3 - Pastor Saaed released from solitary confinement
This past Tuesday was Pastor Saeed Abedini's 33rd birthday. Some 52,000 letters were gathered from those standing together with the Iranian-American pastor, who has been in Iran's notorious Evin Prison since last fall, serving part of an 8-year sentence resulting from his alleged participation in Christian evangelistic efforts. Over 586,000 signatures in support of the pastor have been collected at the website, SaveSaeed.org.
Some good news came late in the week, as reported by sources such as CBN.com and WORLDontheweb.com. Saeed had been in solitary confinement for over a week, without communication with his family, and the announcement came that he had been released from the so-called "small dark hole".
The CBN report quoted Jordan Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, as saying, "This is a critical development and does raise hope after a very discouraging week."
Saeed's wife, Nagmeh Abedini, called his release the "direct result of the multitudes praying."
"I am relieved my husband is out of solitary, but still am deeply concerned about Saeed's health," she said. "While this is a small victory, I am still demanding justice be done and that Saeed be released.
She would like for President Obama to speak out on behalf of her husband. She says the president has been quick to offer support to others, such as gay basketball player Jason Collins, but is ignoring her family's plight. Secretary of State Kerry and Press Secretary Jay Carney have called on Iran to release Saeed, but there were reports that Abedini's name was missing from a State Department list of political prisoners in Iran.
2 - Texas cheerleaders receive favorable court ruling on Scripture banners
A major court victory for the religious expression rights of students came out of Texas this week, as a Federal District judge ruled in favor of the Kountze High School cheerleaders, who had been banned from holding up run-through banners for the football team that included Scriptures on them.
The Kountze superintendent had made the decision to halt the banners after the district received a threatening demand letter from Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. A temporary injunction allowed the cheerleaders to continue the practice through the end of the previous football season.
According to Christian legal advocacy organization, Liberty Institute, the Court’s Summary Judgment Order declares:
- “The Kountze cheerleaders’ banners that included religious messages and were displayed during the 2012 football season were constitutionally permissible," and
- “Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law prohibits the cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events. Neither the Establishment Clause nor any other law requires Kountze I.S.D. to prohibit the inclusion of religious-themed banners at school sporting events.”
This victory was also made possible by the help of the Texas Attorney General.
“We especially appreciate the efforts of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who intervened into the case in support of the cheerleaders,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation. “The extra efforts of Deputy Solicitor General Adam Aston were instrumental in the successful resolution of this case.”
1 - Live Action releases new video in its "Inhuman" series, Congressional action on abortion regulations moves ahead
A verdict is still pending in the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell at the time of this post, but there are decisions being rendered all across America about the brutality of the abortion industry - every abortion is the taking of a human life, but now even pro-abortion forces are having to deal with the late-term abortion industry and those that would even take the lives of children who survive a botched abortion.
A new set of undercover videos produced by the Live Action organization featuring footage from inside abortion clinics exposes the beliefs of at least 4 abortionists about their lack of appreciation of the value of human life. The latest in the "Inhuman" series features a Midwestern abortionist named Leroy Carhart, who made some graphic and inappropriate comments to the Live Action representative, posing as a woman desiring a late-term abortion. These videos are serving to put faces on players in the abortion industry, and paint a less-than-flattering pictures of an industry that has operated in the shadows for far too long.
The LiveAction.org website says that, "Gosnell is not alone. Videos document the blatantly inhuman and barbaric acts of abortionists leaving crying babies to die, or even killing the newborns themselves."
And, there are other efforts to expose the abortion industry. The continued calls for the media to cover the Gosnell trial have resulted in even some media members criticizing the lack of coverage. A U.S. Senator attempted to pass a resolution this week to condemn the practices of Gosnell and his ilk - because it was the type of vote that could be stopped by just one opposing vote, it failed. And, WORLD reports that two U.S. House committees have launched nationwide campaigns earlier this week to investigate the prevalence of poorly regulated abortion facilities similar to the kind Kermit Gosnell ran in Philadelphia for 17 years.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks of Arizona sent a letter to all fifty state attorney generals, asking them to report on efforts to protect the rights of babies and mothers in their states. They also asked for reports on the prosecution process against a person who kills a baby born alive during an abortion and on measures designed to prevent late-term abortions.
But, Gallup indicates that the majority of Americans are still not paying attention - that's why some of these other efforts are important in building a body of evidence about the brutality of the abortion industry. One-quarter of Americans say they have followed news of the case either very closely (7%) or somewhat closely (18%), but that is well below the 61% average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991. An additional 20% of Americans say they are following it "not too closely" while 54% say "not at all." This makes the Gosnell case one of the least followed news stories Gallup has measured.
The poll summary linked to an earlier survey that showed 80% of Americans were opposed to abortion in the third trimester. The summary says that, "One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion. As a result, the publicity surrounding Congress' attempt in 1997 to ban a particular late-term abortion procedure known as partial-birth abortion likely caused more Americans to identify as pro-life."
In the latest poll, Gallup reports that 26% of Americans favor legalized abortion under any circumstances, with 13% favoring legality under most circumstances, 38% favoring it in only in a few circumstances, and 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances. Add those last 2 categories together, and you find, as the Susan B. Anthony list put it, 58% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
The light of truth is certainly being shone on the abortion industry, and combined with the knowledge of the development of an unborn child in the womb through ultrasound technology, hearts and minds perhaps will be changed about the sanctity of life.