In desperate, bleak times, we need those rare, brave souls who will rise to the occasion and make a difference when it is really needed. Sadly they are few and far between. But it seems there are always a handful who will rise up and meet the need of the hour.
When things get the darkest and the ugliest, most folks simply run for cover. But a few brave individuals will face the gathering gloom head on, and seek to make a real difference. They are willing to pay the price – any price – to do that which is right, and that which needs to be done.
There are so many areas where this is so important. Clearly the need to rescue those being led to their slaughter is a key area. With 100,000 unborn babies slaughtered every year in Australia, and 45-50 million a year world-wide, we desperately need men and women who will stand up for the unborn.
One such hero who is risking everything to rescue these babies is Queenslander Graham Preston. Five years ago I wrote a piece about this brave pro-lifer. Even back then he had already spent a lot of time in jail for his pro-life convictions:
He is back at it again, willing to lose his freedoms on the behalf of the unborn. Graham is now back in prison for another eight months. His crime? Seeking to prevent those who would continue the genocide of the unborn. Just as earlier brave culture warriors – usually Christians – fought the evil slave trade, so too today some heroic believers are putting their life on the line for the unborn. Here is part of Graham’s latest story:
“A father of seven children will spend 8 months in jail starting Wednesday as a result of his efforts to the defend the unborn. It is the longest jail-term ever received by an Australian pro-life activist. Graham Preston, 56, was called by police last week to arrange a time for his arrest. He negotiated to move it back from 8am to 9am this coming Wednesday, May 2, so he would have enough time to get his children to school.
“Mr. Preston will serve 232 days in prison – seeing him out just in time for Christmas – for refusing to pay roughly $8000 in fines that have accumulated after ten years of non-violently blocking the entrances of four abortion clinics around Brisbane.
“Since beginning non-violent direct action with the group Protect Life almost exactly ten years ago (April 16, 2002), Mr. Preston has endured more than ten months in jail over five separate jail-terms – mostly in Brisbane’s maximum security Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.
“The warrant for Mr. Preston’s arrest came after he received a letter from the Queensland Justice Department telling him he had until April 6 – coincidentally, Good Friday – to pay the fines or else face prison. Mr. Preston refuses to pay the fines on principle, arguing that trying to save the innocent from harm should not be regarded as criminal behaviour.”
The article continues, “Two years ago, Mr. Preston wrote on his website: ‘Going to jail is of course not a desirable thing, either for the person who does so, or for their family who may be very directly negatively affected. Yet our conviction is that this is probably an unavoidable part of seeing the value of all human lives given proper recognition. When anyone pays a very high price for something, it makes everyone ask the question, is it worth it? That is what we want our society to be asking, what are preborn babies worth? We want to say that babies’ lives are worth a person’s, or even many persons’, freedom.’
“Warwick Marsh, the National Co-ordinator of the Canberra Declaration, said: ‘Graham is one of Australia’s great heroes, truly putting the kids of Australia first. He is being unjustly imprisoned for his peaceful protests, while murderers and rapists walk free from our court systems and jails’.”
His wife Liz has also written about this latest stint in prison: “In the minds of some, if the mother or parents of a preborn child decide that they want to have an abortion, then their child loses absolutely all right to have their life protected. But not everyone is prepared to simply turn away and abandon such children to death. And not without good reason either.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia is a signatory, states in the opening paragraph of the Preamble: ‘. . . recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. Article 3 of the Declaration reads: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person’.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), to which Australia is also a signatory, reaffirms in the Preamble the following statement from the earlier Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959): ‘. . . the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, both before as well as after birth’.
“However the reality in Australia today is that, regardless of Australia being a signatory to the above documents, there is effectively no legal protection given to the child before birth. If a woman wants to end her child’s life by abortion, so long as she has the money to pay for it, she can visit an abortion clinic and readily get it done.
“Between 90,000 and 100,000 babies are killed by abortion in Australia each year, yet here in Queensland, if a person should assault a pregnant woman and subsequently her child dies, the assailant can be punished with life imprisonment – the same penalty that is given for killing a born person.
“So we have a situation where a preborn child’s life is regarded as being as valuable as anyone else’s life – if the mother wants the child – but if the mother does not want the child, then somehow the child, apparently, loses all value and rights and can be killed by abortion.”
She concludes: “Yes, my husband and the others have been found to be breaking the law in their efforts to come to the defence of children who are scheduled to be aborted. It is clearly no small thing for them to defy the law and do so over and over again. Yet laws, which allow for the wholesale destruction of innocent human life, cannot be taken to be absolute.
“As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his famous letter from Birmingham jail, ‘. . .there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.’ Yes, if a child is about to be killed, all of us should try to save the child – even if we are sent to jail for doing so.”
We all need to pray for Graham and his family. We also can take practical action in this regard. Send your words of comfort and support here: [email protected]
Proverbs 24:11 speaks clearly to our responsibility in all this: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” Graham and his family are actively doing this. What are we doing for those being led to their destruction?