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Letter: We simply pray

Re “Boundary lines” (Sunday Monitor front page, June 2):

I have participated in the prayer vigil outside the Concord Feminist Health Center not only on Wednesdays and Fridays but also at the “40 Days for Life” campaign two years ago. We were on the sidewalk, off to the side of the steps and not blocking the entrance or those passing by.

The sidewalk is public property. We do not block the parking meters. They are there every few feet and the clients have options. We have held signs that say “Pray to end abortion” and sometimes, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” from the Bible. Sometimes we have no signs at all.

There were times when the center staff would come down to intimidate us and initiate discussions with us. We simply held our ground and prayed. We have had clients from the center spit on us and call us names as have people passing by in cars, sometimes making obscene gestures. It is sad for us as we are simply praying for all involved in this tragedy – the babies, the mothers, fathers, friends and family of the mothers, the center staff and all of society.

You may be able to put a barrier around abortion centers, but you cannot box our God in. He will change hearts – that is what we pray.

KATHLEEN A. HEDSTROM

Concord

Legacy Comments20

Regarding abortion: because there is such great resistance to freely allowing it, when the world overpopulates, in a few decades, and food, etc. become very scarce and extremely expensive, there will, undoubtedly, be a complete reversal of religious opinion. Perhaps, those who are now so antiabortion should take a hard look at what they are causing.

Say What, it is obvious you do not like the message of the protesters. That is why you think they should not be allowed to protest. My question to you is this, is it okay to protest if you like their message? Or do you want to mandate free speech, by just allowing the protesters who you agree with be the only ones allowed to protest? The protestor's message is not the issue here, if they have the right to protest is the issue. And they have that right, no matter how much you or I dislike their message.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Matthew 6:5 You might try reading that Bible you're toting.

I have frequently walked past the small group of praying people and smiled in solidarity but wondered just what their point of praying in public was. The first thought I have was that a prayer can be made anywhere, so to pray in public is about the people wanting to be seen praying. If you are intercessing for the fetus then it will work in private wont it. There is an accepted etiquette to persecution and by complaining you have breached that etiquette I think Kathleen and lost any moral high ground.

We live in a society where etiquette from holding doors for others to briskly crossing the street to saying "thank you" is virtually non-existent. Many people don't like to see others kissing on the street, should we tell them that kissing indoors works just as well.

Kathleen Your free to pray to your hearts content. Just do it at home or in your church. Your scripture and creed are not necessarily that of those arounfd you. You are violating our freedom of religion by trying to impose your religion and values upon us. Abortion is a personal matter between a woman and her spiritual authority. That authority if any will pass judgement. It's not your job to pass judgment on others. As it says in the bible "Judge not less ye be judged"

I disagree with joanne and Say what. You do not get to say who can protest and who cannot. Their praying is a form of protest. That is like saying that if someone is protesting anywhere about anything they are forcing their beliefs on you if you have to walk by them. Anybody can say I do not like what you are protesting so stop it. That is not how free speech works.

Praying is not a form of protest when you are forcing your religious views upon others.

Any protest is trying to force their beliefs on you. Does not matter if it protesting outside of Chick Filet or anywhere. You cannot say it is okay for this group to protest and not that group because you do not like the message. Freedoms should not be watered down. You either have that freddom or not.

Rabbit below is absolutely correct.

Reply to rabbit below. So your ok with a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Wiccan praying over a group of Christians so that they will repent and follow their way? When religion is used as the basis for protest you are saying my spirituality trumps yours and you should do as I say. If you allow that you end up with a theocracy no different than that of the Taliban. Are you ready to give up your freedom to worship or not worship as you choose? The only time a religious based protest is valid is when one religion tries to forbid another religion's beliefs.

Reply to Say What (appropriately) below. It would seem that the only person here interested in taking away someones religious freedom is...you. Please educate yourself. Start with the 1st amendment.

????? Did I wake up in a Communist country??? Praying in public is violating your freedom of religion? Do you realize how Anti American what you just said is??? Sununu was right about some people...they need to learn how to be Americans.

Yes when your prayer is an attempt to force your religious beliefs on me then you are violating my freedom. And yes Sununu was right you need to learn to be an American. America is a melting pot of ethnic and religious backgrounds it is not a single group.

The right to free speech in public places does not depend upon the consent of the listeners. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that speech cannot be censored simply because the speaker’s message irritates or offends a listener.....Please...learn HOW to be an American.

I will agree meet you half way if you are saying that this whole celebration of diversity things is tearing the fabric of our society and we need to be a "melting pot". However, no one is forcing their beliefs on you, they are expressing them. Would you also agree that if I feel strongly about life vs. abortion that abortion protestors should not be taunting those praying. I mean, it could go round and round. If you believe in nothing bigger than man and that we all evolved from one cell or primordial slime , that is your prerogative, you can stand on the corner and preach that all day long, I won't protest.

AHEM: I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. The truth is, if we had more intelligent, thoughtful and caring people in this world there would be no need for abortion(except in the case of rape, etc.) People would THINK before getting pregnant, and use proven effective birth control otherwise. But alas, this is another example of how selfish, ignorant and addicted to instant gratification our society and its citizens have become. So, in closing, I believe abortion should be legal(except in the case of late-term pregnancy) for the simple fact that you can't burp, breastfeed, or change a diaper on a zygote.

We all know cultures where the male is the one who makes all the decisions. I have reaad that many cultures believe that AIDS is from the devil and has nothing to do with a virus etc. BC is prohibited in many countries, men have more than one partner. In America we do not have that problem. We do have freedoms here. We have a govt that provides programs like PP, welfare etc. Yet we have lots of abortions taking place every year, and many of them are women who have had previous abortions. What is so difficult about thinking for yourself and protecting yourself? What about the threat of STDS? I am astounded that women are so lax in taking care of themselves here in America.

(computer glitch - hope this isn't double posted). Rabbit, my experience was in a major US city city. Its not location-its culture. some immigrants brought such values with them (however barbaric it seems to us). Some women can't just say, "No" out of a real fear or history of abusive retaliation against themselves or worst of all, against their children. Some women try to mitigate a potential unwanted pregnancy but are inhibited - remember the efforts to block access to the" morning after pill"? On the national news we have seen more than a few stories of cults forcing girls and children into sex as 'Part of their religion". I am not saying these victims represent the majority; I have no idea what percentage. I do know most of these women can't or won't talk about their experience -again because of retaliation. We may never know the real numbers. Believe me, I would prefer to not see purely elective abortion of fetus with good genes either but I know as sure as there is good in this world - there is also evil that visits others in ways we can't even imagine. Negative elements that force other people to do anything they can to survive or protect other children. My readings indicate you are a knowledgeable and thoughtful person - glad you find this unimaginable. This personal experience caused me to put away my prescription pad for world improvement (normally quite accurate, I would say) in this case and turn it over to the spirits we believe in.

Abortion-complex topic and I will not weigh in with either a positive or negative opinion. I spent the day with a colleague at an abortion clinic once, in a different time and place. My first impression was that none of these women wanted to be there. This was not an inconsequential or callous act by any of the people I saw that day. For all it was a tough decision by women who desperately wished they had other options. My main point here is. the greatest majority of those women were in situations or cultures in which they could not just, “say no” to sex and were prohibited from using birth control. Many had more children at home than they could feed or care for already. In some situations and cultures, refusing sex can bring abandonment, psychological or physical threat or retaliation against the woman or worse, other children. I suspect it would be very difficult for many ladies to fully appreciate being in that situation. This was a significant consciousness raising event and forever changed how I view this issue. There were no uncaring women in that clinic that day - there were no winners. So before we would label people or a healthcare system as bad or a practice evil; I would encourage trying to appreciate the plight of women who do not have the same societal options, most American women have. Of one thing I am sure, the God I believe in would not give up on the souls of children no matter what their fate.

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