RESTORING PERSONHOOD ONE LOCAL COMMUNITY AT A TIME
With over 200 million Christians in America, how is abortion still legal?
In a government of the People, for the People, and by the People, with over 63% identifying as Protestant, evangelical, or Catholic, why are pre-born children still legally killed every day? What about the elderly, the disabled, and those created solely for human experimentation? Has the Church given up her moral authority to speak to these issues? Why has she allowed government to define the rules of engagement? The very existence of legal abortion in America points to a need for the Church’s repentance. There is not a singular political solution for a distinctly moral failure.
But there is a connection between the Church and the State; between the moral authority to speak and the rules of engagement to make change. In Real Christianity, William Wilberforce wrote the following.
“Let true Christians then, with becoming earnestness, strive in all things to recommend their profession, and to put to silence the vain scoffs of ignorant objectors. Let them boldly assert the cause of Christ in an age when so many, who bear the name of Christians, are ashamed of Him: and let them consider as devolved on Them the important duty of suspending for a while the fall of their country, and, perhaps, of performing a still more extensive service to society at large; not by busy interference in politics, in which it cannot but be confessed there is much uncertainty; but rather by that sure and radical benefit of restoring the influence of Religion, and of raising the standard of morality.”
It is the Church that raises the standard of morality in a nation. Sound doctrine must be both preached and lived to have an impact. Wilberforce continues:
“Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind… to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties? ”
SAFE CITIES: A 3-STEP STRATEGY
The Personhood Alliance’s strategic, three-step approach, which begins with a legally benign resolution, promotes long-lasting growth of the Safe Cities and Counties movement because it protects communities from the legal challenges that burden and often derail ordinance-first and ordinance-only approaches. Even more importantly, this phased approach empowers the Church to reclaim charity and share the Gospel, which has inspired the political and cultural changes that have been necessary in ending the greatest injustices in history.
Resolve to protect
The goal of Step 1 is to establish a foundation for future enforcement. The Safe City resolution is the initial step to outlawing abortion and other assaults on life, marriage, and family in your community. It makes a broad human rights declaration that recognizes the personhood of all human beings and the duty of the local jurisdiction to provide equal protection, from conception to natural death. The resolution lays out the legal and moral foundations for why the community is choosing to become a Safe City or County.
Activate the Community
In this step, you work to build a coalition of local churches, businesses, pro-life ministries, and city/county government to engage in specific, tangible actions that build and sustain a culture of life and create a groundswell for state-level political change. At this point, you begin to protect local authorities and create a plan for mitigating any upcoming legal challenges. The emphasis of Step 2 is education, community-building, and preparing local authorities for the boldness of Step 3.
dEFY THE UNJUST LAW
Once your community has matured in its embrace of a culture of life and is prepared for challenges, it passes local ordinances and statutes that prevent abortions from being performed and/or funded within the jurisdiction. Step 3 requires a strong, educated community that is able to defend its position politically, legally, and morally so it can peacefully defy judicial tyranny and unjust laws.
SAFE CITIES: YOU CAN DO IT! HERE'S HOW...
Meet Personhood Mississippi president Les Riley and local pastor Ryan Sullivan as they talk about the Safe City initiative and how your community can become a Safe City to protect the personhood of all humans, born and pre-born.
Meet Personhood Alliance Education president Sarah Quale and Personhood North Carolina president and pastor Keith Pavlansky as they talk about the Safe Cities and Counties initiative.
SAFE CITIES: FAQ
Personhood Alliance Education created this FAQ to answer common questions associated with the Safe Cities initiative. Click on a question to reveal the answer or view and print out a PDF version of the FAQ.
From 1973 until 2022, the unjust, unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision forced American citizens in all 50 states to allow the killing of pre-born children. Though Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health has reversed this decision and declares there is “no constitutional right to abortion,” it fails to grant pre-born children equal protection under the law, thereby allowing the slaughter to continue. This injustice directly defies the Declaration of Independence, the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, most state constitutions, and more importantly, the law of God: You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).
A Safe City or County, therefore, promotes and defends the Divine right to life—from conception to natural death, without exception—within its local jurisdiction. A Safe City or County upholds the U.S. Constitution and submits to God and His law. It does not follow state or federal requirements to permit the killing of innocent human beings. In addition, the 10thAmendment to the Constitution grants to the States and to the People powers “not delegated to the United States.” Specifically, the 10th Amendment grants the power to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. A Safe City or County uses its 10thAmendment power to protect the welfare, safety, and health of its people, born and pre-born.
The Safe City movement seeks to restore law and order and to protect our fundamental, God-given right to life by re-establishing the legal personhood of the pre-born. Anarchy is the opposite of restoration of law and order; it is the destruction of it. The inalienable right to life doesn’t come from government, but from our Creator. The federal government was established to secure and protect this fundamental right. When the government removes or destroys this right—through the judiciary, the executive branch, or the legislature—it ignores the same Constitution that its members swore to uphold. It is the right and the duty of the People, who established the U.S. Constitution (according to its Preamble) and who are granted powers by the 10th Amendment “not delegated to the United States,” to institute a government that will protect the life and liberty of its people. For this to occur, the People of the United States must call for it.
God’s law against the killing of innocent human beings is clear. This law is supported by the sanctity of life ethic woven throughout the Old and New Testaments and echoed by the Doctrine of Imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-18), which establishes that all humans are created by God in His image and therefore, have value, dignity, and purpose. This is the solid foundation upon which biblical personhood stands. It follows, therefore, that a decision by a court to strip a group of humans of their personhood in order to permit their murder is unjust and immoral. And that decision should be ignored in order to protect God’s image-bearers.
He has shown you, O people, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
Consider these parallels. Should the Hebrew midwives have obeyed the unjust decree of the Egyptian king in Exodus 1 to kill all the newborn boys? No. The midwives were right in disregarding that command, fearing God above the king, and protecting the lives of those children. And God approved of their actions.
Should towns, counties, and states have obeyed the unjust and unconstitutional Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which forced Blacks to remain enslaved and considered property, not persons? No. They were right in disregarding this ruling, fearing God above the Supreme Court, and protecting the liberty and personhood of Blacks. God approved of their actions and brought freedom—and not through the Supreme Court; Dred Scott was never overturned.
“I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all…How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963)
Likewise, our towns, counties, and states would be right in disregarding the unjust rulings of today, fearing God above the Supreme Court, and protecting the lives of pre-born humans. God would approve of our actions, whether or not Roe is ever overturned.
Even though no abortions occur in a local jurisdiction, pre-born children are not completely safe and protected there. Many states are actively expanding access to abortion through their legislatures and courts, through all 9 months of pregnancy. This emboldens abortion facilities to come into new areas that may be just a short drive from your town or county. Additionally, telemedicine technology is allowing more and more abortionists to reach women in rural areas over video conference to prescribe the abortion pill. Early chemical abortions via this pill are increasing, as are “self-care” initiatives that instruct women to order the pill online and take it on their own. For all of these reasons, it is critical to proactively promote and defend life in your local community, now and in the future, as the abortion industry adjusts to try to keep abortion legal and accessible.
Becoming a Safe City or County also advances the idea that the People of the United States have a constitutional right—and the duty before God—to defend the inalienable right to life. When a local community stands against abortion and builds a culture of life that supports and serves that community, their actions model both justice and mercy, and they instill courage in other local communities. Imagine if town by town, county by county, Christians stood up to protect the God-given rights of their pre-born neighbors and then inspired other Christians in their community to walk that out. Imagine the idea of self-government under God’s authority spreading to hundreds, even thousands of communities. State legislatures would hear it. The federal government would hear it, too. They’d hear the voices of millions of Americans who are under the will, favor, and blessings of Almighty God in their efforts to reclaim charity, restore the legal personhood of pre-born children, and abolish abortion throughout the nation!
There isn’t one ideal model for a Safe City or County, but a set of characteristics that make a location more or less ideal. These characteristics include being a community that:
- Is in a rural or small suburban area that can serve as a model for larger towns or whole counties
- Is not in an urban or metropolitan area
- Does not currently have abortion facility in it (this characteristic is likely to change once the Sanctuary Cities for Life movement grows)
- Is in a “red” county on the electoral map, though this doesn’t mean the politicians that represent the area have consistent pro-life values
- Has strong values, but is passive or unsure what to do to stand for life
- Has strong values and a desire to take action
- Is in a jurisdiction with local laws and ordinances that are already favorable to life or that could be leveraged to protect life
- Has a city council or county board of commissioners in which the majority already support the right to life, in word or in deed
- Has an established network of churches, businesses, and life ministries that work together
- Has outreach-oriented churches and businesses that would be amenable to supporting and/or creating local life ministries
The Personhood Alliance’s strategic, three-step approach promotes long-lasting growth of the movement and protects communities from the legal challenges that burden and often stymie defiance-first and defiance-only approaches. Even more importantly, this phased approach empowers the Church to reclaim charity and share the Gospel, which has inspired the political and cultural changes that have been necessary in ending the greatest injustices in history.
The culture-building actions communities take in Step 2 vary widely. These might include designating parking spaces for pregnant moms, starting mentorship/discipleship programs for dads, or fully funding and volunteer-staffing a local pregnancy resource center through the churches. Encouraging church members to foster and adopt, serve in domestic abuse shelters and crisis nurseries, or start a pregnancy help line are all life-affirming actions. Education is key in Step 2, so facilitating community and church classes on pro-life principles, personhood, the Constitution, and other foundational concepts would be critical. Personhood Alliance Education is a great resource for this, particularly its Personhood Principles video course. The Personhood Alliance also recommends the comprehensive online curriculum Foundations, created by Educe® online learning.
On the legal front, Step 2 is a time when the community prepares to protect local authorities from being deputized or commandeered to carry out federal law. The community should also construct a financial plan to oppose the legal challenges that are likely to come from Step 3. Also at this point, communities can begin to raise up and endorse candidates to run for county and state government positions to replace compromised elected officials. Step 2 is also a time for citizens to formally and publicly call upon state legislators to restore legal protections through personhood measures. The Personhood Alliance and your state affiliate can lend its legal and strategic expertise in this phase.
Go to the Personhood Alliance affiliate map to find the Personhood Alliance affiliate in your state. Reach out to the contact person using the information provided on their map page or website. If you do not have an affiliate in your state, you can apply to start one and bring Safe Cities or Counties into your state. If you have questions about Safe Cities and do not have an affiliate in your state to reach out to, email the national Personhood Alliance organization at email@example.com.
SAFE CITIES: RESOURCES
Personhood Alliance Education is creating a comprehensive training and support program to assist towns, counties, and states in becoming Safe. Here are a few of the initial tools and resources we’re making available to the public. Others will be available only to those who are engaging directly in this initiative.
Tools and resources
Safe City Petition Template (PDF)
Safe City Resolution Template (Word)
Become a Safe City or County: 3 Steps to End Abortion (PDF)
Articles: Defiance and “sanctuary cities” in other contexts
Sanctuary city policies in the context of illegal immigration
Joint statement from prosecutors and attorneys general on refusal to enforce Alabama’s abortion law
a call for justice
declaring the truth
The American experiment in democracy is the most successful political endeavor in human history. At the heart of its success is the belief that a moral people can govern themselves. Far from promoting anarchy, the movement to declare Safe Cities and Counties across America is a prerequisite to responsible self-government. In a society where an immoral and unjust order is being imposed from one branch of government—the judiciary—it is the responsibility of the other branches to impose checks and balances. Please join us in establishing Safe Cities and Counties across the nation!