Why the Pro-Life display was moved

Published 12:44 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

There will be no Pro-Life cross display on the bluff this year. Here’s why.

Upon arrival at the board of aldermen meeting on Friday, Jan. 12, I was informed that our group’s request for permission to put our cross display on the bluff had already been decided. Mayor Darryl Grennell gave me the courtesy of informing me that we could put the crosses on the far end of the bluff. I voiced my objection at that time by telling him we had planned to put the cross display across from the Hotel because we were meeting there for the candlelight vigil. Mayor Grennell replied we could only put it at the end of the bluff.

I explained that we planned to put the crosses in front of the Natchez Grand Hotel as we had for the past two years because the hotel is the location of our annual candle light vigil. At the end of the vigil we distribute white carnations to the children and other participants to place on the crosses in memory of the babies they represent. It is a meaningful part of the service.

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I was told we could not put the crosses there, we were to only put them at the far north end of the bluff.

When the general meeting began, I thought there would be an opportunity for discussion and input, that didn’t happen. I requested permission to put up our cross display and was granted permission to put it on the far north end of the bluff. And that was that. We had been granted permission to do something we didn’t ask to do and which we felt was our purpose.

I had spoken to Mr. Walter Tipton on two occasions when making arrangements about the meeting. He made no mention of complaints about the crosses. I would never, ever put the hotel in a compromising position. They have been more than gracious to us. Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith said she had received complaints about the crosses.

It would be helpful to our group if we knew the reasons for the objection to the display — not the names of the complainants, but their exact reasons. We cannot defend our position or rectify it if we don’t know the problem.

Our sole purpose of the display is to reach the public with our message. The far north end of the bluff is a beautiful place — a big field of green grass, peaceful and quiet. That is why it won’t work for us. Confining our display to the least public location on the bluff greatly diminishes its effectiveness.

Since a display by its own definition is intended to be seen it would be counter productive to put it where there is little visibility.

For the last 11 years, we have put our crosses somewhere between Franklin Street and State Street. We feel that limiting us to the far north end of the bluff which has relatively little automobile and foot traffic compared to the rest of the area would prevent the display from serving our purpose which is to raise awareness of the massive destruction of innocent life by the abortion industry.

I’m sure board members can understand that for our purpose the permission to put a cross display on the bluff with the stipulations and limits that were imposed is the equivalent of no permission at all.

For this reason our co-chair, Ruth Powers along with other involved members of our group join me in telling our board members that we have found the offer unacceptable. We have put our display in a more prominent and well traveled location in another part of town.

We have always enjoyed a cordial and respectful relationship with our aldermen and alderwomen. Our message to them today is that we hope the new year will bring many opportunities for us to work together in good will and for many years to come.

In the meantime, our special invitation to any and all of our leaders to the 12th annual candlelight service still stands. We hope you will join us  at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, in the Natchez Grand Hotel.
Virginia O’Beirne is the co-chair of Pro-Life Natchez-Adams County.