Abortion Protesters Disrupt Church Service, Demand Worshipers ‘Repent’ For Being Pro-Choice

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Religious intolerance in action: A group of anti-choice activists forced their way into a New Orleans church service and accused the stunned worshipers of being too accepting of abortion, demanding they repent for their sins.

The group was part of Operation Save America, a national anti-abortion organization which has descended on New Orleans this week to protest a woman’s right to choose. The group accused congregants of not having the “true faith” and according to witnesses shouted hate-speech as they were being escorted out of the building.

In the middle of our church service at First Unitarian Universalist church Sunday, a group of operation save America joined us in worship, but in disguise. As soon as we entered a moment of reflection and meditation, a few members of this group broke the silence, taking of their shirts to reveal their OSA t shirts. Screaming at us to repent. We encircled their group and sang a song of love. We escorted them out of the sanctuary. They protested out front with microphone s and ugly signs. They shook us up and invaded our sacred space. [source]

The church has reason to be disconcerted by this breach of respect by OSA and for reasons that go far beyond merely not wanting to be harassed. OSA is a radical, and sometimes dangerous, wing of the anti-abortion movement. In the weeks leading up to a man named Scott Roeder murdering abortion doctor George Tiller in cold blood, he spoke frequently with OSA leadership – including at least one which had already served two years in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic. What was discussed on those phone calls, and if they had any direct involvement with the assassination has never been proven. It did, however, tarnish OSA’s reputation to the point that they had to rebrand (originally they were named Operation Rescue National), but apparently they haven’t lost their streak for intimidation tactics.

Making the church outburst even more egregious, the members of OSA waited until the service was in a moment of silence and prayer to honor a recent death of a fellow church member to begin loudly shouting at them. The congregation wasn’t even discussing abortion and the group derailed their service.

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There is a lack of respect for anyone who disagrees with OSA’s beliefs that pervades their actions and words. On OSA’s website, they refer to the church simply as the “synagogue of Satan” and brag about ruining the service.

At the Unitarian Universalist “church” in New Orleans, Deanna Waller, Jay Rogers, Mary Claire, Ken Scott, Russell Hunter, Toby Harman and others presented the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan. As God would have it, the “church” was filled with students from a “social justice” training school. According to Rev. Flip Benham, OSA National Director, the team presented a “dynamic witness.”

During an open “meditation” time, Deanna shared the Word of the Lord. When the female “pastor” took issue, Deanna reminded her that, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). In violation of their “sacred tenants” of peace and tolerance, Deanna and others were summarily escorted out of the service.

Notice the scare quotes around “pastor” and “church”? Notice how the group points out that the pastor is female? Notice how the group calls the congregants “students from a ‘social justice’ training school?”

Despite the inexcusable behavior and explicit intolerance, the city of New Orleans welcomed the group with open arms – lending legitimacy to the group’s attitudes.

On July 20th, the very same day they ruined a church service, the mayor’s office presented the group with a certificate praising OSA’s “service” to the city.

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If you recognize the name “Benham,” it might be because he is the father of twin brothers, David and Jason Behman, who were recently fired from HGTV for – you guessed it – having extremist views on homosexuality and abortion. There dad, who taught them everything they know about hating people, just got an award from New Orleans mayor (you can see David actually comment on the Facebook post above).

Obviously, this didn’t go over well, so the Mayor’s Office went into damage control almost immediately, hoping to downplay the fact that they just gave recognition to a group which has, even recently, suggested murdering doctors who perform abortions.

In a statement to Uptown Messenger, a spokesperson said:

“It is routine for the City to provide standard proclamations to visiting non-profits, faith-based organizations and conventions that request them,” according to an email from Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office. “As this group exercises its constitutional rights, the NOPD is executing a robust security plan to keep the peace.”

See? It’s totally normal and definitely not weird for the mayor of a city to both: give a certificate of appreciation to a group and at the same time reassure people that cops will protect them from said group. How many other non-profit, faith-based organizations fall into that category? Probably just hate groups – which is exactly what OSA is.