Shouting with Al Garcia
I first showed up at 20th and Vine in March 1989, there was a small group out
there on a Saturday. Al Garcia was there
calling out to the customers. One of the
others suggested that I tell him to shut up.
Since I had just gotten there, I didn't see that it was my place to do
that. After I had gone there a few times
I arrived at the conclusion that Al Garcia was right and his critics were
wrong. He was obviously committed to the
battle to stop abortion any way he could.
He had to communicate with the abortion customers from 50 feet away
between the time they got out of the car in the parking lot and the time they
went in the door. There was no chance to
sidewalk counsel with most of
them. You had the choice of saying nothing
or shouting loud enough for them to hear.
was standing across the street when a couple of hoodlums jumped you with lethal
intent, would you want me to restrict myself to praying for your survival
? Or offer a quiet and dignified
remonstrance: That's not very nice, what you fellows are doing to that man . .
Would you be greatly offended if I were to shout out something rude and
crude and unloving like: Help
! Murder ! Police !
The monkey fell in the grease ! ? In
short, if it was your neck on the block, would you be so picky as to what
someone did or said by way of trying to save it ?
doubt we have gotten people out there who have said inappropriate things. The worst things they have said don't compare
with what is done on the other side of the fence where babies are dismembered
and thrown in the trash under the label of medicine. What is truly disgusting are all the people
with the pious self-deception that they are doing something when they won't
even say something--I can't say anything
to my niece, but I will pray for her.
picket line in a public place is liable to attract all sorts, just like the
Cathedral downtown. No doubt a few of
them are a little crazy and / or
mean-spirited. Like me, after all
these years. But 99 per cent of what is
said and done out there is more or less on target and done in the spirit of Do Something to stop a killing. No doubt abortuaries attract demons. But they also attract people who are strong
in the Spirit. And we persistently win that
battle. That is the only way we have
lasted out there for 27 years. It is a
privilege to join the community of
those who come out in the Spirit to do battle with the servants of
Moloch--those who sacrifice children for the sake of money. There is a real fellowship of spiritual and
moral struggle out there.
may be vulgar to shout at other people in a public place, unless it is a
football game where everybody is doing it.
It is even more vulgar to stand there and say nothing while a preborn
baby is on the way to being dismembered and thrown in the trash bucket. The Judgment described in Matthew
25.31-46 will pardon the one kind of
vulgarity a lot sooner than it will the other.
Those who refuse to rescue the
least of these when they have the chance will surely be standing with the
goats on Judgment Day. There are a lot
of nicely dressed people down in hell.
They may be respectable in the
eyes of the world, but Jesus has a different standard.
have brain-washed themselves to believe that church decorum is proper on the
sidewalk in front of an abortuary. It
makes them feel safe, even though the babies are not safe. Dignity,
always dignity. What dignity is
there in silently acquiescing to the murder of preborn children ?
outdoor memorial for aborted children is a suitable place for a service at
which church decorum prevails. But, when you are out in front of the
abortuary, they aren't dead
yet !!! You still have the chance to rescue them
! By showing a sign, or saying something or even shouting
something ! It is appropriate to pray
for those who are dying. It is not
appropriate to pray for healthy babies about to be killed and to use that as the excuse for doing nothing to prevent it!
you are standing around praying for those about to be killed, praying that God
might yet work a miracle to save them, it is appropriate to ask and answer some
questions: what could we have done to prevent this ? . . . what could we have done
that we neglected to do ? . . . what could I have done ? . . . what can we do
to prevent future killings ? . . . how did we all get locked into this
money-loving lifestyle which is locked into contraception and abortion ?
it righteous to pray for manna from heaven, after we neglect to plant a crop
? To pray over a child who is starving
to death because we neglected to feed her ?
( cf. James 2.15-16 )
forgave those who had committed sin. But
the judgment described in Matthew 25.31-46 offers no further forgiveness to
those guilty of the Great Sin of Omission.
That describes the Church today and most of those in it. They congratulate themselves on being saved while their grandchildren are
headed for the trash bucket at the abortuary.
The Rescuers of the late 80s and early 90s
arrived at the abortuary before the
customers did, then sat down and blocked the entrance. They did their praying and singing after they did something effective to
stop the abortions from happening. Which
leads to a couple of questions: What happened to the Rescue Movement ? How can we revive it ? They did not arrive late, after all the
abortion customers were inside, and then content themselves with praying. Is this really such a righteous thing to do
? Is this really all that God asks from
isn't just that those who pretend to be pro
life Christians neglect bearing witness--like handing out pro life
leaflets--and neglect serious and sustained nonviolent direct action efforts to
rescue babies. They raised their
children in that luxurious, two-income, Careers
for Women lifestyle which requires women to depend upon contraception
backed by abortion until they finally have a baby in their thirties. They illustrate what St. Paul meant when he
said that the love of money is the root
of all evil. It is in fact the tap
root of abortion.
the false claim
perpetuate the false claim that Roe
versus Wade is the cause of abortion in America--it is just some legal
fluke which the lawyers and the politicians can fix. The first step in the direction of doing
something effective to stop abortion is to discard that illusion which has
justified so many doomed and useless political and legal efforts.
were already an estimated 100,000 illegal abortions every year in the State of
California alone when Governor Ronald Reagan signed the 1967 liberal abortion law. That is what generated the pressure to make
it legal. A month earlier, the
Republican controlled legislature of Colorado passed a liberal abortion law which the Republican governor signed. A few Catholic Democrats voted against it.
states followed suit. The Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 brought a
few backward states into line with
what had become a national consensus. These laws in effect recognized that
contraception backed by abortion was basic to the American life style. It is also basic to the American Catholic
life style, regardless of the official position of the Church--the on paper position. That is what has to be fixed.
later apologized for signing the California bill. He was just a crazy mixed-up kid when he was
Governor of California. He didn't know
what he was doing. He hadn't thought it
through. People give him a pass because
they give themselves a pass. His vice
President George Bush also changed his position on choice as a condition of being included on the ticket. That is the kind of hypocrisy which has
dominated our national politics ever since.
Mr. Romney is the latest candidate to change his position. Is Mr. Romney sincerely pro life ? Yes, of
course. As a matter of verbiage, he is
sincerely in favor of whatever will win votes.
road back from a contracepted and aborted life style requires something more
than prayer. Because it is our fault,
not God's fault. He can't fix it until
we fix it. A good place to begin is in
the company of those who do what they can to confront abortion by bearing witness. It is a place to re-discover that Spirit of
Courage which regenerates the Christian life by guiding us into all truth.
pray and vote: the
people are with us
nominally pro life conformist Christians have never believed in
getting out there with a picket sign.
They believe in leaving it up to God and the government. Their call is to: 1. pray
2. vote 3. send $ 5 to a pro life
lobby in Washington. They fool
themselves that some day, some how, Roe
v. Wade will be over turned by some legal sleight of hand. They fool themselves that The People will rise up and stop
abortion by a one fingered gesture in the anonymous safety of the voting
closet. They still assume that the people are with us and that the police will protect us. They are not ready to recognize that the people are not with us and that the police now Serve and Protect Planned Parenthood.
cling to the illusion that abortion can be stopped within the comfortable
limits of American law and politics.
Some day a pro life president will appoint Supreme Court Justices who
will overturn Roe v. Wade. Sooner or later, they will be forced to
abandon that illusion. Any of them with
sense already have.
rest won't wake up until they discover that their grandchildren are headed for
the trash bucket at the Planned Parenthood abortuary. And that there is no longer any one out there
trying to prevent it. They may be savedbut their families are headed for the trash.
do not believe in nonviolent direct action and when they are forced to abandon
the illusion that praying and voting will take care of it, they will turn to
their bedrock faith that a
good man with
a gun answereth
to evil ( John 30-30,
Luke 45-70, Matthew 12 gauge ) as
seen on TV every night of the week.
think there is a real possibility of another civil war in America. Not over abortion really, but the usual
contest for power and money, will invoke the issue of abortion as its moral justification just as slavery was
invoked to justify the last one.
direct action--Sidewalk Counselling--picketing and leafletting--has turned out
to be the only remedy we have left for stopping abortion. Even though the few of us doing Sidewalk Counselling are a small and
unpopular minority, we are at least a rear guard in the rout of the mainstream
pro life movement, which was built upon secular Christian illusions. The doctrine that abortion can some how, some
day, be stopped via conventional politics is convenient for those who use the
abortion issue to raise money and
pursue political power. That defines the
limits of their real agenda.
that is where we are now in respect to abortion. The Sidewalk Counsellors represent the one
realistic way to stop abortion and the last hope for putting an end to the
violence of abortion without resorting to violence. At a minimum, the first amendment right to
protest is a kind of safety valve. As
witness all the countries which lacked such rights and which have now exploded
into violent protests.
me, using nonviolent direct action--aka first amendment rights--has been one of
the major callings of my life. I was a
Freedom Rider in 1961 and a Draft Card burner in 1966. I have seen major changes in America because
of the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960s. Nonviolent direct action--sit-ins and Freedom
Rides--finally put an end to racial segregation. The anti Vietnam War movement built upon the
success of the Civil Rights Movement.
For one of the very few times in history people continued to oppose a
war and resisted being intimidated. It
is true that those movements were soon infected with a contrary spirit. And they did not remain faithful to The Spiritual Warfare of Jesus Christ. [ See my article on the web site. ] The Rescue Movement of the 1980s had a better
discipline. While it lasted, it was a
remarkable example of what a nonviolent direct action movement can do. ( More about that later. )
the Lord's one man army
Garcia was a one man army out in front of the abortuary at 20th and Vine. He was wonderfully eloquent in both Spanish
and English. He was often very funny. He would challenge the manhood of the pugnacious
boy friend escorting his lady friend and fiercely protecting her abortion. You're
supposed to be the man of the house, not the mouse of the house. He was a banty rooster of a fellow who would
square off in fearless mock combat with belligerent boy friends, regardless of
their size. Like a gigantic ex football
player who towered over him--he would have crushed him if he had fallen on
better stick to beating up on babies . . . those babies can't fight back, we
could . . . It was mostly bluff but
he was good at it.
have seen it happen a dozen times that some very angry man or woman, after
cussing and threatening us, decided not to have the abortion after all. The anger is a healthy sign--it shows that
they are bothered by what they are about to do.
You risk getting shoved or punched.
But you may save a life. Is that
not worth the risk ? In our patriotic
piety we applaud those who get themselves killed on the other side of the
world--after doing a lot of killing themselves--to protect our freedom. How
much are we willing to risk ? We take
financial risks to reap a profit in the stock market or the real estate
market. How about a risk aimed at saving
the life of a baby ?
would kneel down on the sidewalk in front of an abortion bound woman and plead
in English or in Spanish: I beg you for the life of that baby ! When she burst into tears, he had a save.
And, despite his lack of funds he would reach into his own pocket to
give her grocery money.
his days as a junk man he had a wonderful collection of props that he
used. He would don a gorilla suit and
carry a stuffed monkey doll and stand at the driveway: Gorillas don't kill their kids !
He had a big wooden Santa Claus he brought out at Christmas.
day he found a dead cat on his way there so he brought it along. He stood at the gate and when a customer went
in he would hold up the cat and say: This cat is going to get a decent burial,
your baby won't ! He got away with
it for about 15 minutes before the cops showed up.
regularly addressed the staff: Learn to Love Children ! He really did love children. He raised half a dozen of his own and adopted
several more. He died of a sudden heart
attack in July of 2008, just before we made the move to 38th and Pontiac. I saw him out there that morning. He saved a lot of babies by his fearless
witness and I have no doubt as to where he is now. Or that he is still with us out there in
versus the pro abort court house
day Al used the Spanish word La Negra
when speaking to a black Planned Parenthood staffer. So they called the police and said he had
called her the N. word. The District 2 Police decided there was
nothing to it and declined to write a ticket.
But that wasn't the end of it.
Planned Parenthood's Security
Consultant, Detective Carol Yates, worked her magic down at the City and
County building and a week later two sheriff's deputies showed up in a big van
with a warrant for Al's arrest on one felony
count of ethnic intimidation, $
50,000 bond. The next morning, the jail
house magistrate, who, unlike most of them, was not an errand boy for Planned
Parenthood, dropped the charge to misdemeanor harassment and turned Al loose on $ 100 bond. I never saw $ 50,000 disappear so fast. Al eventually won that case and all his
others, one of them on appeal. He was
the first one of us to appeal a case to the District Court and he wrote the
appeal brief himself.
was the lightning rod for the attack on our picket line under color of the law which intensified after August of 1989, when
we launched the daily picket. But it was
well under way even before that. In 1988
Jeanne Hill and Joan Cannon were hauled off to jail in handcuffs and charged
with Disturbing the Peace for signs
which read The Killing Place. Bishop James Mote was arrested for the same
sign. The case was dismissed and the
city eventually paid them a settlement but it did have the intended
real reason for the arrest was the other side of the signs: a blow up ultrasound photo of an 8 week old
embryo--the age when most abortions are done.
It was the first time anyone had deployed a graphic picture out
there. Planned Parenthood agrees with
our critics in banning the use of graphic pictures. It conflicts with PP's story line that it is only fetal tissue or two
tablespoons of fluid.
if that were true, a fluid which can
grow into a baby is priceless. But of
course they wish to conceal the fact that an embryo child who has reached the
age of surgical abortion--8 weeks gestation--already looks like a baby. There is a national consensus which aids and
abets Planned Parenthood in concealing this fact. Which is why it is a major moral disgrace
that what pretends to be a pro life movement has never yet carried out a mass
distribution, person to person, of The First Nine Months / Los Primeros Nueve Meses. ( copies enclosed ) That is one of the obvious things we could
and should do when and if we ever get serious about stopping abortion.
every election year, enthusiastic volunteers aggressively hand out millions of
dollars worth of leaflets for nominally pro
life candidates and doomed legal initiatives. Which perpetuate the false faith that abortion will be ended by popular vote--The
Majority Is With Us ! The Personhood initiative still promotes the
false hope that the phantom moral
majority, stepping into the anonymous voting closet, and deploying one
finger, will end abortion in America. [
see Four Fallacies of the Personhood
Amendment ] Conventional politics is
respectable. Do it yourself sidewalk level pro life
education is not. That is why the
respectable Christians won't do it.
we launched the 5 day a week picket line, the Denver Police, under pressure
from a city government dominated by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, intensified
their harassment. Detective Carol Yates.
who had framed up the charge against the two women, continued to frame up
charges against the rest of us. She
became a false arrest specialist who used her position with the Police
Department to trump up cases against Sidewalk Counsellors.
was all sorts of back stairs collusion between Planned Parenthood and the
police and political establishment of the City of Denver. We belatedly found out about some of it via discovery in the Section 1983 under color of the law federal lawsuit
we filed against Planned Parenthood and the City of Denver in 1994. We learned about the Neighbors Meetings, sponsored by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and
attended by police captains and representatives of the Mayor's office and the
City Attorney's office where neighbors--supportors
of Planned Parenthood--were recruited and encouraged to make complaints against
recruited a hoodlum who lived across the street and the city attorney gave him
a pass on his own cases in exchange for his repeated complaints that we had disturbed his peace. Pastor Harvey Baynes was arrested while
preaching a sermon out there, as was Bishop Robert Zeiger.
1989 and 1997 we had more than 100 arrests for disturbing the peace by calling out to customers and air trespass--Ken leaning over the
property line on a ladder--and all sorts of other legal junk, including pure
frame ups. I had been arrested before in
the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement, but this was the first time I
was ever arrested on a frame up, a pure fabrication. That was after I began promoting the five day
a week picket line.
had half a dozen arrests and spent 45 days in the Denver County Jail in the
spring of 1990 on one bogus complaint and one completely fabricated
complaint. Al Garcia competed with Ken
Scott for most arrests. We weren't just
ticketed, we were routinely hauled off to jail in hand cuffs and forced to post
bond as part of a special policy of police harassment aimed at pro life
activists. We spent some long nights in
jail and some long days in court.
hired Denver police officers as security guards and constantly called the
police to harass us. Some of the police
officers were personally pro life and others recognized that they were being
used as errand boys for Planned Parenthood and in effect suspending the First
Amendment guarantees of free speech in regard to pro life activists.
sometimes helped us even while maintaining the facade of righteous law
enforcement which they didn't believe in any more than we did. They would go through the motions.
most unscrupulous judges down there were given our cases. Old court house hacks who had long since left
behind any belief in the law or in their own integrity. But even the few judges who were personally pro life were obviously under heavy
pressure to go along with the rest of the court house gang. Although, sometimes, having done their NARAL
duty to a pro life defendant in public, the same judge would manage to do us a
favor in the back office like giving us a low appeal bond. Sometimes one of those judges would hand out
what appeared to be a tough sentence and then suspend it. One judge who ostensibly slammed Al Garcia,
even though he obviously liked and respected him, reminded me of the In Cold Blood criminal who says that he
really respected the man who was the head of the murdered farm family and that
he felt that way even while he was cutting his throat.
Pilate respected Jesus but his own career and even his neck were on the block
if he turned him loose. He is the model
for all those judges who must now defend the legal proposition that abortion is
medicine. And that those who interfere
with it are interfering with health care.
can any judge pretend to moral integrity and then go along with the laws which
protect abortion ? How can any
conscientious police officer treat the abortuary as a health care facility and those who interfere with its operations as
criminals ? What a morally miserable
position to be in !
legalized killing of 50 million babies in America has brought about a
corruption of the entire judicial establishment--has multiplied the corruption
that was already there. A government
which goes along with putting babies in the trash has lost any claim to
authority. Judgment at Nuremberg has a dramatic presentation of what happened
to the German judges when they had to justify and apply the laws of Hitler's
you don't have to go back to Hitler's Germany to find a parallel. In the American South in the early 1960s
there was a wholesale corruption of the legal establishment by the necessity of
providing a legal camouflage for racial segregation. It was not possible for a civil rights
activist to get a fair trial. John
Kennedy appointed five of the worst segregationist judges ever to sit on the
federal bench, totally unscrupulous men who went along with the agenda of the segregationists
and bent or broke the law to accommodate it.
( see the book Kennedy Justice. ) To preserve his own career, he had to cater
to the segregationist wing of the Democratic Party. Today, Democrat politicians have to cater to
the pro abortion wing of the Party.
then the jury pool has been brainwashed by the mainstream media. The pervasive prejudice against pro life
activists which is found even among nominally pro life Christians is produced
by the relentless policy of the media to either ignore us or smear us. You would never learn that we save babies by
standing out there carrying signs and harassing
women. The only time they put the
spotlight on us is when someone somewhere shoots an abortionist. [ cf. my bulletin The Media Murders the Pro Life Movement ] It is almost impossible for a pro life
activist to find a jury which has any sympathy with what we do. Plus juries have no understanding of what the
First Amendment actually allows. They don't
get out there with signs and disturb the
peace by yelling and screaming at
people so they don't see why we have to.
the free speech fight:
Zeiger and Martin
to some heavenly help and some stout hearted men and women, we stood up to the
harassment and we won almost all of our cases eventually. We learned to defend ourselves either pro se or with the help of volunteer
lawyers the best we could. And despite
the harassment, we kept on rescuing babies.
Robert Zeiger won 7 free speech acquittals, including one from the notorious
Judge Jacqueline St. Joan, which shocked Planned Parenthood and ended her
judicial career. Mike Martin won 8 free
speech acquittals, several on appeal from the County Court to the District
developed a cumulative free speech brief which we still recycle, made up of lawyer's briefs and judge's
decisions and our own pro se
cases. One morning, Mike Martin had a
long, long argument with a pugnacious and threatening boy friend who finally
threw in the towel and brought his lady friend back out.
who save their First Amendment Rights for banquet speeches, naively suppose
that the right of free speech is guaranteed in America. Actually, free speech is guaranteed every
where in the world for those who are patriotic supporters of the
government. In China or Russia or North
Korea you can speak freely in support of the establishment and the status
quo. And those who belong to the loyal
and powerful opposition are often given the same privilege. As are those who are just blowing off steam
on the talk show, with no intention of doing anything beyond talking. But when you join that small minority which
actively opposes social evil and challenges the Principalities and Powers of this world, the free speech guarantee vanishes.
1917, when America jumped into the war to end all wars, also
known as the war to make the world safe for Democracy, there were 10,000 prosecutions under the Patriot Act. People wound up with felony convictions and
10 years in the penitentiary just for passing out anti war leaflets or talking
against the war or against conscription.
[ see Perilous Times by Geoffrey Stone
and Opponents of War 1917-1918 H.C. Peterson and Gilbert C. Fite ]
same kind of extra legal law enforcement developed in the South in response to
the nonviolent direct action Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s. Kids walking down the sidewalk with signs
were arrested for parading without a
permit. Clergy praying on the court
house steps were arrested for loitering. A couple of fellows trying to register black
voters in Louisiana wound up spending months in jail charged with felony sedition--trying to over throw the
government of the State of Louisiana. In
1961 I was arrested with other freedom
riders just for walking into the whites only waiting room of the bus station in Jackson Mississippi
in a racially mixed group. We were
charged with Breach of the Peace. Despite 80 police officers, our presence
there was liable to start a riot, so the police captain ordered us to Move On ! and, when we didn't, we were
under color of the law
kind of bogus law enforcement eventually became the justification for Section 1983 of Title VII of the 1965
Civil Rights Act. Which we invoked in
the federal lawsuit filed on our behalf by the American Family Association lawyers
after Cliff Powell and David Lane were clubbed by Planned Parenthood's new Security Consultant in the course of
them confiscating the signs and crosses we put up out front. He replaced Detective Carol Yates after we
finally got rid of her. It says that
when the police attack your first amendment rights under color of the law, you can sue them in federal court.
may not be worth that much when you have a judge who is a Clinton appointee, as
we did. But we did come close enough to
winning to force the Denver Police and the City Attorney to back off from a
policy of persecution which many officers had participated in reluctantly. They were well aware that they were being
used as errand boys for Planned Parenthood.
also, by that time, they had begun to figure out that the Spirit which kept us
going was too tough for them.
Individuals quit, but the pro life witness continued. When Christians confront the principalities and powers of this world
in the power of the Spirit, they win.
When you rely upon the power of
the people you don't win. That is
another false faith--the essence of humanism.
Attorney Bill Ritter, who was nominally pro
life, looked at the video of the
clubbing and found no probable cause
to file charges--even though our two fellows wound up in the hospital with
bloody heads. Like looking at a body
with 5 bullet holes and ruling it a suicide.
He thereby showed Planned Parenthood and NARAL that they could count on
him and so he secured his future in the Democratic Party--such as it was. He was a missionary once, and supposedly pro life, but, like so many ambitious men,
he sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
have established our right to rescue children from the trash the hard way. By picketing, leafletting, shouting out for
the babies, and sidewalk counselling.
And still have to fight off new attacks.
Supposedly our rights are secured by the First Amendment of the Federal
Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Colorado Constitution. They aren't secure at all. But when God calls you to open your mouth for the speechless, you
had better do it lest you wind up like Jonah.
Our security comes from a different source entirely. Our right of free speech is a commission from
Jesus which is valid regardless of what any Constitution is supposed to mean
this week. And the very stones cry out against the murder of the children.
is a basic difference between the first amendment rights of pro life Sidewalk
Counsellors and those of others who claim the protection of the First
Amendment. We don't just protest abortion, we prevent
abortion. Two lives saved and Planned
Parenthood loses $ 500 and also loses its moral justification that these abortions are necessary. And there is no way to compromise. Is abortion medicine or is it murder ? A union picket line intends to at least
eventually resolve the dispute with management.
Customers crossing a union picket line to buy bread are not deeply
ambivalent about it and easily embarrassed about what they are doing. The store loses $ 20 if they turn back.
one person out there with a sign throws a monkey wrench into the works of the
abortion mill. It is the great shame of
the so called Christian so called pro life movement that so many of these
abortuaries operate with no effective interference.
the upper levels of the law there is an extreme standard of first amendment
rights, inherited from the 1960s, which most people do not understand or agree
with. And which they would never extend
to pro life activists, if it was left up to them. Large groups of protestors who enjoy some
popular support and a sympathetic media spotlight are likely to have their
first amendment rights protected. Pro
life activists, out there harassing women,
are classed as terrorists.
we do out there is a matter of life and death.
Quite aside from my rights as a
protestor, there is the little matter of babies being put in the trash and
women having a life time of regret. The
baby's right to life and her mother's right to escape from 20 years of
nightmares are in fact intertwined with our right to carry on Sidewalk
Counselling under the protection of basic free speech rights supposedly
guaranteed by the Constitution. Which
the FACE law and CRS 18-9-122 have seriously undermined. Rights which all the nominal pro lifers--all the conformist Christians--are too chicken to use. Then they criticize us for using them.
bottom line is that we have saved hundreds of babies from the trash and hundreds
of mothers from feeling like trash by a dedicated daily use of nonviolent direct action = bearing christian
witness to the truth
about abortion. cf. Proverbs 31.8-9
(nKJ) Open your mouth
for the speechless,
In the cause
of all who
are appointed to die.
. . . plead the cause of the poor and needy. cf.
John 18.37 For
this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. And, in John 20.21-22 he passes that mission
on to us. cf. Matthew 25.40 Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
the 8 foot ordinance
1991 the City of Denver passed an 8 foot
buffer ordinance designed to force Sidewalk Counsellors to stay away from
abortion customers. In 1993 NARAL and
Planned Parenthood pushed CRS 18-9-122 through the Colorado legislature, a
state version of the 8 foot ordinance.
The President of NARAL posed for pictures with the Governor when he
signed it into law.
laws were modeled upon a Boulder law pushed by NARAL a few years earlier when
Leslie Durgin was Mayor of Boulder and director of the Boulder Valley [ aborted
] Women's Clinic. She is now a vice
president of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood.
And set up Jo Scott's 2007 arrest by having PP staffers walk into 20th
and Vine while pretending to be customers.
They could never get any actual customers to complain--come to court and
admit what they were doing that day.
They had that much shame.
Scott joined us in 1997 and she had done sidewalk counselling in California for
years before that. She is the most
effective Sidewalk Counsellor we have out there and Planned Parenthood has
recognized that by making her their number one target.
Governor Robert Casey of Pennsylvania was denied the opportunity to address the
1996 Democratic Convention, he said: the Democratic National Committee has become
a wholly owned subsidiary of NARAL.
You can see the truth of that in the way that formerly pro life Congressmen like Al Gore and
Richard Gebhardt switch to pro choice
when they get into politics at the national level. The NARAL and Planned Parenthood wing of
the Democratic Party dominate big city governments in the same way that the
Segregationist wing of the Democratic Party controlled Southern court houses in
the 1960s. You can see how that played
out in the police violence against Rescuers
and in the long running attack on our pro life picket line. Not that the Republican Party is any
better. They pretend to be pro life in their pursuit of political
power but they can never be serious about opposing abortion. Those who vote for them aren't serious
either. It was the Republicans who
passed the 1967 Colorado and California liberalized
abortion laws. Later, pro choice
Republicans like George Bush senior, adopted an official pro life position to exploit the issue during the presidential
they moved the abortuary to 38th and Pontiac in 2008 they made various
miscalculations. The entrance to the surgical clinic is more than 100 feet
from the sidewalk. So the 8 foot
ordinance--section (3) of CRS 18-9-122--is no longer in effect in respect to
customers coming down the sidewalk. And
we still sometimes get walk ins who provide the opportunity for real sidewalk
counselling. So that is why they had to
set up another arrest of Jo Scott--who else ?--by using section (2) of the same
section says that hindering, detaining
or impeding is more or less the same
as blocking and obstructing, which, under the old loitering law, only applied to someone who deliberately blocked the
is so nebulous that it can mean anything, especially in the court room of a
NARAL judge like Claudia Jordan who presided over Jo Scott's trial for impeding
and harassing Laura Brown in May
2010. The Sergeant who responded to the
complaint saw no reason to write a ticket.
Nor did the Detective who reviewed the complaint. But Planned Parenthood's errand boys and
girls worked the old court house magic and a couple of months later Jo Scott
was handed a ticket.
she was convicted despite the able efforts of her lawyer, Terry O'Malley. Even though the jury was convinced by the
surveillance tape and the blow up photographs that Jonevertouchedher, they convicted her of detaining
fuzzy substitute synonyms for block
and obstruct found in CRS 18-9-122
(2). Her experience with the pro Planned
Parenthood courts of Denver County has left her with no faith that any court
will affirm her First Amendment rights as a Sidewalk Counsellor.
Using the First Amendment
could argue that the First Amendment was never meant to be anything more than a
venue for the politicians of the out party in a two party system. And it provides a vent for people to let off
steam. When you use what are supposed to
be First Amendment Rights to actively interfere with something which has become
a necessary foundation for the American life style, it is arguably un-American. And it stretches the Constitution beyond its
limits. And that is in fact how most
Americans regard those who harass women
in front of health care centers. The Christians
of America, even those who are nominally pro
life, have exactly the same attitude, although they are pushed to invent
some theological reason for it.
is what we are up against any time we are faced with a jury of our peers--if
conformists brain washed by the media can be accurately described as our peers.
Most people on a jury have no sympathy with pro life activists. And most nominally pro life Christians have no sympathy with those who go beyond
praying and voting. It is not
dignified--Jesus wouldn't be out there
hollering at women. And I wouldn't
Scott now has the distinction of being the only person ever convicted under
both section 2 and section 3 of this law.
The Hill challenge to section
3, decided in 2003, was a facial
challenge. The dissent of three Supreme
Court Justices is worth reading because it brings out the First Amendment
issues. As is the 2003 Harvard law
review article by Alan Chen. But pro
life activists cannot rely upon the Supreme Court or any other court except
God's Court to uphold their right to bear witness on behalf of the preborn
condemned to die. However, that is a
good enough mandate.
last conviction is now on appeal at the level of the District Court. *** Section two is obviously un
Constitutional. That is, it would be if
the Constitution were worth anything, if the judiciary had not been so
thoroughly corrupted by the necessity of upholding legal abortion. But the District Court might rule in Jo's
favor. Stranger things have happened in
our various trials and appeals. [ later
note: the Court overturned the harassment
conviction while illogically upholding the constitutionality of 18-9-122 (2)
and the conviction under it. A further
appeal is contemplated. See Denver
District Court, Judge Haglund, Case
Number 2011CV4757 on ICCES, especially page 9. ]
Jo halfway won this appeal when the District Judge reversed the harassment convictions. But the impeding
conviction based upon an invisible touch was upheld. Since the careers of these Judges depend upon
a Democratic Party which is subservient to NARAL and Planned Parenthood, they
are pushed to these irrational anti First Amendment rulings so as to avoid
offending Planned Parenthood and its supporters. We subsequently tried to appeal to the
Supreme Court but they declined to hear the case.
next year, the FACE lawsuit by the Obama Justice Department which was originally
against Ken Scott and Jo Scott and others
acting in concert with them tried to import the nebulous impeding standard into FACE. Which was originally aimed at those actually
sitting down and blocking the driveway or the entrance. But Ken Scott's stubborn resistance forced
them to abandon the lawsuit. He has a
remarkable capacity for wearing down a corrupt judicial establishment. Jesus describes the woman who wears down the unjust judge. Ken has that same spirit. More than anyone else out there he pushes
first amendment rights to the max. Right
up to the line and sometimes across it.
Such as his famous air trespass
case when he was up on a ladder and leaned over the property line. He has had one ticket at 38th and Pontiac
because the leg of his chair was over the yellow line. And amother for painting 3 crosses on the
have 20 years of experience with finding the line of our First Amendment and
Colorado Second Amendment rights. [ 27
years now ] We are experts on free
speech rights in front of abortuaries.
What it is supposed to be and what it actually is because of politicians
and judges whose careers depend upon NARAL.
Over 20 years we have learned the hard way where the line is in respect
to the first amendment. But the line
keeps shifting. And the City of Denver
refuses to clarify it. Years ago, with
the encouragement of the District Six police, I tried to get the City Attorney
to clarify what the law was in respect to disturbing
the peace by calling out to customers, but they never answered me. They could not admit that they intended to
enforce a ban on free speech. Now the
Obama Justice Department has adopted the same policy--trying to move the line again
with their FACE lawsuit.
week after it happened, four cops showed up to hand Ken a ticket for pedestrian in roadway. The supposition that it is necessary for the
federal government to come in is absurd to anyone familiar with the situation
here. The Obama Justice Department is
intervening because the Denver police can't bend the law far enough to satisfy
Planned Parenthood and NARAL. They are
hoping that the power of the Federal Government will accomplish what the Denver
establishment could not. But they are up
against the same Power that has
helped us stay out there all these years.
is a very liberal standard of free speech rights well established in the
law. Which NARAL controlled government
will not extend to those who stand in front of the abortuaries. The whole purpose of FACE and CRS 18-9-122
was to create a new and much more restrictive standard which could be specially
applied to health care facilities--the
newspeak label for abortuaries. Prostitutes are now sex workers and places where babies are aborted are Reproductive Health Care Centers.
most people, first amendment means the freedom to call up the talk show and say
something critical of the President. A
righteous pro lifeChristian waits until he is invited to
be the banquet speaker before he gives vent to his feelings contra
abortion. Ken is out there arguing with
cigarette smoking boy friends and ladies
who cuss him out before finally deciding they don't really want to put the baby
in the trash. It is sidewalk level free
speech. It does not square with church
decorum and respectable Christians
want nothing to do with it. A jury of
righteous pro life Christians would
convict Ken Scott of whatever. Not
leaving it up to God and the government to stop abortion.
the dedicated dozen
the years, our picket line has relied upon a dedicated dozen who show up
faithfully once or twice a week. Many are called but few are chosen. And those chosen few provide the strength and
stability of our pro life witness. We
have a hard core of 20 year veterans, whose perennial commitment has kept our
pro life witness in business. We
especially value those who come out during the week when we are sometimes down
to a heroic handful. But somehow we
always seem to have enough.
Ed and Ruth Boulee have been coming out twice a week for 20
years, bringing ladders and signs. Ed
participated in the 1989 rescues and hurt for months afterwards from the pain compliance the Denver police
inflicted on completely peaceful rescuers. Ruth has a beautiful singing voice. We used to sing hymns and Christmas carols at
20th and Vine where we could get close to the windows of the customer waiting
room. Of course they would turn up the
radio inside to drown us out. They don't
want to hear about the nativity.
Leo Mantei has also been coming twice a week for
more than 20 years. He wound up with one
court case when a lady grabbed one of
his signs and then accused him of assault. You should always let a lady have your sign if she wants it. Replacing it is a lot cheaper than paying a
lawyer. He also got punched by a boy
friend at 38th and Pontiac. Who was
charged with a felony since Leo is a senior citizen. Actually it is surprising how rarely we have
been attacked out there by belligerent boy friends considering how much huffing
and puffing is aimed at us. In fact they
know they are doing something wrong and their anger quickly evaporates.
convinced that the angels protect us. I
saw that one day when an angry boy friend grabbed a metal frame baby buggy and
began hitting Al Garcia with it. Before
I could get down the block, two men jumped out of an unmarked van and
handcuffed Al's assailant. Two under
cover cops who were part of the surveillance launched by the Janet Reno Justice
a heavy work schedule, Mike Winter
has been coming out for years every day he could. He is
one of the few people I know who will get on a bus wearing an Abortion Kills Children sign. Ernie
Gero and Nita have been coming several times a week for 20 years. Ernie keeps up a constant comment like Father
Murphy taught us to do at a baseball game.
It keeps up your morale while wearing down their morale. A picket line is not a church service or a
tea party--unless maybe it resembles the Boston Tea Party. Ernie and Mike Winter always showed up when
we handed out leaflets at high schools.
I counted on them.
Oakley McEachren comes out a couple of times a
week. He told me how he was called to
come out, years ago. He sings hymns in a
loud clear voice which Planned Parenthood does not appreciate. He and Mike Martin were arrested and hauled
off together on one occasion--for nothing, for speaking out.
John Wiechec has been coming out a couple times a
week for the last 10 years despite heavy work and family responsibilities. Fritz
and Jim come on Thursday. Everett
and his brother Gary regularly show
somehow still manages to come out once in a while with her five kids. Our youth group tends to be more irregular
than regular but Lisa Cress still
have always relied primarily upon the grey
panthers. It is a shame that there
are so many retired persons who don't know what to do with themselves. Who spend their days trying to stay
entertained. Instead of doing the Lord's
work. Surely that describes rescuing
babies from abortion. The pastors should
encourage them to come out. And set the
Saturday regulars help us keep Planned Parenthood's business down. It used to be their busy day along with
Friday but they have a third of the customers they once had. Larry
and Mark Aughenbaugh also set up a street corner witness once or twice a
month with their pastor. And they go out
to the high schools to leaflet. Ray has been standing on the corner
with his Abortion Kills Children
sign on Saturday for the last 20 years. Gloria and Andy bring ladders. Steve brings signs and props. Mike
and Tom show up most Saturdays. So does Scott.
Cliff Powell and Ken Scott are at the driveway Tuesday through Saturday mornings,
handing leaflets to customers. I now
show up Thursday, Friday and Saturday and put out two dozen signs and
props. Leslie Hanks and Susan
Sutherland have become regular Ladder
Day Saints--speaking to abortion customers over the high fence from ladders
on the sidewalk.
4 things the
archdiocese can do
1. distribute The
First Nine Months
Archdiocese is the largest church organization in the State of Colorado and it
should lead the way in reprinting and distributing The First Nine Months
/ Los Primeros Nueve Meses to
Catholics through schools and churches, to non Catholics by cooperative
arrangements with other churches, and to the general public by volunteers
getting out there on the sidewalk in front of high schools, grocery stores and
at shopping malls.
is basic bearing witness to the truth
person to person. There is no good
substitute for it. When people find the
courage to undertake this kind of witness, it regenerates the Spirit of Courage
in them and renews the church.
out there watching teen aged customers roll into the abortuary, I figured out after a while that, along with
the last minute effort to head them off, it made sense to try and give her an alternatives flyer and a copy of The First Nine Months before she made the abortion appointment and even
before she found out she was pregnant. Her and her boy friend and her friends and
her parents. So, with the help of a
tough little crew, I started setting up a table with the fetal models and copies of The
First Nine Months on the sidewalk in front of high schools.
naturally gets you into conversations with security guards and assistant
principals and police officers who try to tell you that it isn't a public
sidewalk or that the School Loitering Law
applies to you or that giving away literature is the same as Soliciting Without a Permit etc. But when you hold your ground and bring some case law with you, you can make them
back off and the next time you go there they leave you alone. The Bill
Jack case established the right of Christians to hand out information to
students in front of high schools. The School Loitering Law has an exception
for First Amendment activity, designed to accommodate school teachers on
strike, but it can be stretched to apply to us.
There are sometimes legal obstacles to distributing literature in
shopping malls but there are ways to get around that for people determined to
were people distributing literature in front of the high schools before I
thought of doing it and there are people still doing it since I quit. Phil
Faustin of Operation Rescue Colorado and Leo Mantei of St. Jude's Parish go out regularly, as do the Aughenbaughs. There are veterans of this kind of witness
who know how to do it when and if any of the conformist Christians find the
courage to do it.
election year people enthusiastically hand out hundreds of millions of dollars
worth of worthless political literature which mentions abortion in the fine
print if it mentions it at all.
Meanwhile, it is like pulling teeth to get people to participate in any
serious pro life witness. Obviously, it
is something that the Archdiocese should promote and encourage for the sake of
basic education in the facts of life in the 9 months leading up to the birth of
a baby. And without tying it to
political campaigns or legislative initiatives or organizational
leaflet is the best because of the Lennart Nilsson fiber optic photographs reprinted from A Child
Is Born. ( They were also printed in
Life Magazine years ago. ) You can't argue with them. They simply show that an embryo at 8 weeks
gestation already looks suspiciously like a baby--A person's a person, no matter how small.
the first nine months
has 7 pictures which chart the development of the embryo child. And each one is worth 1000 words. One of these leaflets handed out in the right
place at the right time is worth a dozen sermons about the personhood of the unborn child.
Why bother with such a term ? Why
endlessly play futile legal games ? She
is a baby ! Look at the picture
! In the age of the printing press and fiber optic photographs--which actually
show the embryo child in the womb--there is no excuse for distributing long,
erudite publications while neglecting to hand out graphic literature which
educates people in a simple and direct way.
only change I would make in this leaflet is to impose a picture of Roosevelt
dime--or a Lincoln penny--on the page 8 photo of the 8 week old embryo, as is
done on the Human Life International before
and after card, so that it clearly shows the actual size.
money thrown away on doomed initiatives and literature for hopeless candidates
and hopelessly compromised candidates could be used to put a copy of the
first nine months into the hands of everyone in the state. It should have been done yesterday--40 years
ago yesterday. It can still be done
tomorrow and the day after tomorrow if those who pretend to be Christians will
find the courage to bear witness to the truth by handing out pro life
leaflets. It isn't the voters who need to get it.
It is the 14-18 year old girls, and their boy friends, and their
parents. All those who vote for abortion
with their feet by walking into Planned Parenthood. There is no need to get into a long
argument, just show them the truth. That is what the
first nine months does.
Counsellors are well aware that getting a woman to go to an alternatives center
for a free ultrasound can be the clincher in turning her away from having the
abortion. But it is sometimes hit or
miss as to whether we can find a free ultrasound on that particular day. They aren't open, or they don't have an
the first nine months is in effect a generic ultrasound--in color ! It costs 25c.
It is portable. You can hand it
to someone. It takes the place of long
arguments. It is infinitely superior to
these long-winded pro life newspapers
which no one is going to read unless they are already pro life and bored--in
need of something to read.
secular Christians can become real Christians by finding the Spirit of Courage
to bear witness. That Spirit regenerates
the Christian life. Bearing Witness to
the Truth is not one of the options of a Christian life, it is the test of whether you are one. When you never do it, you become shriveled in
the spirit. That describes all those
cowardly Christians who hide in the pews and then hide in the voting
closet. Who offend God by praying that
he will do what they should have done.
That is why they fall for this false faith that abortion can be stopped
by voting. They don't have the courage
to do anything else. Making the effort
to save the babies will save them and their families as well.
2. use the Register to publicize real pro life activity
the Register worth reading. Instead of
publishing a sorry organizational rag that no one bothers to read, make it a
pro life paper. Do something and then write it up.
recent Register articles illustrate the failure to report on what is actually
going on by way of real pro life activity in the Denver area. The missing story of Baby
Saved by Sidewalk Counsellors is the story that is also missing from the
mainstream media. Talk to Jo Scott. There is your story.
should do something worth writing about by way of pro life action and then
write it up to encourage others to do it.
Years ago the Register belatedly did a front page story on Vern and
Susan Kirby who had been given months in jail by Judge Jaqueline St. Joan for
participating in two rescues at 20th
and Vine. After the first rescue,
everyone paid a $ 25 fine and pled no
contest in front of a magistrate.
But that plea set up the second trial in which they were given the
maximum sentence on 4 midemeanors--loitering,
trespass, resisting arrest and interfering
with a police officer--all just for one psalm-singing sit in. The maximum is 180 days in jail and $ 1000
fine for each charge.
the media blacked it out. We picketed
the court house for weeks to no avail.
But finally, after the Register put the story on the front page, the
Kirbys were released. Which illustrates
the power of the press. It also
illustrates how rarely the diocesan press has been used to defend pro life
Rescue Movement of 1988-1991 was promoted by Pat Robertson's 700 Club and James Dobson's Focus on the Family. And died after they abandoned it. The mainstream media ignores the pro life
movement unless it can smear us. The
diocesan press is too timid and bureaucratic and too infected with
organizational chauvinism to print pro life news. There are new possibilities with on line news sites which we are only
beginning to explore.
3. encourage people to participate in picketing and Sidewalk
wasn't born wearing a sign and I can sympathize with those who are reluctant to
do it. The first time someone tried to
get me to wear a picket sign I immediately thought up a dozen reasons why it
was not the right thing to do. As soon
as he knocked down one reason I thought up another.
bottom line was that I cringed at the idea of appearing in public wearing a
sign. Would Jesus do that ? Probably not, since he lacked poster board
and magic marker. He did write in the
dirt with his finger on one occasion. He
did deliver his message in public places in which it was not all that
welcome. I finally did it and I didn't
die. And after that it got easier.
the sit-ins began in February 1960, respectable civil rights organizations like
the NAACP were appalled. And wanted
nothing to do with such undignified demonstrations. But as the movement grew, the NAACP youth
groups were increasingly pulled in.
Before it was over everybody and his brother was out there. A million people marched for civil rights in
the summer of 1963. Priests and nuns and
bishops participated in the Selma March in 1965.
need Spanish speaking sidewalk counsellors.
In past years we have had some very effective Spanish speaking sidewalk
counsellors out there--Al Garcia; Bishop
Robert Zeiger; Diane and Bernadette
Cordova. We have a few Spanish phrases
and in a pinch can get someone on a cell phone.
But it really helps to have people out there who are at home in the
language. The Spanish speaking are not
so hard hearted and they are easier to turn around if we have somebody who is on
to the job. They don't have the same
defiant self-righteousness. They know it
recently learned that Planned Parenthood is now dispensing RU 486 chemical
abortion pills at three of their satellite contraception clinics one day a
week, on the sneak, as it were. Which
still require the services of a doctor
and they only have one doctor doing
them all. But we do not have people out
there to Sidewalk Counsel on a
regular basis. Is this not a
responsibility that the Archdiocese should take on ? If the Register would do an honest article
about Sidewalk Counsellors, if you
encouraged people to come out and learn by doing, and then go to these other
places, there is no good reason why they could not be covered. Your Lighthouse
volunteers need to discard the illusion that women headed for appointments at
Planned Parenthood abortuaries are going to be miraculously diverted to your
facility by angelic sidewalk counsellors who will do what they are too chicken
to do: confront abortion customers. Since the Archdiocese went to a lot of expense
to build an alternatives center
across the street from Planned Parenthood, I don't see the reason it is open
Monday through Friday when PP does abortions Tuesday through Saturday. They start at 8:30 and as early as 7:30 on
Saturday. If you are serious about
providing an alternative, why not
match their hours ? Is there some reason
they don't have an ad under Abortion
Alternatives in the yellow pages ?
Are they hiding their light under a bushel ?
4. Replace the
Respect Life organization with a serious pro life action effort.
Respect Life is a sorry excuse for a pro life
organization. Not surprising, since that
was its original purpose--provide an excuse for the bishops, something they
could point to by way of excuse: See we are doing something = pretending to do something.
original charter, which lumps together abortion, war and capital punishment,
provides a facade of philosophical consistency which is the excuse for doing
nothing effective about any of them. In
fact it was designed to provide an excuse for not confronting the contraception
and abortion which are epidemic in the Catholic Church and which are the major
challenge within the Church.
allows people to strike a pose: more philosophically consistent than thou: --than all the narrow minded fanatics who
oppose abortion but not war and capital punishment. I agree that Christians must refuse to
participate in war. And that Christians
cannot sanction the death penalty. But
that isn't a good reason for lumping together three moral questions that have
distinct histories in the Church and in The
Bible and that have very different social and political and legal
accept as binding upon Christians what the church father Tertullian taught: a
Christian cannot be a magistrate because he cannot impose the death
penalty. That was the belief of the
early church, based upon the Sermon on the Mount, and it is still the belief of the authentic
church. But, as a practical question, it
has little in common with abortion.
Since Colorado re-established the death penalty in 1974 there has been
one execution--in 1997, the first execution since 1967--after the man forced
his lawyers to abandon the appeal, because he preferred death to life in
since Colorado passed a liberal
abortion law in 1967 and since Roe versus
Wade in 1973, there have been thousands of abortions every year in
Colorado. No one knows the number for
sure because they don't have to report it and abortionists are notorious tax
evaders. If there had been one abortion
in Colorado since 1967, performed after lengthy legal proceedings, and, if the
embryo child had signed off on it, I would still be against it, but there would
not be much occasion for me to get out there with my sign. Planned Parenthood was doing about 60
abortions a week = 60 executions every
week--at 20th and Vine alone when we launched the 5 day a week pro life
picketing and sidewalk counselling effort there in 1989. What excuse is there for neglecting this slaughter of the innocents in favor of
specious arguments about Consistent Life
Ethic or Seamless Garment ? Cardinal Bernardin invented the Seamless Garment ethic to avoid having
to deal squarely with contraception and abortion. And that is why the other bishops picked it
up. It is not rooted in The Bible or in
the historical ethics of the Catholic Church.
You can argue it from the New Testament, but to do that you first have
to challenge whole bible theology (as in my essay on The New Covenant versus the Old Covenant ) and you have to
recognize the apostasy of the Imperial Church established by Constantine and
Augustine ( cf. The Church of the Empire.
) Otherwise there is no good foundation
for it. Except the kind of consistency mocked by G.K.
Chesterton: Now we realize it is wrong to sit on a man. Soon we will recognize that it is wrong to
sit on a horse. And, eventually, that it
is wrong to sit on a chair.
it is silly to argue that no distinction can be made between a fellow who
murdered, raped and tortured women and a preborn child who was sucking her
thumb and minding her own business when the suction machine intruded into her
space. You are guilty of being unwanted. No, you can't have a lawyer, or time to file
an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Opposition to War
have done some things to oppose war. I
organized against the Vietnam War in 1965-1966 and took a peace team to Catholic colleges and high schools in the New England
area. Places which had never seriously considered
that war might be a moral issue for Christians, which blandly assumed that all American wars are just. I spent 10 months in a federal prison in
1966-1967 for burning a draft card. [ I tore it in two actually. A 4F draft card. Because I caught tuberculosis working in a
Catholic Worker house of hospitality
in Chicago. ] Real Christians have to follow the example of
Jesus and his original followers and refuse to participate in war. But it is much harder for Christians to get a
handle on war, now that the draft has ended, and the empire has an all
mercenary army. And the Christian
pacifist foundation of the 1960s peace movement has been largely eroded and
replaced by secular ideologies which lack moral integrity and spiritual
question as to whether a Christian should participate in war is different from
the question as to whether we can do anything to stop the wars of the
empire. The early Christians refused to
participate in the wars of the Roman Empire.
But did not have the power to stop those wars. Only the disintegration of the empire did
that. The empire always does bankrupt
itself eventually by its endless wars.
If I could stop a war by standing out there with a sign, I would
probably attempt it. I can stop the war
against the unborn by doing that. Which
is why it must have the priority. Trying
to oppose a war which is killing people 10,000 miles away, you wind up
picketing the nearest federal building--like the post office. But the killing of preborn kids takes place two
miles from where you live and you can prevent it just by showing up there with
a sign and some alternatives
killing by war plane and child killing by abortion are arguably the same basic
moral issue. But there is a peculiar un
natural horror in the way that people shrug off and try to justify the cold
blooded killing of their own kids. And
the ways to confront it are different because war and capital punishment are
State actions, while abortion is
primarily an action taken by private individuals.
all of these individuals describe themselves as Christians and many of them are Catholic. The Church, not the State, is responsible for
abortion. Blaming Roe v. Wade is scapegoating.
Is refusing to recognize that Christians themselves and their
money-loving life style are the cause of abortion. Soldiers are to blame for their participation
in war, even if they are conscripts. And
women are to blame for having abortions even when they are pressured into doing
it. A woman who hires a hit man is just
as guilty of the resulting homicide.
Blaming the State leads to these endless futile political and
legislative campaigns which serve the ambitions of worldly people.
cause of saving babies from abortion is much too central to Christian faith and
morals to be assigned to some diocesan department which will go through the
motions of doing something about it so long as the staff gets paid. It is the key question in respect to the
moral and spiritual survival of the Church.
If we can't stop the members of the church from putting their babies in
the trash and destroying their own families, what is left of Christian society
? Nothing is left. That's it.
Hot air is left. Pretence is
left. Whited sepulchres are left.
The Cathedral is a beautiful white building for the funerals of
prominent pro choice politicians.
22 2016 postscript The Archdiocese of Denver now operates The
Lighthouse Center at 39th and Pontiac where we can take the customers we turn
away from Planned Parenthood for a free ultrasound. Two months ago the Archbishop led a couple of
thousand Catholics in a Jericho March
around Planned Parenthood. And there are
regularly groups of Catholics who at least come out and pray. Some of them will go so far as to show a sign
aimed at the abortion customers. It's a
[ the original of this is pages 6 to 21 of Letter to the Bishops