Sunday, August 29, 2004

'I feel terrorized'

Looks like that ol' anti-abortion extremist, Flip Benham, is not only stepping up the nastiness of his campaign by targeting abortion providers at their homes -- a tactic intentionally remniscent of the fate of the victims of James Kopp -- but he's doing so incompetently:
Abortion protesters target wrong house

That's right. Benham and his cohort, the Rev. Frances McCloskey, targeted the home of a Planned Parenthood executive in the Albany, N.Y., area, and instead terrorized a young family with a newborn at home:
Parents of a newborn were erroneously targeted Wednesday by about 50 abortion protesters who raised posters of mutilated fetuses and called "Evil dwells here" through a bullhorn.

The problem is they had the wrong house, said Tricia Lehra, who was on the receiving end. The group apparently thought Lehra's Washington Road home belonged to a doctor who performs abortions. Lehra, who has a 2-month-old daughter, is a Shenendehowa Central Schools counselor; her husband, August, is an electrical engineer.

The target of the misplaced protest was a neighbor, Paul Drisgula, an executive of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson.

"I feel terrorized," said Lehra, who was not home when the group arrived. Still, later that evening two teens bicycled past her house and screamed "No abortion," she said.

"They do not have their facts straight," she said of the protesters. "They took pictures. Is my house going to end up on their Web site? I feel victimized in my own home."

The protesters also made a good impression on the neighbors for their obviously deep respect for family values:
The 90-minute parade angered some neighbors on the quiet, maple-lined street, drawing them to the sidewalks at around 2:30 p.m.

"I heard them yelling, 'A murderer lives on your street,' " said Brian Whitter, who lives up the block from the Lehras and was getting ready for work when he saw the parade shortly after 2 p.m. "They were shouting about homosexuals. It was really offensive."

"The police told us to go inside because we were arguing with them," Amy Cremo said. "My 8-year-old came in and asked, 'What's abol-chion?' I couldn't let my kids outside. They're coming to a residential area with these disgusting signs, saying 'You have blood on your hands.' They don't know what we believe. They said, 'There's a gay couple on the street.' I said, 'What's next, you're going to come with burning crosses?' It was rude. It was just a circus."

Benham, longtime readers may recall, is the enlightened leader of the theocratic right who last year penned a piece equating abortion and homosexuality with Islam as the tripartite threat facing America. In that piece (which ran at his Operation Rescue America site), he concluded:
We must stop relying on Conservative and Republican mercenaries to fight our battles for us. It is said that politics is the "art of compromise." The Gospel of Christ, however, is not up for negotiation. There can be no compromise when it comes to any one of the issues mentioned above for they are simply different colored gloves camouflaging the same fist. It is the fist of the devil. We must take this battle to the streets in the Name of Jesus Christ and win it there before we can ever expect to win the battle in Washington, D.C.

Evidently, it doesn't matter whether he takes it to the wrong streets.

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