Every day in the United States, faithful followers of Christ go out on mission. They’re not heading off to remote villages in Honduras or going into places where spreading the Gospel is against the law, such as China or Iran; they’re heading out to the places of legalized child sacrifice that our culture euphemistically calls “women’s health clinics." These men and women boldly stand on public sidewalks and preach truth to the parents carrying their pre-born children to the slaughter, and offering them assistance. They go out with a sense of love and duty. They go out largely without thanks and without asking for any. When they stand at the final line of defense for these pre-born humans, they know that they’ll be cursed at, verbally abused, and mocked. They go out with the knowledge that the Constitution of the United States of America secures for them the right to freely speak without molestation, but in one recent incident, this wasn't the case.
On December 17, 2013 two abolitionists from the Abolitionist Society of Norman (OK) were assaulted while ministering to a post-abortive mother. They weren’t standing in judgment of her, they were not condemning her. Rather, they were offering to assist her in any way that they could. The first report of this assault was posted by abolitionists Jeremy Brown:
“I just want to praise God for protecting my friend Toby Harmon and me today. While talking with an upset girl that was exiting the clinic today, we were attacked by a young man that was accompanying her. After multiple attempts by the young man to harm us, both Toby and I escaped with no injuries. Please pray that this young man repents of his anger and that both he and the girl he was with repent and find forgiveness for whatever they did in Larry Burn's [sic] abortuary today.”
While the occurrence of the assault is troubling, though not surprising, in and of itself, the inaction of the City of Norman is even more disturbing.
According to those involved in the case, while the Norman P.D. did respond to the scene and take statements from all involved, they did not arrest the perpetrator. Charges were pressed, but allegedly the prosecutor’s office is refusing to take this case in front of a judge, or even review the video evidence provided by the victims, but is instead pressuring those assaulted into mediation with their attacker.
I had the opportunity to speak with Toby Harmon, one of the abolitionists who was assaulted, about how this situation is being handled.
TOBY HARMON: “I had expected that the police would have been interested in the video evidence that they knew I clearly had. They told me they were confident that our assailant was clearly the aggressor, yet they did not take him into custody and they even left the scene while we searched for the missing micro SD card with the footage on it from the damaged camera, while our assailant was still on the scene with us. Not only that but they insisted that we leave before we found the SD card and come back later in the evening to find it, knowing that our assailant observed us searching for something we were missing and they he very likely would look for it after we left and would be able to destroy it completely, and knowing that it was in the middle of the road and could be run over by a car.”
STRANG: Has there been any official reason given for why the prosecutor is not pursuing criminal charges against your assailant?
HARMON: “I have been told by police officers and also radio talk show host Jordan Hall of Pulpit And Pen radio show, who called the District Attorney's office and Sheriff, that unless a physical assault takes place in front of officers they do not make arrests. After the Prosecution referred this to mediation, I spoke with the mediator over the phone and she told me that my video evidence would not be considered because it came from an ‘interested party,' i.e., myself, and that it could have been edited or doctored. I told her I was concerned because they did not take it into a chain of custody at the scene of the crime and she reiterated that it was because it was from an interested party. I told her there is no way that I could have edited the video in the 5 minute window between being assaulted and the police showing up at the scene. She cut me off and said ‘look, the only answer I am interested in is whether or not you want mediation.’ I said, ‘No, I do not, I want to have this guy prosecuted.’”
STRANG: What’s the process if this case is ignored by the Norman PD, and D.A?
HARMON: “The mediator said that the prosecution will decide whether or not they will allow this to go to court based only upon what is currently written in the police report. The report is skewed as well as it only records the phone call made by the assailant’s girlfriend and not the call made by Jeremy Brown, who was also attacked. If they decide it (the case) does meet their criteria they can choose to throw it out altogether. The mediator also told me the judge could decide to throw it out as well.”
Cases such as this government sponsored persecution of Abolitionists in Norman and McCullen v. Coakley, which deals with the 1st Amendment issues as it relates to sidewalk counseling and was recently heard by SCOTUS and is pending an opinion, seek to selectively destroy the free speech rights of Christians. The danger is that if Christians know that they won’t be protected whilst standing in the gap for the least amongst us, they might just stay home. I know that nothing would make the world happier than to have these faithful silenced for if they are, the horror of this holocaust goes back into the shadows, out of sight and out of mind. If the courts won’t even protect our speech, what are we to do?
Although that may be the case with many, abolitionists won’t be scared into silence. When asked if he would be deterred from doing this work, Toby said
“I know that God will protect me as long as He has work for me and other Abolitionists to do. So, in accordance with the 2nd tenet of Abolitionism, ‘Reliance upon Providence,’ I lean completely upon the Lord’s protection and provision in all of this and know that He will be glorified and will use this in order to bring success to the Abolitionist Movement. I also realize that this work may cost my life and I have counted the cost and put my hand to the plow and do not plan on looking back.”
May God grant all who claim his name an equal measure of obedience and faithfulness.
Please contact the City Attorney for Norman, OK, who is still refusing to prosecute the perpetrator of the assault on abolitionists Toby Harmon and Jeremy Brown at the Norman abortion "clinic" on December 17, 2013; ask them to prosecute the perpetrator of these three incidents of assault and battery, destruction of property, and death threats. The City Attorney contact info can be found here: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/legal/city-attorney
To learn more about abolition, please visit: www.abolishhumanabortion.com