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Operation Save America organizer J. Patrick Johnston interviewed in Philadelphia, May 4, 2004

J. Patrick Johnston says he is "serving" Operation Save America head Flip Benham in preparation for the OSA week-long event starting July 17 in Columbus, Ohio.

We interviewed Johnston on May 4, 2004, as he led an anti-abortion protest outside the annual conference of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Several of Johnston's associates entered the convention center and attempted to disrupt conference meetings.

Clip 1 (33 seconds)

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Johnston: Operation Save America's doing their annual event, and every summer they go to a city, and they hold pro-life protests, they preach outside of gay bars, they'll preach outside of, um, in German Village, they'll be all over town. There'll be anywhere from 200 to a thousand of us, and from July 17th through 24th, maybe it's the seventh through the fourteenth. Some week in July, we'll be out there, preaching and rebuking the wicked.

Mike: So where are you going in German Village?

Johnston: Oh, we'll get a parade permit, just march through, preach and pass out literature.

Clip 2 (1:32)

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Sabina: German Village?

Johnston: Yes.

Sabina: You say there's no specific target, you're just going to parade through the entire thing, well, through a chunk of it?

Johnston: Right.

Sabina: Why - what's wrong with German Village?

Johnston: Oh, nothing's wrong with - I didn't mean to imply that something was wrong with German Village, but we're going to do a parade and we picked the neighborhood that is known throughout the town for having a lot of homosexual couples residing there.

Sabina: So what you're saying is, parts of town that gays live in are places [where] you want to parade?

Johnston: Well, Jesus said that a physician doesn't come to heal the well, but the sick. He didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. So that's why we want to frequent abortion clinics, bars, nudie bars --

Sabina: Surely there are sinners in Gahanna.

Johnston: Sure, ah, hey, y'know --

Sabina: But you're not parading in Gahanna, are you?

Johnston: No.

Sabina: No. Why not?

Johnston: We had to pick a community.

Sabina: And it couldn't be Worthington, and it couldn't be Dublin, and it couldn't be Gahanna --

Johnston: Well, none of those communities, none of those communities have the reputation of being a place where a certain class of sinners reside.

Sabina: A certain class of sinners?

Johnston: That's right. A certain class of sinners.

Sabina: So, for example --

Johnston: German Village has that reputation. For instance, if we had an area where drunkards were known to live, we would frequent that area, sure. But we're going to be out in front of bars --

Sabina: But you're saying gay bars --

Johnston: Oh, straight bars, nudie bars, we're going to be out in front of the churches that have abortionists in their choir, we don't discriminate, we preach against all different types of sin.

Clip 3 (45 seconds)

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Sabina: Surely there are other "sins" that would also be high priority.

Johnston: That's true.

Sabina: So why choose some above others?

Bystander: Because the fornicators are proud of it.

Johnston: We had to pick a spot, and it's not up to me, I'm just serving Flip Benham.

Sabina: Okay.

Johnston: But we wanted to hit the communities that are particularly notorious at celebrating their sin. German Village would be that community. As far as Columbus, it is well known, well known for a place that celebrates sin.

Sabina: So, you're saying places like Schmidt's are sitting smack-dab in the middle of neighborhoods that celebrate sin.

Johnston: Schmidt's?

Sabina: Never mind. You'd have to know German Village.

Johnston: I don't know it that well.

Clip 4 (29 seconds)

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Sabina: We're expecting Flip and Rusty, they're coming into town with their horse and mule, etcetera. What part of town are they coming into, are they coming in on [U.S. Route] 40?

Johnston: I don't know if we've even decided yet.

Sabina: Okay.

Johnston: Probably 40. We'll have a parade for them, hopefully, when they come into town.

Sabina: A welcoming parade?

Johnston: We'll have people lining the side of the road. Might be twenty, might be two hundred, I don't know, we'll see.

Clip 5 (21 seconds)

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Sabina: Anything else we should know about this summer?

Johnston: Let's see. Yeah, we might do a rescue at an abortion clinic.

Sabina: Tell me why.

Johnston: Tell me why? Well, you could shut down an abortion clinic for a day, and statistically we know that if women have to cancel their first abortion appointment, they're less likely to do something impulsive and more likely to keep the baby.

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