In its first few weeks of existence, the Burleson chapter of Abolish Human Abortion focused its energies on the time-honored technique of standing outside abortion clinics holding disturbingly graphic signs. The results, as founder Jered Ragon recounts in a series of YouTube dispatches, were less than encouraging. Their first outing, they inadvertently showed up a couple of hours before the clinic opened and ended up seeing only a handful of women enter it, and they seemed to be headed to some type of meeting, not going to abort a fetus.
Traffic was slightly better on the second outing, and they got words of support from several passersby, most notably a rodeo clown, a "doomsday-prepper guy" and a Mennonite, who also gave them apples. Encouraging, but as Ragon tells the camera, "We didn't have anyone turn away," which was what they had hoped.
So, Burleson AHA embarked on a new strategy. Dubbed Project Re-education, it involves standing on the public right-of-way just outside North Texas high schools with the same type of signs they held in front of the abortion clinics. So far, they've hit schools in Crowley, Burleson, Little Elm and Fort Worth.
The group explains its mission on its Facebook page:
People have traditionally referred to counseling outside the abortion "clinics" as being on the "front lines" in this culture of death. Abolitionists disagree.
The abortion "clinic" is the Final Line in the day to day battle but there are many other places where young souls can be reached with the truth, justice, and mercy of God long before they find themselves stumbling to the slaughter.
Chief among these is the public High School.
Controversy, of course, ensued, as WFAA reported last night.
Not that Ragon is going to change his approach, which he describes in another YouTube clip as "Christ-like." He and his fellow abolitionists are on a mission ordained by God.
That's in stark contrast to a previous mission he took part in. Here's how he describes it:
Right out of high school, I got in some trouble and went to prison for it. God showed me a little bit about Himself during that time, I think, but I'm not sure it made a big enough impact on me. ...I was really kind of wallowing in a bunch of different sins and some of the commons pitfalls for a man, some of the things that man's heart craves.
And here's how federal prosecutors described it in a 2008 press release
According to documents filed in the case, on July 4, 2007, state and federal law enforcement seized a "Molotov cocktail," that consisted of a liquor-type glass bottle containing a liquid and granular mixture of gasoline and chlorine with a wick made of cloth material protruding out of the bottle mouth from this mixture, which had been placed next to a church under construction in Johnson County, Texas. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) determined that this destructive device was an incendiary bomb, or similar device.
According to the Cleburne Times-Review, Ragon and two others were trying to detonate the bomb at Burleson's Victory Family Church when they were interrupted by a deacon.
Ragon fled and was later spotted in a field a couple of miles down the road trying to destroy evidence. "Ragon, who was wearing sandals, doused the evidence with gasoline but did not realize he was standing in a puddle of gasoline when he lit the fire," the Times-Review reported. "His feet were burned in the fire."
He spent 15 months in federal prison, but he says he's learned his lesson. God is no doubt happy to have him on the team.
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