Archive for the ‘Non-violence’ Category

Are the Babies in the Empty Chair? An Open Letter to President Obama

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

160112 blog imageDear President Obama, my prayers are with you as I write this letter today, anticipating your State of the Union address.

Sir, you recently tweeted: “If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.” Your appeal seemed to be directed at gun control. Yet, the one life chord is vibrating on a frequency that embraces not just victims of gun violence, but even reaching the innocent lives in the womb.

Many people often try to marginalize the sanctity of life voice. Yet, I would appeal to you to consider that death by forceps or bullets is death all the same:

““I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”” – Matthew 27:4 ESV

Sir, we are trying to “see to it,” to see an end to senseless violence in every corridor.

Dear President Obama, in the Bible there have been great kings and rulers. Some served God, some did not. In many cases some of these rulers came to know and serve God because of prayerful people within their courts and cabinets. I’m sure you have such voices around you.

In your recent gun control speech you spoke of Zaevion, a high school student, and his heroism as he dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. And he was shot in the head. And the girls were spared. He gave his life to save theirs. You also rightly quoted John 15:16, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” To lay down one’s life for a friend takes an extremely selfless act, something we don’t hear about too often.

You said, “Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns — 30,000. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life.”

Violence is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the use of physical force so to harm someone, to damage property, etc.”

Violence can take many forms. Gun violence is one of those forms. Knife violence is another. Fist violence another; and word violence too. Bomb violence is another. And abortion violence is yet another.

As you spoke and began to tear up, I could see the compassion you have for those who are senselessly killed by guns. I believe that many Americans feel the same way you do, not only for gun violence but for any type of violence. Americans mourned the lives lost to the Boston bombers. We mourned those killed at the twin towers on 9/11.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2013 there were a total of 41,149 deaths by suicide of which 21,175 were by guns. That means that 19,974 suicides occurred by other means such as suffocation, poisoning, etc. Additionally, in 2011 there were 836,000 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries. Although not broken down by types of injuries, I would venture to say that many of them were not due to gun shots.

Although we do need certain legislation regarding gun sales and safety the focus needs to be more on violence control and not excessive gun control.

Violence is due to hatred, or malice people may have towards others for whatever reason. It could be due to skin color, or someone having something that someone else has, or someone not believing what we believe. Whatever the reason the solution is the same: LOVE.

We must change the dialogue from “we’re against something” to “we’re for something.” In this case we must be for love – love of our fellow human being, love of life, love of self!

The Bible advises and teaches us that we should never rail against rulers and leaders in authority; rather we are to pray for our leaders, which I do. There are many words you have spoken over the years of your presidency; some which ring with compassion.

As you may know, I am a pro-life activist. I am concerned about all human lives. I write to you today because, like you and so many other Americans, I am concerned over the growing violence in America. But I am also concerned over the millions of lives lost to the violence of abortion.

Mother Teresa once said, “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

I’m writing today to appeal to your compassion for those lost to violent acts and I ask you to consider that what our world needs is not just gun control but violence control. We need to turn to LOVE for the answer.

I do not want to politicize the issue of guns or abortion and that’s why I’m inviting you to step out of the political arena and invite you to step into the arena of principles and moral values. The arena where we can change the world through LOVE and PEACE!

Voices

You gave life voice
To sing sweet psalms.

Life sings of degradation.

You gave life ears to hear
your music

Life listens to pagan drums.

Life has many voices Lord.
We need to only listen.

Of all the voices in my life
Yours is sweetest.

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Priests for Life’s Alveda King to Speak at National Press Club Newsmaker Press Conference Jan. 7

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 30, 2014

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Alveda King, full-time director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, daughter of civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will discuss how her uncle and father would have viewed this generation’s struggle for civil rights during a National Press Club Newsmaker press conference Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. in the Zenger Room.

Dr. King will address gun violence, abortion and the war on poverty at the event, which comes one week before what would have been slain civil rights leader MLK’s 86th birthday,

The author of numerous books, Dr. King’s most recent, “King Rules” addresses what she sees as the nation’s need for “genuine servant leaders” to counter “the forces of moral drift and empty relativism.”

She previously served as a senior fellow at the conservative think-tank The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and is a former member of Georgia’s House of Representatives.

Dr. King became a member of the Priests for Life pastoral team and director of its African-American Outreach after she met Father Frank Pavone, National Director, and the two of them shared their belief that the pro-life movement is the civil rights movement of the 21st century.

“The civil rights movement and the pro-life movement have the same heart and soul – the dignity and equality of every human life,” Father Pavone said. “Martin Luther King Jr. and his colleagues applied that truth to the evil of segregation. Today, pro-life activists apply that very same truth to the evil of abortion.”

Dr. King said she is honored and grateful to be asked to address Press Club members and D.C. journalists.

“My Uncle ML received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his non-violent campaign for human justice,” she said. “He resisted injustice and sought solutions through prayer and non-violent protest. I know if he could be with us, he would suggest those same paths to a peaceful solution to all the problems plaguing our society right now.”

The Newsmakers event is open to credentialed press and National Press Club members and is free of charge. No advance registration is required.

The National Press Club is at 529 14th St., NW. The Zenger Room is on the 13th floor.

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Nobel Peace Then and Now…

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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May God bless the 2014 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Both are to be commended for their fearless fight for the rights of children.

My Uncle, MLK received the Nobel Peace Prize 50 years ago in 1964 for his nonviolent campaign for human justice. Uncle ML resisted injustice and sought solutions through Christian prayer and nonviolent protests.

Many today acknowledge injustice in the world’s judicial systems. In some cases, “the haves” guilty or not can buy their way out of some legal charges; whereas the “have nots” whether innocent or not can’t afford good lawyers.

The recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York have sparked protests adding fuel to the fire in these two cities along with many others throughout the United States.

A major difference between the protests of the 20th century Civil Rights Movement and these violent protests in many cities today is the shortage of fervent prayer.

Whereas Martin Luther King, Jr. respected the laws and law officers in his day while still disagreeing with the discrimination many of today’s protesters have no respect for police officers even to the point of putting a bounty on their heads. One video shows a woman passing by a camera and then returning just to scream, “F*** the police.”

What a far cry from the MLK Nobel Peace Prize speech:

“After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time—the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.” MLK 1964

Through prayer and perseverance Uncle ML and the faithful were successful in getting Civil Rights Laws passed using nonviolent means. Today’s protesters are alienating many of their supporters because of the looting and arson.

Additionally, many protesters keep chanting Hands Up – Don’t Shoot, a phrase taken from what Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s friend, told police as he witnessed the incident between police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown.

This chant along with “no justice no peace” tends to inflame emotions rather than to promote a goal of peaceful nonviolent conflict resolution. Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I believe that my Daddy, AD King, Granddaddy King and Uncle ML, all followers of Christ, left us good examples of walking in faith, hope, peace and love. I write about their examples in my book KING RULES. There are some other mantras in the “tweet” chapter.

Now some useful mantras are: Know Peace – Know Justice, Pants Up – Don’t Loot and Hands Up – Don’t Abort. Why bring abortion into the equation? Well, along with Black on Black crime and questionable deaths by law enforcement, Blacks are dying by abortion at alarming rates.

The injustice of abortion is killing over 1,300 black babies every single day. Now the question should be: Millions of babies are dying. Where is the outcry? Where are their lawyers? Where is the justice?

Like Uncle ML during his lifetime, the 2014 Nobel Laureates are advocates for children. Let us now pray for peace on earth, for life, for children, for family, our nation and the world. For Christmas, for our families. For Christ.

Black Lives Do Matter with hashtag

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NO PEACE, NO JUSTICE

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

140820 blog image - no peace no justice

I had a call today from someone who had heard a major news network entertain a recommendation that the law enforcement officials should use water hoses to quell the unrest on the streets of Ferguson, MO. I pray that rather than to resort to more violence in the efforts to stop the violence, leaders and lay people alike will embrace the principles of love and nonviolence, using peace in the quest for justice. This goes far beyond what’s happening in Ferguson today, or at the hands of Isis overseas. Our men are being murdered in the streets or on the sands. Our mothers and babies are being slaughtered at the hands of abortionists. Death is rampant and justice lies bleeding in the streets. God help us!

Racial unrest and unresolved tensions are mounting in the aftermath of the shooting death of young Michael Brown. Meanwhile, gruesome reports of the execution of yet another young man, a news reporter, reportedly beheaded by the terrorist cell, Isis. Two young American men caught up and killed in the crosshairs of conflicts that are escalating at an alarming rate and dividing the human community. Reason seems murdered in the squares of injustice.

As these events seem to take on Biblical proportions, I am reminded of the 1960′s when the town squares of America looked like the streets of Ferguson look after midnight.

When we were faced with guns, dogs, billy clubs, and bombs in the 1960′s we used the principles of faith, love, peace and justice. My father, Rev. AD King, once quelled an angry mob with the entreaty to resist violence as he begged the people who were turning over police cars and hurling boulders into the masses to “please go home and pray. My family and I are unharmed. If you must strike out, strike at me. I would rather you go home and pray. Fight for your rights, but please do so nonviolently.”

My uncle MLK once said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I beg America to rethink and rephrase “No justice, no peace,” to NO PEACE, NO JUSTICE. You can’t find justice without peace.

My Daddy once counseled me in my grief and anger over the assassination of my Uncle ML as I stood inconsolable, muttering in his arms: “I hate white people, Daddy. They killed Uncle ML.” My daddy kissed my head and said: “Alveda, you can’t hate white people. They didn’t kill Brother. The devil did. You must learn to pray and to forgive, because we are all one human race.” I began to heal right then; the wounds of racism were becoming overcome by God’s love in the arms of my Daddy.

Over the years, I learned to embrace the Beloved Community, and to use the principles I was taught in the 1960s by my father and my uncle. I write about this in my book, KING RULES. Today, I pray for the two families who have lost their sons and loved one, by the hand of Isis or on the streets of Ferguson. I pray for peace, so that we can receive justice and mercy.

SIX STEPS AND PRINCIPLES FOR NONVIOLENT SOCIAL CHANGE – A sequential journey to victory:

Principle 1: Nonviolence is not passive, but requires courage.
Principle 2: Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.
Principle 3: Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evildoer
Principle 4: A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it.
Principle 5: A rejection of hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence.
Principle 6: Faith that justice will prevail.

Understanding this, we apply the six steps of nonviolent conflict resolution:

(1.) Prayerfully enter into a process by conducting research and gathering information to get the facts straight;
(2.) Continuing in prayer, conduct education and awareness campaigns to inform adversaries and the public about the facts of the dispute;
(3.) Prayerfully commit yourself to live and manifest a nonviolent attitude and actions;
(4.) Prayerfully mediate and negotiate with adversary in a spirit of goodwill to correct injustice;
(5.) Prayerfully apply nonviolent direct action, such as prayer vigils, marches, boycotts, mass demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins etc., to help persuade or compel adversary to work toward dispute-resolution;
(6.) Prayerfully anticipate reconciliation among adversaries in a win-win outcome in establishing a sense of community which should now be achievable.

140820 blog image - vengeance is mine Rev

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Dr. Alveda King Urges Prayer and Nonviolence for St. Louis Melee

Monday, August 11th, 2014

140811 blog image B

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2014

Contact: Eugene Vigil – 470-244-3302 or eugene@priestsforlife.org

Atlanta, GA – Dr. Alveda King, author of newly released Thomas Nelson book KING RULES is stunned and saddened by reports of the violent death of yet another “young Black male.” Speaking of the death of eighteen year old Michael Brown who was allegedly gunned down by a local police officer in Ferguson, MO last Saturday, King said: “This time let’s not spin this into yet another argument over gun control. Let’s do something to stop the killing of our children and our young people. Michael could have been stabbed or choked to death. The method isn’t the problem. The problem is that our society must begin to value life, tempered with justice and liberty for everyone.” King shared similar sentiments at a recent Family Leadership Summit in Iowa.

Praying to avoid yet another series of angry retaliation against injustice, King added: “Amidst reported angry protests of racial profiling, intended peaceful prayer vigils are turning violent as protestors of the youth’s death are taking to streets with torches, looting and stealing and rampaging local business establishments. This painful incident brings to mind my father Rev. A. D. King in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 when our home was fire bombed by rabid racists. The people were angry and wanted to riot. Daddy stood on the hood of a car with a megaphone and calmed the people. This is not the time to riot. This is the time to pray. Please, protest, stand up for our rights, but do this with nonviolence!”

“In memory of my father and in honor to God, I urge nonviolence in the demand for justice of Michael’s death. This is not the time to burn, this is the time to turn our prayers towards heaven and seek nonviolent and just solutions to what has happened to Michael. This must be done for his family, his neighbors, and our nation,” King added.

King, who is also the Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, and the Founder of Alveda King Ministries once called the shooting death of another Black youth in Florida “a late term abortion.” Trayvon Martin was shot by a self proclaimed vigilante “peace officer” as he was returning home from the store with candy and soda pop. Martin was also unarmed. King was encouraged by the reaction of young Martin’s parents, who called for peace and for justice. The parents maintained their dignity while fighting for justice for the loss of their son.

“When a child is killed in the womb, or years later, his or her dreams are aborted. In order for justice to prevail, hearts need to be calmed, tempers need to be calmed, the facts need to be determined. In order for justice to prevail, the judicial system must be allowed to take its course,” said King.

To burn down gas stations, loot and steal and rampage local business establishments won’t bring Michael back, to his family or to our hurting world. I join my cousin Elder Bernice King, CEO of the MLK Center in Atlanta in a call for nonviolence as justice is sought for Michael Brown in Saint Louis, and for a moratorium on violence all over the world. Bernice King has launched a call for 365 Days of nonviolence at www.choosenonviolence.org. Alveda King can be reached at www.africanamericanoutreach.org. They are the daughter and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Gun Control? Knife Control? Bomb Control? or Heart Control?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Explosion at Boston marathon

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. (Psalms 2:1, 2, 4 NLT)

Gun Control? Knife Control? Bomb Control? Now what? How about Heart Control?

When news of the recent Boston Marathon hit pro-life leader Dr. Johnny Hunter soon notified us that our prolife colleagues Dr. Haywood Robinson and wife Dr. Noreen Johnson were safe, even though Doc Robinson was approaching the finish line at the time of the explosion.

Grateful for the report, we continued to pray for the victims and their families. In the midst if it all, I remembered my previous warning about the futility of expecting gun control to cure the violence overtaking our nation.

People Wield Guns, Jesus Heals

By Alveda King
January 14, 2013

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” – John 18:10-11

We live in a fallen world, a seemingly nonsensical world.

It’s a world where people hold inviolate a “constitutional right” that doesn’t appear in the Constitution in order to permit abortion violence, yet are ready to trample upon a right that explicitly appears in the Constitution in order to try to stop gun violence.

There is no conceivable gun control law that could have stopped the horror of Sandy Hook – at least nothing short of confiscation. And confiscation would involve the government entering people’s homes without permission – a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s bar against unreasonable searches and seizures, not to mention the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

Still, people want to “do something.” I would suggest that we’re looking in the wrong place when we look at guns.

I know the horror of violence. Like many, I have lived through its trauma. I lost my uncle and grandmother to gun violence. But I also lost my father under suspicious circumstances that had nothing to do with guns. I lost childhood playmates not to guns, but to a bomb. My own house in Birmingham, in fact, was firebombed while I was in it . . .

Read the rest if this article HERE.

Years ago, a woman stabbed my Uncle ML in New York while he was there to preach with Dr. Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden. In her heart the woman disagreed with Rev. King’s message. Read John 8:37.

So now are we going to try to regulate bombs and/or materials that are used to make bombs?

I know that people become outrages when acts of violence mass killings are committed on our soil as do I. But my outrage is not restricted to those covered by the media. My outrage extends to the violent killing of each and every baby that is killed in an abortion mill in cities and towns all across America, all 4000 of them.

Here is the key – hearts must change if violence is to cease. Remember, Jesus didn’t take away Peter’s sword. Jesus spoke to Peter’s heart.

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Knife Control?

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

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For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; – 2 Corinthians 10:4

On Tuesday a young college student in Texas went on a violent stabbing spree wounding 14 students at the CyFair campus of Lone Star College near Houston.

Was he exercising a weird type of gun control, by selecting a knife as his weapon of choice? Or maybe he wasn’t interested in killing with a gun but rather wanted to use a knife because of his fantasies of stabbing people to death since he was in elementary school as he told detectives.

Again, the call for gun control after the Sandy Hook murders is not the answer to controlling violence as I wrote in an article (copy below) in January but the true and only way to control violence is to change people’s hearts and minds. The government can regulate weapons to death (no pun intended) but until people’s hearts and minds are changed, people will always find a way to murder each other.

Case in point: Dylan Andrew Quick, the suspect in the Texas stabbings. Had he been more skilled, he could have actually killed someone. According to an FBI report, in 2011 13.4% of all murders in the United States were by knives and other cutting instruments.

This doesn’t even speak to the sanctioned murdering that is occurring in towns and cities all across America in abortion mills. And they’re using our tax dollars to do it.

Dylan stabbed 14 people but didn’t kill anyone. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, shot and killed 26 people, 20 children and 6 adults. I believe the outrage of the Sandy Hook shooting spree was the result of so many young children being killed, and rightly so. But where is the outrage over the 3,500-4,000 babies being killed every single day by doctors that have supposedly taken an oath to do no harm.

These doctors in abortion mills do not wield a gun; they don’t wield a knife. Their weapons of “choice” (again, no pun intended) are the forceps, a cannula, and a curette.

The Bible says, “You shall not murder.” – Exodus 20:13. And even if you aren’t religious or don’t believe in God, all countries have laws against murder.

At the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, Mother Teresa of Calcutta said of abortion, “And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

Hearts and minds, that’s what we need to work on changing. We can only do that if we turn to God.

People Wield Guns, Jesus Heals

By Alveda King
January 14, 2013

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” – John 18:10-11

We live in a fallen world, a seemingly nonsensical world.

It’s a world where people hold inviolate a “constitutional right” that doesn’t appear in the Constitution in order to permit abortion violence, yet are ready to trample upon a right that explicitly appears in the Constitution in order to try to stop gun violence.

There is no conceivable gun control law that could have stopped the horror of Sandy Hook – at least nothing short of confiscation. And confiscation would involve the government entering people’s homes without permission – a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s bar against unreasonable searches and seizures, not to mention the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

Still, people want to “do something.” I would suggest that we’re looking in the wrong place when we look at guns.

I know the horror of violence. Like many, I have lived through its trauma. I lost my uncle and grandmother to gun violence. But I also lost my father under suspicious circumstances that had nothing to do with guns. I lost childhood playmates not to guns, but to a bomb. My own house in Birmingham, in fact, was firebombed while I was in it 50 years ago.

The year 2013 will mark several significant landmark anniversaries including 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, 100 years since the formation of the Federal Reserve System, 50 years since the MLK ‘I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH’, and the 40th year landmine Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. This will surely be a year of transition and there is a need for a deep spiritual awakening.

Life has taught me that anger and hate are not constrained by taking away a weapon. The civil rights era proved that baseball bats, lead pipes, and ropes are lethal when in the hands of evil men. Terrorists have proven that fertilizer, nails, and airplanes kill more effectively than guns. The weapon is not the problem. The problem is inside the human being who wants to kill.

Read the rest of my article at newsmax.com.

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Black leaders release new report, urging DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The National Black Prolife Coalition, has released a new report on the harmful impact of abortion. Visit the website for the latest on the report which was released on Capitol Hill. Click here National Black Prolife Colation

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41-Month Sentence for Man Who Threatened Fr. Pavone and Other Pro-Life Leaders

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 4, 2012

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

STATEN ISLAND, NY –Theodore Shulman, a pro-choice activist who in 2010 threatened to kill several pro-life leaders, has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

Shulman, 51, pleaded guilty in May to one count of transmitting a threat to injure another person. The targeted victims named in the case are Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Princeton University’s Robert George.

In January 2010, as the trial of Scott Roeder, a man accused of killing abortionist George Tiller, was under way, Shulman posted a comment on the Catholic news site First Things, threatening that “if Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing” Father Pavone and Mr. George.

Father Pavone stated, “I have already publicly forgiven Mr. Shulman and pray for him every day. I also renew, with my friend Bill Baird, known as the Father of the Pro-Choice movement, the joint statement we made years ago rejecting hatred and violence in word and deed between those on opposite sides of the abortion issue.”

For more information, go to www.priestsforlife.org/nonviolence.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Police Stop Prayers Outside White House

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Dozens of people have already been arrested over the weekend for kneeling and praying in front of the White House.

ActsFive29, a group of like-minded, pro-life defenders launched the D.C. prayer rally knowing their members could indeed be arrested, but asserting it’s worth it, because, “The future of religious freedom in America is at risk.”

The group claims Acts 5:29 – “But Peter and the Apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” – as their basis for protesting the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate requiring employer-provided health insurance cover birth control measures.

“Obamacare will force institutions, churches and individuals to purchase abortion-inducing drugs and pay for sterilization and abortion in direct opposition to their beliefs, conscience and historic teachings of the Church,” says the group. “With the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming Obamacare, the future of religious freedom in America is at risk and in grave danger of being entirely wiped out.”

On Saturday afternoon, 22 members of the group knelt on the sidewalk in prayer and were arrested by Capitol Police, with the prayer rally (and possible arrests) planned to continue through Oct. 2.

The group says that the only basis for their arrest is that the sidewalk in front of the White House is a “restricted zone” for free speech.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told WND, “We have stood up for life and religious freedom in hundreds of cities. Today we do so at the president’s house. I am delighted to be here.”

The group says that the president is “dictating to Christians how they should live their faith” and that they are taking a stand, while risking arrest for doing so.

Bryan Kemper, director of youth outreach at Priests for Life, told WND that he was arrested on Saturday afternoon for kneeling on the sidewalk near the White House while holding a sign that said, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom.”

“I am here today as a father of seven children who is willing to lose my freedom to protect my children’s future freedom,” he told WND. “I was arrested yesterday when I knelt and prayed holding a sign for religious freedom, and I will kneel and pray again today, risking arrest again.”

He told WND that this issue is vital for all American’s to understand.

“We must take this stand now, or we will have no freedom to do so tomorrow,” he said. “I will obey God rather than man.”

He finished, “The HHS mandate violates God’s law and forces us to sin, and I will not comply.”

Brandi Swindell, National Director of Generation Life, a pro-life group dedicated to mobilizing activists, students, artists, musicians and young professionals to end abortion and spread the message of sexual integrity, told WND that she had a “divine appointment” in Washington today.

“Three of us chose to attend church at St. John’s this morning,” Swindell said, “and at the last minute found out that Kathleen Sebelius, the architect of the HHS Mandate was holding an adult forum between services.”

Swindell told WND that she got the secretary’s attention, and in front of a packed auditorium asked her, “Why are you forcing the American people to pay for abortion-inducing drugs that harm women? It’s a severe violation of religious freedom.”

The secretary ignored the question and left the stage.

Video of the exchange, and the critical reaction of other church attendees, can be seen [at http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/d-c-police-stop-prayers-outside-white-house/]

Swindell told WND that just four years ago she was arrested and deported from communist China for standing up for religious freedom there.

“I stood in Tiananmen Square holding a banner that said, ‘Jesus Christ is King’ and was arrested,” Swindell said. “I never imagined that just four years later I’d be standing in front of the White House risking the very same thing.”

She told WND that she intended to hold the same banner declaring “Jesus Christ is King” in front of the White House Sunday afternoon, and fully expected to be arrested for it.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, says of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally, being held across the street from the White House, “For the faith community, we can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious freedom.”

He continued, “As people of principle and faith, we must purpose in our hearts that we will never comply with an unjust or immoral government mandate [that] would require us to violate our conscience, the teachings of the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the church.”

“We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials,” he concluded, “that we would rather spend time in jail than to be forced into complying with a mandate that crushes religious freedom.”

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