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Pastor convicted of stalking abortion doctors

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010 12:49 EDT
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A North Carolina pastor and director of a conservative Christian organization was found guilty Monday of stalking four doctors who perform abortions.

Sixty-two-year-old Rev. Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America, was sentenced in Mecklenburg court to two years probation for posting wild west-style “Wanted” posters that showed the name and home address of four Charlotte physicians.

“It doesn’t say ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ but the implications are clearly there,” a doctor who wished to remain anonymous told CBS News in October.

Benham and other members of his organization placed the posters near the doctors’ offices and in their neighborhoods.

“The posters are meant to call for my murder by that borderline person,” said the doctor. “They are putting out the bait, they are putting out the message, the call, and hope that somebody will respond.”

Benham said his posters were not threatening and that this was a free speech issue.

“Nobody has gone and killed because [he or she] saw a poster,” he said. “That is most absurd and logical fallacy that there possibly could be.”

Benham was charged with misdemeanor stalking and violating a state law against residential picketing.

“By them handing out the flyers with doctors’ photos on it, it was an indication to us that they were actually singling those doctors out within that residential neighborhood to protest,” Detective Milton Harris with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department told NPR. “The purpose of the [residential picketing] law is to protect that person’s identity against basically a lone-wolf assailant coming in there and possibly doing harm to that individual or that family.”

“The abortionists have conspired trumped up charges of stalking and disturbing their tranquility, while they disturb and destroy the tranquility of innocent children in the wombs of their mothers,” Rev. Rusty Thomas of Operation Save America wrote on their website Monday.

Along with denouncing abortion, the organization has stated opposition to the Muslim faith and the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Texas sodomy law.

“We bring to America the warning that the rise of Islam is a sign of God’s judgment upon a nation that has turned from Him!” Rev. Flip Benham said in September.

 
 
 
 
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