The pro-life Freedom Rides were launched this weekend in Birmingham Alabama. From the rally in Birmingham to the caravan to Atlanta, every detail was attended to, every life memorialized, and every care taken to make room for the healing of America’s second greatest tragedy after slavery. High on the success of the Rally held the night before and prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood Saturday morning, we rolled onto Auburn Avenue.
As we pulled up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. burial chamber, planning to place a wreath and pray, we were dashed with the cold water of today’s political bias. We were denied the opportunity to place the wreath and in fact were told that if we set it down we would be arrested. We were told that earlier in the day barricades had been placed to stop us from even walking in front of the wading pool!
Apparently saner heads prevailed because while we were not allowed to get off the bus at the burial site, we were allowed to be ushered by it. But we could not stop, we could not pray, we could not even stand and reflect. Park guards stationed along the way were screaming instructions to keep moving and reminding us with almost every step that the wreath was not to set down lest we face arrest.
Believing we had the freedom (the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action) to pray on the grounds of the ‘new’ Ebenezer Church, we walked across the street. Again our path was blocked when we were accosted by the park staff, to the point of the megaphone being snatched, unceremoniously, from the hand of the priest who was beginning to lead the prayers. As we regrouped to determine what we could do, my passion and anger began to rise.
I realized the rights of free speech and assembly that enabled civil rights protesters on the streets of Birmingham and Selma, Ala. to convene and protest America’s segregation laws were now being violated by a contingent of the federal government that had once provided protection to those who were protesting. And they did this at the gravesite of the man that led the fight.
Federal agents that had once been dispatched to ensure freedom of speech in America, were now denying that same right to us. We could not peacefully assemble and place a wreath, pray or reflect anywhere on the grounds of the federally funded Martin Luther King National Historic Site. Finally we were forced across the street on what we were told was “public” property where we prayed and sang.
The irony of the situation however, was that those who had gathered to “protest” us were permitted to stand on the federal grounds. They were allowed to heckle, to chant, to hurl abusive phrases at us through the bullhorn that was not confiscated from them, as they stood on federal property. The federal government that had once protected the rights of those that marched, those that memorialized the lives that had been lost in lynchings and others killings, was now the wielder of influence that blocked peaceful demonstrations against a moral wrong- the taking of innocent lives.
Some of you may feel that what happened at the Martin Luther King National park should not be placed in the same category as the violence that was perpetrated through the days of Jim Crow especially since those protesting us were black. But I disagree. The violence perpetrated in the abortion mills across the country is much worse than that of Jim Crow. You see millions did not die on southern streets. Our families fought to ensure we remained alive, healthty, able to live full lives once we were really free of racial constraints.
But millions, over eighteen million eight hundred seventy thousand lives,surpassing the number of Africans that died in the middle passage, have died thus far and the number continues to rise by over 1450 almost every day in America. Instead of the streets, alleys, woods and trees of Selma, Atlanta or Birmingham, the womb is now the place of terror for the black race.
We later learned permits had been applied for, but denied the Pro-life Freedom Riders who are black and white. The money to secure the permit was returned and although verbally approved, the permit was rescinded. On the other hand, the protesters were permitted and given all approvals to voice their dissent against us days after they had turned our requests down. We were there to pray and memorialize the more than fifty million babies, over eighteen million eight hundred and seventy thousand of whom were black.
We were there to honor the man we believe understood that while God is our source, our children are our strength, our source of lineage, political, and social power. We wanted to recognize the strength he passed on to us at the cost of his life by laying a wreath at his tomb. However, those at the park were too vested in being Democrat than American. They were more interested in pushing the pro-abortion agenda than protecting the rights of those most devasted by the atrocity of abortion.
This is not the America my great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and others fought, bled and died in to ensure I had the right to lay a wreath at the gravesite of one of America’s great heroes. This is not the America they sang about, fasted about, or prayed about as they helped build this nation and their families into greatness. My ancestors fought for liberty- the quality or state of being free from outside domination.
It is in their memory that I pledge to fight these injustices just as hard as they fought those found in their time. And if I perish, I perish. But my America must be free. It must honor the blood of the martyrs that made it so. In my America, this last bastion of institutionalized racism will fall.