+gt;You assume that those who engage in criminal activities, e.g., +gt;firebombing abortio
>You assume that those who engage in criminal activities, e.g.,
>firebombing abortion clinics are Christians. Prove to me that
OK, you wanted it, you got it.
VIOLENCE INSIDE CHRISTIANITY
CopyLeft 1992 - All Rites Reversed
Those who have been reading the current dialog between Robert Lee and
myself may have noted that we are currently engaged in an argument
regarding whether or not Christians are engaged in illegal activities with
reference to their attempts to close and/or blockade abortion clinics.
Robert Lee has stated that Christians have only been excercising their
right to protest, to assemble in a peaceable manner, and to make their
grievances known. He further asserts that what laws are broken are civil in
nature - also known as Civil Disobedience. He characterizes that behavior
as simply blocking entrances to abortion clinics. I have taken the position
that, quite the contrary, Christians have been engaged in increasingly
violent activity against their enemies, including tresspassing, bombings,
threats, arson, assault, and even kidnapping. Robert Lee has asked me to
prove my assertation. Here it is.
On July 14th, 1986, after weeks of picketing and protests by organized
Christian "Right to Life" groups, which including such stunts as breaking
into the clinic and chaining themselves to chairs and floor fans, and even
one zealot who dived through a plate-glass window, someone broke into a
Reproductive Health Services clinic in suburban West City, poured six
gallons of gasoline on the floor, and ignited it. The clinic was destroyed
by the resultant explosion. Christian leaders expressed regret over the
damage, but none of the groups involved stepped forward to claim
According to Connie Paige, in her book, "The Right to Lifers: Who They Are,
How They Operate, Where They Get Their Money," there have been 32 bombings,
46 arsons, 38 attempted arsons and bombings, 232 invasions of clinics, 226
incidents of vandalism, 48 assaults and batteries, 67 death threats, 3
kidnappings, and 20 burglaries - since 1977.
In 1987 in Chicago, a clinic security guard was driven over by Christian
anti-abortion demonstrators fleeing the clinic after their break-in was
discovered. They were arrested and successfully prosecuted. They also
professed their Christianity at their defense and attempted to use their
religious beliefs as an excuse for their attempted vehicular homicide.
In 1988 in Southern California, 8 clinic defenders were held and beaten for
over 40 minutes by a mob of pro-lifers. The assaults ended only when an
Operation Rescue leader arrived with a bullhorn and encouraged the enraged
OR volunteers to back off. Suprisingly, no one was seriously injured.
In St. Louis in 1982, Dr. Hector Zevellos, a clinic operator, and his wife
were publicly kidnapped and held for over a week by a group calling itself
the Army of God. One of the men arrested in the kidnapping, Don Benny
Anderson, has been sentenced to a total of 42 years in prison for his part
in the kidnapping. He has been interviewed by Joseph M. Scheidler, author
of the pro-life book, "Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion." Mr. Scheidler
writes in chapter 81 of his book, entitled "Violence: Why it Won't Work,"
that Anderson was admittedly a Christian, admittedly a member of the Army
of God, but that the group itself lacked any other affiliation. He also
admits that many acts of violence have been done by Anti-abortion groups
over the years, including one man who attempted to burn down a New York
abortion clinic, but succeeded only in setting himself on fire... Schneider
states that "while we might respect the zeal that would prompt such
activities, we do not condone or recommend them." However, in the very next
paragraph, he further states, "We must point out for the sake of proper
perspective, however, that no amount of damage to real estate can equal the
violence of taking a single human life."
Scheidler himself will not come out against law-breaking in its various
forms, although he states that only "non-violent" direct action is
advocated by his group, the "Pro-Life Action League." His book details many
legal and illegal methods for obtaining the aims of the group. His book
walks the tightrope, never directly advocating illegal activities, but
merely describing them, how they might be accomplished, and how seldom it
is that anyone gets caught. For example, he states that in the case of a
subway system that refused to remove posters for abortion clinics from its
subway tunnels, a system of vandalism over a period of months led to the
subway system refusing any further advertising from abortion clinics. He
advocates infiltrating abortion clinics under the guise of potential
clients and distributing leaflets in every magazine and book in the place,
so that they will fall out into the laps of those reading them. He also
directly advocates tracing the license plates of workers at abortion
clinics, to picket them at home and call them on the phone. He advocates in
his chapter "Adopt an Abortionist" a system of harrassment whereby the
abortion clinic employee is followed 24 hours a day and harangued non-stop.
He reports favorable results from the use of graffiti, advocates setting up
a phony talk show, using canned scripts and hoked-up guests (Chapter 50),
stealing "pro-choice" books from bookstores, defacing bench ads for
abortion clinics, encouraging your children to speak out against abortion
in schools and to get them to hand out leaflets inside of schools, make
phony appointments at abortion clinics and then not show up, and using
"horror stories" to convince pregnant women not to abort.
Jenny Kirby, a former employee at the Northeast Women's Center in
Philadelphia, received a letter which had a photograph of her daughter,
taken clandestinely, torn into pieces with the message "We're going to cut
your daughter into little pieces the way you cut up babies." Workers at
Reproductive Health Services report constant phone calls at home and at
work from people who either scream "Whore!" into the telephone, play the
recorded sound of a machine gun firing, or begin quoting scripture. Every
employee at this clinic reported receiving either phone or written death
In the book, "Christian Manifesto," which Operation Rescue founder Randall
Terry reports was his model for the organization of OR, the author Franky
Schaeffer wrote that the founders of America always intended to link the
government to Christianity, even though they never got around to it.
Schaeffer also wrote in favor of using violent methods when necessary - "In
a fallen world, force in some form will always be necessary."
Terry says he himself does not endorse violence, but does state that OR
members may "have to physically intervene" to prevent a woman from entering
an abortion clinic. He states, "That is the logical response to murder."
According to Connie Paige again, Operation Rescue members have been
arrested for pouring glue in keyholes of locks on clinic doors, for placing
"fetal remains" inside a children's playhouse at a clinic, and for (on many
occasions) forming a human wall to prevent women from entering a clinic. At
one protest that was personally directed by Terry in Binghamton, New York,
a pregnant clinic worker was punched in the stomach by a OR member and was
seriously injured. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she
miscarried. I'd like to note at this point that the OR member who hit her
was NOT charged with murder. If, as OR members insist, a fetus is fully
human, then their own people are indeed guilty of murder.
Frank Sussman says this about Terry: "If he doesn't condone violence, he
does nothing to speak against it, and by his silence, he encourages it. It
is a short step from the lawlessness of Randall Terry and his merry crew to
the burning of an abortion clinic."
The most recent episode of violence that I could find is merely months old.
During the recent clinic blockades in Buffalo, an clinic defender was
punched in the mouth by a rabid OR member who was led away quoting
scripture. The victim's jaw was broken in 6 places. This happened on
Thursday, April 23rd, 1992.
Before that, 25 police officers were assaulted and held against a fence by
a mob of over 200 Christian demonstrators in Wichita, KS, on July 30th,
I think that I have proved my point. Christians are indeed responsible for
rising violence and lawlessness directed against abortion clinics and
pro-choice advocates. There have been numerous court cases where Christians
have been found guilty of kidnapping, arson, bombings, assaults, and common
vandalism, besides the many, many instances of "Civil Disobediance" that
Robert Lee speaks of. He may now say that those people could not have
possibly been Christians; he may say that not all Christians engage in
illegal activities, he may say that the facts are tainted or that the
judges are corrupt, or he may say that the "Christians" in question are
nothing of the sort (perhaps they are undercover New Agers!). But the
facts remain the facts.
Szykowny, Rick. "Life During Wartime" The Humanist, Jul 92
Lawler, Philip F. "Uncivil Liberties: For Operation Rescue" Crisis, May 92
Henn, John. "Civil Rights and RICO: Stopping Operation Rescue" Harvard
Women's Law Journal, Wint 91
DiSalvo, Charles R. "What's Wrong With Operation Rescue?" Commonweal, Dec
Faludi, Susan. "Where Did Randy Go Wrong?" Mother Jones, Nov 89
USA Today, Jul 30 91
Faux, Marian _Crusaders: Voices From The Abortion Front_, Birch Lane Press
Paige, Connie _The Right To Lifers: Who They Are, How They Operate, Where
They Get Their Money_, Summit Books, 1983
Scheidler, Joseph M. _Closed: 99 Ways To Stop Abortion_, Crossway Books,
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank