More than ten years ago, mainstream America got an introduction to just how fanatical the religious right can be with the release of “Jesus Camp,” a documentary that showed how young kids are turned into little culture warriors. In a number of scenes, the kids were seen taking part in anti-abortion rallies. Easily the most chilling scene came when Lou Engle had the kids chanting and praying for “righteous judges” to overturn Roe v. Wade.
That same mentality, in slightly diluted form, is coming to my hometown of Charlotte this weekend. Earlier this week, one of my old high school friends, who works as an escort at some of Charlotte’s abortion clinics, got word that an outfit called “Love Life Charlotte” is organizing a “Youth for Life Prayer Walk” on Saturday. It’s slated to take place at A Preferred Woman’s Health Clinic in east Charlotte.
Love Life is spearheading an ambitious campaign to “end abortion in Charlotte in 2017.” The group claims that abortion is the leading cause of death in the nation’s 17th-largest city. Every Saturday for 40 weeks, volunteers from 60 area churches and ministries have walked from Love Life’s headquarters to APWHC in hopes that the women there have “an encounter with the Holy Spirit” and opt not to have an abortion.
However, they’ve been at this for awhile–and so far, they haven’t succeeded. Watch their promo video here.
Notice when that video was posted–in 2016. Executive director Andre Gonzalez set a goal of ending abortion in Charlotte in 2016. Well, it’s 2017, and all three of the city’s abortion clinics are still open.
For this coming Saturday, which will mark the 29th week of this year’s campaign, Love Life has reached out to local church youth groups. As of Thursday night, some 40 churches have signed up.
We already have some idea what this weekend’s protest will be like. The Charlotte Observer interviewed APWHC part-owner and administrator Calla Hales after Love Life’s June 10 rally at her clinic. Among other things, she recalled hearing kids singing “explicit songs about life in the womb.” She also tweeted a picture of kids directing cars away from the clinic.
— Calla Hales (@heyitscalla) June 10, 2017
Since 2016, APWHC has been a target of some particularly intense protests. Forced-birthers have blocked roads and stopped cars. One day, Hales found herself blocked from getting to work because protesters were blocking the road.
— Calla Hales (@heyitscalla) July 19, 2017
The protesters have also used noise amplifiers to preach at patients.
Happy Monday, from one of my friendly antis. pic.twitter.com/aatabeGAAj
— Calla Hales (@heyitscalla) July 3, 2017
— Calla Hales (@heyitscalla) July 24, 2017
The forced-birthers have also set up a WiFi network called “Abortion Info” whose logo closely resembles that of the clinic, but which requires you to watch forced-birth agitprop videos to access the Internet.
While Love Life Charlotte’s own rules explicitly forbid participants from engaging with anyone going into the clinic, it’s easy to see why Hales and her colleagues are on edge. It’s also easy to see why we should be concerned about kids taking part in Saturday’s rally. After all, it’s hard to believe they won’t hear and see some of the uglier tactics used by the other protesters on the scene.
And if Love Life at least appears to condone kids leading people away from the clinic and singing explicit protest songs, that’s not a good sign. Indeed, it suggests this outfit is taking a page from the “Jesus Camp” playbook. Hopefully things won’t get too intense on Saturday.
(featured image courtesy Love Life Charlotte’s Facebook)