Philip "Flip" Benham (born April 16, 1948) is an Evangelical Christian minister and the national leader of Concord, North Carolina-based Operation Save America, a pro-life group that evolved from another pro-life organization, Operation Rescue.
Benham has been active in the pro-life movement since the early 1980s, and he founded Operation Rescue's chapter in the Metroplex in 1988. He succeeded Randall Terry and Keith Tucci as national director of Operation Rescue in 1994, and renamed it Operation Save America in 1999.
Hurricane relief efforts
Benham and his organization volunteered their time to provide food and supplies in Mississippi after that area was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Although other organizations accepted funding from the government for their efforts, Benham stated that his organization would never accept money from the government.
Benham gained attention commenting on the execution of Paul Jennings Hill and the murder of George Tiller, and for participating in the vigil outside of Judge Roy Moore's courthouse in which stood a Ten Commandments monument. He also demonstrated for Terri Schiavo.
Benham has spoken out against hate crime legislation that would include extra legal protections for victims of anti-gay bias crimes asserting the legislation "expressly forbids any language that might be perceived as 'hate' by the homosexual community. This makes illegal every word in the Bible."
On August 6, 2010, Flip Benham organized a protest at a Bridgeport, Connecticut mosque. About a dozen protesters confronted worshippers outside the mosque. The protesters screamed "Jesus hates Muslims" and "Islam is a lie". One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. "Murderers," he shouted. Flip Benham was also speaking to the worshipers with a bullhorn. "This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country," he said.
On July 1, 2011, a Charlotte, North Carolina jury found Benham guilty of stalking a Charlotte area abortion doctor. Prosecutors charged that Benham and his supporters took pictures of the doctor, his house, and the interior of his clinic, and later distributed photographs of the doctor captioned with "Wanted ... By Christ, to Stop Killing Babies". Benham was sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to stay at least 500 feet from the doctor. Responding to the sentencing, Benham said, "They've stolen from innocent babies a voice that has spoken for them."
On October 13, 2014, Benham staged a protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, outside the office of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, where some of the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples were being issued, and while some of those couples were in the midst of wedding ceremonies nearby.
On November 20, 2017, days after appearing onstage with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Benham defended Moore from allegations that he dated and sexually molested teenage girls as young as 14 when he was in his 30s. Speaking on WAPI 99.5 FM, Benham said, "there is something about a purity of a young woman, there is something that is good, that’s true, that’s straight and he looked for that."
On January 23, 2018, police escorted Benham out of a meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board after he violated protocol by approaching the board members at the dais, while shouting and pointing at board members,after his allotted time to address the board had expired.
On February 24, 2018, Benham was arrested in Charlotte and charged with communicating threats. The arrest reportedly happened during an anti-abortion protest. The nonprofit group Progress NC reported that Benham was arrested outside A Preferred Women’s Health Center, “despite a protective order warning him to stay away from a clinic volunteer.”
- "Meet the Director, Rev. Flip Benham". Operation Save America. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- "Hurricane Relief Update". Operation Save America. October 2, 2005. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- Benham, Flip. "Troy Newman's purchase of the 'Operation Rescue' trademark". Operation Save America. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- Young, John (May 20, 2009). "Hate, in love's name". Albany Times Union. Archived from the original on December 17, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- "Angry protesters descend on mosque". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- Ordoñez, Franco; Ridenhour, Courtney. "Anti-abortion activist guilty of stalking Charlotte doctor" Archived 2012-07-27 at the Wayback Machine (2011-07-02) The Charlotte Observer
- "Phillip 'Flip' Benham Found Guilty Of Stalking Abortion Doctor In North Carolina". Huffington Post. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Same-sex couples celebrate their legal weddings across North Carolina" (October 14, 2014) qnotes
- Helms, Ann Doss (2018-01-23). "CMS adds support for LGBTQ students after intense, raucous public hearing". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- Price, Mark (2018-02-25). "NC conservative activist Flip Benham arrested and charged with communicating threats". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2019-10-02.