By Patrick B. Craine
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, September 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The St. Mary's University (SMU) Students for Life group has once again had its activities disrupted, the second incident this year in which attempts have been made to silence the group's message. According to representatives of the group, last Thursday morning at the student society fair an unknown man stole the entire contents of the group's booth.
Paul Mullen, a SMU student in his final year of a degree in math, computer science, and engineering, says that he had just finished setting up the group's display this past weekend when the theft happened. He says he had only been at the booth for about five minutes, and had already had people sign up, when he stepped away for a few seconds to throw some tape in the trash can.
“I just walked about fifteen feet away, and I turned back around … and everything was gone, there was nothing on the table,” he told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN).
“I wasn't really angry,” he said. “I wasn't surprised. I was just disgusted. Because, I mean, that's a line I didn't think they were going to cross … and they just jumped right over it.”
“There were people everywhere,” he said, so there was no sign of the thief. There were some witnesses at the surrounding tables, but they said they did not suspect the man was stealing because Mullen had just arrived and the man had conducted the theft calmly.
Mullen was alone at the booth, which he says might not have been a good idea in retrospect. But at the same time, he said, “you wouldn't think that someone would steal your stuff.”
“I didn't think that they would risk it, because, I mean, I'm a big guy, I'm close, so if I had happened to look over my shoulder, there's no way they'd get away,” he said.
Campus security took the witnesses' names and the descriptions they gave of the man, but Mullen says they are not equipped to do much, particularly given that the security cameras were not focused on that particular spot. He's informed the Halifax police, but says he does not expect much from them, given that he was put on hold for over an hour the first time he called.
The ire of the university's pro-abortion students was first sparked earlier this year when the pro-life group sponsored an on-campus event. But shortly after pro-life speaker Jojo Ruba, co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, began his presentation, a group of pro-abortion protesters entered the room and began shouting slogans such as “Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!”
When Ruba encouraged the protesters to save their objections until the end, they shouted back, “Pro-life men have got to go, when you get pregnant let us know!” and “No hate speech in our school!”
Campus security did not intervene, and the protesters continued for about 45 minutes. When the city police arrived on the scene, a university official shut down the presentation.
Following the event, the university issued a press release, indicating that they had relocated the talk to a nearby location, which allowed Ruba to continue. However, event organizer Joseph Westin responded to the university in a report for the Atlantic Catholic, pointing out that the university had simply shut down the event, without offering any solutions, and it was actually the event organizers who relocated it to nearby Canadian Martyrs' parish.
“Really, they stopped the presentation, and we decided to leave and go to the church,” explained Westin. “If the church was not there we wouldn't have been able to continue.”
“They made no effort to provide another building or venue for us,” he added. “They're claiming that they moved us to another building. But they didn't. They stopped our presentation.”
On Tuesday, Mullen published an article about last week's theft in the SMU Journal and invited students to join the group. “What could possess someone to go to such extreme (not to mention illegal) lengths to prevent students from seeing, hearing or thinking about something?” he asks.
He takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to pointing out that the group is anything but offensive. “Maybe it was the idea behind the group that was so terrifying and offensive,” he writes. Pointing out, for example, that the group's founding principle is that “every life has equal value,” he says, “Uh… that's pretty much of the foundation of civil society. Not scary stuff.”
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