(Note: Dr. Michael Jackson, a physician in Tacoma and a pioneer pro-life activist in the Puget Sound region, invited me to be the Master of Ceremonies at the annual pro-life banquet at the Temple Theater in downtown Tacoma in April 1993. This began an involvement with the Pierce County Pregnancy Care Centers which continues to this day. I have included remarks from other banquets in additional blog postings.)
Crisis Pregnancy Center of Pierce County
Master of Ceremonies Script (edited)
Annual Spring Life Celebration
(April 21, 1995)
Welcome to the Pierce County Crisis Pregnancy Center’s Annual Spring Life Celebration. Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ on behalf of all the infant-Washingtonians who have been saved this past year through the efforts of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
We are gathered together tonight for what in our contemporary society is a controversial purpose – the celebration of practical Christianity, or as our 19th century English Christian brothers and sisters said, “muscular” Christianity at work in our culture. This is an evening to rejoice in God’s goodness and mercy, an evening to enjoy like-minded Christian fellowship, and an evening to be inspired and encouraged.
Things have changed a bit since we last gathered for this Pierce County CPC Spring fling last year. Things are better for the pro-life movement. There is tangible cause for rejoicing and celebration. And that’s one of the reasons we’ve all gathered here in the Tacoma Convention Center to give thanks to our graciously patient Savior. Last November, when many courageous pro-life citizens were elevated to positions of political power was a significant watershed event for us. But it wasn’t the only indication of the growing national awareness of what many of us have been saying for years: This nation must respect human life and the human individual because all humans are created in God’s image.
More recently, in “March, 1995” 2 significant things broke into the American consciousness which I would like to briefly note:
1) There was a renewal of interest in the work of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the contemporary spark plug for evangelical social involvement.
2) There was the issuance of Pope John Paul’s Evangelium or Gospel of Life.
On March 5, Christianity Today, America’s largest evangelical publication, published, as its cover story, a reprint of Francis Schaeffer’s book, Mark of a Christian (first published in March 1970), because of the growing influence of evangelical Christians in national public policy debates. (As just one example of our influence, in March 1995 US News and World Report ran a series of largely positive cover stories on the evangelical movement in the US.) With the increasing maturity and influence of evangelical Christians in the United States the writings of Francis Schaeffer, called by many to be the “catalyst” for current evangelical cultural engagement and involvement, once again are drawing increased attention both for understanding and for guidance. I would suggest it wasn’t until l978, five years after Roe v. Wade, when Francis Schaeffer’s book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race hit the evangelical bookstores that it became intellectually and spiritually respectable in evangelical circles to be adamant about the sanctity of human life. In the Mark of the Christian, Schaeffer calls for “honest answers and observable love” by all Biblical Christians if we are to impact our society with the Gospel. And no group does this more faithfully that the Crises Pregnancy Centers.
A side note: Also in March a disciple of Schaeffer’s, Dr. Marvin Olasky, professor at the University of Texas, Editor-in-Chief of WORLD magazine and Crises Pregnancy Center volunteer was recognized by the national media as a confidant of that Georgia Peach, Professor Newt Gingrich. Dr. Olasky’s books, all of them pro-life such as Abortion Rites, are now getting wide exposure in the national media because of his connection with House Speaker Gingrich. So, where Olasky goes, so goes CPC.
Another one of Francis Schaeffer’s great emphases was that God calls us evangelicals to be “co-belligerents” with like-minded folks at various times and for various causes. And such a “co-belligerent” cause was for Schaeffer the pro-life movement. And no group of Americans have been more courageous and persevering and, consequently, criticized for their pro-life convictions than faithful Roman Catholics. And this brings me to the second notable event in March, 1995: The “Gospel of life issued by Pope John Paul II. In this eloquent document, the Pope condemns the growing “culture of death” in the world in which “moral crimes” such as abortion are viewed as “individual rights.” The Pope states, “Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.”
He calls abortion, “a war of the powerful against the weak,” and he warns that this new cultural “climate of death” is, “actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic, and political currents.”
Well, CPC stand against our “culture of death” and says, No!–Not in this place. We give “honest answers and observable love” to young mothers and fathers and their unborn child.
,Now this “culture of death” is being promulgated by various political forces–but we have our political forces too — the Ellen Craswells of the world. And this “culture of death” is being promulgated by various, cuItura1 forces — but we have our “cultural” forces too — the Kirby Wilburs of the world. And this “culture of death” is being promulgated by various economic forces–but we have our economic forces too–you and I as we support efforts like Pierce County Crises Pregnancy Centers.
With commitment, compassion and perseverance we can win the cultural “war” that has been declared against the weakest and most vulnerable members of our culture. And Pierce County Crises Pregnancy Centers are on the front line of this war.
Tonight we have had physicians, lawyers, business people, politicians, media people, and university teachers taking part in our program. But until now we haven’t had enough of the critical profession of — God’s “under-shepherds,” our pastors. These men who, week in and week out, faithfully preach the whole counsel of God provide us with the cover and the counsel and the companionship to stand against our culture. We simple could not do it without them.
We have asked one of those faithfully eloquent bishops of the church, the Rev. Dr. Robert Rayburn from Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma to close our celebration by leading us