Pro-life activist Alan Nellis was stopped Saturday outside Mather’s Cafe in Chicago for handing out health information during a Women’s Health Symposium featuring Dr. Sandy Goldberg of NBC-TV. Alan’s free speech rights were denied when one of Chicago’s finest was called to the scene and issued Alan a citation, charging “threat of littering.”
Cop Squelches Pro-Lifer’s Freedom of Speech
No one threw any of Alan’s literature on the ground, though a few handed it back to him. The officer told Alan to stop handing out literature or he would be arrested.
This is nonsense! People hand out flyers all over town and whoever gets charged with being a threat to littering, unless you’re trying to warn women about real health hazards like abortion.
We admire Alan for taking on this effort single-handedly, and taking the guff from Chicago’s finest, but we are getting sick of being singled out and having made-up laws used against us. Whatever happened to free speech? Apparently we have to fight to keep it.
Cardinal George Offers Ecumenical Prayers
Just a year ago pro-lifers protested outside Glencoe’s Am Shalom Temple because pro-abortionist Fay Clayton was giving a talk there. Rabbi Steven Lowenstein had been asked repeatedly not to allow the pro-abortionists to use his facility for Clayton’s talk, even though the Reform Jewish position on abortion is known to be generally quite liberal.
But last Friday night several pro-lifers attended the Shabbat Evening Service, at which Francis Cardinal George was the invited speaker. The prayers were in Hebrew and English. A Lutheran Choir joined the ecumenical service.
The prayers and singing were beautiful, and the crowd of nearly a thousand was enthusiastic, but the evening was sad. Prayer headings were, We are Woven Together but We are a diverse body of many faiths. We do not speak the Same Language of Worship was intoned, as well as We follow different teachings and we do not utter the same prayers, nevertheless, we gather together in worship.
Most of the prayers were from the Torah. There were little sayings at the bottom of each page, one of which was a Native American quote: “Respect for all life is the foundation.”
What was most touching was Cardinal George’s reading of the negative paragraphs of the “Prayer for Children.” He read:
We pray for those who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dressers, whose monsters are real, for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who cry themselves to sleep, who live and move and have no being. Hear our cries, Adonai, and listen to our prayers.
We couldn’t help but think how this prayer applies equally to the unborn.
During his brief talk the Cardinal made reference to Christ’s reading from Isaiah in the Temple, where the Prophet writes, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor,” and how the reading was followed by Christ proclaiming that, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” We thought that was pretty gutsy.
George went on to explain how our secularized society is removing religion little by little from the public forum, while allowing us to keep our faith privately but not to proclaim it publicly. Those who suffer most, he pointed out, are Catholics and Jews.
Our office was contacted by the BBC to debate Frances Kissling on the canonization of Gianna Beretta Molla, who refused an abortion and died a week after giving birth. In proclaiming her a saint, John Paul praised her self-sacrifice and her simple but profound message. We gave the BBC request to an official spokesman for the archdiocese, but we appreciate BBC thinking of us.