Monday, November 9, 2009

Another GAP at UTK, October 12 & 13, 2009

Kate, wearing the blue cap, is handing out GAP literature to students passing in front of the display.

Students writing their thoughts on the Free Speech Board that we put out. This is the first time we used this device and it worked well in engaging students in thinking about the display and giving us an opportunity to interact.

The Free Speech Board drew a crowd of those who wanted to talk and debate.

You can see Jane Bullington's hand as she speaks in the middle of a group of students. Jane is with the Center for Bioethical Reform, SE.

More GAP at UTK

Gabrielle is the president of the pro-life student group at UTK.

Students and others (above) study the Free Speech Board.

This masked pirate above was the sole "protestor." He apparently believed that the GAP display is absurd and only an (obscene) aburdity is the appropriate response.

A red-tailed hawk carrying a live squirrel landed next to the display and cried in its piercing voice, receiving everyone's attention.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cappella Sistina

My photos from inside the Vatican Museum, including in the Sistine Chapel, were destroyed by X-ray. An Italian security officer at the airport compelled me to send my unprocessed film though the machine, and there were a lot of blanks in the negatives.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Dozens of tourists exited the green or brown buses at the Eielson Visitor Center 66 miles deep into Denali National Park in Alaska. A group of women paused to photograph a ground squirrel that ran around on the outside sidewalks darting here and there quite close to people. Actually, the women were charmed by the squirrel, and excited. A young man walked around the Visitor Center with his camera, stalking the squirrels, possibly hoping for the perfect cute picture.

On one of the park buses rolling down the road, a tourist bellowed MOOSE, MOOSE, MOOSE upon seeing a fine bull specimen. This bus stopped at every caribou on the tundra or white specks of Dall sheep on cliffs. Another time, a dozen people on a bus jumped up and shouted WOLF! WOLF! preventing anyone else from seeing the creature cross the road and vanish into the willows. On rare instances tourists would see wolves or brown bear chasing a moose with a calf.

Another bus paused now and then for the passengers to view grizzly/brown bears—sows accompanied by a cub or cubs. One cub was digging frenetically and didn’t notice when mama moved away, and then the cub scampered after her. At the Savage River checkpoint, a lynx trotted out in view of four or five buses.

Only a tiny fraction of the thousands of visitors to Denali National Park walk far enough from the safety of a bus or a vehicle accessible campground to be on equal footing with moose, caribou, wolves, bear, wild sheep, or lynx, but you see, when security is gone, self reflection occurs.

When the lynx trots by as you rest on the ground, when you find huge fresh wolf tracks on the braided river bar, when the caribou feed during the bright summer night near your tent, when the grizzly is bearing down on your children as they filter water along a noisy stream, when there is no protection between you and the moose, when hordes of mosquitoes swarm around you, when you stand where Dall sheep stand, when the rain beats down and the wind threatens to tear your tent into shreds, and when you rise up from a green tundra bed at 2:AM to see the highest mountain in North America 25 miles away blazing clear in golden sunlight, then you can better reflect upon your purpose and position in the world. Or, you can afterwards.

And in Denali National Park some people have even more intense experiences as they ski cross country or dogsled in a 20-40 minus degree F. winter, or as they attempt to summit the mountain.

One does not necessarily need actual wilderness immersion to prompt self-reflection. Wilderness really is more time apart from routine occupations and customary comforts. Wilderness removes barriers between you and the Creator, and other experiences also can supply this condition, like fasts, true retreats, and or even tent camping and early morning walks at the beach. Civilization is a tool, but it can also be an impediment. We can be so busy maintaining our stuff, and flying around to all the fun or “necessary“ social functions, or responding to the crisis of the moment, that we have little left for reflection.
Wilderness forces reflection. Jesus spent time in the wilderness. John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness.

So, what exactly can be gained or learned from “the wild” when it comes to our role in the impediment to the killing of pre-born children and its continued imbedding into our culture?

Preparation. Train for anticipated challenges, study the conditions you will meet and expect to learn as you go.

Discipline and Planning. Too much gear will hold you back. Learn to leave behind what is not needed and take only the essentials. Extra food and clothing is essential (and bug nets).

Trust. If God can take care of the amazing tundra flowers that can survive bitter winters, He will take care of you.

Focus. Accept the reality around you and deal with it. Do not indulge in denial about your situation. Be alert to needs and dangers.

Calm. When you yell at the bear, chances are it will run away. Know what to do next if it does not run away. In the wilderness, you assume certain risks.

Courage. Continue walking and your path will emerge step by step.

Humility. The universe is bigger than you feel it to be, and natural order rules. We are weaker than we feel we are.

Joy. The world is far more beautiful than anything we humans can make, and more so than we can imagine.

Perspective. We can not live long in the wilderness—it is a place only to visit. But without it, we can not live at all.

APPLICATIONS: Every so often I read the daily headlines from . The stories are much the same as they have been for years, except for names and dates. With Obama in the White House we seem to be settled in for a time of little progress, and perhaps not a little regress. Unless there is an earthshaking event, I expect for no improvement in the big picture for years to come. As I scan the political horizon, there seems to be no human deliverer on the way—no one to provide the leadership we need. Yes, someone will point to Mr. Y or Ms. X who is full of promise. How many of these great people have fallen away or have not measured up? Of course, lives are in the balance every day. This is where we can focus and be fruitful. —These likely are the realities we must accept. We must continue in the routine of what is helpful and also we must wait upon new, daring, creative ideas and projects, not fearful to embark upon them when the Lord calls. Those ideas can grow out of our wilderness experience—from new perspective and courage developed by trials. Remember the proverb that says, “He who continuously stiffens his neck will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” We have seen many nations in history suffer such a fate, and ours appears to be becoming one of them. Let’s become prepared and prepare our children for great struggles. Challenge yourself by accepting new and difficult tasks that reach to the heart of the matter, but also allow time for rest and healthy, vigorous recreation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Two Days at UNC-Charlotte

A handful of us went to the University of NC-Charlotte on April 20 and 21, 2009 with images of an aborted pre-born child. Our purpose was to educate University people (students, faculty and staff) on the missing element of abortion. Also, we hoped to recruit students who will start a pro-life organization on campus.

This, Above, is a replica of a Congo-ese hut. On our first day some students were promoting Congo Awareness Day nearby. Apparently six million people have been murdered there in recent years. A young woman in a colorful African dress spit up stage blood and cried, "My baby! My baby!"

We stood around the Belk Tower facing oncoming traffic.

This, Above, represents some of the traffic.

On our first day eight people total helped on our team. On the second day we had only three, so we doubled up on signs. This, Above, is Jane Bullington of the Center for Bioethical Reform, SE Region. Their office is in Knoxville, TN.

Peggy from Atlanta talking with an interested student. April 21 was international Holocaust Remembrance Day. On the trip home from Charlotte I listened to a radio program from Davidson College (Performance Today) featuring symphonic composers who were killed in Nazi death camps. One of those was Marcel Tyberg. His music is just now being performed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

GAP at the University of North Florida, March 25 & 26, 2009

Large images of aborted children are out of focus in the distance behind this budding spring rose on the campus of the University of North Florida. Scroll down to see and read more.

University of North Florida

A view from a next door building. Here we used a canopy at a GAP for the first time.

Dr. Fletcher Armstrong of the Center for Bioethical Reform spoke to a Media Literacy class the professor of which brought out to observe and write about the display.

This skateboarder took immense interest. When I was talking with a graduate biology student at length and a couple other young men, this girl approached and interupted to say that we needed a woman's perspective. We invited her to join us, but she skedaddled. The biology student said his grandparents were Holocaust survivors who knew Jacob Gens and Yitzhak Wittenberg whom I wrote about on this blog: "Resistance v. Collaboration" on August 2, 2007.

The display caught the eyes of observers, above, from a distance and those up close, below.

UNF Continued

A few nuns and their friends came out to the display for a few hours. Click on any image to make it bigger.

These two (above) were the only two abortion choicers who made their thoughts known publicly. They came out for a couple hours the second day and did not have much support from other students, as far as I could observe. Note the matching colors and shapes, signs and their holders. These ladies were very concerned about me getting their faces on film. I have wondered why that just about everywhere we go, the abortionatics fear having their pictures taken.

The abortion-choice ladies stood in front of this part of the display, which explains about everything, I guess.

The Green was a gathering place for students and a few classes. As I walked by it seemed that the professor was missing an interesting educational opportunity.

Closing Shot of UNF

This girl from an African nation and a graduate student in Communications was sympathetic to our pro-life display because of atrocities she knew of and had seen in her own land.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

January 20, 2009 was an historic day.

What history will say about today, no one knows yet. But, if we can take Barrack Obama at his word, it will be bad. And while so much of the world celebrated, and laughed, screamed, cried for joy and danced today, I wished to register protest, even if it was a small effort. Asheville Pizza and Brewing (APB) threw an inauguration party at both of its locations, showing the events in Washington live, and outside on the public sidewalk I stood with two CHANGE signs along with a friend, Deborah. A CHANGE sign is a CHOICE sign, but changed, a few letters changed. Below the word CHANGE is a large gruesome color image of an aborted baby, which reflects Obama’s policy on abortion.

We showed up just before 11:00 AM. The parking lot was full and not long after a representative of APB, a young man, came out to tell us that we can’t stand in front of his restaurant, that we would have to leave. Can’t? I asked him more or less what strength there was in that word. We were standing on a public sidewalk. Next another man came out saying that he was the owner of APB. He took a similar approach saying that we Couldn’t stand out there. I became impatient with this and said simply, Call the police. He said that the police would make us leave and I told him I had been through this sort of thing 50 times. When I later told one of my daughters this, she said, “More like 200.”

Until the time when the police arrived the two men berated us and tried to block our signs. I held mine high in the air, so that it could be seen. The owner said that I showed a bloody picture because I was incapable of rational discourse. It is interesting that the owner said that he did not support Obama and the young man said that he was opposed to abortion, really opposed and not just Pro-Choice-Opposed. They said that they would have thrown a party if McCain had won. I said in reply to this that they were making money from Obama enthusiasm and the free publicity they received in the news. They berated us for being hypocrites who were insensitive to children. “Would Jesus hold up a picture of a bloody fetus?” the owner asked, however he did not seem to wish to dialog and to hear my persistent answer that Jesus was the bloody picture, only it seemed that he wished to argue us into leaving. He admitted that he was concerned about his business, that revenues were down 60%.

When a police officer arrived, he did not make us leave or arrest as the APB guys promised. I knew the officer wouldn’t, of course. He just told us to be nice. When the officer was there, someone with what appeared to be a commercial television camera took some pictures. It might have been WLOS. The owner told us officially not to trespass by stepping onto his pavement. I asked him if we could step backwards occasionally to clear the view so drivers could exit his parking lot safely and he said No. I then said that if there was an accident resulting, it would be his responsibility. He denied this and said it would be our fault.

Well, we gave and took verbal jabs for awhile. The owner made a deal about his incomplete understanding (based on a false premise-it‘s complicated) about whether or not or when we would show these pictures to people in our churches. He said that he went to St Eugene Catholic and that he had called to priest there to ask him to come down to talk with us.. I asked the owner if he had ever come with other Catholics to the abortion place to pray, a place six blocks from his business where they slaughtered children. (He hadn’t) He called me a false prophet and likened us to people who protest at military funerals and claim that the soldiers died because homosexual acting people serve in the military.

Another issue was that some of the people driving out of the APB parking lot had to look around us to see if the coast was clear. Deborah and I were trying to get into a routine of moving the signs into a position to allow a clearer view. But this was hard because the men were distracting us by their belligerent conversation. A car was leaving and I told Deborah. In the process of moving her sign back, she stepped back one foot onto the asphalt parking surface. Immediately the owner said that he would charge her with trespassing. Said that he and his buddy both were witnesses. But, he said, he wouldn’t charge her if “you” left. I was a bit angry at this, but I was protective of Deborah and said that she should leave if she wished. The owner said that we BOTH had to leave. I said, “You can forget that.” He said that he would have her arrested anyway, if I didn’t leave. I told him that he’d have to swear out a warrant, since Deborah was leaving and then he followed Deborah as she walked away and I now held the two signs, as they rested on the ground. I called out to the owner and said that if he pressed trespass charges we would “be out there a lot” with the pictures in front of APB, AND in front of St. Eugene Catholic Church on a Sunday morning. Then I told the APB young man that he would have to prove that he owned the one foot of pavement next to the sidewalk since the right of way may extend into the lot. He said that he had “blueprints.”

What happened next was sort of funny, as in unexpected. I saw Deborah kneeling on the sidewalk about 50 feet away, praying. I assumed that she was scared of being charged with trespass, but as it turned out this wasn’t the case. She had simply left the sidewalk in front of APB. The owner was kneeling in front of her with his hand on her shoulder. He appeared to be praying too. After awhile they both came back and he said that she could hold the sign now and that they wouldn’t press charges. The owner said that he sort of admired us. He said that his main worry was his business, that so many restaurants in Asheville were closing down. I told him that my kids watched movies there a lot and that we (adults) enjoyed a big jug of his beer during Christmas. Then they left. We stayed until 12:30 PM , another half hour, and then left as we had planned.

I don’t really know why the APB guys left as they did. Maybe they were just playing games with us, to try to make us leave, or maybe they were over-reacting and it took a while for them to calm down. Maybe they were afraid of more picketing. (After talking with Deborah later, I thought that it could have been that the owner was moved by her prayer and tears. The younger man brought her hot coffee. It was very cold and breezy.) I felt a little bad for trying to engage in give and take with them. Normally when someone is so hostile and unfair, I prefer to be silent.

This above will be my memory of this supposed historic day. I’m writing this as the Inauguration March is being broadcasted over the TV beside me. If it becomes a day of regret for our nation remains to be seen. It could be the beginning of a terrible catastrophe.

Post Script: I just watched the WLOS coverage of the party at APB and they interviewed a bunch of children at the Coxe Avenue restaurant. Then they showed a clip of us in front of the Merrimon Avenue place. Originally I had scheduled to be at Coxe Avenue, but I changed it at the last moment partly so we wouldn’t be confronting children (as they were out of school today) when they walked in. Merrimon was a drive-in location. WLOS censored-by-scrambling the image of the aborted baby. They did have me holding up the sign facing away while on the back the words “Stop War Against Pre-born Children!” were quite visible. So many people at the inauguration said that they were pleased to be there on this historic day. I am glad that we were "there" raising a small voice of objection.