I never met Jim Pouillon, but I have met several of his friends. Many of them have written poignant expressions of their sorrow. Among them is the one and only Cal Zastrow, whose heart was broken; and whose love for Pouillion and his family is sincere to the very depths of his being.
Before I could read Zastrow’s statement regarding Pouillon’s death, I received a message. Zastrow was calling to tell me that he was driving back to Michigan. He had been helping local leaders organize the Personhood Mississippi effort and was now heading back home to minister to Pouillon’s daughter and granddaughter. I can hear Zastrow’s voice as I read his statement:
This morning a violent man murdered a peaceful pro-life Christian, Jim Pouillon, my close friend. Jim was completely non-violent and never condoned using violence. I knew him very well and had prayed and ministered with him often.
He was praying and holding a poster of a newborn baby outside of Owosso High School. One of the students in the school was his granddaughter. His beating heart and measurable brainwaves are stopped. Also today, 4,000 American preborn children with beating hearts and measurable brainwaves are being murdered with suction "abortion" machines or drugs.
Their beating hearts and measurable brainwaves are stopped. We condemn both forms of murder. Don't shoot, stab, smack, slap or suck the arms and legs off of children with suction machines! Stop the violence!
The last time I talked to Jim was this week, Monday. I prayed with him over the phone as he was preparing to go talk about Jesus and show pro-life signs in front of Owosso High School, where he was martyred this morning.
Nobody who knows Cal Zastrow could read this without being deeply moved by what we know is true of all pro-life witnesses. Standing up for the dignity and sanctity of innocent human beings means being called to imitate Christ. Not a one of us is violent; as a matter of fact we abhor violence, which is why we have dedicated our lives to exposing the horror of aborting an innocent child.
Father Tom Euteneuer expressed his disdain for the hate-mongering that began almost immediately after Pouillon’s tragic death became known. His commentary, “Vicious, Venal and Violent,” goes to the heart of the public response of those who support killing the preborn:
The pro-choice movement has made murder just a casual pastime now, part of the general round of things that the news reports routinely. Yet, how surprised should we be at this when we stand back and see the unclean spirit that is behind the movement whose sole motivation is death? The fruits of this movement are universally demonic: a callous disregard for the sanctity of life, the insane promotion of death through lies, distortions and hate-filled propaganda. The nastiness of this movement is no longer able to be contained.
Father Euteneuer’s analysis turns next to the Flint Journal and its coverage of the Pouillon killing. I have examined many newspaper and Web news reports about Pouillon’s death as well, and have been utterly amazed, while not shocked, at the total lack of respect for this man’s true identity. The memory of a man — who, by any account, was merely a witness to truth and a remarkable lover of the Lord — is smeared with ugly words and innuendo.
Politics Today, for example, ran the headline, “Abortion Foe Gunned Down: A 'George Tiller' for Pro-Lifers?”
This is an unimaginable, if not grotesque, comparison. Tiller made his money killing people prior to or at their birth. James Pouillon defended human rights for the victims of Tiller’s racket. The audacity to even mention the two men in the same breath — let alone, headline — is an example of how twisted the thought process of many media types has become.
The M-Live Web site, which is also the internet outlet for the Flint Journal, took the opportunity in their report to provide a list of the times Pouillon had been arrested or charged by police. One gets the immediate impression that the list of dates and reasons for the various violations —including the many that were dismissed — somehow gives credence to the act of a maniacal killer whose brutality resulted in the deaths of two men.
Associated Press reporter Tim Martin wrote of Pouillon, “The retired autoworker was a well-known and polarizing personality in Owosso, a town of about 15,000 residents. His protests -- often staged outside the school, library, at car dealerships and even football games for several years -- rubbed some residents the wrong way and led to frequent court battles.”
Note, if you will, the subjective editorializing about the victim, including “polarizing personality” and how he “rubbed some residents the wrong way.” I may have missed something, but I do not recall such judgmental slurs about Senator Edward M. Kennedy upon the announcement of his death, but perhaps I wasn’t reading every word that was written.
Senator Kennedy polarized members of the Catholic Church, dividing those who believe in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” from those who ignore God’s law when it comes to murdering the preborn! Yet few even referenced Kennedy’s embrace of killing, including, sadly, members of the hierarchy.
Why then would reporters characterize a loving father and grandfather who stood up for life in such negative terms? The answer is as plain as the nose on your face. As Father Euteneuer said, it’s “a callous disregard for the sanctity of life, the insane promotion of death through lies, distortions and hate-filled propaganda.”
Finally, in perhaps one of the most bizarre statements I have seen about Pouillon’s murder, the president of United States said, "Whichever side of a public debate you're on, violence is never the right answer."
At the very foundation of my being, I know and understand what President Obama has apparently overlooked. In fact, most Americans who take the time to think about the truth regarding abortion and its aftermath understand it as well. The hard truth, the inconvenient truth, is that the violence perpetrated against Pouillon and the second victim of their killer, Harlan Drake, is but another example of how far too many people view problems and troublesome events in their lives these days. For 36 years, this nation has sanctioned the direct murder of innocent babies prior to birth and defined that massacre of the innocents as a right, a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor. The truth about abortion has been rejected by millions. Even President Barack Obama doesn’t get it or refuses to see the grim reality of just how damning abortion advocacy in America has become.
Violence is, indeed, never the right answer! So why perpetuate it, Mr. President? You are in a position to condemn all forms of violence, beginning with the most horrific of all — the murder of the preborn.
It is my fervent prayer that many of our fellow citizens will take a moment to consider why Pouillon witnessed to the reality of who dies during an abortion. Pouillon did this not for any publicity that he might gain, not for a place in history and certainly not for the applause he would hear from the thousands who would line the streets to cheer him on in life and mourn the great loss of his contribution to society in his death. He did not seek fame or fortune; he sought to do the will of God.
James Pouillon did what he did because he knew the truth and he wanted to share it with young and old alike. This is why he prayed, this is why he peacefully protested, this is why he rubbed some people the wrong way and why he died. This is also why we now must pray — for our nation, for Pouillon’s surviving family and for the courage to carry on in his memory for the millions of little ones who have died. Let us never forget that thousands of little babies die each day as America’s conscience sinks slowly into the grim, evil abyss created by the culture of death.
For those who cannot attend the memorial service tomorrow at the Willman football stadium in Owosso, Michigan, cards, letters and donations may be sent to the family through Jim’s church:
Family of Jim Pouillon
c/o Abba House
P.O. Box 201
Owosso, MI 48867