SMITHVILLE, Ontario, October 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life monument to honor victims of abortion erected on private property in southern Ontario has been targeted by township officials who say it violates zoning and signage regulations. The group behind the pro-life initiative has until October 10th to remove the monument or face legal action.
“Roadside crosses and tributes to fallen soldiers are common across Southern Ontario honouring the victims of a traffic fatality or tragedy on the battlefield and pointing fellow drivers and citizens to the dignity and value of life,” said Ralph Vis, Vice-chair for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Niagara, the group that erected the monument.
“So why is a memorial that exposes the ongoing violence committed against some of the most vulnerable citizens in Canada being selectively targeted by the Township of West Lincoln?”
With the express permission of the owner of the land, the memorial was erected on October 1st on a vacant parcel of land near a high-traffic area southeast of Smithville, Ontario. The memorial was constructed by stacking hay bales in the shape of bleachers. One hundred crosses were pushed into the bales representing the 100,000 unborn children that are aborted each year in Canada.
“Each Cross represents 1000 unborn children that are aborted every year in Canada,” said Michael Zwiep, a member of ARPA and a supporter of the memorial, to LifeSiteNews.
There is a sign on each end of the memorial. The first 4’ x 4’ sign reads: “Each cross represents 1,000 unborn children aborted every year in Canada.”
The second 4’ x 8’ signs features a perfectly formed child in utero and reads: “I praise you Lord because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… You knit me together in my mother’s womb… Psalm 139.”
Local officials, including West Lincoln Mayor Douglas Joyner, said that they authorized the removal of the memorial because local inhabitants were complaining about it. ARPA chair Ed VanderVegte contacted the officials to ascertain the nature of the complaints and how many were registered, but the officials were unwilling to elaborate.
Ralph Vis, whose family owns the land holding the memorial, said to West Niagara News that the monument has had an “emotional effect” on many people.
“It’s always disturbing to think about death,” he said.
“I would like to see people voice their concerns to politicians and consider not voting for politicians (at all levels of government) who do not take a stand against abortion.”
Zwiep is convinced that there is more to the “order of removal” than a bylaw issue, but that it is a “freedom of expression issue.”
ARPA plans to respect the order from the township and dismantle the memorial by the October 10th deadline.
Vis told LifeSiteNews that he thinks the display has been “effective” and that it has been the “voice for the unborn” that they had hoped it would be.
“I think that the fact that the township made us take it down is what has made it get so much publicity.”
“We hope to move it to a new location, but to date no one has come forward requesting it on their property,” said Vis.
“If you are interested in hosting the display, please let us know.”
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Township of West Lincoln
E-mail: [email protected]