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sidewalk  counseling

christian  witness  rescues  children  !

There aren't many missions where you can halt the machinery of death and save a life just by showing up with a sign and some leaflets and speaking out on behalf of the victims.  During the twelve years I volunteered as a sidewalk counsellor on a daily basis, we rescued two babies a week on the average.  On December 26th 1999, three babies were born the same day to three different women we had  sidewalk  counseled in front of the Planned Parenthood abortuary at 20th and Vine.  One was a Russian-speaking immigrant.  We helped her resist the demands of a bullying father-in-law.  Later, I saw her joy when I attended the christening of her beautiful little girl at the Orthodox Church.  Now she has another little girl.

We don't just rescue the babies by sidewalk counseling, we also rescue their mothers from the misery of that memory which haunts so many women today.  They illustrate what Father Paul Marx said:  God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, nature never forgives.  I am still haunted by the memory of Krista who came and talked to me the day after the abortion while her boy friend, enjoying his freedom,  drove his truck to the mountains and went bike riding.  He needed to get away because he didn't want to hear about her nightmares.  So I listened.  His mother paid for the abortion and Krista was pushed into it--as usual.  As usual, pro choice was a joke--abortion industry propaganda.  Of course many aborted women don't feel a thing.  Like ex soldiers, they perform an emotional lobotomy on themselves and go through life as numb as the day they walked out of the clinic.  Until the nightmares start. 

Jennifer was just out of high school when we turned her away from the abortuary.  I didn't know it until she showed up with her new baby a year later.  She had a hard time of it but we helped her.  Leo and his son got her a car.  A few years after that she married a responsible man--they aren't easy to find in the age of abortion--and now they have another child.  You save a whole family when you rescue a child. 

Sidewalk Counseling is basic Christian Witness.  It is bearing witness to a truth that is at the cutting edge of the truth in our time, as witnessing against racial segregation was in an earlier time.  It is curious how many so called Christians cannot recognize real Christian Witness when they see it.  They have a dozen excuses for not doing it themselves.  And yet nothing is so basic to the Christian life.  When you do it and refuse to run when the police show up, a strange thing happens:  you discover the Spirit of Courage.  Courage is the first sign of that Spirit which also teaches us Love and Truth.  There wasn't any Christian Church until the Spirit of Courage came upon those cowards and caused them to throw open the doors and start witnessing.   Bearing Witness to the Truth is something which Christians  must  do.   Bearing Witness is not one of the options of a Christian life,   it  is  the  test  of  whether  you  are  one.  Christians who lack the Courage to Bear Witness hide in the pews and  become shriveled in that Spirit which is the source of the Christian life.  They add their names to a newspaper ad by way of witness.  That loss of Courage is the  first  cause  of abortion as of every other evil we suffer.  Because of a pro abortion city government, we had more than 100 arrests while I was out there, nearly all of them for junk like disturbing the peace by talking too loud.  But it helped us grow stronger in the Spirit while we developed a do-it-yourself free speech brief that helped us win almost all of our cases. 

The woman you can turn away from abortion is the one you encounter at the local high school or elsewhere, when you wear an Abortion Kills Children badge and carry  The  First  Nine  Months [ Spanish: Los Primeros Nueve Meses] to hand out in person.  You can  save a life with that 30c leaflet.  That is how a Christian  votes:  every day,  in  person, with the Courage which the Spirit gives.  Never mind Abortion in America.  What about abortion in your own town, in your own family even ?   A basic reason for joining the  sidewalk  counsellors  is that it is a necessary moral exercise which develops that Courage which is the first gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is the essential and irreplaceable foundation of a Christian Life.  It is not a battle of information.  A sidewalk counsellor does not save a baby just by giving the abortion customer information.  He must show her an example of the Courage  she will need to stand up for her baby.  He shows her that he cares about her.  He sets an example of that Spirit of Love which overcomes all obstacles.  He has to somehow counter the pressure of the boy friend, the parents and the false friends who are pushing her towards abortion.  If she will take on the burden of that baby, we will help her.

But helping the individual faced with abortion is only the beginning of the challenge.  There is an urgent necessity to establish abortion free and family friendly societies.  The first priority is to save the baby.  The second is to help the mother.  The third is to work towards a new society built upon values which are contrary to the basic values of modern society.  The early Christians were committed to building a society which lived by a set of moral values fundamentally opposed to those which prevailed in the larger society of the Roman empire.  It never occurred to them to attempt to establish Christian society by persuading the majority of Romans to change Roman law.  It is just as absurd to try and establish Christian society by reforming the laws of the American empire.  A real Christian society can only survive by declaring and maintaining its independence of the empire and by being faithful and true to moral values which are rejected by the majority.

Real Christians can never be a moral majority.  There is no such thing !  They must be the courageous minority which follows the narrow path, not that broad road which the crowd follows.  The basic  false  faith  of the Secular Christians is that they can stick with the crowd instead of joining that unpopular  minority which is persecuted for opposing the crowd.  These false Christians believe that Morality can be Popularity and that you can  vote  for  virtue.  You can establish  morality by flipping a lever in the anonymous safety of the voting booth.  You don't have to stick your neck out.  You don't need the Courage to Bear Christian Witness to the Truth.  They believe that the powers of this world are really on our side, or soon will be, despite temporary aberrations like Roe v. Wade.  The Senators, the Judges, the Army and the Police are on our side.  If they aren't, we will stay on their side until we can persuade them to switch.  That attitude defines the Secular Christian:  I will live the Christian life if--and only if--everyone else does.  I am not getting out there by myself.  I will live the Christian life to the degree that the police officer permits.  Meanwhile, I will sign petitions.  I will slip behind the curtain and vote.  I'll pray !  What more can you ask ?  And their pastors know better than to ask more.  When morality has to be popular, we can only have as much morality as the majority agrees with.  But the morality we need is the morality which the  courageous  minority  will stand up for, will work for, will live and die for, in opposition to the cowardly and immoral majority.  When Christians were a courageous minority the cowardly mob was afraid of them.  When they joined that mob,  when they let that mob join them, they ceased to be real Christians.  Going along with the crowd, waiting for the crowd to go along with you--is the mark of the Secular Christian. 

Trying to raise a Christian family is a doomed enterprise while you continue in an American life style marked by that love of money which is the root of all evil.  Roe v. Wade  is  not  the cause of abortion in America.  The real cause is that luxury-loving American life style, of which Secular Christians give such a conspicuous example, and which is firmly tied to contraception and abortion.  more money, fewer children is their implicit faith.  They eagerly follow that broad road which leads to the American Dream.  Careers for Women doubles family income--in the short run.  In the long run, doubling the labor force cuts wages in half.  So now it takes two incomes to support a family and women have to work all of their lives.  Women working long hours have no time and energy left for babies, and can't give them the attention they need.  Americans can now afford every luxury except the luxury of a family.  Women must wait until age 35 to have the one baby they are allowed.  Which means they must rely upon contraception and abortion from 15 to 35, all pretences aside.  Careers for Women effectively abolishes the family, just as the radical feminists originally intended.  As Gandhi predicted, contraception has produced a hideous promiscuity.  It degrades women into sex objects and teaches young men to be as responsible as a baby's rear end. 

Secular Christians have been taught to buy their way out of a moral obligation with a small donation and the flip of a voting lever.  They devoutly believe it is up to the government to establish Christian morality, because it cannot be up to them.  They have to believe it, because they do not have the Spirit of Courage which is required for Christian Witness in opposition to the Powers of this world.  Real Christians must live a Christian life which is founded upon bearing personal witness to the truth.  Sidewalk Counseling is a good place to begin.  It is the front line of the battle for a Christian society. 




pro  life  nonviolent  action  

web site:

Open  your  mouth  for  the  speechless,  In  the  cause  of  all  who  are  appointed  to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
  Proverbs   31.8-9   (nKJ)

For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.  John  18.37

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Matthew  25.40

Dear  Pastor  

August 21st 2008  


This August we begin our 20th year of a 5 day a week pro life witness and Sidewalk Counselling effort in front of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood.  Last month they combined the surgical clinic--the abortuary--with their headquarters, and moved both to a new fortress like compound at 38th and Pontiac.  So of course we moved along with them and have been settling into our new home on the sidewalk out in front along Pontiac Street.  We miss the shade trees we had on Vine Street but we don't miss the complaining neighbors and now we have the whole street to ourselves.  There is plenty of room for gory posters and it is easy to park.  I believe our daily picket line was a major reason for this move.  For years they have been trying to Do Something to counter the picket line, which at least chases a lot of their customers away.  They used to have 20 to 30 abortion customers on Friday, their busiest day.  Now they have about 10 on a Friday. 

Last month Leo Mantei got punched by an irate boy friend who resented Leo's appeal to him to be a real man and take responsibility.  Leo raised 5 children and has some right to speak on the subject.  Since Leo is 74, the boy friend wound up spending a month in jail on a felony assault charge before they dropped it to a misdemeanor.  We have had a few other tussles and wrestles in the past--it is an occupational hazard--but that is the first time Leo was ever hit and he has been coming out there every Wednesday and Friday for the past 18 years. 

Yesterday, Jo Scott was found guilty of Sidewalk Counselling in pro-abort Denver County Court and sentenced to six months suspended and $ 93 court costs.  Which really means that she walked out a free woman and she still has a good case against the 8 foot ordinance which attorney James Rouse intends to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.  It was two Planned Parenthood staff who set her up by parking out on the street and pretending to be abortion customers.  This is the first actual prosecution we have ever had under this law which was passed in 1993 by NARAL and Planned Parenthood to be used as a weapon against the Sidewalk Counsellors.  At the new place, the entire sidewalk is outside the 100 foot limit, so this may be the last case. 

Between 1989 and 1997 we had about 115 cases out there, for all sorts of junk--disturbing the peace by talking too loud.  We won nearly all of them--got them dismissed or won on appeal.  In 1997 we had a section 1983  federal lawsuit against the City of Denver and Planned Parenthood for backstairs collusion.  That, plus our stubborn refusal to be intimidated, forced them to abandon the policy of pseudo-legal harassment.  It is still the bottom line that you sometimes have to risk jail to rescue the least of these.  But it is a stretch to call yourself a Christian, if you won't do it.  Over the years, we have rescued about two babies per week on the average.   At the same time, we rescue their mothers from a life of inconsolable grief.  Rachel mourning for her children and would not be comforted.  On December 26th 1999, three babies were born on the same day to three women encountered by our sidewalk counselors in front of the Planned Parenthood abortuary. 

Al Garcia, one of the best and bravest Sidewalk Counsellors we ever had out there, died of a heart attack on Friday May 16th.  I saw him that morning at 20th and Vine where I first saw him in March of 1989.  He seemed happy.  He had the same hearty energy and eloquence that he had displayed 19 years earlier.  He waved as he drove away.  That afternoon he had a heart attack and he was


gone.  Al was a fearless banty rooster of a fellow with a booming voice and a wonderful eloquence in both English and Spanish.  He could be outrageous and rude and crude but he was very effective at saving babies, whether he was questioning the manhood of the boyfriend going in there--you are supposed to be the man of the house, not the mouse of the house !--or kneeling on the sidewalk in front of a mother pleading in English or Spanish:  I beg you for the life of your baby.  If he succeeded, as he often did, he would give them money, buy groceries for them, get them a place to stay.  When he was arrested, and put in jail, he  came right back again. 

He had all sorts of props left over from his days as a junkman which he would use.  He had a giant wooden Santa Claus he brought out at Christmas time.  He would don a gorilla suit and hold a stuffed monkey doll standing by the driveway:  gorillas don't kill their kids.  Once on his way to 20th and Vine he found a dead cat in the street so he brought it along.  He stood by the fence and held it up as the customers went in:  this cat will get a decent burial, your baby won't !  The cops soon showed up and ran him off with the cat.  But he had no shortage of props.  After that, Planned Parenthood put up 8 foot high plastic curtains along the front.  After that, we started using ladders. 

When I first went there, the other pickets were trying to shut up Al Garcia.  He wasn't respectable.  We should preserve church decorum at all times, even if it was a butcher shop, not a church.  After I had gone there a few times I decided that Al was doing the right thing by speaking out, calling out to the abortion customers as loudly and eloquently as he could to get them to stop.  I began to speak out too.  What else was it but  Bearing Witness to the Truth ?  Later, I found a bible verse which seems appropriate:  Open  your  mouth  for  the  speechless,  In  the  cause  of  all  who  are  appointed  to die.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.  Proverbs   31.8-9   Several organizations have copied that verse from me--I should have copyrighted it--which is all right, but I wish they would copy the Sidewalk Counselling as well, instead of just using it to raise money. 

Over the years, speaking out loud became characteristic of the pro life witness in front of the Vine Street Planned Parenthood surgical clinic.  Despite complaints from church groups which show up once a year to pray quietly--and criticize us.  They admonish us and say nothing to the abortion customers.  Despite complaints from neighbors, put up to it by Planned Parenthood which led to 100 free speech cases from 1989 to 1997 that finally established our right to speak out.  Al Garcia won our first case on appeal from disturbing the peace by speaking out loud, doing the paper work himself.   Bishop Robert Zeiger won 7 cases, several of them on appeal to the District Court.  Mike Martin won 8 free speech cases.  Over a period of years we developed a basic free speech brief. 

The cowardice and conformity which so deeply infects the Christian churches limits their witness against abortion to what is useless.  So called Christians do not possess the Spirit of Courage which would compel them to speak out against abortion.  There is a self-deceiving theology which goes with it:  our job is to pray.  It is up to God to stop abortion.  If your niece is headed for the Planned Parenthood abortuary this morning, all you can do is pray that God will somehow stop her.  It would be un Christian for you to speak out. 

We are still out there every morning from about 8:30 am to 10:30 am, Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 to 10:30 on Saturday.  [ I only go on Friday now.  I was out there 5 days a week for 12 years.  ]  Through the years we have rescued many babies by sidewalk counseling, despite physical and legal attacks.   Recently, we have seen more young people out there.  But we still rely upon the gray panthers to anchor the witness.  Nothing is more basic to living the Christian life than  bearing witness to the truth.  The truth about abortion is the cutting edge of Christian truth in our time.  Sidewalk Counselling is the front line of the battle.  Pastors must set the example.

Terry  Sullivan


Terry Sullivan 
1526 East 35th Avenue
Denver Colorado 80205







                                         Surrounded     May  28  04

 small print  12x18;  with frame 17x23      
Max and I were surrounded  by  pygmy  savages, one  of  them  headless, 
near  City  Park  Zoo.  Because  of  their  short  legs  and  despite  his, 
we  were  able  to out run  them. 
Terry Sullivan 
1526 East 35th Avenue
Denver Colorado 80205

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