Imagine receiving a death threat at your place of work.
Can you imagine coming to work the next day?
But not even terrifying phone calls stopped the employees of pro-life organization Operation Rescue from doing their jobs.
And now the man behind the threats has some serious regrets.
Hoping to shut down the ministry, a mystery caller made a series of death threats to several employees last fall.
Thanks to dedicated investigators and attorneys, he’s now behind bars, and Operation Rescue can continue its life-saving work!
Based in Wichita, Kansas, Operation Rescue is a pro-life organization that made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic. The ministry is known for its outspokenly peaceful approach to the pro-life cause.
Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue’s senior vice president, “has openly denounced violence as a means to stop abortion.” The organization is determined to use “peaceful activism as a means to save babies and stop abortion.”
Not everyone agrees with the organization’s message or methods, though.
One Wichita resident, Christopher Thompson, made his disagreement personal when he called Operation Rescue’s office and left graphic threats towards the employees there.
In one of several messages, Thompson threatened to rape and kill Operation Rescue workers and their family members. Thompson’s language was graphic and terrifying, “with satanic overtones” and evidence of a deep mental disturbance.
“I’m gonna rape you… I’m gonna kill you, and the devil’s gonna burn you,” Thompson said in an eerie, sing-song voice, repeating variations of the same threats over and over.
Thompson claimed to be taking issue with an old article posted on Operation Rescue’s website, but his reasoning “made no apparent sense,” said Troy Newman, the organization’s president.
“His…threat was unhinged and highly disturbing.”
Thompson’s threats were investigated by the local police and the FBI. Thompson had revealed that he knew where the employees and their families lived and that he had followed them around the city.
True to their vision of nonviolence, Operation Rescue did not seek reprisal, but hoped the police would find Thompson so their employees could work and live in peace.
“We also pray he gets the help he needs before he hurts anyone,” Newman said.
Even in the face of hatred and fear, the ministry and its employees sought to exemplify God’s love toward their enemies.
The police eventually caught up with Christopher Thompson.
When faced with the charges against him, the 22-year-old admitted his crime. “Thompson admitted to making three phone calls to Operation Rescue in one day that included threats against them,” stated the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas.
A grand jury indicted Thompson on four counts of threatening communication.
“[Thompson] knowingly and willfully did transmit…a communication containing a threat to injure the person of another. That is, defendant made a telephone call threatening: to rape another’s daughters; defendant had followed the daughters around town; and, another to be afraid for his or her life,” read the first count.
The fourth count continued, “That is, defendant made a telephone call, separate from the communication in Counts One, Two and Three above, and left a voicemail threatening to: kill another; rape another’s daughters; and, kill another’s family.”
The indictment conveys the seriousness of Thompson’s crime.
“I hope Mr. Thompson receives stiff punishment in order to set an example to others that there are severe consequences for making death threats against us and our families,” said Newman, but he also acknowledged that God’s mercy has a place in Thompson’s life.
Newman went on to say, “As Christians, we pray that Mr. Thompson can find redemption and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and a new life free from hatred and violence.”
When it comes down to it, the employees at Operation Rescue just want to continue doing their life-saving work in peace.
Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison and the possibility of a $250,000 fine for his threats. His sentencing is scheduled for October 15th.
Be in prayer for Thompson throughout the sentencing process. May God work in his life through this series of events and bring him to salvation.
Keep praying for Operation Rescue as well! To learn more about the organization’s work, visit the Operation Rescue website.