Why I Got Arrested In Atlanta

by Melody Green

Why I got Arrested I want to tell you how I was led to take part in a pro-life Rescue Mission organized by Operation Rescue - which led to my arrest on Oct. 4th, 1988, in Atlanta, Georgia. It's a very interesting story...

As you know, in everything I've ever written or said, when it comes to being in front of an abortion clinic, I've encouraged you to know where the property lines are and to be careful not to cross them. My recent experience has led me personally to cross the lines. It was not a decision I made lightly.

In the last 15 years of pro-life activity God has had His people in a growth process. He has been tutoring us about our Christian responsibility to speak out and step out. We've learned about picketing, sidewalk counseling, and lobbying. We've taken women into our homes, held pro-life rallies, signed petitions, even run for public office. All of this is good, necessary, and extremely valuable. It needs not only to continue, but to expand as hopefully many more become involved.

In all these years of pro-life ministry I've never felt a call either for myself personally, or a general call to the body at large, for Christians to engage in what some call civil disobedience. Although I felt it was a Biblical alternative, I've never sensed a release from the Lord or a prompting in the Spirit to head in that direction.

What Does the Bible Say?

In the Bible there are many instances where God directed His people to obey a higher law than the accepted law of the land or the command of the king. The Jewish midwives, Moses' parents, and Rahab all defied commands from their king. Daniel, the three Hebrew children, the magi, and the apostles also disobeyed the orders of earthly rulers. All of them, in a time of crisis, "broke the rules" for two basic reasons: 1) to save someone's life, or 2) to remain faithful to God. I think it's best summed up in Acts 5:28-29 when the high priest said, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.... But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We must obey God rather than men.'"

Even Charles Finney had something to say on the subject. In Chapter 17 of Finney's Systematic Theology, Finney gives guidelines regarding civil law:

"In what cases are we bound to disobey human governments?

I) We should obey when the thing required does not involve a violation of moral laws and obligation.

2) We must obey when the thing required has no moral value in itself; upon the principle that obedience in this case is a less evil than resistance and revolution. But -

3) We must in all cases disobey when human legislation is contrary to moral law or violates your conscience."

Finney rebuked the pastors of his day for trying to protect their reputations and not leading their congregations to take a stand to see slavery abolished. And I wonder, where was the support of the white, middle-American church in the 60s when our black brothers and sisters were marching for their civil rights? Though deprived of their personhood through the laws of man, the Bible is clear on the value of life - no matter what color container it comes in. Is there a similarity between the civil rights movement of the 60s and the fight today for the civil rights of the unborn - who are legally deprived of personhood, not because of color, but because of age? I think there is.

Then we have our contemporary heroes of the faith. Corrie ten Boom saved the lives of many Jews who were being unjustly persecuted and murdered during WW II by the Nazis. Corrie hid them, protected them, and helped them escape. She rejected Hitler's law to obey a higher law.

Corrie also went to prison for it. Today she is honored for her courage and sacrifice. Then there are those who smuggle Bibles into Russia, China, and other nations even though it's illegal to bring in the Gospel. And there's the Underground Church - underground because it's illegal to meet openly. So where does this leave us in our fight to save babies?

How do we respond when we know that God's heart is breaking as He sees His plans, dreams, and hopes for these babies destroyed? We must ask ourselves, if we saw a child drowning in a neighbor's pool, and ignored their "no trespassing" sign to jump in and save the child's life, would we be criminals or heroes?

Would we be charged with trespassing? Or would the situation be so critical that we'd actually be found guilty if we purposely ignored the drowning child and didn't jump in the pool?

Over 25 million babies have been murdered in America. Perhaps God has used these last 15 years to prepare us for a time such as this - and to prepare leaders who've paved the way for us to enter in with right attitudes and the heart of the Lord. I know I had specific direction from the Lord to go to Atlanta. I don't know if He'll ever direct me in such a way again - my heart is to obey the Lord in whatever He calls me to do.

When I first heard of Operation Rescue I was curious, and to be honest, a bit skeptical. When confronting the enemy it's easy to slip into his tactics of pride and anger, instead of coming in an opposite spirit of humility and peace. Many of us have observed instances of pro-life civil disobedience that turned us off. We did not like some of the attitudes we saw. We were not drawn by the Spirit of God to participate. I wondered if, and how, Operation Rescue was any different.

Men I respect like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, and Dr. James Kennedy were speaking favorably about Operation Rescue and its director, Randy Terry. Christians around the country were praying about taking part in a Rescue Mission. I heard about the hundreds of Christians who were in the Atlanta jails - many of them pastors of good reputation - and I was stirred in my heart. God started convicting me that this was a move of His Spirit. God started speaking to me - asking me to do something I'd always told Him I was willing to do if He wanted me to - go to jail for the sake of the unborn.

So, at the end of August I called one of the Christian leaders I'm in an accountable relationship with. I told him I felt the Lord was prompting me to take part in a Rescue, and that I had a time frame - sometime in October. I asked for his counsel - and asked him to start praying about my possible involvement. Not too long after this God started to move.

During this time, God kept encouraging me to talk to some of the other national leaders I know - particularly Bob Weiner, president of Maranatha Ministries, Larry Tomczak, director of People of Destiny Int'l, and Francis Anfuso, founder of Christian Equippers Int'l. We already had a meeting scheduled for October 11th, and I planned to bring up Operation Rescue and see if they'd had similar thoughts of participating in a Rescue. Well, as the Lord would have it, before we even met, Bob Weiner put together a conference phone call on September 30th, wanting to talk about... you guessed it - Operation Rescue. As several of us spoke it was clear that God had already been speaking to us individually. I later found out that quite apart from any of us, the Lord had also spoken to my good friend Bob Ayala, who is blind in the eyes but not in the spirit. Then, there "just happened" to be a Rescue planned for the next week in Atlanta. When God wants to coordinate something He knows how to do it!

Three days later we all went to Atlanta. I went because I knew God was leading me. It was not something I was especially looking forward to. I went out of sheer obedience to God's revealed will in my life. God may direct you differently.

What Is Operation Rescue?

What Operation Rescue teaches is simple: They train people to sit peacefully and prayerfully in front of abortion clinic doors - placing themselves, physically, between the women wanting to kill their babies and those inside waiting to commit the crime. This prevents the murder of babies during the time of the Rescue. When the police come to arrest them, they go limp, which makes it necessary for the officers to carry them away. This may take hours, buying time for the unborn. There is also room to pray on the sidelines to support those actually involved. They are totally committed to nonviolent action - in fact, we crawled on our hands and knees as the police approached us in Atlanta so we could in no way be perceived as aggressive or threatening.

Perhaps you saw parts of the Atlanta Rescue on the news. If you did, you saw totally peaceful Christians in a nonviolent confrontation with the police. I took part on Tuesday, October 4th, along with Bob Weiner, Larry Tomczak, Francis Anfuso, and Bob Ayala. Also arrested was Glenn Kaiser from Jesus People USA and lead singer of Rez Band. There were 343 people arrested that day, I sat in jail with housewives. students, priests, pastors, businessmen, and even one millionaire! All of them were beautiful and humble people. Going to jail was not an easy experience - but I knew I had the mind of the Lord and He gave me the grace to go through it.

On that Tuesday while making the arrests, the Atlanta Police used strong force which at some points bordered on brutality. I was even more stunned when I saw what was apparently the SWAT team arrive in riot gear. It was quite a contrast to see such force applied to a peaceful group of people on their hands and knees. When I was dragged, and then carried away from the clinic door by the police, my head banged against a steel barricade which gave me a concussion. I'm writing at this moment with post-concussion syndrome. However, others were hurt worse. The police determined beforehand that they'd use force, but it backfired. They treated us badly, but the Lord used it to expose their hearts. As the media reported it, an outcry poured into Atlanta from across the nation. The next day the police changed their methods and no one was hurt the rest of the week.

This was the first time during Operation Rescue that anyone was injured. Randy says the police in other cities were "more professional."

In closing, I really hope that you've heard my heart and sensed my spirit in all that I've just shared with you about the way the Lord led me personally. God bless you. Please keep me and my children in your prayers.

For information on Operation Rescue write them at:
Operation Rescue
P.O. Box 1180
Binghamton, NY 13902
(607) 723-4012

Melody Green, 3/20/2012