Group marches against abortion
Operation Rescue members plan to walk all the way to D.C.
By JANE ZHANG
ST. GEORGE -- Judgment the horse plodded along St. George Boulevard in heavy traffic Friday morning, closely following a boy holding a broken set of the Ten Commandment and a girl gripping a baby basket with a blood-tainted cloth.
The three, all members of the national anti-abortion organization known as Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, had trudged hundreds of miles from San Clemente, near Los Angeles, to call for what their leaders call "repentance for the shedding of innocent blood."
"(Sept. 11) is a preview to what's going to happen to the United States of America if we do not repent those sins that are destroying America," said Rusty Lee Thomas, wearing bright yellow pants and a white sweater that said, " America, prepare to meet thy God."
While the tragedies on the World Trade Center towers are attributed to the terrorist group al-Qaida, the Operation Save America group, which left California a month ago to walk across America to Washington, D.C., focused on such "sins" as abortion, homosexuality and Islam.
While on the road, the group not only attracted attention from evangelicals and passers-by, but the police. Thursday, while preaching against gambling in Mesquite, Thomas, Curtis Fenison, another member, and Flip Benham, the group's national director, were arrested and later released.
The group was first confronted outside the casinos, said Joe Szalay, deputy chief of the Mesquite Police Department. They then moved to City Hall, walked the white horse on the lawn and "belittled" the city government through a loud speaker, he said. They were charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace, but no charges were filed when they agreed to leave the city immediately.
But in a statement posted on the Operation Save America's Web site, Benham touted that "the favor of God" led to their release, because "We always go to jail!"
Curtis, who sprained his ankle even before the group left California , walked with a brace and carried a horn, which he blew in major intersections like River Road and St. George Boulevard . A police officer talked to him briefly on Red Cliffs Drive. Some blamed the group for holding up traffic, but Chief Russell Peck of the St. George Police Department said traffic is always been heavy on St. George Boulevard.
Also in the group were Johnny Benham, 12, Flip Benham's son who carried the Ten Commandment sign in Hebrew, and Shekinah Thomas, 16, one of Rusty Thomas' 10 children who carried a plastic baby casket. Another daughter, Destiny Thomas, 13, said the children were all home-schooled.
"People are calling us nuts," Thomas said. "At least we are not scared to follow the right book."