On September 26, 1780 British General Cornwallis entered Charlotte hoping to use what he saw to be an agreeable little village as a base for his campaign to pacify the Carolina back country. He left a couple of weeks later, declaring that Charlotte was "a damned hornet's nest of rebellion."
Charlotte seems to have been an equally unlucky place for Obama. His union supporters were not happy to have the convention in a right to work state. The convention committee was unable to finance the program originally planned for Monday, so the convention was shortened a day. This week's weather is likely to be rainy. There are stories they may have to bus in people from distant states to fill the outdoor stadium for Thursday's acceptance speech. Perhaps most important, the odds are getting longer that Obama will be able to win North Carolina a second time. Let me introduce you to a few locals who hope to make Obama and his friends feel even more uncomfortable in Charlotte this week by stinging their consciences, the Archdiocese of Charlotte and North Carolina's active pro life movement.
St. Peter's Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic church in the western half of North Carolina, happens to be right next the Convention Center. The Diocese of Charlotte has decided to use this coincidence to send a message to delegates and guests at this week's Democrat National Convention. Two related messages, actually, via Catholic News Herald:
The diocese has suspended two banners on property at St. Peter Catholic Church on South Tryon Street: one on St. Peter's administrative building and another on a large brick wall adjoining the church.
A six-foot by 10-foot banner will hang from St. Peter's administrative building, stating: "A Message from the Catholic Church: Religious Liberty, The Soul of Democracy." This building looks out over The Green between South Tryon and College streets.
A six-foot by 27-foot banner will be posted on a large brick wall behind the church, and will read: "A Message from the Catholic Church: Protect the Unborn, Defend Marriage, Safeguard Religious Liberty."
This wall faces an area designated as The Legacy Village, where Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will host special guests during the convention to highlight community efforts to support Foxx's Legacy Projects. Some of the topics that will be discussed in programs there will address children, families, youth employment, civic education, the economy, energy, technology and sustainability.
These very visible banners are meant to provoke dialogue and encourage evangelization, diocesan officials said, during a time when the national spotlight will shine on Charlotte like never before.
In addition to the banners the Archdiocese is holding a continuous Vigil for Religious Liberty at St. Patrick's Cathedral from September 3 through September 6. The Cathedral is about a mile southwest of the convention center. Three pro life demonstrations were also planned. The first was held on the evening of Friday, August 31st outside the Time Warner Cable Arena. About forty people gathered to pray and to spread flowers before an ecumenical prayer service.
It was not long before the pro-lifers were met by a handful of pro-abortion protesters carrying signs reading "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology," and angrily shouting statements including, "Abortion is not murder! A fetus is not a baby until it is born!"
The pro-lifers, who were wearing "America Defend Life" T-shirts and holding their rosaries and pro-life signs with a picture of a fetus stating "I am a Person," prayed more loudly and spread out a bit more along the sidewalk so that their voices could be heard and their signs read by passersby.
The contrast between the two group was stark...
After the recitation of the rosary, the pro-lifers then spread out 3,300 red carnations along the sidewalk, offering a prayer for the 3,300 babies whose lives are lost to abortion in the U.S. each day. Several families with young children came to pray in front of the arena.
Joyce Wolnik, who is expecting her fifth child, came up from Rock Hill with her husband and four children to lend their support. Her children helped lay out the red carnations along the sidewalk, which extended the whole entire block in front of the arena.
"We believe in life. We're teaching our children that life begins at conception and we are all children of God," Wolnik said. "I told my girls we would see people who are very passionate about life... God is with us."
Two of the female pro-abortion protesters bragged about their abortions and grabbed carnations to represent the number of abortions they had had. One of the women proudly stated she had had two abortions and tucked a carnation behind each ear as she stood along the sidewalk shouting out slogans.
Another pro life demonstration was held on Saturday morning outside Planned Parenthood's Charlotte office. It was more peaceful. I particularly liked this report:
Brice Griffin, spokesperson for the Charlotte-based America Defend Life, shared that more people joined them for the vigil in front of Planned Parenthood than the event in uptown Charlotte the night before. She brought the red carnations from the prior evening's vigil and again they were laid out to represent the 3,300 lives killed through abortion each day in this country.
Griffin thought they would have to remove the flowers at the end of the prayer vigil, but had a pleasant surprise when she approached the security guard to inquire about leaving them in place.
"I approached the security guard and he asked what my sign said," Griffin recounted. "I showed it to him and he read it aloud, 'I REGRET MY ABORTION.' He said, 'You had one?' So I told him yes, and he told me that he and his wife scheduled an abortion and she got as far as the operating table when she changed her mind!
"They named their daughter after the only Christian in their lives, and her middle name is Grace, since it is with God's grace that she is alive today. He went on to tell me that he was adopted. His mother conceived when she was only 15.
"He told me that he doesn't agree with abortion but kind of shrugged, implying that a job is a job..."
Griffin was told the carnations could be left in place because they were not considered trash.
The third is a march to be held from noon until 2 pm on Wednesday September 5 and will on streets adjacent to the convention center. It will be interesting to see how many marchers show up and how they are treated by the delegates and other Democrats in town for the convention. It almost goes without saying they will be ignored by the media.