Monday April 19, 2010
Interview: Calif. Pro-Lifer Targets Apathetic Local Churches for Pro-Life Message
By Kathleen Gilbert
VENTURA, California, April 19, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Imagine getting kicked out of your church community simply for protesting the murder of the unborn through abortion.
According to Todd Bullis of Ventura, California, that’s exactly what happened to him. Now Bullis spends his Sundays protesting abortion, not outside the local Planned Parenthood, but at the doorsteps of the Christian churches in his town.
Bullis says he is on a two-year-long mission to picket outside each Ventura Christian church, in an effort to encourage them to speak out against abortion – a topic that he says local Christians have been dangerously silent about.
“All this started because I would see all the Christians going into Planned Parenthood,” Bullis told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) in a telephone interview. “I would see people that I know, who go to church … going to Planned Parenthood, and going to Planned Parenthood for abortion. And parents taking their kids down there for birth control.
“And it got to the point where it wasn’t really a Planned Parenthood thing, it was a Body of Christ thing.”
While he says he is “definitely not picketing the church” and doesn’t wish the church “any harm,” Bullis says his aim is simple: encourage preachers to face the horror of abortion head-on in their sermons.
“The one thing I’m asking them to do is to preach on abortion. … and they don’t want to do it,” said Bullis. “It’s amazing that there’s such a resistance.”
Bullis said his journey began two years ago, when he first felt compelled to stand outside a Planned Parenthood in protest; but he says he found himself paying more attention to the Baptist congregation across the street. “They wouldn’t wave at me … it was like the abortion mill across the street from them, they were just completely ignoring it. It really bothered me,” he said. He decided to change his sign to one that called on the Church to repent, which he said “just freaked out the Christians.”
When confronted by the Baptist pastor, Bullis told him that “it was easier for me to look at Planned Parenthood than his church.” The pastor, according to Bullis, replied, “‘let me ask you this: just because I’m the closest one to the abortion mill, does that mean this is the only church that holds responsibility?’
“It really struck me that he was right,” Bullis mused.
From then on, Bullis has pursued his calling despite what he says has been a hail of opposition. He maintains that “the most dangerous place, and [where] the most adamant opposition to me is, in front of the churches.”
While “99% of the people are very, very supportive of this,” says Bullis, “the thing is: the church staff gets really pissed.”
“I’ll have one pastor come out and yell at me: ‘What are you doing here? This is wrong, you have no right,'” he said. “And he’ll go back inside, and then the associate pastor will walk out and go, ‘Hey, I’ve seen you at other churches. I was hoping you would get here.'”
Bullis complained that his local congregations “think they’re doing everything they can be doing,” but “don’t support the local crisis pregnancy center.” “This is what’s so sad: … we have over 100 churches in Ventura and ten of them support the crisis pregnancy centers, but even out of those 10, the support is so minimal that it can only stay open 4 days a week, and only half days at that,” he said.
“It’s a pathetic chilling of the Christian hand reaching out to help these women.”
Bullis recently had a “chilling” experience of his own in front of one of the churches where he was protesting: off-duty police officer and First Assembly of God parishioner John Hixon doused Bullis with water from a hose for peacefully standing his ground outside the church earlier this month. When Bullis complained about the assault – which he says includes being sprayed in the eyes with a “vinegar solution” – the local district attorney refused to take the case, while admitting that a crime was committed.
Bullis said the “hard part” of his ministry is when the people closest to him give him little support. “People that I know who love God just don’t have the spiritual training on this issue, they don’t know God’s heart on it, and the pastors are going to be held accountable for it,” he said.
The ultimate blow came when his own congregation, Reality Church in Ventura, told him he was not welcome to worship there until he “repented” of his preaching to expose the horror of abortion, he said.
“The Reality [Church] heard about this and they told me I needed to repent, and if I didn’t then I wasn’t welcome at the church any more,” he said. Later, he claims, he was even refused permission to attend the church with his family for Christmas.
A spokeswoman for Reality Church declined to comment to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) on the issue.
Bullis and his companions often use graphic images of aborted children to make their point. While he has received some negative reactions, he said, such is not always the case. “I have women come up to me and go, ‘You know, I had six abortions, and I just want you to know that I’m so glad you’re here bringing awareness to this issue,” he said, “because I never really knew what it was, and seeing these pictures I understand a lot better.'”
Bullis, who says he has been joined by a handful of family members and volunteers, also says that he discourages fellow witnesses from antagonizing the churchgoers. “You respond in Christ, and in love, and appropriately.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Calif. D.A. Snubs Pro-Lifer’s Plea after Harassment by Off-Duty Officer