Two Christian pro-life protesters have recently been arrested twice by Police in Brighton and await the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to see if they will face a Criminal Prosecution.
Andy Stephenson 35, married father of two and Katherine Sloane 19, pro-life campaigners were stood outside the BPAS clinic in Brighton on the 27th of July. They raised a banner showing an early aborted embryo near the entrance of the clinic and stood in silent protest. They had been there for about 45 minutes when they were approached by police. The police asked them to take down their pictures otherwise they would be arrested. A discussion followed as Mr Stephenson tried to explain why their actions were lawful. Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane refused to take down the banner as they believed that they had a lawful right to protest and educate. The police therefore arrested them and took them to Brighton Police station. After having their photographs, fingerprints and DNA taken they were offered a “fixed penalty notice” instead of being prosecuted. They refused the police’s offer and requested a court hearing.
Undeterred by the threat of arrest, Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane returned to the clinic on the 10th of August and protested in the same manner. Once again, after having stood in silent protest for 45 minutes, they were again approached by police. Mr Stephenson and Miss Sloane refused to take down the banner and so were again arrested and taken to Brighton Police Station and held for 14 hours. This time they were interviewed under caution and were supported by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed human rights barrister Paul Diamond in the case. They have now been placed on police bail and will return on the 13th of October to hear whether the Crown Prosecution Service have authorised charge for prosecution under the Public Order Act.
Andy Stephenson says “all we were seeking to do was to highlight the dangers of abortion to the users of the BPAS clinic. The women who go to these clinics are simply not told the full story as to what abortion involves and the damage that it causes women. We always stand in complete silence and let the pictures do the talking.”
Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the case, said: "This is a test case for their democratic right to reveal what abortion really is like. This case raises important questions about whether our society will allow robust and rigorous debate about what remains a highly controversial issue.
In the 21st century it is not appropriate to silence and to censor those who speak out against abortion, even if the manner in which they do so is not how many would choose. Many people in the UK remain horrified at the nature and scale of abortion in this country. There have been 7 million abortions in England and Wales since abortion was legalised in 1967. Obviously there are a range of ways in which people will choose to engage in this important debate depending on what they judge to be the most effective in each situation. However, the freedom to engage and provoke public debate on this matter of life and death must be safeguarded."
'Yet the ideas and practices... are not our real enemies. "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood," insists Paul (Ephesians 6.12). We are not at war with Roman Catholics, liberals, Jehovah's Witnesses or evolutionary scientists. We do not fight adulterers, gays, pop stars or the managers of abortion clinics. We are not in conflict with any man or woman. So who, then, are our enemies? We are "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.' (Stuart Olyott, on Ephesians 6.12)
For a change, here's a bit of magic. Paul Daniels is (IMHO) the most under-rated entertainer in the country at the moment. And it's not just my opinion - Paul agrees with me. Unfortunately this clip starts half way through and is interrupted once or twice - ignore the interruptions, especially the guy with the strange hair (turn the sound down for him; he's a bit of a bottom, to be honest.)
My older viewer will remember this well enough. Today's a good day (it's always a good day) to take a moment to pray for our armed forces - the boys and men who defend our liberty and sometimes pay the ultimate price.
Many years ago I found a book of mathematical puzzles. The only one I remember seemed to prove that every point inside a circle was actually on the circumference. I was doing 'A'-level maths at the time (and, at the time, that meant something) and finding the flaw seemed a good idea. I couldn't.
Neither could my friend Pete, who was brighter than me (not hard to believe, I know). So he set out to do what the puzzle said - you know, it was one of those that read 'draw a radius AB and extend AB to the point C such that the ratio...' - and so on. As soon as Pete actually tried to do what it said, we discovered (note the 'we' - I'm happy to claim partial credit for his work) that it couldn't be done; therein lay the flaw. If you assumed it could be done, the maths all followed, and every point in a circle was on its circumference. The moment you tried it, though...
Stephen Hawking thinks that the universe created itself; once it wasn't there, and (while not there) it created itself and became there. ‘...the universe created itself out of nothing; spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing.’ Yep - it's a quote; I'm not making it up.
If you were an atheist, wouldn't that terrify you? The world's most famous scientist - one of the best minds of his generation (if not the best) says, in effect, 'The only alternative to God is a universe that made itself out of nothing. Once there was nothing, and it exploded...'
Pardon my French, but isn't that just - er - stupid? And those who believe it also are - well, 'although they claimed to be wise they became fools' (Romans 1.22).
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”
He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”
Oh, dear - once again I have to quake and tremble as my faith receives an unanswerable blow... or not. Just a couple of things, though, Stephen, before I retreat into the pointlessness that atheism brings:
Why is there a law of gravity?
Who made the touch paper that we don't need God to light?