The sign reads "In the USA 144 Abortions An Hour" and stands behind 144 miniature crosses.
While stances on the issue may be complex, it’s one way or the other when it comes to views on abortion, according to Bob Hull, member of St. Lawrence the Martyr Church in Chester.
For Holl, the display on the church’s front lawn is just a stronger way of explaining the Catholic Church’s stance on the issue. Holl is the church's Respect for Life Ministries director.
The display, which is now in its third year during the month of October, also known as the Respect for Life Month, has not been met with opposition this year so far.
But that’s a different story from what took place in 2011.
The sign, Holl says, was taken down twice while it was displayed last year, and the anonymous opposition didn’t end there.
“We had a few parishioners last year–anonymously–tell us they disagreed with the display,” Holl said. “We received a few emails from people in town who said they were dismayed with the religious beliefs.”
That beliefs, which states abortion of any kind, at any term in the pregnancy is prohibited, is the be-all for someone practicing Catholicism, Holl said.
“It is our belief in the Catholic Church,” Holl said. “If you’re a parishioner or a Catholic and are unhappy with the display, you need to reevaluate. This is what the Catholic Church teaches and is our belief.”
Holl, a parishioner since moving to the area in 1977, said despite this being an election year, the display holds no political significance whatsoever.
“We receive letters from the diocese reminding us the importance of voting and to go out and vote,” Holl said, “but this display has no political ties at all.”
St. Lawrence is one of many Catholic churches in the western Morris County region, but the only one with such a prominent anti-abortion message.
Members of the church, including Holl, learned parishes outside the area and in other states were displaying anti-abortion messages and decided to have its own version.
Located at 375 Main Street in Chester, St. Lawrence owns its property, which rests directly on the roadway–a high-traffic area less than a mile from Rt. 206.
In addition to the display, St. Lawrence will be holding a candlelight vigil Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for the unborn, Holl said. Members and non-members are invited to attend.