CHOICE/LESS – Marching Toward Gilead: The Rise of American Theocracy, Part II

Jenn Stanley & Sofia Resnick

This is Part II. Click here for Part I.

UPDATE: December 14, 2017: Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson died of apparent suicide on December 13, 2017, two days after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and Louisville Public Radio published an investigation that alleged that Johnson sexually assaulted one of his parishioners when she was only 17 years old.

Roy Moore lost, but barely. And his theocratic vision for the country lives on through Operation Save America (OSA), an organization committed to a United States in which abortion, homosexuality, Islam, and anything else its leadership considers “ungodly” is a criminal offense. In this two-part audio documentary, CHOICE/LESS host Jenn Stanley and Rewire investigative reporter Sofia Resnick team up to reveal the alarming ways OSA’s far-right ideology is worming its way into state and federal government. While often dismissed as a group of fringe extremists, OSA has a path to power–and even after Roy Moore’s loss, it’s farther along that path than you think.

An edited excerpt from Part II:

Jenn Stanley: [Operation Save America] started stalking abortion providers at their homes and offices under [former OSA director] Flip Benham’s leadership. And they’re still doing this. They have large wanted-style posters and fliers with local abortion providers’ photos on them. Under each photo they’ve printed the doctors’ addresses and that they murder babies. They hand the fliers out door to door to the doctors’ neighbors and protest outside their homes in quiet residential neighborhoods.

Cal Zastrow typically organizes the groups that protest in front of abortion providers’ homes

Cal Zastrow: Ma’am, can we talk and pray with you? We’re here because we want abortionist [named redacted] to stop murdering babies and turn to mercy and love and compassion and healing with his medical gifts?

[…]

Jenn: I ask one of the protesters how he would feel if people were protesting like this outside of his home.

He’s not officially a member of OSA, but he’s part of a local organization that he says is even more confrontational.

[…]

Jenn: Would you mind if they had your address and knew where your kids lived?

Local protester: Nope, not at all. We’re heavily armed.

Transcript (PDF)

WARNING: Some photos below contain graphic anti-choice imagery.

Joseph Spurgeon, an Indiana pastor and a local leader of Operation Save America, at the Grace Community Church of the Nazarene in Louisville, Kentucky, for OSA’s national conference, For Such a Time as This, on July 22, 2017.

Sofia Resnick/Rewire

Matt Trewhella, a pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Wisconsin, presents on the idea of interposition and the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates during OSA’s leadership meeting on November 2, 2017.

Jenn Stanley/Rewire

Jenn Stanley interviews OSA’s Cal Zastrow as he protests outside a doctor’s home on November 2, 2017.

Sofia Resnick/Rewire

OSA members sign pledges to be non-violent before heading into a rally at the Grace Community Church of the Nazarene in Louisville, Kentucky, for OSA’s national conference, For Such a Time as This, on July 22, 2017.

Jenn Stanley/Rewire

OSA members pray at the Grace Community Church of the Nazarene in Louisville, Kentucky, for OSA’s national conference, For Such a Time as This, on July 23, 2017.

Jenn Stanley/Rewire