Monday, March 20, 2023

UK Parliament Institutes “Thought Police” To Stop “Intimidating” Silent Prayer

In a move that demonstrates how weak/woke the UK Parliament is, on Tuesday they approved censorship/buffer zones outside of abortion facilities in both England and Wales. Clause 11 of the new Public Order Bill, implements a 150 meter (492 foot), perimeter around every clinic.

The bill would criminalize any form of “influence” outside of abortion clinics, which includes … silent prayer.

One rational member of Parliament, Andrew Lewer, proposed an amendment that would allow consensual conversations and silent prayer within the buffer/censorship zones. Insanely, it was voted down by a vote of 299-116.

Jeremiah Igunnubole, the attorney for the UK branch of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said this about the decision:

“Today’s vote marks a watershed moment for fundamental rights and freedoms in our country. Parliament had an opportunity to reject the criminalization of free thought, which is an absolute right, and embrace individual liberty for all. Instead, Parliament chose to endorse censorship and criminalize peaceful activities such as silent prayer and consensual conversation. Today it’s abortion. Tomorrow it could be another contested matter of political debate. The principle remains that the government should never be able to punish anyone for prayer, let alone silent prayer, and peaceful and consensual conversation. Thankfully, where the clause initially called for a prison sentence for those convicted of engaging in these peaceful activities near abortion facilities, the penalty now has been reduced to a fine. Nevertheless, it is extremely regrettable that Parliament, which exists to protect and champion the rights of the electorate, has taken a clear stance against fundamental freedoms, opening the door for nationwide thought-crime prosecution.

Several locations have already implemented protection orders. In November, Adam Smith-Conner was fined for silently praying outside of an abortion clinic in Bournemouth. In December, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, Co-Director of March For Life UK, was arrested for praying silently outside of an abortion facility in Birmingham as was Father Sean Gough in a separate incident.

On Monday, the day before the vote, Vaughn-Spruce was arrested for a second time for praying silently outside of the same clinic. Later that day she released a statement which read:

“Only three weeks ago, it was made clear by the court that my silent prayers were not a crime, and yet, again, I have been arrested and treated as a criminal for having the exact same thoughts in my head, in the same location. The ambiguity of laws that limit free expression and thought, even in peaceful, consensual conversation or in silent, internal prayer, leads to abject confusion, to the detriment of important fundamental rights. Nobody should be criminalized for their thoughts.”

Igunnubole also weighed in stating:

“Parliament’s introduction of censorship zones across the country today will mean that many more innocent people like Isabel Vaughan-Spruce will be unjustly criminalized for their silent thoughts, or for peacefully offering leaflets about charitable help available to women who might want to hear about other options. In the name of choice, these zones actually eliminate the options available to women. A free society should never prohibit the peaceful exchange of information.”

In 2018, a government review found that censorship zones were unnecessary because harassment was already covered under existing laws. The review went on to say that harassment around abortion clinics was rare and that for the most part, volunteers outside were there to pray or to hand out leaflets about help services that are available for women.

Alithea Williams, the Public Policy Manager for the Society For The Protection of Unborn Children, shared her thoughts on the ruling:

 “This means that ordinary citizens will be branded criminals and subject to crippling financial penalties for witnessing peacefully and offering help to women in need. “Many children are alive today because their mother received help and support from a compassionate pro-life person outside a clinic,” Williams said. “Many women feel pressured or coerced into having an abortion, and pro-life vigils give them options. Now their choices have been taken away.”

She is speaking the truth. A poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  last year, found that almost one out of every five women who get abortions do so against their will.

This story is not about abortion. This demonstrates the outrageous limits that Marxist liberals are willing to go to in order to protect their warped ideology. The very idea that ordinary citizens can be punished for their thoughts is heinously beyond comprehension.

Every day the woke left attempts to strip away our freedoms. If we can be persecuted for our thoughts, we are doomed as a civilization.