But are the only alternatives the
petition signing, the conventional politics, the token gestures and the once a
year activism that seems to satisfy so many pro-lifers ? I think we are all called to make a complete
commitment and we shouldn't provide people with excuses for not making it. So we have to find ways of making a complete
commitment that aren't restricted to people without other responsibilities.
But there are many things they can do. We have barely begun to do some of the
effective things we could do to rescue
babies, like passing out The First Nine
Months to everyone in the State.
Meanwhile, there are a whole lot of bored senior citizens out there who
might just as well play bridge in jail as any where else. Youth is a wonderful thing but it is wasted
on the young. The grey panthers are the foundation of a durable direct action
movement. And it doesn't have to be a
mass sit-in. Two people sitting in the
driveway disrupt the flow of customers.
And having 200 block the doors is only temporarily effective.
What Happened to the Rescue
should be a Rescue Movement of people
willing to face arrest to stop the abortion mill from going. And there could be, if we can clear the
wreckage of the last one off the tracks.
The first step is to understand why it failed.
main obstacle to a renewed rescue movement is that most Christians still have
that false faith which killed the old rescue movement. They still believe in the righteous Christian empire. Why go to jail when you can vote for George
Bush and let him take care of it ? No
doubt there was a failure of leadership but there was also a failure of
followership. They shared the same false
had no faith in the necessity of Spiritual
Warfare. In making a Declaration of
Independence from the World and sticking to it.
They believed instead that we could muster a Moral Majority and Take Back
the Power Bases--Randall Terry's slogan.
They tried to use nonviolent direct action as an alternative road to
political power. That is what eroded the
integrity of the Civil Rights movement in the late 1960s. That is what produced the corruption you see
in the career of Jesse Jackson and all the other hustlers.
Randall Terry did after he left Operation Rescue showed what his real agenda
was. He and others wasted millions of
dollars, months of time and tons of pro life energy in their futile attempt to get into
Congress. But they were only catering to
that Worldly Christian faith which is the common spiritual disease of what
pretends to be a pro life movement.
Wimp out in Wichita
cover story now circulating in the pro life movement says that the 1993 F.A.C.E
bill--Free Access to Clinic Entrances--killed
the Rescue Movement. It is not
true. The Rescue Movement was as dead as
vaudeville before FACE was
passed. It died out because pro life
Christians did not really believe in do-it-yourself
Christianity--aka nonviolent direct action.
It died out because Randall Terry and the rest of the Operation Rescue
leadership chickened out in Wichita.
Rescue went to Wichita Kansas in the summer of 1991 because Wichita was still a
place where rescuers received the same sort of lenient treatment given to other
kinds of protestors. After being booked
they were released on $ 25 bail. But
then the abortion industry got a federal injunction. Randall Terry left town. The rest of the OR leaders followed.
you defy the judge and his injunction in round one, and then say something
agreeable enough to get yourself out of jail in round two, that is a wimp out and it is no use pretending
that Randall Terry did anything else.
Worse, the other Operation Rescue leaders followed his example and let
their lawyers negotiate their own release on the same terms: agreeing to abide by the injunction, to call
off the rescues in effect, as far as they were concerned, and then leaving
town. And then they didn't have the
grace afterwards to tell the truth about it.
people came out for the rally on Sunday the 25th of August. The next morning there were 35 people ready
to rescue. And that was called off
because, behind the scenes, the Operation Rescue lawyers were making a
dishonorable deal with Judge Kelly to release the O.R. leaders still in
jail. In fact, that was the end of the
Wichita rescue campaign. Thanks to the
wimp out by the O. R. leaders, defeat had been snatched from the jaws of
spectacle of 35,000 prolifers at a rally was wonderful. The spectacle of 35 people willing to rescue
the next morning was not so wonderful.
To paraphrase a Latin poet: the
elephant goes into labor ! then ! . . .
out comes a mouse ! Pat Robertson
and George Grant weren't among the would be rescuers. The next time they invite these gents to a
rescue rally, they should make it clear that the invitation includes the rescue
to be held the next morning. If you are
too much of a big shot to rescue with us, then don't bother making speeches at
usual big pro life rally is supposed
to be a hot air festival. Rescue and
rescuers in jail aren't even mentioned.
But this rally grew out of 40 days of continuous rescues, which led to
2000 arrests. There were 150 rescuers
sitting in jail the afternoon of the rally.
Everyone applauded the rescuers and two of them addressed the rally by
phone from the jail. That is why it was
so strange that this mammoth rally actually
killed the rescue campaign instead of revitalizing it. How could it happen like that ?
reason is that the Operation Rescue leaders had already decided to follow the
example of Randall Terry and do whatever they had to do to get Judge Kelly to
release them. So, instead of using the
rally to boost the rescue effort, they used it as cover to quit the rescue
campaign and leave town.
Terry was conspicuously missing from
the rally, in obedience to Judge Kelly's order.
His failure to return for the mass rally on August 25th was the major
reason that it turned into a hot air festival instead of leading to a renewed
wave of rescues. He had a moral
obligation to be there and to personally lead the rescues. He was the primary leader of the Wichita
rescue campaign, and a courageous example from him would have been
contagious. Instead, he set an example
of bowing to Judge Kelly's injunction.
His example was contagious.
was the end of the rescue campaign in Wichita.
The rescuers still in jail for violating the injunction had committed
themselves to the rescue campaign and expected the same commitment from the
Operation Rescue leaders. Instead, the
rescue campaign was abandoned and the rescuers still in jail were left to get
out on their own as best they could. The
crowd went home, where they could watch Pat Robertson on TV in comfort. Randall Terry threw himself into a futile
attempt to arrive at political power.
And everybody followed that lead too.
Rescue was their stock in trade. It was the whole justification for Operation
Rescue. But you can't rescue without
going to jail ! You can't carry on a
sustained series of rescues without getting hit with an injunction. So how are you going to lead rescues if you
aren't ready to pay the price? The O.R.
answer was to try and set up a secular style of leadership which let them be
generals who don't put themselves at risk on the front lines.
fuss about Judge Kelly's injunction was a smoke screen for the abandonment of
the rescue effort by the O.R. leaders.
The legal basis for the injunction in federal law may be defective, but
injunctions in response to rescue campaigns are a fact of life. A sustained and serious rescue campaign will
inevitably produce an injunction. Every
city that had a sustained rescue campaign has drawn an injunction under local,
state or federal law. If the federal
basis for Judge Kelly's injunction was invalidated, it simply meant that the
abortion industry would have to get an injunction under state law as they do
elsewhere. Now they can try to get an
injunction under FACE.
injunction is always aimed at the leaders and organizers, who may not be
present at the actual protest site. The
O.R. leaders wanted to lead the rescue from a safe distance, without getting
themselves put in jail like the people who were actually rescuing. The injunction prevented them from doing
that. The injunction made them personally
responsible even though they stayed away from the rescue sites. But that is a common feature of
injunctions. It just recognizes that
those who organize and direct something are in fact answerable for it.
rescue organization that can't meet the challenge of continuing to rescue,
despite an injunction, is out of business as a rescue organization, however
many interviews it gets in the media. If
the rescue leaders aren't prepared to personally defy the injunction and take
the consequences, then who else is supposed to do it ? What qualifies them to go on being the
leaders if they no longer have the nerve to lead ?
of the underlying problems was that Randall Terry burned out on being in jail
during his last long sentence in Georgia in 1989-90. He came out of it 23 lbs. lighter and looking
10 years older. He felt betrayed by the
pro life movement which didn't rally to help him. He had sense enough to drop out of the
leadership role in the spring of 1990.
Unfortunately, he couldn't resist the temptation to try and lead from a
distance in Wichita. He thereby set a
style that all the other leaders in Operation Rescue copied. They pushed others into going to jail while
they stayed out--or bailed out--and held press conferences back at the hotel.
don't fault anyone for getting burned out on going to jail. Jail can be a very nasty place. It is designed to break a man's spirit and it
often does just that. Even if you
survive it spiritually, it can sap your emotional strength so that you aren't
up to much for a long while afterwards.
If someone drops out of the movement for that reason I have no criticism
for him. But Randall Terry persisted in
trying to lead the movement after he had dropped out of it. And thereby mis-led it in a very destructive
defying the injunction
injunction is just a piece of paper, if enough people treat it like one. It is a "law" which has no
authority behind it except that of one unelected pro abortion judge, who is
willing to be an errand boy for the abortion industry. For a month after Judge Kelly handed down his
injunction in Wichita, everyone ignored it and nothing was done about it. In round one, Randall Terry treated the injunction
like a piece of paper. But a week later,
he said what he had to say to get out of jail.
the leaders back off from breaking the injunction, then everyone starts backing
off. Then the injunction becomes a
monster that everyone fears. The
fearless few who continue to defy the injunction are gobbled up as a warning to
everyone else. That is just what
happened in Wichita. The next year they
tried the same thing in Buffalo. They
pushed people to defy the injunction.
Then went off and left them in jail and liable for $1000 bonds. The leaders avoided personal participation in
the rescues. When they were indicted
anyway, for violating the injunction, they paid thousands of dollars to bail
themselves out, while leaving everyone else stuck in jail.
called a press conference and defied the injunction--verbally. Then, when the actual rescue happened, they
were some where else, usually holding another press conference. It's like a man who invites everyone to dine
with him at the fancy French restaurant.
Then he excuses himself--just before the waiter shows up with the bill !
Wichita, Operation Rescue left the local people holding the bag--a very heavy
bag with the weight of a federal injunction in it. They played the game until they had raised
the rescue ante from an afternoon in jail to a year in jail. Then they said in effect: "Here, you play out the rest of this
hand !" They took the collection
basket with them and left the debts behind.
verse invoked by Operation Rescue is Proverbs 24.11 Rescue
those being led away to death. But
there was a seriously defective spirituality among the OR leadership. Their spiritual reading was an antique
Chinese military manual: The Art of War. And there was a Commandos Strike at Dawn psychology which had little in common with
the spirituality which is the necessary basis for The Spiritual Warfare of
common with most of those they led, the leaders of OR believed in Christians
pursuing political power. And, like the
late 60s civil rights movement, they tried to use nonviolent direct action as
an alternate road to political power. It
soon became the road to no where.
the end, the Operation Rescue program became Rescue for Tourists--people who want the once-in-a-lifetime thrill
of being in a rescue, and who are willing to pay several thousand dollars for
the privilege. That's what it costs to
get clear of the injustice system after Operation Rescue goes off and leaves
you entangled with it. No one who was serious
about a commitment to rescue would put up with this more than once. That is the major reason they had so many one
didn't let it bother them that they left behind the wreckage of a rescue
movement in the cities where they had major campaigns. Instead of building the rescue movement up,
they tore it down, because they didn't make a commitment to sustaining the
battle that they started. They started
a fight and then walked away from it, leaving the local people to try and carry
on a battle that was far too big for them to handle.
a little sensitive to the issue of leaders that bail themselves out, leaving
their followers behind in jail. It
happened more than once in the civil rights movement--Reverend King gave some
conspicuous examples of it. He was a
hero to the newspapers and to all the people who participated vicariously in
the civil rights movement, but he was no hero to those who had to carry on the
battle after he and the reporters left town.
And other civil rights leaders copied the style. It put a premature end to the Freedom Rides
in the summer of 1961 in which I participated.
I ended up spending five months in the Mississippi State Penitentiary
that year with a handful of other diehards, but our glorious leaders, who had
originally insisted upon jail--no bail ! were long gone--they all bailed out. It wasn't a bad experience for me
personally--it was a good one, really--but the Freedom Rides came to an abrupt
and premature end because of the wimp out by the leadership. It seriously diminished the value of the
sacrifice that we had been called upon to make.
They threw away a great opportunity because they didn't have the
spiritual grit to persevere.
leader should not ask other people to do what he won't do. If you are the leader, your rear end should
go over the fence first. You should be
the last one to leave the jail, not the first one--like the captain who stays
with his ship until everyone else is clear.
If you can't do that, you have no moral right to lead rescues.
failure of follower-ship
The Rescue movement died out because of a
leadership obsessed with the pursuit of political power and because of a
followership with a false faith in the fundamental righteousness of the
American Empire and in the broad road of conventional politics. A faith that they could stick with the moral majority.
did not believe in building a Christian Society via Do It Yourself
Christianity. They believed in leaving
it up to God and the Government. Why go
to jail when all you have to do is Vote for Bush ? The
President will take care of it, all I have to do is Vote. And that is where we are now. = no
The Rescue Movement died out because most of
the nominally pro life Christians
participating in it did not really believe in relying upon spiritual warfare to
stop abortion. That is why they rescued once and quit. They did not believe that Christians must
bear personal witness and must refuse to conform to the world which shrugs off the killing of babies by abortion, which
calls it health care. Especially if they had to do it and had to
risk jail in order to do it.
believed that abortion could be stopped through conventional politics and the
law. The lawyers will find some new
legal stratagem to reverse Roe versus
Wade. They still cling to that
illusion because it is the necessary foundation of their own comfortable life
style. They can go along with the
crowd. They don't have to confront the
crowd with personal witness to the truth about abortion. They can wait patiently for the pro life politicians and the lawyers to
do the job.
they finally lose that illusion, it is predictable that they will accept
violence as the only way to stop abortion.
Violence by someone else anyway, while they support the troops. They do
not believe in nonviolent direct action or in using your first amendment rights
out in front of the abortuary to save babies.
But they do believe in war, so long as they don't have to fight it.
that there is likely to be a war over abortion.
Not that many care enough to fight about someone else's baby being
killed. But the increasingly rancorous
divisions in American society have the potential for a violent conflict which
will include abortion as one of its
moral justifications. The American Civil
War wasn't really about slavery. It was
about power and wealth, like all wars.
But the issue of slavery provided that moral tinge which wars
The FACE ACT
did not shut down the so-called Rescue
Movement as many people mistakenly believe.
The FACE Act provided a convenient excuse for Operation Rescue to
quit. In 1993, the Clinton
Administration pushed through the FACE bill, which gave the federal government
a legal weapon to target pro life activists.
The specious justification for FACE was that there was a place or two in
the whole country, like Wichita, where rescuers
were not being hammered as hard as they were in the big cities.
is no reason to quit rescuing because the Federal Government gets
involved. If you can tolerate County
Court, you will find that Federal Courts are larger and pleasanter. You don't have to wait through a parade of
drunk driving and domestic violence cases before they get to your case. And federal jails are nicer than big city
the Congress rushed through a law targeting draft card burning in the fall of 1965, it led to a wave of draft
card burning. It allowed men who were
not draft eligible, like me, to join the 20 year olds facing conscription in
defying the government. By the spring of
1967 draft card burning had become a fad and the Feds gave up trying to enforce
the law. A similar thing could have
happened had there been any real momentum in the so-called Rescue Movement. Federal
jails are no worse than the city jails that rescuers had to put up with. And it would have raised the profile of rescue to a national level.
the rescue movement
have to revive the Rescue Movement. To do that we have to clear away the wreckage
on the tracks. We have to discard the
false faith of conformist Christianity, of imperial Christianity which persists
in believing that we can hold on to all our privileges as citizens of the
empire without giving up our citizenship in the Kingdom of God. That we can pursue political power and impose
Christian morality via the power of the state.
The People Are With Us. The principalities and powers of this world
are on our side ! Or soon will be, after
the next election. [ See what Paul has to say about that. ]
The Rescue movement of 1988-1991 was the
largest nonviolent direct action movement the country has ever seen. And the most peaceful. It was never marred by the kind of rock
throwing and vandalism that more and more marked the Civil Rights movement of
the later 1960s as its runaway success began to attract an undisciplined crowd
who stayed out so long as it was a small and risky movement. The boast of Operation Rescue was that 60,000
rescuers were arrested without one conviction for assault. Which, in a rescue,
usually means that you bumped into someone or that they bumped into you. The nonviolent discipline was as good as the
early civil rights movement. And had no
similarity to contemporary demonstrations which routinely include vandalism and
throwing things at the police.
of the mis-reporting of the commercial news media, people outside the pro life
movement still don't understand that a "rescue" isn't just another
name for a protest or a demonstration.
It's a way of directly stopping the killing of babies.
has never been anything quite like the
rescue. Most direct action movements
find it difficult to directly target the evil they oppose. The sit-ins did directly target the
segregated lunch counters but most civil rights demonstrations were forced to
target something or someone at several removes from the thing they were trying
to get at. They wound up doing stupid
things like blocking the highway. And
it's the same with other movements. In
order to oppose the war, you wind up picketing the post office, because the
military recruiters have an office there, but the war you want to stop is a
long way off.
August 6th 1963, a very hot Sunday in St. Louis, a couple dozen of us picketed
the Post Office for an hour by way of a vigil commemorating the dropping of the
atomic bomb on Hiroshima. That was about
as close as we could get to the destruction of more than 100,000 people by the
Hiroshima bomb. There was a Catholic
grade school at ground zero. You can't
get within 1000 miles of the war you are trying to stop. But when you go to the local abortuary with a
sign, you are a few feet away from the War
on the Unborn. The couple on their
way to put a baby in the trash has to pass right by you. If you sit down in the driveway, they have to
drive over you. Or stop.
abortion war is going on right in front of you and you can stop it, if you are
willing to put your body on the line.
There sits the abortuary, and, just by sitting down in front of it, you
can save the life of an abortion-bound baby and call everyone's attention to
the murder going on there. It's a life
and death drama that cannot be misunderstood by anyone, as hard as the media
tries to obscure what is going on.
the segregated lunch counters which were targeted by the sit-ins of the early
1960s, it is a situation that was made for direct action ! But at a price that many are unwilling or
unable to pay. But some are already
paying the price and, every new day, a few more are joining them.
have to do everything we can to interfere, whether within the law or outside
the law. The law which allows abortion
is not law, no more than the law which allowed slavery. No more than the Roman law which made it a
crime to pick up an infant exposed to die.
Can you let that infant die while you wait to change the law ? Not if you pretend to be a Christian.
is a good argument to be made for not doing it, because you will soon be
spending your time in jail instead of in front of the abortuary. There is a bad argument that you can vote for
somebody or something by way of stopping abortion. There is a very bad argument that all you
have to do is pray. And that is why we
must remember the rescuers. And study
the example they set. And prayerfully
consider following it.
Importance of the Media
black bible college students sat in at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro
North Carolina on February 1st 1960. The
media gave it front page treatment. By
June, 20,000 people, mostly college students had participated in the lunch
counter sit ins. That launched the Civil
Rights Movement of the 1960s.
the fall of 1988, I came across a small item, buried in the newspaper, which
said that 200 more had been arrested in a rescue
in Atlanta, bringing to 10,000 the number
arrested there since the Democratic National Convention began. I regularly read the newspaper and regularly
clipped items about nonviolent direct action campaigns and this was the first I
heard of rescues. It shows how the mainstream media handled the
rescue story. But Randall Terry had gotten national
publicity from two Christian programs, Pat Robertson's 700 Club and James Dobson's Focus
on the Family. They helped him
launch Operation Rescue into a nation
wide rescue organization.
major reason for the extreme sentences given to rescuers was the virtual black
out in the media. They can get away with
inflicting extreme sentences on peaceful protesters because few are aware of it
or concerned about it. The Catholic
diocesan press also paid very little attention to the pro life prisoners. They are not comfortable with those who go to
jail for what they believe.
Denver Vern and Susan Kirby were given extreme sentences--two years and
$4000--for one sit-in and for once kneeling in the driveway of the Planned
Parenthood abortuary here. A couple of
months later, the sentence was cut short after the Register belatedly ran a
front page story about them. The regular
news media had ignored the story. Before
that, the media blacked them out. A
Rocky Mountain News reporter who did a sympathetic story on the rescue trials
found her story buried in the want ads at the back of the paper.
diocesan press was allergic to the rescues or any serious anti abortion
effort. It is not likely that they will
stop hiding in the pews any time soon and provide a reliable news source for
nonviolent direct action to rescue babies from abortion. EWTN isn't any better. They cover the March in Washington as if it
was somehow a Great Event for people to take a once a year bus trip to
Washington. Their reporter never heard
of the rescue movement.
to use the mainstream media to deliver the pro life message is useless. A serious pro life action movement has to
proceed without any help from the mainstream media. You can rely upon them to smear you if they
cover you at all. Even if you water down
the message 9 parts water to 1 part message, like the official pro life
organizations do, they will find a way to trash it.
I think it may be best that we get no media support. They are at best a treacherous ally. They put the Freedom Riders on the front page
and then, not long after, put the Watts rioters and the Black Panthers on the
front page. Anything to sell
newspapers. The media spotlight attracts
all sorts of people, like moths to the street light, who have vain and shallow
motivation. Who are more of a hindrance
than a help. It attracts all the
hustlers who have something to sell or careers to promote. But we still have our newsletters. And the internet is creating new ways to
communicate that we are only beginning to explore.
isn't just a set of tactics. It implies
that we build up the kind of responsible Christian community that we need to
keep going, that we take care of one another as Christians should. It implies that we stop playing soldiers,
that we stop grand-standing for the media, and that we instead commit ourselves
to a serious nonviolent movement to stop the killing of the unborn.
of the best things done in the civil rights movement was the Mississippi Summer
campaign of 1964 which sent hundreds of volunteers into a campaign against the
strongest fortress of the segregationists.
It cost the lives of three civil rights workers, but it broke the back
of the racial segregation establishment.
we are serious about rescue, we have to go after the hard targets. We need to concentrate on places like
Pittsburgh which have given the worst penalties to rescuers. If you can once overwhelm the system in the
toughest place you can find, other cities will back away from harsh
treatment. Are we tough enough yet to do
that ? I think we are getting a little
tougher every day and that the day is coming when we will be ready.
we need to weaken the other side and wear them down first by a sustained and
serious campaign of nonviolent direct action in education. The amount of public revulsion against
abortion and the amount of public sympathy for rescuers directly determines how
hard the injustice system can hit us. If
everyone on the jury panel at the court house plus all their friends and
relatives had been handed a picture of Baby
David at the shopping mall the month before, their verdict on abortion
protesters would have been entirely different.
The main thing defeating us is our own lack of serious and sustained
first Christians did not wait around to be persecuted. Like Jesus himself, they aggressively
challenged the evil of the world
which persecuted them. Jesus warned them
they would be taken to court. The early
Christians regularly went to jail as part of their witness against the world. It was their common experience as described
in Acts 4.3, 5.17, 8.3 and
12.6 etc. Saint Paul's epistles
were often written in jail. That is how
they defined themselves. That experience
was central to the growth and development of the Christian community. Community
meant something. It was not the idle
word we use now to describe something that is in no way a real community.
else can Christian society be re-established if not by confronting and
struggling against the evil of the neo-pagan and pseudo-Christian society which
surrounds us ? --this neo-pagan society which now pretends to be Christian. That struggle renews the Spirit. The Spirit regenerates the Christian
community--the Christian society which will put an end to abortion among
ourselves while it sets the example to the nation which is so obviously headed
for self-destruction. We can't keep it
from going there. That is the illusion
we have to discard. But we don't have to
go along with it. And we can thereby rescue
at least some of those who will otherwise perish.
first Christians were told by Jesus that they must not conform to the world
even while they continued to live in the world.
They must be in the world but
not of the world. What did he mean ? John 14.22
how is it that thou wilt manifest
thyself unto us and not unto the world ?
15.19 the world hateth you 16.13
the Spirit will guide you into all
truth 17.9 I pray
for them; I pray not for the world, but
for them 17.11-18 these
are in the world, they are not of the world. That sharp distinction between the world and
his followers is what worldly Christians have erased. We cannot confront the evil of this world
while we conform to the world.
Friendship with the
World is Enmity
( James 4.4 )
. . . see Letter
to the Bishops page 54
for the continuation of this section