• June 21, 2024

Pro Lifers Praying OUTSIDE After Being Told ‘A Church Gathering Is Now A Conspiracy’

After being convicted earlier in the day on charges related to the FACE Act, six pro-life activists gathered with their friends and family outside the federal courthouse in Nashville, exhibiting a resilient spirit as they sang and prayed just moments after the guilty verdict was delivered.

The individuals, namely Chet Gallagher of Tennessee, Coleman Boyd of Mississippi, Heather Idoni of Michigan, Cal Zastrow of Michigan, Paul Vaughn of Tennessee, and Dennis Green of Virginia, now face potential prison sentences of up to 10.5 years and fines totaling $260,000. Their convictions revolve around allegations of conspiracy against rights and violating the FACE Act, a federal law that criminalizes the use of force or threats of force to impede access to abortion facilities.

Despite the gravity of the consequences they face, the group remained undeterred, displaying a sense of fortitude as they engaged in prayer and song outside the Fred D. Thompson courthouse immediately following the announcement of the verdict. Speaking to the gathered crowd, Zastrow expressed a steadfast conviction in their cause, characterizing their actions as a reflection of “normal Christianity” and emphasizing their commitment to their faith despite the legal challenges.

Encouraging those present to correspond with the convicted, especially Heather Idoni, currently held in a Washington, D.C. prison over a related case, Zastrow exemplified a sense of community and mutual support within the group.

The gathering outside the courthouse featured hymns such as “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “It is Well with My Soul,” and “Amazing Grace.” Additionally, passages from the Bible, including Psalm 91, were read, creating a space for spiritual reflection amid the legal tumult.

The charges against the six originated from a protest held in March 2021 outside a Mount Juliet abortion provider. Demonstrators, including the convicted individuals, assembled in a hallway outside the Carafem Health Center Clinic, engaging in prayer, hymns, and efforts to dissuade women from obtaining abortions.

Expressing shock at the conspiracy charge, a participant named Matthew, who traveled from North Carolina to attend the trial, questioned the government’s use of such charges against what he perceived as peaceful gatherings. He raised concerns about the broader implications, asserting that a church meeting or a friendly gathering could now be labeled as a conspiracy.

Matthew also argued that the FACE Act seemed designed to target Christians, highlighting what he perceived as a double standard in the legal treatment of pro-life activists compared to other demonstrators.

Steve Crampton, a lawyer from the Thomas More Society who represented Paul Vaughn, expressed disappointment with the outcome. He characterized the demonstration as peaceful, centered around prayer and persuasion to dissuade expectant mothers from aborting their babies. Crampton accused the Biden Department of Justice of mischaracterizing Vaughn’s actions to intimidate and punish pro-life individuals.

The six activists are scheduled for sentencing on July 2, with expectations that the case will be appealed, prolonging the legal battle and prompting continued scrutiny of the complex intersection between activism, faith, and the legal framework surrounding abortion rights.

The Daily Allegiant