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Why I Went to Jail for Life: Brookline Operation Rescue Story

By Jay Rogers
Published June 1, 1989

BROOKLINE, MA (FR) – On December 31, 1988, I was arrested in Brookline, Massachusetts, for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic with 100 other “rescuers.” As I was being dragged away by the police, a television camera captured the moment for a local news telecast. During the next few days in jail I began to reflect on the events that led me to this action.

I was first arrested during a Rescue in Brookline, Massachusetts on New Year’s Eve, 1988. This photo was taken of me during another arrest sometime in the spring of 1989, also for rescuing in Brookline. I was acquitted in both of these cases.

Read the Boston Globe story of January 1st, 1989 covering the same arrests of those who effectively rescued children being taken away to slaughter on New Year’s Eve, 1988.

In the spring of 1988, I sat on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., at an international prayer rally called Washington for Jesus. It was the largest prayer meeting in American history. One of the speakers at Washington for Jesus was Melody Green, co-founder and president of Last Days Ministries. Melody spoke for a few moments on abortion and then asked for a show of hands of all those who had done something to stop abortion. Very few of the Christians present could say that they had done anything. I was ashamed to be one of them.

“OK – All you people who did not raise your hand -” Melody continued in a direct but gracious manner, “You need to do something. This is not somebody else’s ministry. This is your responsibility as a Christian. If every one of you did something, abortion could be stopped in our country.”

At that moment I prayed a simple prayer asking God what I could do. I was sincerely repentant and promised God that when I saw an opportunity, I would be obedient to His leading.

At the end of last summer, I began to hear news reports about Operation Rescue. Non-violent sit-ins in Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia, caught my attention. Here were people actually getting arrested for blocking abortion clinics. “Wow,” I thought, “This is pretty radical” – but I doubted if I could go as far as to do the same.

Then last December, six members of my church took part in several rescues in the New England area. Their testimonies challenged me to take action. Finally, on December 31, l988, I was arrested in Brookline, Massachusetts, as a part of the most successful rescue in our state up until that time. “Evening Magazine,” a local news program, showed a brief scene of me being carried onto a paddy wagon.

The three days I spent in jail, refusing to post bail until our arraignment in court, was a life changing experience. I met some of the leaders of the movement and had many of my questions answered. I was also able to spend many hours in a holding cell in uninterrupted prayer. The most remarkable aspect of this time, however, was the abiding sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit. This experience went far beyond the feelings I have had during worship meetings and personal prayer times. I can only describe it as a supernatural sense of peace – “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

1988 was a year of spiritual renewal for me. It was a time of spiritual battles and many struggles, but the same year resulted in a greater holiness in my personal life. This transformation led me to take part in social activism for the first time. This is the pattern in which Jesus Christ is moving His Church on a grander scale. The coming awakening is beginning with a call to a deeper consecration to God and will result in the transformation of society through the cleansed saints of God.

As you are reading this article I would urge you to ask God about taking part in Operation Rescue. You should pray about being arrested. Even after hearing Melody Green’s message, it would have been easy to pass off my responsibility by performing some type of superficial observance. I could have signed a few more petitions and said a few more token prayers. Or I could have written letters to my senators and congressmen. Although these acts are necessary, I doubt their effectiveness. I imagined myself writing:

Dear Senator Kennedy,

As a member of the Christian community of Boston, I would like to express my support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. I urge you to protect the rights of the unborn. etc.

The utter absurdity of the thought drove me to other alternatives. In Massachusetts the liberal mindset is synonymous with politics. Participating in a prayer rescue seemed to be the only logical alternative. I made this choice for several reasons.

The rescues I have participated in have been powerful testimonies to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayer counselors successfully turn women away from killing their babies; the news media gives coverage to the rescuers thus creating a powerful issue out of abortion; Christians from different parts of the Church band together in love and achieve more unity in a shorter time than man’s contrived attempts could possibly ever accomplish; young people in the holding cells of local police stations are often won to Jesus Christ through the evangelism of the rescuers; and the Holy Spirit moves in remarkable ways.

One of the most interesting aspects of a rescue, however, is the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:17-18: “But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”

By clogging police stations and court systems for many hours, thousands of Christians are able to witness to those who are responsible for enforcing and making the law – police officers, lawyers, clerks, and judges. This is surely a fulfillment of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Standing In the Gap for America

So why haven’t more Christians participated in a rescue? We need to understand the level of disobedience in the Church. To do this, it is useful to survey the history of Israel. When the Israelites first left Egypt, they were commanded to drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and completely destroy them. The Canaanites were abominable to God for one reason – the pagan ritual of infant sacrifice.

The Hebrew people were under strict commandments to abstain from this evil practice of offering babies as sacrifices to pagan gods like Baal, Molech and Asherah. “Neither shall you give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:21). Furthermore, they were commanded to destroy the Canaanites’ places of worship: “You shall tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherah poles, and burn their graven images with fire” (Deuteronomy 7:5).

God Himself had raised up the Hebrew people to put an end to this detestable practice. Not only were they commanded not to take part in this pagan ritual, but they were to be judged as guilty if they allowed it to continue and leave those responsible unpunished. They were warned by the Lord through Moses:

“Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel, who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will also set my face against that man and cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name. If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family: and I will cut off from among their people both him and those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech” (Leviticus 20: 2-5).

This is a strong warning. Under the Old Covenant a person who did not try to stop the murderer was as guilty as the murderer. They were to be judged as those who played the harlot after Molech. These people were detestable to God because they defiled His sanctuary by their indifference and they came under the same bloodguiltiness.

In 20th century America, Molech worship translates into abortion. While the abortionist is often not aware of the demonic power behind killing unborn children, he is nevertheless promoting a hellish practice. In modern terms, we must realize that when we do nothing to stop the abortionist we are also playing the harlot with a murderer.

In the Old Testament the entire nation of Israel came under bloodguiltiness for this reason. In the time of Jeremiah the city of Jerusalem came under judgment because “they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech … “ (Jeremiah 32:35). Although there had been some reforms during the reign of King Josiah, this practice provoked God to such a great extent that he judged both Israel and Judah.

Under the New Covenant we should not think that God is any less angry over millions of murdered unborn children than He was in the Old Testament. Their blood still cries out. The question of God’s judgment is rhetorical: “Will God not judge a people such as this?” The question rather should be: “Will God’s judgment bring us to redemption or annihilation?” Judgment will continue to unfold in the Church and in our nation until the abortion holocaust is stopped. The Church will share the responsibility for turning back the tide. Is it too late? Already the timetable is set in motion. Year after year, the moral fabric of our nation will continue to unravel until justice is established.

In the Old Testament, Israel was judged to annihilation but Judah was judged and brought back to redemption. Have we gone the route of Israel – or of Judah? The decision to repent and turn our faces back to God, asking Him to forgive us, lies with the Church.

If every professing Christian who believes that the Bible is the Word of God would take an active stand against abortion, it could be stopped in a short period of time. Operation Rescue is an excellent way to get involved. It is the best way to get right into the thick of the battle. God may then lead you to do other things. But remember, there are no heroes in this movement. We are all guilty for acting 17 years too late.

We have a decision to make. So far the Church has been losing the abortion battle because of apathy and careless ease. But today we have a clear witness – we must rise up and stop the shedding of innocent blood.


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