Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pro-life Activist, 81, Persecuted in U.K. as Liberty Wanes

Written by 

Longtime pro-life campaigner Edward Atkinson, 81, was handed a three-month suspended jail sentence for his activism against abortion in September, and it was not the first time he has been prosecuted and even jailed for his work defending the unborn. In fact, Atkinson has been in prison more than a dozen times for his efforts over the years, and while he remains undeterred, the persecution is part of a broader assault by U.K. authorities on freedom of speech and religious liberty that is coming under increasing international scrutiny.  

Atkinson’s most recent supposed “crime” involved violating a so-called “anti-social behavior order” (ASBO) by sending a letter with pictures of aborted children to a government official in charge of the Queen Elizabeth hospital. "I was trying to tell her about the abortion holocaust, all the murdered babies, but she couldn't face the truth apparently, so she went to the police and got me arrested," the soft-spoken pensioner told The New American in a recent interview.

In 2006, Atkinson was prosecuted under the "malicious communications act," handed a massive fine, sentenced to prison, and slapped with the ASBO, he explained. In violation of the court order, he sent another letter with more pictures this year. According to U.K. news reports, the hospital staffer who opened the letter was “distressed” by the images inside. “I suspected that they were murdering babies in there but I wasn’t sure, now I know they’ve been murdering several babies per day in there,” he said, pointing out that the troubled consciences of hospital staffers were a good sign that they recognize evil when they see it.

“Something like 500 babies a day are murdered every single day in this country,” Atkinson exclaimed.

If it had been the first time sending pictures of aborted children — a controversial tactic that Atkinson and other pro-life activists believe is crucial to showing people the truth about abortion and eventually ending it — he might have been able to escape serious punishment for exercising his right to free speech. For the life-long pro-lifer, however, it was not the first time: A court had already ordered Atkinson not to distribute his materials in 2006 by imposing what U.K. authorities refer to as an “ASBO.”

The dedicated activist had already been jailed multiple times for refusing to pay activism-related fines and for protesting outside abortion clinics, too — 17 times in total, he recalled. All of the trips to prison, Atkinson told The New American, were linked to his activism. And they were worth it, he said, to help stop what he repeatedly referred to as the “abortion holocaust.”    

This time, instead of sending the octogenarian to prison, authorities put an electronic monitor on his ankle and placed him under virtual house arrest. His ASBO order was extended to 2017, meaning he can be immediately sent to prison for violating it again. Still, despite his age and the relentless persecution, Atkinson has vowed never to give up. 

“I hope to accomplish the abolition of abortion; it should be considered first degree murder. In this country we’ve abolished the death penalty for the guilty but instituted it for the innocent. Can you think of anything more Satanic than that?” Atkinson said. The “kangaroo courts,” meanwhile, are run by officials who have “disgraced their office by aligning themselves with a gang of professional child murderers,” he continued.

One day, Atkinson said, those officials will have to “face judgment by almighty God,” so they should repent now. “We’re living in a country where all the laws have been inversed,” he continued. As evidence, the 81-year-old activist pointed to “willful murder, sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding laborers of their wages” through the Bank of England, which he called “the biggest swindle around,” referring to the inherent debt-trap created by the modern, privately owned central banking regime that prints currency out of thin air while charging impossible-to-pay interest on it.

“All four of these sins have been incorporated into British law,” he said.

The issue of protecting life, however, is crucial, Atkinson explained. Authorities, though, disagreed, at least with the methods. “If you commit an offense in the future this sentence will take effect,” Judge Nicholas Coleman told Atkinson in September, warning that any further similar pro-life activism would result in actual jail time. This time, instead of going to prison, the judge allowed Atkinson to remain under virtual house arrest with a monitor on his ankle, but next time, it will be worse. The pro-lifer was also knocked off the waiting list in 2006 for a much-needed hip replacement at the hospital in question, sparking outrage worldwide.

Of course, Atkinson does have support from some U.K. pro-life groups, which have offered financial and moral help throughout the persecution. American activists also leaped to his defense when he ran into trouble for sending letters, sending thousands of letters of their own to the hospital. That just made authorities and abortionists even more furious, though.

“This mail was opened by members of our administration staff who found it very disturbing and upsetting,” a spokesperson for the hospital was quoted as saying after the sentence was handed down. “Following an earlier case some years ago we were inundated with extremist mail from around the world.... The more extreme letters were referred to the police and appropriate action was taken.”

For Atkinson, the fact that authorities would permit abortion and fund it with taxpayer money, let alone persecute those who speak out against it, is deeply troubling. "I don't recognize my country anymore," he told The New American.  But while his story has garnered quite a bit of media coverage, even internationally, it is hardly the only example of the increasing U.K. government persecution being endured by Christians and other activists, often just for expressing their beliefs.

Free speech appears to be coming under especially fierce assault. Consider that U.K. authorities have started to prosecute and jail individuals simply for speaking out against British wars or other matters on social-media services like Twitter and Facebook. According to the Associated Press, thousands of people are prosecuted in the United Kingdom simply for what they say, and the numbers are growing. Over 1,200 were convicted last year just for comments they made.

Christianity, too, is under attack by authorities, according to U.K. Christians and critics worldwide. As The New American reported recently, for example, the government has decided that employers — even in the government sector — are allowed to ban the display of crucifixes or crosses on the job, even as Muslims, Sikhs, and other groups have their traditional attire protected by law. Christians filed suit in the so-called "European Court of Human Rights," but U.K. officials are standing firm. 

Prosecutions against individuals who disagree with homosexuality are increasing as well. Authorities are also trying to force Christian adoption agencies to either place children with homosexuals or essentially shut down, sparking an outcry among Catholics worldwide and other Christian groups that view homosexuality as wrong. If the trend is not reversed, experts say, religious freedom may eventually be a thing of the past in the United Kingdom.       

But despite the intimidation and prosecutions, some liberty-minded activists with influence are still speaking out forcefully. "We will not be bullied or persecuted, and if you think that you can start the persecution, in much the same way as they tried in Poland — by banning crucifixes in school classrooms and now as they're trying to ban me from wearing this crucifix in public — they will learn that what happened in Poland will happen to them: They will be removed from office, and those who are more tolerant of different religious points of view will form the new government,” explained Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent British viscount who has built a reputation as a defender of freedom. 

“So here is a warning to you Mr. Cameron: Step back, leave Christianity alone,” Lord Monckton told TNA in an interview earlier this year. “And while you're at it, you might think about repealing the Abortion Act, which unspeakably allows the torture and murder of little children in the womb by the insertion of effectively a vacuum cleaner into the womb to pull the child out, tearing it limb from limb, and without even giving it an anesthetic first."

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
.

Related articles:

Religious Freedom Under Assault in U.K., Christians Say

U.K. Euthanasia Expands from Elderly to Infants

U.K. to Move Ahead With Legalizing Same-sex Marriage

Teenage Girls Secretly Given Contraceptive Implants and Injections in U.K. Schools

U.S. & U.K. Taxpayers Funding Forced Sterilization in India