The man arrested for refusing to come down from a tree during last week’s vice-presidential debate at Centre College has had the criminal charges against him dropped and plans to hold a pro-life rally Saturday in Danville.
Rives Grogan, 47, said during a telephone interview Tuesday that he believes the “Lord has His eyes on Danville” and he must return to continue delivering his pro-life message.
Grogan, a minister from Los Angeles, and Frank Cruz, 27, also from Los Angeles, have been traveling around the country to encourage people to elect Republican Mitt Romney as president rather than Democrat incumbent Barack Obama.
Grogan planned to protest at the presidential debate Tuesday night in New York and recently protested at the presidential debate in Denver, Colo.
“I am a Christian, and I do not support Mitt Romney’s Mormonism,” Grogan said. “But there’s no perfect candidate. He will save the babies and is the lesser of two evils.”
Grogan, who estimates he has been arrested at least 20 to 30 times for protesting abortion and gay marriage, admits he climbed a tree at Centre College and shouted statements such as “Stop Obama! Over 50 million babies have been killed.”
He sang “Let the babies live, let the babies live” to the tune of the Marshall Tucker Band’s hit song “Can’t You See” as the group performed during the debate festival.
“Back in Hitler’s day, people got dragged off to jail for protesting against him,” Grogan said. “I expect to get arrested for protesting against our government.”
Grogan said in most cases, the jurisdictions usually keep him in jail for a night and then drop the charges.
He became interested in the pro-life cause in 1994 while a student at Central Bible College in Missouri. As part of his education, he said he and other students saw aborted fetuses.
“At first, I was very timid,” Grogan said. “But then one day, I started praying more loudly.”
Eventually, he says his controversial methods got him kicked out of Bible college.
Grogan plans to vocalize his views at noon Saturday in front of the Boyle County Courthouse and said Cruz will be with him as an observer.
“Frank is a young man who is part of a sober living program I run in Los Angeles,” Grogan said. “He has been clean and sober for two months and is mainly traveling with me to learn about the cause.”
He, Cruz and other pro-life activists travel around the country with little financial support, Grogan said.
“Sometimes a church or a local Christian will put us up for the night when we visit a new city,” he said. “Other times, we sleep in the car at a truck stop.”
Danville Police Chief Tony Gray did not have a comment regarding Grogan’s planned rally.