An anti-abortion pastor was found guilty and sentenced to two years probation yesterday for stalking North Carolina doctors who perform abortions, The Charlotte Observer reports.According to the Observer, Rev. Philip L. “Flip” Benham, director of the Dallas-based Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, posted “Wanted”-style posters of the doctors, which included their names and home addresses. Benham was charged with “misdemeanor stalking and violating a state law against residential picketing.” He plans to appeal.
WSOC-TV reports that Benham considered his actions free speech, and that he said: ‘”[The doctor] kills babies. He does it for a living. He has no respect for life of children in the safety and neighborhoods of their mothers’ wombs.”
According to WSOC-TV, one doctor said he considered the posters a “call for my murder.”
Operation Save America says on its website that it “unashamedly takes up the cause of preborn children in the name of Jesus Christ.” Its “About Us” page reads:
There are no cheap political solutions to the holocaust presently ravaging our nation. Like slavery before it, abortion is preeminently a Gospel issue. The Cross of Christ is the only solution.
According to the website, Benham, 62, has been the group’s director since 1994. Benham studied at Florida State University and Asbury Theological Seminary, and his biographical notes state that he “leads by example, having spent time in jail for the cause of Christ in Wichita, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Lynchburg and Washington D.C.”
The site also urged visitors to pray for Benham yesterday.
“The abortionists have conspired trumped up charges of stalking and disturbing their tranquility, while they disturb and destroy the tranquility of innocent children in the wombs of their mothers,” Rev. Rusty Thomas wrote.