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I had an interesting experience this weekend.  (Actually, I had a lot of them, but I’m only going to mention one.)  Some friends and I were out collecting signatures on a petition.  We went outside a library, public property.  I had called to get permission the day before and they told me not to block access to the library and to only have two petitioners at once.  So when some staff came out and told me that we could only stay if we did not “initiate contact” with the patrons, I thought it an interesting definition of Free Speech.

Free Speech is silence until spoken to.

Just thought you should know.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Update: In Colorado’s election 2008 (November), the Personhood Amendment is Amendment 48.  I will be voting YES on 48. 
This week the Colorado Personhood Amendment submitted more than 130,000 petition signatures in order to put the proposed amendment on the ballot in 2008.  This is huge, and I am very excited.  The campaign is only beginning, with a battle coming in the next several months to get the word out. 
 
Abort73.com, about which I wrote several months ago, has a collection of embryology textbook quotes and government on-the-record conclusions about when life begins.  You can read it and other related information here.  So far I haven’t found any specific resources describing the implications of the proposed amendment.  To be honest I have not looked too hard.  A reporter for Townhall, Michael Foust, wrote an article summarizing the history of the amendment very well. 
 
There have been some objections to this amendment from reasonable people.  Some people at my church thought that petitions and anything government-related did not belong at church.  I took my petition to church, and collected about ten signatures there.  My opinion waffled.  I offered it to my Sunday school class.  It was in the bulletin and I stood in the foyer with it.  Only a few times, with people I thought I knew well enough, did I ask if certain friends had signed it.  I’m naturally a non-aggressive person.  There were other people taking the aggressive position with their petitions at my church.  That reassured me, actually, that the audience for my petition was covered, just not by me.  I don’t disagree with the other petition circulators. 
 
One problem many people have begun to recognize and address at church is that we don’t connect our education or our spiritual experiences with obedience and action.  There are no laws against circulating petitions at church, and the amendment is definitely not associated with any political party.  Church is a community gathering, a great place to talk about what really matters.  What better place to invite people to sign a petition that is, rather than bringing politics to church, bringing truth into politics. 
 
Another objection is that, while a Christian and a scientist and any thinking or moral person may realize that life begins at conception, the government should stay out of it.  There is flawed logic here, but I think the problem is in the view of government.  What is a government’s role?  What does the Bible say about it?  Abort73.com says, “God established government to be His legal representative on earth (Romans 13:1,2). God established government to keep sinful people from doing evil against each other (Romans 13:3). While it is true that individuals are called to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39), the government is not (Romans 13:4). The government is called to execute judgement upon those who do wickedly. Arguing that the government must not restrict an individual’s free moral agency, is nothing more than an argument for anarchy.”
 
Finally, a lot of people are worried that the personhood amendment is a sneaky way of outlawing birth control and contraception.  Roe v. Wade pointed out the lack of concensus and official definition of person – the definitions by which the constitutional protections and due process would become relevant.  The amendment closes the loophole, and gives legislators and judges a platform on which to act and enforce.  But the question should not be, “Are religious people trying to tell me what to do and change the way I am used to living my life?” but, “If life begins at conception, what must I do to respect that life?”  Ultimately, the fact that this amendment is out there, being discussed and advocated, is going to make people face the question: am I harming or killing a human life? 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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In the pro-life movement, there are some tactics less popular than others.  For example, most everyone will support a pregnancy center.  Adoption agencies are good pro-life outlets, too.  Political involvement (like voting or signing a petition if it comes up) is an easy way to do a bit.  You can blog about pro-life, or give money to pro-life agencies.  Even sidewalk counseling, prayer vigils, and clinic protests aren’t that intimidating.  When you discuss loud, convicting protests or stark, bloody posters, then you rub some people the wrong way.  Finally something that really intimidates people is protesting in neighborhoods of abortionists and their accomplices.  (Ok, the idea of doing anything that could get you sent to jail isn’t popular either, but I’m not really advocating those things.) 

 

In fact a blogger who frequently supports Planned Parenthood was just complaining about the pro-life groups in Colorado who protested outside of a contractor’s house.  Her definitely not endorsed article can be read at this link.  I wrote the following as a comment, but I’m not sure whether she’ll post my refutation, so I’m tripling the effort by blogging it. 

 

Obviously contractors (and their neighbors) want to avoid the public opinion that doesn’t appreciate those who cooperate in the destruction of human life.  A good way of avoiding that would be to not participate in the murder of the most innocent of human life.  This is the point of the protests. 

 

Political campaigning is like this.  Members of the community have a right to communicate their position to their neighbors.  And they have the right to try to persuade their neighbors.  The fact that we have to persuade people to spare innocent children is a point in itself. 

 

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was peacefully and pointedly protesting the discrimination according to race, he was applauded (though resisted).  If the people do not gather to speak, their voice will not be heard.  Looking back we don’t feel bad about the teachers, clerks, drivers, and city officials who were made to feel uncomfortable about the policies of racial discrimination.  What they were doing was wrong.  The people knew it.  And the wrong was changed. 

 

Our constitution precludes lines being drawn about free speech, but I wonder where Planned Parenthood’s supporters would draw it.  The protesters are not on private property, but on public sidewalks and streets.  They do not prevent normal neighborhood activity like driving down the road, receiving mail, eating dinner as a family.  We are surrounded everyday by images and messages on benches, roadway signs, signs in yards, slogans on t-shirts.  Some are even directed at certain companies, policies, groups, or people.  Yet there is little outcry against these manifestations of First Amendment rights. 

 

The pro-abortion blogger used the word bully.  A schoolyard bully threatens the extortion of property or the physical health of his victim.  Debate and truth-telling, with no promise of repercussion, is not bullying.  There is no violence being done.  No theft is involved.  People are speaking their minds.  This is the patriotism on which our country was founded, by which it literally came into being. 

 

Pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice-to-take-another’s-life protesters are not objecting to the shame Planned Parenthood and their contractors feel over their projects.  We have serious concerns about the legality of deceiving the city officials and the public, of subverting zoning ordinances, and of potentially slandering the name of other companies (in the case of the Rocky Mountain facility, Planned Parenthood filed their permits under the name United Airlines, which unfairly correlates the murder of babies to them).  No one is questioning why Planned Parenthood wanted to hide their plans.  We simply object that they did.  Cities have ordinances to prevent such things. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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