In England, Silent Prayer Can Be A Crime
This is appalling. In a supposedly free country!
This pro-life activist was standing peacefully and quietly near an abortion clinic in England. The fact that she might have been praying quietly was enough for a police officer to arrest her. According to Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers are defending her:
Police approached Isabel Vaughan-Spruce standing near the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Vaughan-Spruce was carrying no sign and remained completely silent until approached by officers. Police had received complaints from an onlooker who suspected that Vaughan-Spruce was praying silently in her mind.
“It’s abhorrently wrong that I was searched, arrested, interrogated by police and charged simply for praying in the privacy of my own mind. Censorship zones purport to ban harassment, which is already illegal. Nobody should ever be subject to harassment. But what I did was the furthest thing from harmful – I was exercising my freedom of thought, my freedom of religion, inside the privacy of my own mind. Nobody should be criminalised for thinking and for praying, in a public space in the UK,” said Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, following her arrest for silent prayer.
The censorship zone measure introduced by Birmingham authorities criminalises individuals percieved to be “engaging in any act of approval or disapproval or attempted act of approval or disapproval” in relation to abortion, including through “verbal or written means, prayer or counselling…”.
Vaughan-Spruce had stood near the abortion facility whilst it was closed on three occasions, in which she says she “might” have been praying.
Whilst in the police station, Vaughan-Spruce was shown pictures of herself outside the abortion facility. She said she could not recall from the pictures whether she was praying at these specific moments, or whether these had been taken at times that she was distracted and thought about other things, such as her lunch. She maintains that all her thoughts were equally peaceful and imperceptible and that none should be criminalised.
This happened in Great Britain, which is governed by the Tories. Astonishing, and hideous. Abortion is so sacred to the British government that one is not allowed to address God silently outside an abortion clinic.
Meanwhile, the British government has said that it may no longer be appropriate to read parts of the Bible in public. I'm not making this up.
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Post-Christian Britain is quite a place. Over a decade ago, I became friends with an English Catholic woman who loves her native country, but who emigrated to America with her American husband because she wanted to raise her children in a country where they would have a fighting chance at holding on to their faith. She left behind a beautiful family house and centuries of heritage there, all for her faith. She really did believe that the pressure on her kids to apostatize would be hard for them to bear. I see now what she meant by that.