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Was that praying or preying, Wendster?

by Jeremy Hooper

Wendy-WrightIn a new piece where she explains why she leant her name to the anti-gay, anti-progressive, anti-true religious freedom document known as "The Manhattan Declaration," Concerned Women For America president Wendy Wright says this:

I have also signed, knowing that the threat to our freedom is quite real. Twice, I was sentenced to six months in jail for simply praying on public property near an abortion clinic. One of those times included a condition. The judge stated that I could be released from jail if I promised not to do it again. As the Manhattan Declaration eloquently puts it, I cannot comply.

Arrested for "simply praying." It's always the story that these "pro-family" folks tell whenever they receive deserved punishment for skirting, flonting, or outright breaking some sort of a law. But as we've seen with situations like the so-called "Philadelphia eleven" case, the far-right's assessment of events is only accurate about 0.001% of the time (if we're being generous). Whenever you hear one of these folks self-casting the "victim" role, you better check your sources.

So is Wendy telling the truth about her two arrests? Well, we don't know about both times. But we do know about one of Wendy's arrests, from back when she was shilling for anti-LGBT, anti-choice extremist Randall Terry and his equally incendiary Operation Rescue group. And as you will see from this 8/21/91 AP clipping, "simply praying" was not the order of the day. Stirring up violent ire for the now-murdered George Tiller was more like it:

August 21, 1991

Sounds militant, Wendy. Which is weird, because we've heard you and your pals accuse us of so much militancy, one would think that we gay folks are seeking grenades and shivs, not wedding rings and lifetime monogamy!

If only we had been born part of a hetero, Christian majority, then maybe we too would find comfort in saying whatever the hell we want in order to make our poop smell like roses, and constantly casting our opposition as "evil" in order to make ourselves seem above reproach. Though we'd like to think we still wouldn't.

**UPDATE: The arrest that Wendy actually seems to be referencing is from 1992, when her group was protesting in Houston, TX, during the Republican National Convention. As you will see from this news article, the arrest of several Operation Rescue members actually stemmed from their decision to violate a buffer zone, not merely "praying." Nevertheless, Wendy still continues to use this arrest to this day. Here's another instance:

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Your thoughts

Heil, Wendy!!

Posted by: LOrion | Nov 24, 2009 11:26:27 AM

This is how these people operate. I lived in an apartment complex next to a women's health center for a couple of years. The protesters constantly blocked our driveway and when we asked them to move they told us the had a "right" to be there. I would just park my car in the street and go to call the police who would come out and issue citations for violating the fire code. I'm sure if asked they'd say they were cited for simply praying.

Posted by: SammySeattle | Nov 24, 2009 12:36:34 PM

What a SLICK campaign move, by getting all the religious conservatives up in arms believing that their religious freedoms are under assault by we peace-loving gays just because Big Brother might want to treat ALL of its citizens equally! Scandalous! Anyone have any campaign ideas about how to counter such a fear-based scheme?!?!? We, here in Iowa, could seriously use it!!!

Posted by: Wade | Nov 24, 2009 1:05:44 PM

Does anyone else think she resembles Jeff Spiccoli?

Posted by: Bill S | Nov 24, 2009 6:24:39 PM

I think that she looks like a drag queen! She would look perfectly at home on stage hosting a "Wet Jockstrap" contest!

Posted by: Dick Mills | Nov 24, 2009 8:57:32 PM

Anyone arrested during the Summer of Mercy was not "simply praying". That was before federal law didn't allow clinic blockades. They spent 6 weeks here in Wichita and practically shut down large swaths of the city as they blockaded the three clinics in town at the time (we now have none). Some people may have been kneeling on the sidewalk praying, but most of them were storming the clinics, blocking the streets, binding themselves to gates, as well as running down pro-choice activists trying to fend them off (they were linked arm in arm, I'm told sometimes three layers deep, to keep antis from patients), and they still broke through. That's not "simply praying". That summer was a frickin' nightmare, and anyone who was arrested undoubtably deserved it (there were thousands of antis here, many of whom weren't arrested, so it would seem only those who were quite aggressive managed to get arrested). She might be standing up for her beliefs, but only if those beliefs include causing harm and violating the Constitution she so claims to love. She probably misses those days of violence.

Posted by: Carolyn Marie Fugit | Nov 25, 2009 3:20:20 PM

Too bad those folks in the clinic didn't take this to heart and hire some folks to use their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms to defend the clinic.

Posted by: Mykelb | Nov 30, 2009 11:16:40 AM

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