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Standing Upright in a Howling Wind






by Mike Heath

August 3, 2013

Sword of the Spirit

Early childhood is a time of vulnerability and innocence, and so it is that the genius Walt Disney gave his animated character Pinocchio exactly those qualities. Enjoying the newly given gift of life, Pinocchio walked on unsteady legs, awkwardly, but with joy. His wide brown eyes were enchanted by the beauty of life, and his trusting heart was open to all. So lifelike and real was he that when he stumbled, we were ready to catch him.

But in the original story, Pinocchio was a brazen liar, something of a brat in fact; and so it is fitting that he was made out of paper and wood, just like newsprint. Audiences could tell when Pinocchio was lying because his nose grew longer and longer. But the newspaper-reading public has a hard time these days discerning fact from fiction.

An editorial published in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesday August 30th, shows how the press can be subverted to private ends rather than serving the public interest.

The facts are these. The editorial entitled “Clinic Door Wrong Place for Abortion Protesters” calls for a buffer zone between pro-life protesters and women seeking an abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Portland. The writer of the editorial calls the Planned Parenthood facility “a reproductive health clinic;” and says that the women who enter receive “medical treatment.” The editorial also states that Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates have been requesting a buffer zone since last December.

The editorial claims that the actions of the pro-life demonstrators outside the facility go beyond the First Amendment, and that a buffer zone is needed to protect the rights of both sides. The editorial does not specify how any of the moral or legal rights of the women are violated, although it does note that the women are sometimes filmed, and that the protesters “speak directly to the women attempting to influence their choices.”

The timing of the editorial is suspect. Clearly, the editorial was timed to influence the outcome of a Portland City Council Meeting held later that day on Tuesday, August 30th.

The editorial will no doubt achieve its purpose, since no argument in the public arena is more effective, or more deceptive than a fallacious appeal to rights and freedom. And a fallacious appeal towards rights and freedom is the very heart of the pro-abortion movement.

A free and honest press is indispensable to the American way of life. The public must have access to the facts in order to make a wise and informed decision; and the American public desperately wants to have its faith restored in its public institutions. But this editorial raises a doubt as to whether the press can be used to serve private ends rather than serving the public interest.

The charge of hypocrisy is often leveled at religious leaders, but one does not need to be a religious leader in order to be a hypocrite. A hypocrite -- if I may use an old and trusted definition is “one who makes a false pretense to virtue in order to achieve an ulterior purpose.” Hypocrisy is therefore a type of lie, a form of speech contrary to one’s mind. Because the lie is told in order to achieve an advantage it is called “an officious lie.”

What should have been known to the staff of the Portland Press Herald is the following. The Clapp Memorial Building at 443 Congress Street in Portland at which the Planned Parenthood facility is located is owned by JJR 443 Congress LLC, which purchased the building from the Mary J.E. Clapp Trust in 2011. One authorized person for JJR 443 LLC is Justin Alfond, the Maine Senate President. The name JJR is formed from the initials of the first names of the owners Justin Alfond, Joshua Benthien, and Rex S. Bell.

Joshua Benthien and Rex S. Bell are partners in Northland Enterprises, a Portland real estate development firm. But here the story gets even stranger. The remaining partner in Northland Enterprises is Robert C.S. Monks, who sits on the board of directors of Maine Today Media. Monks is an investor in Maine Today Media, and the former state finance director for the Obama presidential campaign.

In other words, the writer of the editorial answers to a man who has a business relationship with the owners of the building where the abortion facility is located. And the owners, Senate President Justin Alfond included, are clearly concerned over the effect that the protests are having on tenants. Last month, the Munjoy Hill News reported that Mike Fink, owner of Mike’s Restaurant which is located in the building would not renew his lease, and planned to sell the restaurant because of the protests.

The Munjoy Hill News also reported that Fink met with Senate President Justin Alfond, Mayor Michael Brennan, and the Portland city attorney in December and requested a 35 foot buffer zone. The Munjoy Hill News also reported that Fink heard from Planned Parenthood that the city would not impose a buffer zone because of fear of a lawsuit from the pro-life protestors.

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The term hypocrite, I am told, originally referred to a bit actor in a stage play, a part unworthy to be played by politicians in the early Athenian democracy. The term applies equally well to everyone involved in the effort to create a buffer zone around the abortion facility at the Clapp Memorial Building. Although they make a strident appeal to rights and freedom, they clearly have the ulterior motive of continued business profits.

Yet it is not wooden puppets and senseless marionettes which are being shuffled around and rearranged on stage, lifeless beings who do not feel the burning pain of the saw or the stinging blow of the hammer. Rather they are the unborn, living beings made of flesh and blood who suffer the pain and horror of the abortionist’s knife. They are being denied the right to life; and the fee for their murder is being converted into rent paid to the Maine Senate President.

� 2013 - Mike Heath - All Rights Reserve

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Michael Heath has represented Christians in the public square for nearly three decades. As executive director of the historic Christian Civic League of Maine, Heath has been an outspoken advocate for moral values. Working alongside Dr. Dobson, Heath led a statewide family policy council for sixteen years.

Heath received the Family Research Council’s Family Faith and Freedom Award in 1998. He led multiple statewide campaigns -- including a memorable People’s Veto, which sent two hundred thousand Mainers to the polls in the dead of winter, just after a devastating ice storm which crippled all of Central Maine.

Heath served on the Governor’s Gambling Task Force, as well as on a Legislative Commission on Fatherhood. Just after college, Heath spent four years leading a ministry helping people struggling with substance abuse and/or mental illness.

Heath is married to Paulie, an inspirational singer, songwriter and speaker. They have three grown sons.

In recent years the Heaths have traveled to East Africa multiple times, working alongside missionaries in Tanzania to promote solar cooking in remote villages. Mike served as State Director for the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign in Iowa in 2011.


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When a man in a dress is given all the rights of a woman, up to and including refuge in a woman’s shelter, we have gone too far in our pursuit of equality and fairness. During the debate over the 2005 Sexual Orientation law, I warned this would be the outcome.