Man Who Confronted Anti-Abortion Preacher Speaks Out: 'My Only Regret Is Swearing'
"Can you shut up?"
Those were the words -- spoken repeatedly -- by a bloke on a Sydney train when an American anti-abortion protester wouldn't stop preaching.
"We care more about saving the whales than we care about saving our unborn children," Phillip Blair from the Torch of Christ church told the crowded train, none of whom looked like they wanted to hear his message.
One man, however, was having absolutely none of it.
"Why don't you just take your opinion and keep it to yourself," the man told Blair, clearly trying to go back to reading his book.
"All I want you to do is shut up and leave me alone."
When Blair protested the passengers' apparent 'selfishness', the 'Book Man' snapped.
"Who's the selfish one here mate. Who's the one who won't shut up about their opinions?" he said, to cheers from the train.
"We are asking you to shut the f*ck up."
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Project, the unsung hero -- a drama teacher called Malcolm Frawley -- said he was motivated to act by Blair's anti-abortion message.
"I think the trigger for me was hearing this loud voice start to talk about their unborn children, and I wondered whether there were some women in that packed carriage who might not be interested in a conversation about unborn children," he told the panel.
"It was the intrusion, basically. It wasn't about his faith."
Later, Frawley added: "In the age of Trump, I don't think it helped that it was another loud-mouthed American."
Frawley, who teaches acting at both a Christian college and at a secular school, said he works with people of all faiths, "and you know what, they're all people."
When asked if he would have responded to a person from a different religion preaching on the train, he replied: "50 Muslims were murdered when they were praying in their own mosque a couple of weeks ago, I'm struggling to see a Muslim preaching the Quran on a packed Sydney train anytime soon."
Frawley said the only thing he regretted about the incident was swearing at Blair -- but only because other passengers on the train might not have wanted to hear it.
"Have you heard of noise-cancelling headphones?" panellist Susie Youssef asked.
"Have you heard how expensive they are?" Frawley replied.
Blair has caused a stir in the several weeks he's been preaching in Australia, which has included telling a man in a wheelchair he was "too bitter" to ask God for help, and shouting at disinterested strangers in Newtown that they "will not find peace in a stranger's bed".
He describes himself as the founder and director of Torch of Christ Ministries, a fundamentalist church preaching about demons and spiritual cleansing.
In a number of videos posted to YouTube and Facebook, Blair has asked his tens of thousands of followers for prayers and described the media coverage and comments as "attacks" on his message.
"I've preached harder messages in a lot of harder locations, but for whatever reason God chose this to blow up in Australia," Blair said in one.
Frawley told The Sunday Project that to him, faith is a personal, even private thing.
"If you and I wanted to sit down over a coffee or a beer, that would be fine -- but I don't want them inflicted on me in public when I'm trying to read a book," he said.
As for what book he was reading?
"Fifty Shades of Grey."
Blair declined to be interviewed.
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