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Bad Christians Seek to Harass Petitioners, Deliberately Waste Citizens’ Time

Christofascists aren’t fighting democracy only in South Dakota. Crusaders for theocracy across the country are harassing petitioners to keep more Americans from voting to reinstate abortion rights:

Anti-abortion groups in Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska and South Dakota are using a similar approach. The Nebraska Catholic Conference, for example, is urging its members to not only refuse to sign but also to hamper canvassers’ efforts to get signatures from others.

“If you encounter petitioners, charitably take up their time talking about the dangerous petition, to prevent other people from engaging and signing,” the group’s executive director, Tom Venzor, advised [Alice Miranda Ollstein and Megan Messerly, “Conservatives Move to Keep Abortion Off the 2024 Ballot,” Politico, 2023.12.18].

There is nothing charitable about taking up the time of people who don’t want to talk to you. There is nothing charitable about interfering with other people’s efforts to have conversations about things you don’t like. The tactic advocated by the Catholic above and practiced by petition blockers is the opposite of both Christian and civil behavior. It is the opposite of what good petitioners do: whenever I’ve collected signatures on a petition, I’ve made clear my intentions in my first few words: “Hello, would you like to sign a petition for xyz?” If the people I address indicate an interest in signing or at least hearing about the petition, I speak with them further. If the people I address make clear they are not interesting in signing or hearing more, I stand back and let those people get on with their desired activities.

If petitioners behaved the way Tom Venzor and Jon Hansen’s petition blockers are behaving, they’d destroy their reputations and their movements. Venzor and Hansen’s uncharitable, un-Christian behavior reflect poorly on their organizations, which are supposed to exemplify Christian charitability.


  1. Mark B 2023-12-19 06:56

    It never ceases to amaze me of how concerned these ‘Christans’ are about the choices of their neighbors that don’t worship their god (lower case emphasis), and in their belief system would be banished to hell for simply not believing their god, much less breaking one of their rules.

  2. Mark B 2023-12-19 07:01

    Somewhere ‘share the message’ becomes ‘impose the message’ and goes back to population governance, again, thank you Constantine.

  3. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-19 08:46

    Cory, people have a right to advocate for what they believe. Just because you disagree
    with them doesn’t make them bad or “unchristian”.

  4. e platypus onion 2023-12-19 09:14

    Harassment is illegal, Mr Arndt and kiddie diddlers religious freedumbs don’t excuse their telling people to disobey the laws. magats been crying for years their votes aren’t being counted, all the while they have tried to prevent POC from voting. Abortion should be retroactive and mandatory for phony magat kristians, starting at the top all the way to any fetus that might be born to such magats.

  5. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-19 09:34

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Onion.

  6. larry kurtz 2023-12-19 09:35

    We all know christianity is a disease.

  7. Bob Newland 2023-12-19 09:46

    Edwin, when people interrupt me and my interlocutor on the street when I am trying to petition for redress of grievances, they are bad and unchristian. You are bad and unchristian for suggesting otherwise.

  8. e platypus onion 2023-12-19 10:16

    Bah Humbug, Edwin!

  9. Mike Zitterich 2023-12-19 10:17

    IF I come in contact with a Abortion Petitioner, I take the time to speak to them, and force them answer my questions. Most of the time it is the Abortion Petitioner who becomes violent, and the Christians are the peaceful people.

  10. LCJ 2023-12-19 10:18

    “Christofacist” seems to be your favorite new dog whistle word.
    It has gotten stale already.
    Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all!

  11. Bob Newland 2023-12-19 10:21

    Mikey, the circulator becomes “violent?” I think you are lying.

  12. larry kurtz 2023-12-19 10:39

    The word christofascist was coined in 1970 and has been in common usage since then.

  13. Bob Newland 2023-12-19 10:43

    “Christofascist” seems like a great description of those who are inserting their cruel laws into women.

  14. larry kurtz 2023-12-19 10:46

    Google Discovery Doctrine if you think christianity is peaceful.

  15. blueboy 2023-12-19 10:46

    Curious about how you force a person to answer your questions without being violent. It is the word “force” that is throwing me off. Sounds like “harrasment” to me.

  16. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-19 10:50

    It does seem that all is not sweetness and light in this
    sacred holiday season. For those of you who are willing
    to accept a Christmas greeting, again, Merry Christmas!

  17. blueboy 2023-12-19 10:56

    Uh-huh. And may the the Winter Solstice Fairy ensorcle your Yule log to keep Krampus at bay.

  18. jerry 2023-12-19 11:12

    Happy Festivus to all christofascists, may you genuflect to your putin higher power on sore knees.

  19. Bob Newland 2023-12-19 11:12

    Edwin’s sarcastic Xmas wishes fit his Christofascist fixation.

  20. Donald Pay 2023-12-19 11:29

    Merry Christmas, Edwin.

  21. Richard Schriever 2023-12-19 11:45

    Zit – FWIW – you describe your own behavior as that of exercising “force”. That is by definition – not peaceful.

  22. All Mammal 2023-12-19 11:46

    When I carried my dad’s old trucking log clipboard into the lounge where I play darts out of, I never once asked someone to sign my petition. I carried a tiny flashlight and reading glasses and several pens and one curious citizen asked what I had. Once she began to sign, the word spread and I collected the entire place’s signature. I tipped the barmaid well for giving me permission beforehand. It was amazing how men and women passed the word amongst themselves and gave me their information in a hush so that if anyone wasn’t down with reproductive freedom, they had no clue what was going on.

    Frankly, the nature of codifying Roe is not something I felt comfortable approaching people in their space with. It was a beautiful thing how many people needed to sign and told their sisters, daughters, moms, and husbands to come to me. It felt like an underground railroad. The crunchy people whom we may have been amongst were none the wiser. Most guys just said their wife told them to come sign something. I always told them thank you for advocating to help women so they knew what they were doing.

    Another non-invasive tactic was posting on Craigslist. I travelled to people where they felt comfortable and they told people so every voter I visited had several people eager to sign and word spread from each of those people.

    I avoided any confrontation because I can’t help but get feisty when bullies try scaring little old gals and think they can usurp our rights, like a few losers who responded to my advertisement with hate tried. They got the business and it was sorta funny but they get old quick. And dangerous.

    The most acceptable mode of circulating should always be in the open air plaza. Jon Hansen and Venzor are destroying the foundation of Democracy with the lack of intellect, tact, and their laziness to get their way.

  23. Donald Pay 2023-12-19 12:19

    I don’t understand why you would want to discourage anyone from participating in their government. It is a constitutional right to seek redress of grievances through petitions. Obstructing that right is anti-American and anti-South Dakotan. In the case of any initiative, it’s your constitutional right to decline to sign and your right to vote against an initiative if it makes it to the ballot. Let the people, including those who oppose any initiative, decide the issue. That’s the South Dakota way.

    I don’t mind so much if people are there to pass out literature against an initiative or to respectfully approach people to ask them not to sign. I guess that is their constitutional right, as much as it is to petition. But it seems some of these folks go to the extreme, and try to block people from signing. That’s just anti-American and anti-South Dakotan.

    We didn’t have to deal with much of that when I was collecting signatures, even though some of our issues were controversial. Some folks wanted to argue, but we made it a point to just move on and not engage with them, and they seemed to be civil enough to move on. I guess some folks on some issues get too emotionally tied up that the can’t allow people to come to their own conclusions about it. That’s just anti-American and anti-South Dakotan.

  24. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-19 12:26

    And to you and yours, Donald.

  25. sx123 2023-12-19 13:13

    Christianity is mostly peaceful, if you’re in the group. Get outside the group though and you’re just another cluless pawn wandering around with a one way ticket to Helheim.

    Although Helheim doesn’t seem so bad, and the Crusades weren’t very peaceful. And lots of Christians have no problem bombing the snot out of people.

    Just don’t destroy the 3 day old fertilized eggs!

  26. Arlo Blundt 2023-12-19 13:59

    I’m all for supporting and signing petitions for Initiated Laws and Constitutional Amendments, even those I do not agree with, as I sense a need to support Initiative and Referendum. Use it or lose it. There are some proposals I do not sign but for most but the most undemocratic I sign and then vote against it if it makes the ballot. I prefer direct democracy.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men (and Women).

  27. grudznick 2023-12-19 21:50

    There are, according to Mr. H, Bad Christians.
    There are, according to Mr. H, Bad Teachers.

    I wonder if there are SILC, like there are SILT?
    Probably, because the SILT theory (r)grundzick applies to many things. Read my book.

  28. Rick 2023-12-19 22:18

    “Mike Zitterich
    2023-12-19 10:17
    IF I come in contact with a Abortion Petitioner, I take the time to speak to them, and force them answer my questions. Most of the time it is the Abortion Petitioner who becomes violent, and the Christians are the peaceful people.”

    How do you “force” an abortion petitioner to answer your questions? Please provide details of the force that you use.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-12-20 05:20

    Edwin, we have a right to advocate our beliefs. But the activist in the quote above isn’t really advocating his beliefs or seeking a genuine conversation. He is encouraging his supporters to distract circulators with disingenuous conversations, not intended to change circulators’ minds but simply waste their time and interfere with their ability to advocate for what they believe with other voters who are open to genuine conversations. If you believe in the right to advocate for beliefs, you should be criticizing the Catholic activists and petition blockers.

    Consider Edwin: suppose we met on the street and I started advocating my beliefs to you. Suppose after a few seconds you got tired of listening to me and said, “Sorry, Cory, but I want to step away and go talk to some other people. Have a nice day.” Suppose I kept dogging you, hovering over you and shouting over whatever conversation you were trying to have with other people. At what point would you say I’ve crossed from exercising free speech to harassing you and your chosen conversation partners?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-12-20 05:22

    Mike, at what point must you respect the rights of others and step away from a conversation where others do not desire your input?

  31. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-12-20 13:45

    I do NOT sign petitions I do not support, just for the sake to sign them. And if the petitioner does not answer my questions, let alone does not provide me an answer I can support, I do not sign the petition, then lobby hard against it. IF it passes, I cannot be afraid to petition the counties to reconsider it, and challenge it in a court room, let alone petition the voters if need be to vote a second time. Remain respectful, true to your self convictions, DO NOT hit or get into a fight with your fellow citizen.

  32. larry kurtz 2023-12-20 13:59

    Say bad christians are it slides in right off the shovel.

  33. e platypus onion 2023-12-20 15:05

    Zitocrites allies have shown they are unabashed at breaking laws and becoming violent when they don’t get their way. A true and certified danger to democracy.

  34. Lucy M 2023-12-20 18:29

    This “charitable” approach reminds me of the incessant phone calls I get telling me they are a “courtesy” call from a business with which I do NO business. People should feel free to firmly refuse to converse with them once this objective is realized. Hope they do!

  35. Edwin Arndt 2023-12-20 22:29

    Cory, I would be happy to engage with you on this subject at length
    at any time and pretty much anywhere.

    As an aside, I have attended several children’s Christmas programs lately.
    Those kids all had one thing in common. They were not aborted.

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