Wednesday, February 08, 2023

“Thank You So Much for Doing This for Us!”

“Thank You So Much for Doing This for Us!”


That’s what Norma said to me as she squeezed my hand after our church service. “You do such a good job and you’ve really become our friends. And after we all had to stop going to our old churches, you and Claire and all these friends of yours have given us a church fellowship again. And we all so appreciate you doing this week after week.”

As we come up on the 2nd anniversary of the church service that Vital Signs Ministries conducts every Sunday afternoon for residents of Aksarben Village Senior Living, we can say with confidence and enthusiasm that it has been a very successful experiment.  The structure of the service has proven an excellent fit for the needs of our small congregation: three superb music videos (heavy on the great hymns of the Faith), an 8–12-minute expositional sermon, participation in communion the first Sunday of the month, and a lengthy time after each service of purposeful fellowship over coffee and cookies.  And substantial thanks for this ministry are due to the efforts of our visitation team members -- Don, Allen, Patrick, Keith and Carol, Dick, and Ruth.

The ministry has been an important extension of Vital Signs’ longstanding concern for seniors. Indeed, it’s a tradition spanning 40 years which has included the years of visiting and entertaining residents of Mercy Care Center and other facilities, advocacy articles on the website and blogs, the creation over 50 Anti-Boredom packets during the worst of the pandemic scare, the writing of The Christmas Room, and the remarkably popular “When Swing Was King” program which has now started into its 13th year with a schedule involving 10 senior facilities every month. And each month’s show is a new one, featuring 12 classic songs from the 30s, 40s, and 50s with fascinating commentary and a Power Point visual accompaniment of over 200 photographs from the same era.

Our only disappointment arising out of these “mercy ministries” is that we haven’t yet been able to inspire other Christians to pursue like-minded service to the marginalized, lonely, and hurting seniors who are all around us. After all, think of how many nursing homes and senior living centers there are in any given city and then consider how extremely few of those facilities have any evangelical outreach at all. No church services. No Bible studies. No visitation program, let alone any efforts at creating intergenerational friendships. No efforts whatsoever from local churches to help inspire, equip, and mobilize their members to engage in acts of compassion and encouragement to seniors in profound need of such mercies.

It’s not that difficult for churches (and small groups or even individuals) to create ministries to the seniors in these facilities or, for that matter, to others in our churches and neighborhoods who are otherwise “shut-in.” But it is of great importance.

If you’re interested in changing this sad condition, I encourage you to pray about any or all of the following possibilities. 1) Join us for one of our Aksarben Village church services to see how it works and to get some experience in visiting with seniors who will be delighted to make your acquaintance! Also, you might consider dropping into one of our “When Swing Was King” shows for a similar opportunity. (The schedule is on the Vital Signs Ministries website.)

2) Talk about this subject with your family, friends, and church colleagues. Such discussions might lead you to the activity director at one of the senior facilities near your home or church. You’ll find that a terrific ministry is right there for the taking.

3) For a bit more information and some inspirational ideas, you could always read The Christmas Room, a novel in which the most unlikely of heroes emerge. Or for something much shorter, you can start with these articles from Vital Signs Blog.

How Can My Friends and I Serve Seniors?

Dogs, Kids, and a Superstar Ministry

The Nursing Home Business: It Shouldn’t Be Mere Business for Christians



Thursday, January 26, 2023

Something's Happening Here; What It Is A'int Exactly Clear (Because the Media Doesn't Want You to Know About It!)

* "Media Style Guide Pushes Abortion Propaganda Over Accurate Reporting" (Melanie Israel, Daily Signal)

* "This migrant mess is ruining NYC’s Midtown" (Miranda Devine, New York Post)

* "The gender jihadists are out of control: Trans activism is now little more than a witch-hunt of disobedient women." (Brendan O'Neill, spiked!)

* "The festering rot at the FBI seems bigger and deeper than we ever guessed" (Andrea Widburg, American Thinker)

* "How the CDC Became the Speech Police: Secret internal Facebook emails reveal the feds' campaign to pressure social media companies into banning COVID "misinformation." (Robby Soave, Reason)

* "Huge wind turbines — taller than the Statue of Liberty — are toppling over in a 'rash' of incidents" (Thomas Lifson, American Thinker)

The Latest Leftist Lunacies (Part 3)

Headline --- Bill Gates wants to stop cows from burping in latest investment: Bill Gates invests in Australian-based Rumin8 to reduce livestock emissions. (Fox News) 

The Latest in Lawlessness: "We Just Won't Prosecute"

* A Virginia prosecutor says that her office will stop its involvement in the prosecution of some misdemeanor cases. Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj wrote in a memo that her office is "inundated" and needs to focus more on felony and violent crimes, Fox 5 reported.

In the memo sent by Biberaj to judges on Dec. 30, 2022, she wrote that hit-and-run (property damage), reckless driving (under 90 mph), trespass, drunk in public, and eluding are among the offenses that will not be prosecuted by her office. (Fox News)

Headline --- Sen. Kennedy stumps Biden nominee with basic questions about the Constitution. Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren could not recall what certain parts of US Constitution do. (Fox News) 

More Evidence of Massive Vote Fraud

* More than 10.8 million mail-in ballots went “unaccounted for” in California’s midterm elections last year, data published by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) reveals. In 2022, California election officials mailed out more than 22.1 million ballots to registered voters, the data published by PILF shows. Of those, more than 10.8 million went “unaccounted for” as researchers said election officials can only make assumptions as to what happened with the ballots. (John Binder, Breitbart)

Hang 'Em High

* Super Bowl wining coach and NFL commentator Tony Dungy and NHL hockey great Ivan Provorov are being mercilessly slandered all over the establishment press as right-wing bigots who deserve harsh punishment. What for? Dungy (an evangelical) attended the March for Life. And Provorov (a Russian Orthodox) for refusing to participate in Gay Pride festivities.

Christian Facing Jail Time for Being Converted...And Talking About It!

* A Christian charity worker in Malta could face jail time after he claimed that his faith enabled him to turn away from a homosexual lifestyle he no longer wanted.

Matthew Grech, 33, faces potential fines and imprisonment for allegedly falling afoul of his country's ban on "conversion practices" when he explained to a local media outlet last year how he left homosexuality behind because he came to believe it was wrong.

"I was invited by this new emerging platform in Malta called PMnews to share my story and to discuss sexuality in general," Grech told Fox News Digital, noting that he was "surprised" when police later called him early on a Sunday morning and ultimately served him with a prosecution order summoning him to court on Feb. 3.

Legal counsel for Grech maintains that his case is the first of its kind and threatens to set in motion a legal "domino effect" that could endanger freedom of speech and religious liberty throughout the Western world. (Fox News)

* Headline --- ‘Our Family’s Sick’: Why Hunter Biden Lied About Paying $50k Monthly Rent. The true story of how Hunter Biden botched a family mission in California (Washington Free Beacon)

* George Soros Funding Leftist "Fact Checkers’ In Order to Silence the Right 

George Soros is the most dangerous man in America. The investor is intent on remaking the country to his liberal image, from our foreign-policy priorities to undermining our criminal-justice system. This week, The Post takes a look at the reach of Soros’ billions. In this fourth essay, Matt Palumbo, author of “The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros,” talks about how “fact checking” can shape the narrative.

It’s not enough for George Soros to fund the media and encourage stories that back up his point of view — he has to make sure no one disagrees with it.

Last year, Soros partnered with fellow leftist billionaire Reid Hoffman (the co-founder of LinkedIn) to financially back a project to fight so-called disinformation. The name they chose might have come from George Orwell himself: Good Information Inc. Branding anything that goes counter-narrative as “disinformation” has become the left’s latest strategy to fight anything that threatens their spin, and Soros has taken note. (Matt Palumbo, New York Post)

They're Gonna' Make Us Eat Bugs!

* I have been writing lately about the war on agriculture–the Left’s attack on modern, scientific farming. The Left’s two main targets, so far, are fertilizers and animal husbandry. What is the end game? Leftists want us to eat a largely vegetarian diet, with insects as a protein source instead of cows, pigs and poultry.

This is no secret if you follow leftist writing, but many people find it hard to believe. To be fair, there is a great deal about modern liberalism that I find hard to believe. But the plan to convert us all to insect-eaters is real. (John Hinderaker at Power Line)

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Latest Leftist Lunacies (Part 2)

Democrats Truly Are the Party of Death

* The House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which says any infant born alive after an attempted abortion is a "legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States." Doctors would be required to care for those infants as a "reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive."

The bill passed 220-210, and all 210 of the "no" votes came from Democrats. Only one Democrat voted for the bill — Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas — (Fox News)

* The Dire Debacle of "Green Energy"

Expensive energy equals more sickness and death. And this is totally avoidable. Responsibility lies with the anti-human environmental movement:

The current heating crisis is a direct consequence of “green” policies that have pushed up the price of energy in developed economies. An irrational insistence to transition to wind and solar has increased prices and reduced reliability of energy supplies. Blackouts like ones experienced by millions over the Christmas weekend are a serious threat to lives.

But human life and well-being are not valued by the Left. It is up to the rest of us to try to stave off the human disaster that “green” energy threatens. (Power Line)

The Latest in Transgender Silliness? Donating One's "Superfluous Parts" 

* A Pittsburgh children's hospital is under fire after its gender program navigator advocated for helping transgender women get pregnant by giving reproductive organs to them from live donors.

In a presentation on "Fertility in the LGBTQIA+ community" last May that went viral this week, the community navigator for a youth gender program at the University of Pittsburgh Children's Hospital discussed the criteria the medical community uses for gender transition in adolescents, as well as a 2018 study on uterine transplants for transgender patients.

"One area that had not been looked at before in any serious way was could the donors be live donors?" Alicyn Simpson, who works with the hospital's pediatric Gender and Sexual Development Program, asked. "Live donation has been something the [transgender] community has talked about for decades, it was really thought about as magical thinking."

Simpson said that trans men "assigned female at birth" would discuss the possibility of giving their reproductive organs to trans females. "Well I have these parts, but I don't want them. You want them, you need them. So what if I gave them to you? How would that work?' And apparently, based on their research this is actually viable," Simpson proposed. (Fox News)

Loudon County School Bosses: Enabling Sexual Predators & Lying About It

 * Loudoun County in northern Virginia is the epicentre of the parents’ rights movement in the US. School officials in Loudoun have aggressively pursued a cultural agenda, introducing children to ideas about critical race theory and gender-identity ideology, over the heads of parents. An enduring image from that battle came from a raucous Loudoun school-board meeting in June 2021, when Scott Smith, a father of a high-school student, was wrestled to the ground by police and arrested. Smith was angry that school officials had remained silent about the rape of his daughter in the girls’ bathroom by a ‘genderfluid’ teenage boy wearing a kilt.

That image of Smith being arrested was used by the media to portray the parents’ movement as extreme and violent. The National School Boards Association cited Smith’s arrest in a letter it sent to President Biden in September 2021, which called for protesting parents to be treated akin to domestic terrorists. In turn, that letter spurred attorney general Merrick Garland to direct the FBI to investigate threats against school officials and teachers.

Smith and other protesting parents have now been vindicated. A special grand-jury investigation found last month that Loudoun school administrators attempted to cover up two sexual assaults in the district, both committed by the same ‘genderfluid’ boy. Following the publication of the grand jury’s report, Loudoun schools superintendent Scott Ziegler has been fired. He also faces three criminal indictments.

The grand-jury report is scathing about Ziegler and other officials: ‘We believe that throughout this ordeal LCPS [Loudoun County Public Schools] administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS.’ The cover-up began right from the start. After his daughter was sexually assaulted in May 2021, Smith went to Stone Bridge High School to get answers, but was escorted out of the building by administrators. Ziegler then sent a letter to parents warning them about Smith, while leaving out any mention of the rape in the bathroom.

A month later, at that infamous school-board meeting where Smith was dragged out, Ziegler was directly asked whether any students had been assaulted in school bathrooms. ‘To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms’, he replied. That was a lie, says the grand jury. And the rot ran deep – not only did Ziegler know, but so did other administrators. Board members kept quiet at that noisy June meeting, despite knowing that Ziegler’s response was false. (spiked!)

Drag Queens in the Schools, Libraries and Now Your Zoo?

* The "Drag Show" phenomenon—in which adult men dress up in scantily clad women's clothing, gaudy makeup, and often wear female prosthetics to mimic women—has evolved past adult night clubs and forced its way into children's spaces under the guise of "family-friendly" events. Despite what the hosts of these events would have you believe, there is nothing family-friendly about them. Simply put, they are glorified strip shows and they are giving your kids a front row seat to watch.

I first exposed these predatory events last year at the "Mr. Misster" Bar in Dallas, Texas, which brought national attention to the issue. Like the majority of "family-friendly" drag shows, the Mr. Misster event featured performers that stripped and danced in front of kids, all while the parents sat back, sipped their cocktails, and handed dollar bills to their children to tip the drag queens on stage. 

Despite widespread criticism of this event, "family-friendly" drag shows have spread like wildfire across the country and made their way into Drag Queen Story Hour at your local library and most recently the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. (Fox News)

The Leftists Now Want to Mask & Diaper Your Cows

* A Tennessee farmer condemned the idea of forcing cows to wear masks and diapers to contain their methane emissions, saying the people who came up with the idea have "gone to loony town." 

French dairy giant Danone announced in mid-January it is considering putting masks on cows to trap their burps in an effort to reduce methane emissions by 30% come 2030. In the future, cows could also be forced to wear diapers to trap their flatulence. 

Stephanie Nash called the whole thing udder madness Wednesday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." (Fox News)

Are You Conservative? Then Forget Teaching as a Career

* That the Left has taken over public education (and most private education) in America is common knowledge. But the extent to which it has solidified its grip, and is in the process of driving out all non-conforming thought, may not be.

This is the kicker: in order to teach in Minnesota, you will need to sign on to theories of “power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression,” and teach students to be left-wing activists...

Consistent with the local curriculum and state and local academic standards, the teacher creates demonstrates the ability to create opportunities for students to learn about power, privilege, intersectionality, and systemic oppression in the context of various communities and empowers learners to be agents of social change to promote equity.

So unless a prospective teacher promises to inculcate students in trendy far-left dogma, he or she won’t be licensed in Minnesota. We all know that our country is in trouble, but the rot goes far deeper than most realize. (John Hinderaker)

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Latest Leftist Lunacies (Part 1)

VP Harris Hopes You'll Forget What the Declaration of Independence Says

* Vice President Kamala Harris left out mentioning the right to life when quoting the Declaration of Independence on Sunday during a speech in support of abortion access. Harris' remarks in Tallahassee, Florida, came on the 50-year-anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, which granted women the right to an abortion nationwide. The anniversary is the first since the decision was overturned in June 2022, allowing states to set their own abortion laws.

But in Harris' speech, she quoted the Declaration of Independence in saying that Americans are entitled to the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, notably ignoring how that the phrase also states Americans are granted the right to life. (Fox News)

Here Come Your "Green" Blackouts 

* Why, after many decades of grid stability and reliable energy, are we suddenly talking about blackouts? The answer is obvious. Across America, reliable coal and nuclear power plants are being retired, and supposedly replaced by “green” wind and solar energy. This is frankly absurd, because an intermittent energy source that works less than half the time (wind) or rarely (solar) can’t possibly replace reliable, 24/7 electricity, no matter how many billions we spend." (John Hinderaker)

Even A Democrat Politician Mourns the Death of Free Speech

* “We've entered into this period of American history where the range of permissible thought and speech has so narrowed that if you depart from it at all you are, you're labeled, you are censored, and you are silenced,” retired Democrat Sen. Robert Torricelli told Just the News earlier this month. "It's incredibly dangerous. And the odd thing about it is the very institutions which have been the safeguard of American free thought and speech — American universities, think tanks, the media — are the worst offenders."

Oxford residents will soon be prisoners of their own neighborhoods

* This is one of those stories that you’re certain is from the Babylon Bee, and that is stunning in its implications when it turns out to be the truth. In this case, the truth is that, in accordance with UN and WEF climate recommendations, the city of Oxford (home to the famed university) approved plans mandating that citizens may not drive more than 15 minutes distance from their homes without permission. It’s called the “15 Minute City” and is intended to reduce auto emissions. Mostly, though, it will reduce liberty, which is what climate change madness has always been about. (Andrea Widburg)

No, the Democrats' January 6 Hype Doesn't Pass the Smell Test

* Rogan O’Handley posted a text message from Nancy Pelosi’s staff secretly editing the J6 security plan for the US Capitol and then telling the House Sergeant at Arms to “please act surprised” when the final draft was published. The House Sergeant at Arms responded, “I’m startled!” to the request showing his willingness to play along. This is more evidence that the January 6 disruptions were planned in advance. (Jim Soft, Gateway Pundit)

Pure, Free, and Green? Hardly.

* One of my favorite indicators of ignorance are the people who buy personalized license plates, or affix stickers, for their electric cars that say “Emission Free.” Even if you ignore the enormous environmental impacts associated with manufacturing an electric car (which are significantly higher than a gasoline-powered car), if you live in a state that generates a lot of its electricity from coal, you are essentially driving a coal-powered car. The next most ignorant view is that at least you don’t have to buy expensive gasoline! People seem to forget that electricity isn’t free, from whatever source. (Steven Hayward)

* The Biden Economy: The DOW Incurs Worst Year Since 2008, NASDAQ Incurs Worst Year Ever – If You Add in Bonds, It’s the Worst Year Since 1871! (Gateway Pundit)

Yet Another Reason to Dread Government Schools

* Hundreds of Chicago teachers and school officials sexually groomed and sexually assaulted students or engaged in policy violations over the past four years, according to a report released this week. (Fox News)

Biden Administration Continues to Support Jews Being Barred from Visiting Their Holiest Site

* How do you make apartheid sound good? Easy. Just call it the “historic status quo”.

Under Muslim rule, the historic status quo by the invaders was to ban Jews from their own holiest site, the Temple Mount. When Jerusalem was liberated, there was a vocal insistence by the Muslims who had launched a war to destroy the Jewish State and by the “international community” that Jews continue to be barred from their own holy site in the name of the “historic status quo”. And if that sounds too unbelievable, here’s Ned Price, Biden’s State Department spokesman saying that Jews must continue to be banned.

So let me say broadly on the first question that the United States stands firmly for preservation of the historic status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem. We oppose any unilateral actions that undercut the historic status quo. They are unacceptable. The President has previously underscored the need to preserve that historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, as has the Secretary. We have done so repeatedly with our Israeli partners; we have done so repeatedly with our Jordanian partners, whose special role as custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem we deeply appreciate. That is a message we will continue to reinforce.(Front Page Magazine)

Joe Biden: A Wall for Me but Not for Thee

* President Biden's taxpayer-funded wall for his Delaware vacation home is getting built while he continues to voice his staunch opposition to building a wall at the southern U.S. border.

Photos obtained exclusively by the Daily Mail show that construction on the wall around Biden's Rehoboth Beach home began last week. The wall is expected to cost taxpayers $490,324 because it is being funded through a government contract via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (Fox News)

Thursday, January 19, 2023

R.I.P. Religious Freedom

“So, are you praying?” asked the British policeman to the woman who had been standing quietly across the street from an abortion business in Birmingham.

“Well, I’m not saying anything.  But, yes, I’m praying in my mind.”

“So, you are praying?” the policeman repeated.

“Well, yes.”

“Then you’ll have to come to the station with us, ma’am.”  And he put Isabel Vaughn-Spruce, a local leader of 40 Days for Life, under arrest.

Tragically, denials of what have historically been the sacred freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and conscience are happening more and more as leftist tyrants and their all-too-willing toadies in the press, schools, business, and government bureaucracies ramp up their intolerance of the ideals of Western civilization, Christianity, and Christians.

We have, of course, been dealing with this sad injustice for awhile now. Bakers, innkeepers, and florists are denied the freedoms of religion and conscience. Coaches cannot pray with their teams (no matter how willing the student/athletes are to do so) and valedictorians are not allowed to mention Jesus to their classmates. Wearing a Christian T-shirt gets you thrown out of the mall, the school, the public library, the company picnic. And on and on. 

Indeed, the arrest of Mrs. Vaughn-Spruce provoked a vivid reminder of a similar situation I encountered a few years ago outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.  It was the night before the March for Life and Claire and I were in town with three of our Omaha colleagues for the event.  

But on the night before the March, we had gone to spend a few minutes in prayer outside the U.S. Capitol, the Senate and Congressional offices, and now we were at the Supreme Court.  It was late.  It was very quiet.  There was no one besides the 5 of us on the whole plaza. But just a few seconds into our corporate prayer, one of the Supreme Court police (yes, they’ve got their own) interrupted us and told us that we couldn’t pray there. Though incredulous and angry, I was calm, respectful, and very courteous in my response…as was he. Here’s how it went:

“Officer, thanks for checking on us. But let me ask, did I hear you correctly that we aren’t allowed to pray here?”

“That’s right.”

“Good grief. May I respectfully ask by what authority you make this remarkably un-American demand?”

The Supreme Court policeman was a bit disconcerted.  “Look, I know it doesn’t seem right but they’ve told us not to let crowds gather here or to let anyone do any demonstrating.”

“Officer,” I spoke gently, “are you considering five people a crowd, especially when we’re the only ones in this whole plaza?  And do you really interpret the five of us quietly standing here a demonstration? And I haven’t even mentioned you telling us we can’t pray!”

“I know it doesn’t seem right, sir. But I’m just following orders.”

“Okay, let me ask you this -- when I saw you coming across the plaza, it looked to me like you were already determined to chase us away.  But what if we were simply tourists enjoying the sights of D.C.? Would you have ordered us to leave?”

“No, of course not; that would have been fine.  But I could tell that you were praying by the way you had your heads bowed.”

“Wow; that’s interesting. So, let me get this straight; you’re suggesting that it wasn’t the prayer itself that bothered you. It was seeing us in a posture of prayer.”

“Yes, I guess so.  Because the way you looked, anybody could see that you were praying. And that’s I when I could get in trouble.”

“Got it. But I’ll bet you’ll agree with me that with all the murders and the rapes and the robberies in this city, you’ve got to feel at least a little silly for telling us that praying in this empty place at night is the crime you’re determined to prevent.” He looked kinda’ crestfallen at that and so I followed up quickly, “Look, I’ve got an idea. You and I are not going to settle here tonight the Constitutional legality of our freedom to assembly. And I have no desire to get you or me or any of my friends here in trouble. So, here’s my suggestion.  Why don’t you walk away and leave us alone for another few minutes.  I promise we won’t get on our knees or bow our heads or intertwine our fingers.  We will look just like tourists -- tourists that are simply appreciating the beauty of the Supreme Court lit up at night and thinking about the things it has traditionally stood for…things like, say religious freedom and other stuff!  Then you walk back by here in ten minutes and we will be gone. What do you say?

“I guess that would be okay.  ‘Cause, you know, I don’t want to be a hard-case about all this.  Still, I’m pretty sure that when I walk away, you folks will probably start praying again.”

I smiled.  “But, officer, even if we were so bold to do that, you wouldn’t know.  Nobody would know.  And why? Because you came over here and warned us against assuming a posture of prayer. Mission was accomplished. I promise we won’t do that.  And, like I said, we’ll just be here a few minutes more.  How about it?”

The fellow paused a moment.  “Okay, goodnight, folks.”  He finally walked away and left us to finish our prayers (abstaining from a prayer posture, of course) before we headed back to our hotel. It was a memorable night, for even though we managed to escape penalties for praying in the public square, it was a clear warning of what was coming. And, as I suggested, that incident came back in a rush when I watched the video of Mrs. Vaughn-Spruce’s arrest.  “So, you are praying?  Then you’ll have to come with us.”

My friends, because of the accelerating hatred of the world for God and because the Church has cowardly surrendered so much of her responsibilities to live holy, separated lives as well as to lovingly speak truth into the culture, this is going to keep happening. The powers that be will tell us -- “Sure, it’s fine to have your religion. We will graciously allow that. However, your religion must be a totally private (even secret) thing that finds no expression whatsoever in the public square, the schools, the marketplace, politics, the local library, etc. And, as long as your convictions give way before the ideals (and compulsory orders) of Science, Progress, the State, and the “enlightened elite,” you can feel as many religious feelings as you’d like. ‘Cause, you know, we don’t want to be a hard-case about all this.”  

Lord, have mercy. Help us to hold on tight to a heavenly perspective regarding the trials of living all-out for You. Please be our strength and shield as we pursue godliness in our personal lives and as we undertake the light-bearing responsibilities we have been given as Your ambassadors.

An Important Addendum: A Take from Great Britain

I’ve asked our dear friend and pro-life colleague, Dr. Greg Gardner from Birmingham, to comment on Mrs. Vaughn-Spruce’s arrest and related matters.  His take is of the most profound value – enlightening and challenging and well worth the read.

I’ve been thinking a little about how to put into context the arrest of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce outside the Robert abortion centre in Birmingham for praying silently. It goes back quite a long way. In October 1967 the UK Parliament changed the law on abortion to make it permissible (not legal) to perform an abortion if certain conditions applied. The first abortuary to open its doors in the UK (in 1969) was a place called the ‘Calthorpe Nursing Home’ here in Birmingham. By 2007 it was doing around 10,000 abortions per year and was the largest single abortion provider in the country. The first prayer and pavement counselling that took place outside the Calthorpe was in 1989, kick started by Fr. James Morrow of Scotland. This continued on a weekly basis for many years. The abortion centre was eventually acquired by Marie Stopes International, now known simply as ‘MSI.’ It changed its name from ‘The Calthorpe Nursing Home’ to ‘The Calthorpe Clinic.’ 

Eventually ’40 days for life’ took up the challenge and would have prayer and pavement counselling for 40 days twice per year. Isabel was the local leader for this and was very diligent in organizing rotas, filling in gaps herself, if necessary, despite living a considerable distance away, exhorting people to come out and pray and generally leading from the front. She has been really inspirational. Originally the Calthorpe was open for business 6 days per week, then people began to notice that there would be some days when it would be closed and this happened more frequently. Finally, it closed its doors for good in 2019. This left only one abortion provider in Birmingham called ‘The Robert Clinic’ named after an abortionist. It is owned now by the largest National Abortion Provider called BPAS (The British Pregnancy Advisory Service). 

After the closure of the Calthorpe, 40 days for life turned its attention to The Robert clinic and have had twice yearly prayer vigils there since 2019. These vigils which normally involve two, or maybe three people at most are typically attended by Catholics praying the rosary or other Catholic prayers, punctuated by offers of information to women or couples attending an appointment at the Robert Clinic. Since the place is located in a residential area, with houses adjacent and opposite, the prayer vigil can be seen and sometimes heard by local residents if they are walking past. Some of the residents have been verbally abusive and occasionally violent although others have been supportive. There are now several women who have come out in public saying that their baby was saved from abortion because of the presence of pro-lifers at the Robert Clinic and similar places. Isabel has held in her arms babies saved from abortion at the last minute. False accusations of intimidation have been circulated by local residents and subsequently spread by the local socialist MP.

In response to complaints by local residents and the police who get fed up with having to answer calls (by both sides) the local council in Birmingham decided to launch an online ‘consultation’ (see attached). The local police are funded by the local council so any perceived unnecessary increase in police activity is seen unfavourably. As you can see from the consultation, many of the questions are biased. For example, the question over whether there should be a bubble zone at all was not asked. Rather, it was assumed that they were going ahead with it and the questions were about whether the proposed area was too large/too small etc. I’m also attaching a letter written to local residents by Isabel and some of my responses to the consultation.

I attended a meeting in May with two representatives from the local council along with Isabel, her colleague Ben from ‘March for Life,’ a lawyer called Michael Phillips from the Christian Legal Centre and a local priest. The bias was plain. There was also a public meeting a couple of weeks later where the sentiments of the council representatives were clearly on display. At one point one of their team started to applaud something a resident was saying against ’40 Days for Life’ and then had to stop himself. The local ordinance was duly passed and so prevented any prayer and pavement counselling during the autumn campaign in October and November. There is however a Catholic church about 200 yards away at the other end of the road which is outside the bubble zone so people have been gathering to pray in the car park.

I have previously taken part in previous 40 Days for Life campaigns but decided not to join the latest one and keep a lower profile. One of my colleagues on the abortion/preterm birth paper is concerned that our academic credentials need to be protected so it is important to try to avoid misrepresentation – at least while we are trying to get published.

Since those meetings in the summer, Parliament has gone one stage further and voted for bubble zones outside abortion centres throughout the UK. Numbers of ‘conservative’ MPs also voted for this. Anyone breaching this could end up in jail. You have to ask what is the Conservative Party for since they have not conserved anything for a long time. In this respect they are not conserving free speech and they are not conserving/protecting unborn life or conserving the right of women attending abortion appointments to receive adequate information. The Conservative Party have also imposed abortion on Northern Ireland and introduced same sex ‘marriage’ and now ‘no fault divorce,’ thereby not conserving the status of marriage. Now there is a civil war in The Church of England about whether their clergy can conduct same sex ‘weddings.

Coming back to Isabel I think what she has done is to expose the absurdity and extremism of the bubble zone ordinance if you can be arrested for praying silently on the street (and possibly going to jail). What she has done in reality is committed blasphemy against the religion of secularism which doesn’t tolerate any rival.

Os Guinness has spoken about being against the world for the world’s sake. This is as good a recent example of this as you can find.

Dr. Greg Gardner