An Anglican priest is urging leaders of the Church of England to denounce the recent arrest of Isabel Vaughn-Spruce, a British pro-life activist, for silently praying outside of an abortion clinic in Birmingham.
"No one should ever be arrested for silent prayer. Not in the U.K., not anywhere," the Rev. Calvin Robinson tweeted on December 22, tagging Archbishop of York Cottrell Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop of London Sarah Mullally.
"Regardless of your position on abortion, this is wrong," he argued. "I await our very vocal religious leaders to speak out in support of Isabel and freedom of religion."
No one should ever be arrested for silent prayer.— The Rev'd Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) December 22, 2022
Not in the UK, not anywhere.
Regardless of your position on abortion, this is wrong.
I await our very vocal religious leaders to speak out in support of Isabel and freedom of religion @JustinWelby @CottrellStephen @bishopSarahM https://t.co/xAWH8lVkfN
As Christian Headlines previously reported, Vaughn-Spruce, the director of March For Life U.K., was arrested on December 6 after she was accused of silently praying outside the BPAS Robert Clinic in Kings Norton, Birmingham.
She was charged with four counts of violating a Public Space Protection Order, which prohibits "protesting, namely engaging in any act of approval or disapproval or attempted act of approval or disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means," including "graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counseling" outside of the abortion clinic.
ADF International, a legal nonprofit, will be handling the case on behalf of Vaughn-Spruce.
"Has anyone shared the story with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the College of Bishops? Perhaps they haven't seen it yet. Why else would they not be speaking up for a persecuted Christian in the U.K.?" Robinson wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Has anyone shared the story with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the College of Bishops? Perhaps they haven’t seen it, yet.— The Rev'd Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) December 23, 2022
Why else would they not be speaking up for a persecuted Christian in the UK?
The Anglican priest also denounced Public Space Protection Orders, contending that they were "designed to combat antisocial behavior, but councils have adapted them for buffer/exclusion zones around abortion centers."
"Praying is a breach of these PSPOs," he added. "An attack on freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of association."
According to ADF International, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a British businessman and former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, challenged the government in light of Vaughn-Spruce's arrest.
Pearson asked before parliament "what assessment they have made of the arrest of Isabel Vaughn-Spruce by police in Birmingham in December; and what steps they intend to take to ensure that the rights of (1) freedom of religion, and (2) freedom of thought, are upheld."
In a recent interview on his talk show on GETTR, Pearson spoke to Vaughn-Spruce about her controversial arrest.
The pro-life activist shared that she was briefly locked up in a cell after being arrested and was "interviewed or interrogated."
"They wanted to know what I was praying," she said, adding that police later released her on bail.
As of Thursday, more than 46,700 people have signed a petition on Citizen Go urging U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braveman to dismiss the charges levied against Vaughn-Spruce.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.