“Don’t make a decision about the ‘Spring of Life’ until you attend this rally,” admonished the pink letter on my desk. It told that Operation Rescue was coming to Buffalo, New York, in April. This appeal had the desired result. In order to be fair, I thought, I really needed to go to the rally.

Not that I was unfamiliar with Operation Rescue or the antiabortion movement. I have opposed abortion since entering the ministry in the early seventies. I have counseled pregnant women against abortion; I have helped many women who have had abortions to receive forgiveness and healing; and I have participated in several “rescues.” Moreover, our church has supported a Crisis Pregnancy Center since 1985 at the cost of about $9,500 a year. Yet, despite my stand on this issue, over the last few years I have begun to have some reservations about Operation Rescue.

I also wanted to go to the rally because one of my pastoral friends had been asked to speak. I knew he had been arrested at a “pastors’ rescue” in 1988. Since then, he, too, had had some reservations about what he did, and I was curious about what he would speak on.

Shock And Guilt

The rally was what I had come to know as the norm. The speakers simultaneously stirred up shock and guilt as they tried to recruit the audience to “save babies” by blocking clinics. My friend gave an excellent message exhorting people to use the weapon of prayer to change things. (If the church has been guilty of anything, in my estimation, it has been the absence of consistent, fervent prayer on this matter.)

The keynote message at the rally was given by one of the chief pastors in Operation Rescue’s Wichita operation last year. He related how God had “spoken” to him as he had his face in the asphalt in ...

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