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Modell, D. (2009). Retreat from Reality. Psychoanal. Hist., 11(2):239-249.

(2009). Psychoanalysis and History, 11(2):239-249

Retreat from Reality

David Modell

Andrea Williams fell in love with Jesus at the age of 4. ‘I was put on a bus to go to Sunday school,’ she says, ‘one of the teachers told me all about Jesus and really I fell in love with him there and then, and it hasn't changed since.’ That relationship with Jesus has now all but taken over her life. We are on our way to an anti-abortion rally in London, where Andrea will address the crowd and tell them that abortion is a ‘silent holocaust’ and that we must ‘repent’ in order to change the nation.

On the way we make a brief stop at a Christian book-shop. After a few minutes Andrea emerges with a weighty plastic bag. In it are several books she has bought for me; it appears they are intended to aid my conversion.

Andrea is the Public Policy Director of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. I am spending time with her for a documentary I am making for Channel 4 about Christian Fundamentalists. The Christians are the latest subject group in a series of programmes I have made over several years about extremists.

Outside Parliament there are a few hundred people. Andrea has brought the placards and starts to hand them out enthusiastically. She is the principal organizer of the protest and one of the key figures in the anti-abortion movement (see Fig. 1). Watching her buzz around marshalling the demonstrators, I'm tempted to describe her as being possessed by a messianic fervour.

But this is when Andrea is at her happiest, fighting the good fight. Doing what she can to save the nation, to transform it, because it seems we are descending into the clutches of unimaginable evil. Andrea later tells me: ‘There's a spiritual battle going on today.’ She believes liberal legislation is ‘a rejection of God and any rejection of God is the work of God's enemy, Satan’.

At times Andrea reminds me of the animal rights activists who were the subject of a previous film.

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