The Right to Pray – Where Rights Conflict
According to FOXNews.com, a Chicago man was arrested outside a Planned Parenthood clinic simply for praying, alone, on the sidewalk:
A Chicago man says he’s fighting charges of disorderly conduct for simply standing on a public sidewalk and praying.
Joseph Holland, a 25-year-old graduate student at Northwestern University, says he was standing still praying the rosary outside a Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Chicago July 3 when police arrested him for violating the city’s new “Bubble Zone” ordinance.
The link contained in that snippet (which is included in the full FOX article and is not something I added), leads to the Planned Parenthood statement on Chicago’s Bubble Zone ordinance. It’s a two page PDF file. In a nutshell, the ordinance prevents people from approaching someone (getting within eight feet of them) to hand out educational material, protest them or in any way interfere with that person when they are within 50 feet of a health care provider’s office.
That’s great. I think having a safety zone around any health care service is probably a good idea. But, as the PDF itself points out, praying to oneself is not seen by Planned Parenthood as a violation of the ordinance.
To be fair, the FOXNews.com article highlights some conflicting reports as to what, exactly, this mans’ behavior might have been.
Here’s my concern. We all know that liberal anti-war protesters ran amok in the streets calling for Bush’s death, burning him in effigy, and acting like psychotic lunatics. In contract, the TEA Party events – whether they be protests or rallies – have been peaceful. And yet there is a huge attempt by the powers that be in this country (read: the Leftist media, the brainchildren of George Soros, the SEIU, the Democratic Party and the Obama administration itself) to paint the TEA Party as dangerously racist, violence inducing, anti-American lunatics who must be watched.
And now a man is being arrested, allegedly, for praying.
We live in a country where the true lunatics are running the asylum, and the people of good faith who see the forest for what it is – a group of crazed, freedom-hating trees – are painted as enemies of the state.
Let’s say this man did interfere with a patient or worker at the Planned Parenthood clinic. Let’s say he did block the entryway and prevent people from accessing the building. Those are already crimes and he should have been arrested for those. Instead, he was arrested for supposedly violating an ordinance. That makes me wonder. According to the article referenced above, the normal course of action would have been to issue a ticket and have the man appear in court at a later date. Not an arrest. What is going on?
Let’s say this man did exactly what he claims he did. He prayed. Peacefully and on the sidewalk, which isn’t Planned Parenthood property. Yes, he was within 50 feet of the building, but as I pointed out above, Planned Parenthood Of Illinois itself states that prayer isn’t a violation of the ordinance. True, they aren’t law enforcement. It’s not up to them to decide.
Prayer, whether one is of faith or not, is a good thing. Prayer is quiet reflection. It is a call to one’s God for mercy, for understanding, for an improvement in the world. If prayer is ultimately pointless, how can it hurt anyone? If prayers are truly answered, why does it matter from where those prayers are uttered; God doesn’t use GPS.
I am anti-abortion in most cases. Yet, I don’t want anyone to be threatened or intimidated by anyone at any time for any reason, even at an abortion clinic. People do have the right to seek out medical attention, even if we disagree as to what that attention should encompass. But people have a right to worship freely. That doesn’t mean hiding inside a church or inside one’s home, muttering under one’s breath lest the neighbors be offended at the mention of the word God.
Where will this end? Will New York City ban prayer in restaurants along with trans fats and salt? As an atheist, but one who was raised in faith, I find it heartwarming to see a family not only dine together, but pray together. I may not believe in God, but I do believe in faith. Disbelieving faith is tantamount to saying, “I don’t believe in God and you don’t believe in God either.” How could I be offended by a peaceful acknowledgment of Divinity? And why are so many atheists threatened by something that is “make believe?”
Quite simply: they aren’t. This is a tool. A political tool. “Oh, I don’t want to have to hear about your faith. I don’t want to have to see it. I’m threatened by your quiet devotion to God.” Bull pucky. People are threatened by what they perceive Christianity as representing: conservative values. That’s why the move to arrest a man for prayer. Not because he believes God is right, but because he obviously believes abortion is wrong.
Freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, the freedom of the press. All of these are happily abridged when the status quo (which is currently far Left liberalism) is threatened. We all talk about what the majority of Americans want, to our mutual detriment. America is not a democracy. It never has been and it never will be. It is a Federal Republic, and one of the reasons the Constitution contains the Bill of Rights is to prevent the majority from taking away rights from a dissenting minority. Liberals point out this fact constantly, yet wield the big sword of righteousness when it comes to stifling an opinion with which they disagree.
This man, Joseph Holland, is a minority of one. He is a Catholic. He believes in God. He was arrested for praying in protest of abortion. Being a good Catholic, he might also be against the death penalty. I bet no one would ever arrest him for praying in protest of a murderer being executed by the state. It’s not about Joseph’s right to prayer, which is Constitutionally guaranteed as part of his freedom of worship. It’s about Joseph’s politics. It’s about some rights trumping others.
I call on all people of good, peaceful faith to come out of hiding. Bow your heads in prayer whenever and wherever you feel it right to do so. At home. In public. At restaurants. On the bus. In front of court houses. In national parks. At sporting events. I don’t mean “fake it” for political motives, but I do mean to suggest you let your light shine! Leftists will hug trees, support mosques at Ground Zero, have Wiccan gatherings wherever they want to, if they are so inclined. Or they won’t. The point is, in their minds, they are free to do so and we are not.
The right to peaceably assemble. The right to worship. The right to our freedom of speech and of the press. All our rights. We will exercise them and when laws are passed making it “illegal” for us to do so, we will – peacefully but forcibly – point out that it is those laws that are illegal, while we are the true defenders of The Law.
We are Conservatives. We are mighty. And we are right. The truth will never be silenced.