WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — On a Friday afternoon, at the hour of Christ’s Passion and on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, devout Christians Joan Andrews Bell, Jean Marshall, and Jonathan Darnel were put behind bars for daring to protect the lives of innocent unborn babies, now a “crime of violence” under the current U.S. administration’s abortion regime.
Within minutes after the verdict was handed down on Friday, September 15, the Department of Justice prosecutors had the gall to congratulate each other triumphantly in the courtroom while defendants were led away and their children wept, sobbing and shaking. Prosecutors saw the tears and smiled. It was a scene to remember.
Just minutes earlier, I had the privilege of conversing with one of these pro-life heroes, Jean Marshall. We were speaking about the courage of the indomitable Cardinal Ignatius Kung, the famous Chinese bishop of Shanghai who stood up to the Communists and refused to serve as head of the schismatic church that the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) wished to establish under its totalitarian control. For his defiance of the CCP and fidelity to the Pope in Rome, Kung suffered an imprisonment of 30 years.
Nothing broke him, and after Kung’s long imprisonment, his adherence to the Roman Catholic Church and the See of Rome shone even more brightly. When finally released in his 80s, Kung preached about the necessity of being willing to suffer even to the point of imprisonment and the shedding of blood for the sake of Christ.
Commenting on the government’s increased crackdown against pro-lifers, Marshall told me she thought this trial “is the beginning of the persecution.” She was convinced that the government will continue to arrest more pro-lifers and that we will have to be willing to go to prison in witness to life.
Marshall was also convinced that pro-lifers must work to strike down the FACE Act, which has come to serve as the federal government’s weapon of choice in stamping out pro-life activism that gets too much in the way of the abortion industry. In the two FACE Act trials in D.C. over the last month, the government has shown itself desperate to keep from the public eye and from the courtroom the gruesome reality of what actually happens during an abortion. No pictures, no video, no testimony, no description, no medical expert, no studies could be allowed in court that might possibly “prejudice” the jury to reconsider that a precious life is brutally destroyed in every abortion or that the pro-life rescuers on trial might actually have been protecting such innocent, tiny, defenseless lives on October 22, 2020.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Dana DiMattia, friend of the defendants in the two D.C. FACE Act trials, called to mind how similar to Christ’s own Passion this trial has shown to be. She wrote:
Friends, thank you all for your prayers for the three defendants today. I know this news is very upsetting and unjust.
Will Goodman from the other trial said that when you rescue you have to allow the passion of Christ run through you. And he is indeed very right about that. Joan, Jonathan and Jean were betrayed by Judas (Caroline Davis) and then brought to all the Pharisees (the FBI) who found them guilty of such awful crimes. They then were brought to Pilate (Judge Kotelly) who made it seem like this case was about her law and not God’s law. The jury picked Barabbas ([abortionist Cesare] Santangelo) over these innocent rescuers.
You should all know that the whole group of us prayed and sat together while we waited for the verdict. When they were called into the courtroom, Jean, Joan, and Jonathan had a very serene and accepting look on their face as their guilty verdict was read out loud. They all received their verdict and discussion about going to jail by 3 p.m. It is finished (for now).
Jonathan looked at me and told me to smile before the court marshals took him away and he waved goodbye to everyone in the courtroom. Joan hugged her family and blew kisses to the group.
This verdict was already written and I’m sure it will work out for His will. It might wake up others to do this work, and it might keep getting appealed until it goes to the Supreme Court. Either way all of these rescuers have been at peace with their sentencing. Joan told me that we must have joy in His permissive will.
I can’t speak for others, but I am very sad today. My sadness is not because I think this has failed but just because I will miss my friends. Continue to pray for them all while they continue to do God’s work inside the jail.
Considering that it is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows today, I found it very fitting. We all stood there at the foot of their cross today.
Darnel was able to communicate a statement about the trial as well. “This is no surprise,” he said.
“So long as our courts consider F.A.C.E. constitutional (which it isn’t) it’s going to be very hard for rescuers to obtain a just outcome, no matter how peaceful they are. Pro-life America must choose whether they will see this as a signal to run and hide or a wakeup call to stand up and nullify pro-abortion laws and policies en masse. Remember, from this point forward, not only the fate of preborn kids but also our fates are in your hands.”