FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLEDear Readers,
St. Thomas More, our diocesan patron, once said there is no time so evil a good man cannot live in it. But it's getting tough! This morning I went to the Annandale Women's Center, our Alexandria abortion mill [Even the name is a lie]. The bishop was coming later with a group from St. Mary's, but I wanted to help counsel women arriving for early appointments. It's a challenge! The sidewalk is about 50 yards downhill from the door with a two-level parking lot and a row of shrubs between. Our best chance to reach people is as they turn into the driveway from the street.
Several cars drove in without stopping. One man dropped off a woman. I made eye contact with him as he came down the drive and offered literature with a gesture and smile. He opened his window, so I walked over and told him we have many ways of helping couples in crisis pregnancies. As I spoke, a police officer parked adjacent to the building moved down behind the other car. I directed the man to go since we aren't allowed to "impede" traffc. The officer got out of his car and the conversation went something like this:
Officer: Give me your name and address.
Me: Why? I haven't done anything wrong. Off You were impeding traffic.
Me: There was no traffic to impede, and the man stopped specifically to talk to me.
Off. I'm not going to argue. If you won't give me your name and address, I'm charging you and you can tell it to the judge.
I started to comply, then refused. It was too much like a police state tactic "Gif me yore papers!" In the U.S. no one, even a policeman, can demand personal information without "probable cause" a crime has been committed.
As the officer went to his patrol car Bruce, our local rosary organizer, urged me to comply. I deferred to him and told the officer I'd cooperate. Too late! He ordered me into the car and wrote the summons. I told him it was wrong; pro-lifers are harassed for being politically incorrect. I wasn't in the street, but in a driveway. Others (like panhandlers) are almost never bothered.
He said his supervisor got a complaint. We were "rowdier than usual." [Six or seven people, all but two praying the rosary. How rowdy can that be praying too loud?] I said the complaint probably came from the abortion mill. Maybe, but his boss thought he wasn't "controlling" things enough. I told him my brother is a policeman in Baltimore, that I respect police officers, but pro-lifers are being persecuted all over the country and it's wrong. I said I'd pray for him, because there is a higher judge to whom we'll all have to answer.
Later I called his supervisor and we had a long talk. I asked how to file a complaint. He said they don't take complaints when it's going to court the judge would handle it. I asked the penalty since I'd been charged under the criminal (not traffic) code. He went to check the statute. When he came back on the line he said it appeared I'd been charged with the wrong thing. [If the charge is wrong or the policeman fails to appear in court it could be thrown out.] I thought, "He did it on purpose," and told the sergeant so. He laughed and said, "There you go reading minds again." I responded, "That's dishonest." He said he would check out the statute and call me in a few days, but "not to worry!"
I am worried. Not about going to court, but about where we're going as a nation. The law and those who enforce it promote evil. We who object are silenced. Harassment and intimidation are the norm. Rescuers have been beaten up. RICO legislation, written to use against organized crime, has robbed some pro-lifers of their homes. Nurses and pharmacists have been fired for refusing to kill babies. The House just passed a bill to deny bankruptcy relief to pro-lifers slapped with huge, unjust, financial judgments. "Hate crime" legislation looms over us. Remember how gays blamed Matthew Shepherd's murder on Christians? If we oppose sodomy and same-sex marriage we're labeled homophobic hate-mongers. Our language kills, we are told, not the abortionist's knife or the hoodlum's gun. The writing's on the wall for those who know history.
In Germany in 1935 the Nuremberg Laws set many social restrictions on Jews. They were banned from public schools, universities, parks, theaters, resorts, etc. In the late `30s economic restrictions were imposed. Police and courts "just doing their jobs" enforced evil laws. We all know the worst was yet to come.
It's time for Christians to "hold our ground" and fight with truth and prayer as our weapons. We must do it respectfully, kindly, but firmly. The only other choice is capitulation to evil. Please pray for me, Officer Tom Tazelaar, and the judge. I'll be in court March 27th. May it be to God's honor and glory.