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Saturday, June 25, 2016

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Diversity is more than gay pride: A pro-life speech at St Petersburg, FL City Hall

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LIFE: YOU CAN"T LIVE WITHOUT IT (speech at pro-life rally April 30, 2016)

Good morning.

Thank you Jane for that introduction!

Thank you all for coming! This is a great morning for life!

Who is excited?

As Jane said, I am the Founder and President of Florida Preborn Rescue, a pro-life, non-profit, organization based here in St Petersburg. My organization and team offer Christ-centered help and hope to women in crisis pregnancies on site at local abortion clinics.

I see a lot of you out there today.  

Raise your hand if you’ve been out to the clinic with us!

Alright! Excellent.

In 2012, I founded Florida Preborn Rescue to be a Christ centered, pro-life, compassionate sidewalk counseling ministry. Too many clinics sit in secret, without a God-honoring witness, and so Florida Preborn Rescue was born in response.

Last year, we offered help to 250 women and men involved in crisis pregnancies. 35 women received our help about abortion alternatives and the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we had three documented saves! 

That we know of. Probably more that we didn’t see, because as you know, just your prayerful presence at an abortion facility makes an impact. Sometimes all a woman needs is a sign that they are not alone, that help is available, and that God is near to those who draw near to him in repentance.

Yes, amen! Praise the LORD.

Before we get started I’d like to recognize a few people in the crowd today and thank them personally.

First, my wife Rebecca is here. We just celebrated our second anniversary. She is an amazing woman and I am so glad she is my wife. Give her a round of applause for putting up with me.

Second, I’d like to thank Jane Lupia for helping organize this rally. It would not have gotten done without her skills and leadership, so thank you Jane! Let’s give her a round of applause.

What a blessing.

So, why are we here this morning?

  
As you are aware, for two consecutive years, in 2014 and 2015, Mayor Kriseman raised the Gay Pride flag right here at City Hall during the month of June.  Before raising the flag, Mayor Kriseman stated this action demonstrated his commitment to equality for all the citizens of St Petersburg. He said

We are a city of diversity, of inclusion and a city of tolerance. Everyone is welcome to live, work and play.”

Three months after this, I wrote to the Mayor, applauded his commitment to diversity, and asked that he raise the “Pro-Life” flag over City Hall beginning on September 24, to coincide with St Petersburg’s 40 Days for Life Campaign. How many of you have been involved with 40 Days for Life?

I love 40 Days for Life, it’s an awesome event. What a blessing to join hundreds of other cities across the country and around the world in peaceful vigil to end abortion. Our 9th campaign will begin this fall.

So, let’s get back to the Mayor.

We have sent letters, made phone calls, and sent emails.

We sent in petitions totaling 315 registered voters asking the Mayor to raise the pro-life flag.

And last summer, 30 pro-life citizens came to several city council meetings to ask the Mayor to raise the pro-life flag.

Sadly, we got no response.

Our Mayor often says
We are a city of diversity, of inclusion and a city of tolerance. Everyone is welcome to live, work and play.”

However, I did receive a phone call from the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Kevin King, 14 months after our first overtures to the Mayor. We sat down and met here in his office. Now, I want you to listen closely. I am not making this up.

Even after all the emails, letters, phone calls, and presentations,  Mr. King told me that he and the Mayor “didn’t know if this was s serious request.”

Can you believe that?

Not aware? Really?

Mr. King went on to say that he and the Mayor were not aware of a vibrant pro-life community in St Petersburg.

Apparently, they had not heard of 40 Days for Life.

Apparently, they had not heard of the Diocese of St Petersburg and all their wonderful pro-life activities.

Apparently, they had not heard of the Pregnancy Centers of Pinellas County, which are some of the largest network of pregnancy centers in the United States.

Apparently, they had not heard of the Next Stepp Pregnancy Center and all the great work that Carole Alexander does on the South Side.

Apparently, they had not heard of Walk for Life, even though every Mother’s Day weekend, over a hundred churches and hundreds of  Christians celebrate life at North Shore Park, just down the road.  

If he doesn’t think there is a vibrant pro-life community here.

He needs to get out more.

But you all look pretty vibrant to me!

Diversity involves a willingness to allow for opinions that you may not share yourself. Whatever your personal views on current social issues, diversity requires that all views are respected.

Otherwise, it is not diversity.

There is no such thing as tolerating one opinion.

Whether or not the Mayor is pro-life, is not really the issue. The issue that a great number of citizens in St Petersburg ARE.

It turns out the Mayor is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood. It’s not difficult for us to understand then, where he is coming from.

In my meeting with Mr. King, he reiterated to me that the Mayor is pro-choice. But that doesn’t end the discussion.  Being pro-abortion is ONE position. If you are going to constantly lecture us about diversity, inclusion and tolerance then you should entertain other points of view as well.

If he continues to ignore and exclude other groups, this is not inclusive.

If he continues to ignore and exclude other groups, this is not diversity.

If he continues to promote only one agenda, this is not inclusion.

If he continues and if he fails to take citizen requests seriously, he is not being tolerant.

Is everyone really welcome in St Petersburg, Mayor Kriseman?

Really?

This summer the SCOTUS made it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation, by legalizing
“marriage” between two men or two women.

This is now the law of the land.

But our Mayor’s support of the LGBTQ agenda is clear as the blue sky above us this morning. He has hired two LGBT liasons on the City payroll. He has helped created a welcome center on Central Ave for LGBTQ couples. He has been the Grand Marshal of the Gay Pride parade, one of the largest Gay Pride parades in the country. The month of June is filled with festivals and parades and celebrations of the LGBTQ lifestyle. And three out of 8 City Council members are openly homosexual.

Dare I say, this is probably the most gay friendly city in the United States.

So, now it’s time for the Mayor to be tolerant, diverse, and inclusive of other groups.

Do we really need lectures about diversity from this Mayor? Shouldn’t he focus on the least represented and the most ignored group in our City?

Gays, lesbians, transgenders, and questioning folks have more opportunity and more tolerance here than anywhere else. These people are not victims.

However, even here in our fair city, there are victims.

And this is why we are here.

The preborn are the greatest victims of prejudice and discrimination in our city. For our City will not even recognize that they exist. And that they have a right to exist.

Life is fundamental!

Life is beautiful!  

Life is a gift!

So, in celebrating life, and in the name of diversity, inclusion and tolerance, let’s raise the PRO LIFE FLAG, Mayor Kriseman.

Another favorite phrase is of the Mayor all are welcome to “live, work and play in St Petersburg.”

So let me ask him some more question.

How can you work without life?
How can you play without life?
How can you recycle without life?
How can you pay taxes without life??
How can you live if you’re not alive?

Life. You can’t live without it.

Life. You can’t live without it.

When the Founding Fathers built this nation, in constructing their founding documents, they were making a promise to America that was unprecedented in human history. They were promising to Americans to future generations the blessings of liberty. The blessings of the pursuit of happiness. And first and foremost, the blessings of life.

At times in our history this promise has been kept, and at times in our history this promise has been broken.

It was kept when slaves were freed, and blacks received the right to vote.

It was broken on January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court decreed that the most vulnerable among us, the preborn, no longer had the fundamental right to life.

Therefore, we are here today on behalf of the preborn in our city.

We are here today on behalf of abortion vulnerable women in our city.

MLK said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,

And if I may borrow the words and phrasing of Dr King, it is true, I also have a dream.

It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

It is a dream that one day, abortion will be unthinkable and illegal in our land. Illegal and unimaginable. Just like slavery is now illegal and unthinkable based on the color of a person’s skin, one day abortion will be too.

It was not that long ago people that slaves were sold on the streets of Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Pensacola.

We look on those times as unthinkable don’t we?

And we should.

Why?

The Declaration of Independence tell us that “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Why are they created equal? Because all of us, male and female, white and black, rich and poor, have been created by God. We are all God’s children. Children who are designed by God with a purpose. Children who one day will be protected by love and by law. Children are made in the image of God, with an eternal soul. No one has the right to take this away.

Our equality is based on our createdness.  And if we are creatures, then there must be a Creator.

But sadly, here in St Petersburg, a city that constantly touts its tolerance, diversity, and inclusion, the grossest inequality still exists. Here in St Petersburg, the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution still do not ring true for all our citizens.

But despite this, I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day, this City, the City of St Petersburg FL will be abortion free.

Now is the time, Mayor Kriseman, now is the time. To raise this FLAG!

It is time to be consistent Mr. Mayor.
Will you stand with us, and with the thousands of pro-lifers in our community?

Or will you continue to ignore, exclude and discriminate against us?
A great first step, Mayor Kriseman is to RAISE THE PRO LIFE FLAG.

Another step, Mayor Kriseman, is to end your association with Planned Parenthood. This organization hurts women, kills children, and profited off the sale of baby body parts, and St Petersburg deserves better.

Our destiny as a nation, and yes as a city is tied up in the destiny of the preborn.

But right now, the preborn babies of St Petersburg, of whom 3000 were lost to abortion last year, have no voice.

No parade in June.

No festival.

No flag raised in their honor. Although we know that will change!  

No pro-life weekend.

No one recognizes or remembers them OR their mother and these women offer suffer with guilt, silence, and regret.

The City of St Petersburg which offers everyone else everything, offers them nothing.

Instead of diversity, we are told which opinion to believe.

Instead of inclusion, we are excluded.

Instead of tolerance, we are not tolerated.

But it’s not too late? Do you think it’s too late?

Everyone here has received some information about how to contact Mayor Kriseman. I urge all of you to make a point to contact him, call him every week, twice a week, email him, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, tell him that you want the PRO LIFE  flag raised. Do so graciously and respectfully!

Tell him to be consistent and tell him that St Petersburg is a great city, a great city, but we will only be great if we live up to the fullness of our belief in diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.  

Mr. Kriseman, do the right thing. Raise the PRO LIFE FLAG!

Thank you all for coming!

Thank you!


God Bless You! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

PRO LIFE RALLY 2016 St Petersburg FL City Hall

We were blessed to have 35 pro-lifers join us on April 30, 2016 at St Petersburg City Hall.



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Monday, April 4, 2016

Should Women Who Get Abortions Be Punished?





The latest kerfuffle from Donald Trump regarding whether post-abortive women should be punished is actually an excellent opportunity for pro-lifers to think through this very important issue.

First, we have to define our terms.

Human life begins at conception. All intentional destruction of this life before birth is murder. Abortion is an intentional destruction of a human life. Therefore, abortion is murder.

So, these are the facts, bare and unalterable. It seems obvious enough, so what giveth the kerfuffle?

Different pro-life groups have taken en masse to the internet, making their respective cases about why what Trump said was wonderful and logically consistent, or lacking in mercy and morally repugnant.

As is the case in most dilemmas, the answer is both-and, or “yes”.

According to the above syllogism, yes, abortion is murder. All abortions are murder. Bible supports personhood from the moment of conception (Jer. 1:5, Ps. 139:13-14) and also supports capital punishment in the Old Testament for murder (Gen. 9:6). Murderers deserve the death penalty.

So, having said that, where is the debate? Shouldn’t we all just applaud The Donald for his candor (at least before he walked it back) and race off to reform the laws of the nation?

Not so fast.

Let’s not forget the New Covenant.

For when the adulterous woman was brought to Jesus, in John 8:3-11, having been caught “in the very act”, recall that Jesus had every right to walk away, and leave her to those who would stone her. But what did he say?
 “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught[b] in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded[c] us that such should be stoned.[d] But what do You say?”[e] This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.[f] So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up[g] and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,[h] went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,[i] “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?[j] Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Jesus could have condemned her. He had the moral authority and Old Testament warrant to do so. But He didn’t.
Another passage that comes to mind is in Luke 9:51-56. The 12 disciples had just received their marching orders from Jesus, but just had an unsuccessful evangelism encounter with some Samaritans.
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[e]
55 But He turned and rebuked them,[f] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”[g] 

The OT allows for the death penalty for refusing to obey the decree of a priest (Dt. 17:12) and the disciples were just given similar authority. But this did not stop Jesus from rebuking them. They were of the wrong spirit, which is to say, they were being demonic. Jesus did not come to destroy lives, but to save them. Satan destroys. Jesus saves.


Which brings us to the current issue.

Of course, every abortion is a murder. But of course, the main perpetrator of the murder (the abortion provider) is the main profiteer of the procedure. Having been in pro-life work for six years, I can tell you that a significant percentage of the women that we see on site at the clinics feel as though they have no other option. There is, as in all sin, a mixture of fear, pride, and self-preservation. Anyone who has done clinic work and seen the faces of brazen women going into the clinic sees the same women, often less than an two hours later, utterly broken and ashamed, coming out of the clinic. These women have suffered enough.  

If the state needs to do anything for these women, it would be mandatory grief counseling and not jail time or the death penalty.
In the above examples, Jesus ushered in a new era where grace and mercy were to rule. The letter of the law allowed for very different outcomes, but Jesus moved beyond these external prohibitions. He let mercy rule. And in the case of the woman, so should we.
Ironically, those pro-lifers who are applauding Trump and others for insisting women receive “some sort of punishment” are often posting memes that have a post-abortive woman saying something like, “I am not a victim, I am a murderer, saved by the grace of Jesus.” 

So it is. And amen. Very true. 

However, according to the Old Testament law, these women would have all received the death penalty, and their stories of redemption would never be heard. To be consistent, they should be on death row.

Some might argue that not punishing the woman for murdering their child during abortion is logically inconsistent. Maybe it is. Good thing Jesus cares nothing about our logical consistencies, and much more about the mercy extended to the broken. After all, we have received mercy so we must therefore extend it to others. Note that in both cases above Jesus ignored the authority that the crowd had to the adulterous woman, and that the disciples had when preaching. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Should women be punished for their abortions? I would argue that this is a case for where mercy triumphs over judgment.

Perhaps one day (Lord, hasten the day) revival will return to this land, and true justice will ring forth in our leaders and in our laws. Perhaps then, when abortion is outlawed, clinics are closed down, abortion pills outlawed, and these doctors have been run out of business that we can look again at these laws. For now, though, let’s focus on going to the clinics, reaching out with the love of Jesus and praying for the Lord to revive His church to stand for all life.

We all want justice. The babies deserve it. But in justice, let us remember mercy (Hab.

3:1-2).


Monday, February 29, 2016

40% of the way towards our goal! Thanks for your prayers! Let's keep going!



We are 40% of the way towards full-support! Thanks for your prayers and let's keep going!