‘Evangelicals for Life’ participants join Catholics in annual march

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Dunia Minnium of Voorhees, N.J., holds a cross during the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks.

WASHINGTON (RNS) The March for Life — an annual rally held for four decades to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court that legalized abortion — has long been dominated by Roman Catholics.

But evangelical leaders expect that on Friday (Jan. 22), there will be more evangelicals walking beside them. That’s the result of Catholic and evangelical conservatives bridging the divide to work on issues of common concern, they said.

Several hundred evangelicals gathered on the eve of the rally at a hotel near the U.S. Capitol, pledging to join forces with Catholics in the anti-abortion effort.

“There’s no tension between evangelicals and Catholics on this issue,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in an interview. However, he added that Catholics have been “more intentional about communicating the march to their constituents and see the value.”

After attending on his own and bringing seminary students to Washington for the march a few years ago, Moore partnered with Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly to step up evangelical involvement in the anti-abortion protest.

Daly sees a generational shift.

“When you look at the under-50 crowd, you probably have more accommodation for people’s theological beliefs and then you have collaboration when it comes to the big issues in the culture today like life, abortion, marriage,” he said.

Those in attendance at the Evangelicals for Life meeting said they are coming for the first time to the march.

“We do want to have a voice but we don’t know how so I think this is a platform,” said Greg Gibson, pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Knoxville, Tenn. Gibson, 29, said he and other young pastors hope to be further equipped to help their congregations take more action against abortion but with “convictional kindness” toward those who disagree with them.

RELATED STORY: Supreme Court will wade back into abortion debate

jeanne monahan

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, who succeeded the late Nellie Gray as leader of the organization in 2013, has sought greater evangelical support, hiring an assistant director to reach out to evangelicals. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, who succeeded the late Nellie Gray as leader of the organization in 2013, has sought greater evangelical support, hiring an assistant director to reach out to evangelicals. In 2014, one of the headliners was Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

This year, Daly and Moore are on the list of speakers at the rally.

Other speakers at the evangelical pre-conference included David Daleiden, who produced recent undercover videos of Planned Parenthood.

“We continue to be very concerned with abortion and we’re opposed to abortion,” said Ron Sider, president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action, in an interview after speaking to the conference. “We want to reduce it, but it also relates to death by starvation and smoking and racism.”

And the looming blizzard forecast did not appear to be deterring the tens of thousands of marchers said to be on their way to Washington.

“This is an issue that is worth walking in a blizzard for,” said Lauren Brown, a Southern Baptist preschool teacher from Wake Forest, N.C. “I feel like every life is worth something. We’re all made in the image of God. All lives are worth fighting for, so all lives are worth walking for.”

(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS)

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  • Eleanor

    Not a surprise. My evangelical pastor dad and mom took me to the March for Life for the first time 20 years ago. We’ve been going ever since. Evangelicals are strongly pro-life.

  • God has spoken

    God has spoken. He has sent this horrific storm to the east coast on the eve of the 2016 Walk For Life. His message is “Stay home. You’re doing it wrong! I gave women a brain so that they could think for themselves! Let them use it. Let them make their own decisions.”

  • George Nixon Shuler

    This “march” and the movement behind it is not, as they falsely claim, about fetii at all. Abortion occurs at the same rate (within a small variance which is a mirror image of the economic picture) whether it is legal or illegal. So, if you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. No, this entire retrograde movement is about the subjugation of women and nothing else. If not, why don’t they support birth control? Because to them that’s worse than abortion because it gives women freedom from their repression.

  • Evangelicals will march,talk,be on shows..I have worked the late shift at a local hospital 2am to 5am, just rocking babies that were not aborted. I tried to get some Christian help. WHAT A JOKE. Evangelicals were the worst. All they did was complain that the mom should have been more careful ya da ya da. What do you do Eleanor to help with the care of these NON ABORTED babies? How nice for 20 years you have marched. What else? Money doesn’t count.

  • Junebug

    You are right, G. N. Shuler and I would add:
    Some religious folk are weird. Rather than adhering to their mission of unconditional love for their neighbors, they try to ban so much God-given freedom of conscience, from liquor to jazz to loving who you love to carrying a fetus to term, government sponsored “welfare”, and more. It’s an historical pattern. Judgement, shunning and hate did not originate with Jesus. 7 of 10 Americans are for ROE and many believe life begins when the baby is born. [Gen. 2:7]

  • @Eleanor,

    “Evangelicals are strongly pro-life.”

    I don’t think so. Evangelicals are pro-fetus, not pro life.

    The world is facing urgent problems.
    Religion answers none of our pro-life needs:

    Climate change? Religion denies science.
    Overpopulation? Religion denies birth control.
    Terrorism? Religion only says they have the wrong religion!
    Stem cell research? Religion denies science.
    Genital Mutilation? Religion denies a problem.
    Women’s rights? Religion claims they have none.
    Women’s rights to their own bodies? Religion claims they have no such rights.
    Unsustainable supplies? Religion says ‘don’t worry’ god is coming.
    Starvation? Religion says pray.

    Religion offers no useful solutions to anything.

  • Ben in oakland

    They are not pro life. They are pro birth. After that, they are. Poachers, freeloaders, and so forth.

  • Leticia Velasquez Stranded March for Life participants from several states are attending Mass on a snow altar on the PA Turnpike #turnpikemass https://www.facebook.com/mandie.devries/videos/1263142763699729/?hc_location=ufi
    ‘Amazing! Celebrating #turnpikemass at St. John Paul the Great Hillside Chapel.’
    Mandie DeVries

    Amazing! Celebrating ‪#‎turnpikemass‬ at St. John Paul the Great Hillside Chapel.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Ben is all too correct. No matter how much they shriek they are “pro-life,” we know they are really promoting botched back room abortions and butchered real, live American citizens. We know for a fact that’s the sole alternative to legal, safe abortion because that’s precisely what happened in America before “Roe vs. Wade.”

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Did they go to the turnpike with the intention of blocking traffic? And, now, do they need “rescuing” at taxpayer expense? I understand this blizzard was predicted at least 2 days ago. It seems these activists made some very poor choices, and should be held financially responsible, jointly and severally, for the waste of taxpayer dollars they caused needlessly.

    I’m tired, as a taxpayer, of being expected to finance their political agenda.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “This is an issue that is worth walking in a blizzard for,” said Lauren Brown, a Southern Baptist preschool teacher from Wake Forest, N.C.

    It sounds like anti-abortion types plan to further burden taxpayers and risk the lives of police and other professional rescuers by making that foolish decision. Isn’t one of the posts above about trying to block an interstate highway?

  • Jack

    Carrot Cake Man, explain what you mean by “real, live” American citizens. Unless there are zombies in our midst, I have to assume that every person I meet is both real and alive.

  • Jack

    Wrong, George. For years after Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions rose. It’s only over the past generation that we’ve seen a general leveling off and for a string of years, an actual decline.

    And nice try in attempting to make abortion ground-zero in the gender wars. The problem with your view is that there is no gender gap on abortion. Women are no more likely to be pro-choice than men are, and some polls show them to be less likely than men. And of course, it will be news to the millions of pro-life women that they are acquiescing in the “subjugation” of women.

    Granted, abortion is a woman’s issue in that on both sides, pro-life and pro-choice, the biggest activists tend overwhelmingly to be women. But tellingly, on both sides, they welcome men to join them.

  • Jack

    Carrot Cake Man, I somehow don’t get the sense that you are anything like a watchdog for the “taxpayer” on any other issue. I somehow doubt you are a fiscal conservative on most issues.

  • Jack

    There are few things other than a pro-life march to get leftists to sing the praises of cops, fire fighters, and taxpayers. I’ll bet if the cops for some reason suddenly went berserk and started cracking pro-life heads open, these folks would be cheering due to their hatred for pro-lifers.

  • Jack

    Banning jazz? Speaking of “weird,” you sound like you stepped out of a time tunnel from about a century ago.

    And Junebug, somehow I don’t think your high school biology teacher would be pleased by your assertion that human life begins abruptly at birth. That’s magical, medieval thinking, on the level of believing that storks deliver babies, the moon is made of green cheese, or the sun revolves around the earth.