“Shame on you. … What you are doing is disgusting. … an old white lady telling people what to do with their bodies.”
This vitriolic stream of hatred came from our very own Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims, who represents the 182nd District. His venom is directed at a woman praying peacefully outside the Planned Parenthood facility in Center City Philadelphia on Friday.
In Sims’ video, the woman can be seen praying the rosary and trying to walk away from Sims, who is sticking his cell phone camera in her face. Sims live-streamed the video and posted it to his Twitter account. His tantrum lasts just under nine minutes.
Sims goes on to attack Christianity and to tell the woman that while she might have a right legally to be there, she has no “moral” right to be there. Sims states on his Twitter account that he doesn’t believe in the existence of a soul, yet he can instruct one in their morality.
The video went viral and within 24 hours had more than 5,000 comments. Sims tweeted, “Push back against Planned Parenthood protestors, PLEASE! They prey on young women, they use white privilege, & shame. They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition. Push back, please!” He also called on supporters to donate to Planned Parenthood.
The most disturbing thing about the video is the complete lack of civility displayed by an elected politician toward a citizen with an opposing view. And it should be a rallying cry for fellow Christians to stand up for what they believe publicly while we still can.
Non-violent peaceful protests ought to be celebrated. This woman was a member of Sidewalk Servants, an organization whose members volunteer one hour or more each month to pray and offer resources to those entering and exiting downtown Philadelphia abortion centers.
The “blessing bags” that the volunteers distribute include pro-life resources, candy and a handwritten note of encouragement for a pregnant woman considering abortion.
So, what is the fuss about? The fuss is that the woman is a Christian and pro-life. And while being a pro-life Christian is a reason today for intolerance, this woman also had the apparent gall to take a stand for her faith in public. And this cannot be tolerated. We are being forced out of the public square.
I have personally seen women change their minds because of Sidewalk Servants and the power of prayer and a peaceful witness. This woman had the courage to stand by her conviction, and she showed tremendous grace despite being under attack.
Matthew 10:16 instructs us, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”
Today we are in the midst of wolves. But these wolves often say the right things and use compelling arguments.
We can expect to be mocked, ridiculed and humiliated if we take a stand for our faith.
But take a stand we must.
I can’t think of a better time to take a stand for life than the month of May. What better time to walk with women and empower them? To celebrate the dignity of the human person and to be a true “feminist?” To pray the rosary like this brave woman and implore our Blessed Mother to intercede for mothers in the Philadelphia area?
Please consider becoming involved by becoming a pro-life volunteer, donating funds or by prayer.
Kim Griffin is a member of the Parish of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.
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