By Don Long (Vice Chair, CCBC)
Christians Needed to Run for City Council Seats
During January’s Melbourne City Council meeting, local pro-life activist Meredith Raney was given a chance to speak concerning 20 recent arrests on a public sidewalk in front of the Aware Woman abortion clinic for violating a controversial “buffer zone” injunction. None of these arrests were brought to trial, but were summarily dismissed by the presiding judge. So why arrest at all, Raney argued, if the courts see no problem with Christians exercising their right to free speech?
While Raney was speaking, I observed one member of the council roll her eyes, while another chuckled. One member suggested that Christians “get a soap box” and “put it in the street downtown” to do their protesting there instead of in front of the abortion clinic. Another member chimed that “they want to be arrested anyway.” Should it be up to the city council to decide when and where we are allowed to pray and speak?
The mocking and insults contiunued until they moved on to more important business – passing a $53,000 expenditure on computer hardware. (The software they committed to doesn’t work with their current computer … oops!)
During the meeting, I sat and watched amazed as I saw citizens of Melbourne grovel before the council to ask for simple property rights (guaranteed in the Bible and implied in our Constitution) only to have the council members deny them. Several other Christian citizens filled out paperwork to address the council during the “comments and communication” time at the end of the meeting, but alas, the paperwork had a small error and the council couldn’t be bothered to hear from ordinary citizens.
I heard more passionate pleas from this council over a 50-year-old oak tree to be spared at the expense of building a new library wing than for unborn babies.
Christian citizens of Melbourne beware! Unless you want to continue to be treated as if you have no right to be heard, something has to be done! This year, three council seats and the Mayor’s office are up for election. I am strongly urging committed Christians to run for these seats. I am helping to form a committee to advance the right candidates who will take this city for the glory of God.