Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BIG WEEK A BIG UP, BIG DOWN!

The week surrounding January 22 is always the busiest of our year. Since 1995, my brother, Paul and I, have been marking the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by engaging in a variety of pro-life observances. Not all are mournful. The National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, a service Paul and I inaugurated here on Capitol Hill 13 years ago, is now one of the premier indoor life-giving and life-affirming celebrations held in the Washington. This past Memorial was one of best ever—an SRO crowd poured out the doors of the largest venue in the Senate side of the US Capitol complex. Thanks to the prayers of many (and notwithstanding the new pro-abortion leadership in Congress) no one even attempted to shut us down, as they have in previous years.

Still, everyone involved with the Memorial is concerned about the future of the event. We stage it in the US Capitol complex to put it near those who must hear its message about the sanctity of our God-given Right to Life. The service is now in the hands of the National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC), and I have no doubt the NPRC will come to the attention of some pro-abort senator. The rules allow any US senator to shut down an outside program—even as it’s in progress. It doesn’t help that the chairman of the rules committee, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who approves the use of US Capitol venues, is not only pro-abortion—he’s running for president! (He’ll be looking for all the points he can score with the abortion crowd.) So, keep up your prayers for us! By the grace of God we dodged the bullet this year, but we can’t predict what may come next!

On a related topic, with this new congress in place, we will have our work cut out for us promoting the Sanctity of Life, the Sanctity of Marriage and the Public Acknowledgement of God. While we will all hear unending blather about “finding common ground” on abortion, gay rights, etc, don’t be fooled. As I was quoted in a national AP newspaper story this past week, Christ said we must be as clever as serpents, yet harmless as doves. (I told the reporter, with this new Congress, “We may need to be downright snaky!”) You and I will need to be prayerfully discerning in the days ahead. Both parties know they can’t get anything done—and they can’t get their candidates elected—without the support of at least a slice of the Evangelical and traditional Catholic electorate. So, they’re busy learning our language. Professional coaches and handlers have been hired to “connect with the religious market.” Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing.

On the upside of this past week, the annual National Memorial Service is like a great big family reunion for lots of us. Paul and I see many friends, allies, pro-life leaders and heroes whom we almost never see during the course of our busy lives. We also hear some of the greatest preaching. Fr. Frank Pavone once again “rang the bell”—as the old time preachers say. One of our stalwart Pentecostal brothers said, “Man, that preaching was so good, I just about converted to Catholicism on the spot!”

No such conversions happened, though. Instead, we had a wonderful showing of Christian unity as clergy from virtually every Christian faith tradition participated: Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Congregationalist, Episcopal (the Bible kind!), Evangelical, Holiness, Independent, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Reformed. Paul and I were nurtured in our Christian faith within an interdenominational fellowship reflecting all these kinds of Christians, so he and I feel very much at home in this supremely ecumenical setting. (A word about this sometimes suspect term, ecumenical: It literally means the “whole house.” I use it as applying to whenever and wherever God’s household comes together.) If you’re around us long enough, you know Paul and I (and our ministry) appreciate the whole Body of Christ, in all its different forms. We don’t ask anyone to comprise anything, but we can put aside doctrinal disputes to get the Lord’s work done—and often we must. If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), you are saved, and we can join our hands with yours as part of the extended family of God!

Back to the week—and weekend: More of the upside came as I talked with numerous pro-life leaders from across the US and around the world. Real progress is being made in many places—mostly on the state level—in bringing moral sanity and Biblical Truth to American culture. Though sadly we now have pro-aborts in charge of everything on Capitol Hill, that’s not true on the state level. Still, there is a very steep hill to climb as Roe still reigns. But I was encouraged to hear in detail from so many who are learning how to be rock climbers! I talked with one legal expert doing extensive research on state Supreme Court judges and justices. That research was offered to me to help with our state-by-state strategy. Many good state-level pro-life measures are shot down by these judges. If we can expose them for who they are and what they will do on the bench, they can be easily picked off in elections. It’s not hard to defeat a state judge because not many people even know they run for office. A few votes can make a huge difference.

On the downside, I learned even more details about the gruesome ways the abortion industry persists in this country and is expanding. While many abortion mills have been put out of business—and many aging abortionists are not being replaced by the younger (and morally enlightened) medical professionals—doctors you never dreamed of are doing more and more abortions quietly in upscale hospitals. Worse, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), that so many of us rejoiced over when it was passed two years ago, hasn’t been enforced once because of ambiguities in the law and turf battles in the government agencies charged with investigating such crimes. (BAIPA mandates that babies who survive late-term abortions must be given emergency medical care instead of being left to die or be “euthanized.”) There have been a number of grotesque episodes of these live births ending in death with virtually no prosecutions.

Finally, I can’t give you any details, but I must urge you to look at what is happening in the tiny country of Belgium. I visited Belgium some years ago while preaching across Europe. Lying behind its quaint fa├žade is a diabolical resurgence of Naziesque practices. European society has always had an Achilles’ heel for morally reprehensible eugenics—the culling of “inferior” humans to produce a master race. It appears that ghoul has raised its hideous head again. According to eyewitness reports, Belgium physicians are now “euthanizing” disabled babies without permission of the parents. (Not that it could be justified if they did secure such “permission.”) Its enough that Belgium babies are being snuffed out in a supremely immoral, misguided, repugnant and criminal way—but add to that how many of our top government officials are now looking to Europe as a model of where they want our society to go. Are we headed back to the death chambers?

OK, enough of the downers. Back to the upside: If you marched with us this Monday or saw the photos, you know this was a record year for young people in Washington. We heard from two at our National Memorial and tens of thousands took part in the March for Life. And, more and more good people of means are joining in the fray as well, providing much needed resources for the fight for Life. Sunday night we honored two of them: Stephen and Michael Peroutka; attorneys, brilliant minds, committed Christians and extraordinary philanthropists. The Peroutka brothers give hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to pro-life causes. We linked up with our friends at the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts from New Hampshire to grant Stephen and Michael honorary doctoral degrees in the humanities at a gala held at Georgetown University. After all, the Right to Life is the greatest of all human rights; champions of Life deserve some hooplah! As I asked a congregation while preaching the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday sermon that same morning, “What do other rights matter to a dead person? Does free speech matter to a dead baby? Does healthcare matter to a dead baby?” (You should soon be able to hear that sermon online. Watch for it.)

You’ve probably had as much as you can stand of this by now, so I’ll quit typing. Starting today, I’m going to replace my live weekly Internet report with audio and video postings on our website. Check it out this week. I’ve got a lot more information to give you, plus a full report on what’s happening on access to the US Capitol.

Oh, and I’ve got to tell you, my colleague, ally and friend, Pat Mahoney, has an amazing story. It’s inspiring and a real side-splitter. We’re going to record it on video and post it at our site. Keep checking in for it. OK, truly, I’m done.


Be back . . .

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