Abortion protestors rallied this weekend in Wichita, Kan., outside the clinic of a late-term abortion provider made famous with help from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly.
About 300 of a reported 570 people at a Sunday prayer vigil surrounding the Women’s Health Care Service called the Wichita Awakening were from The Cause, a young people’s movement that a week ago kicked off a 35-day tour across America at a stadium event in Nashville, Tenn.
The kickoff date wasn’t accidental. In the Bible, seven is a perfect number, and the date 7/7/07, was picked for that symbolism. Another biblically significant number, 40, is behind the “God’s Summer of Love” tour. It marks the 40th anniversary of the 1967 “Summer of Love” when 100,000 college and high school students trekked to San Francisco to experience the hippie movement and experiment with drugs, sex and rock and roll.
Forty years later, planners say God is calling for a new Christian counter-movement of fasting and prayer to turn around a generation of moral decay. Among their targets is abortion on demand.
“If you were born after 1972, we challenge you to consider yourself a Survivor of the Abortion Holocaust,” says a Web site for The Survivors, one of the groups protesting in Wichita. “One third of your generation has been killed by abortion in America!”
Last weekend’s rally in Wichita, sponsored by Operation Rescue, featured Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized abortion, now a born-again Christian and abortion opponent.
The idea for TheCall comes from Lou Engle, a Pentecostal preacher who in 2004 planted the first Justice House of Prayer in Washington, D.C., “to contend with the injustice of abortion and to pray for righteous leaders to be raised up in America.”
ABC News “Nightline” featured the church’s round-the-clock “internship” ministry focused toward the nearby Supreme Court building, seeking to persuade justices to overturn abortion through prayer alone. Others JHOPs are now in San Francisco, Boston, and San Diego.
Engle started TheCall in September 2000, when he says more than 400,000 people gathered at the National Mall in Washington to seek God in prayer and fasting–an event he claims helped elect President Bush. Other gatherings followed in Boston, New York and San Francisco.
After four years of dormancy, TheCall rejuvenated with the gathering in Nashville. Similar events are planned for Las Vegas, Iowa, Kansas City, Atlanta, Orlando, Berkeley, Detroit and Los Angeles, culminating in an August 2008 gathering in Washington (8/08) aiming for 1 million people.
Engle’s Call Institute is a long-term certificate program aimed to disciple, equip and commission a new generation of “Nazarites”–an Old Testament term used to describe individuals set aside for spiritual service–to embrace lifestyles of radical Christianity, marked by prayer and fasting. His followers can be recognized at abortion protests as the ones with red tape with the word “LIFE” covering their mouths–an image one of the members first saw in a dream.
TheCall in Nashville featured musicians Ricky Skaggs and Michael W. Smith. Speakers included Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican candidate for president. While billed as a non-political meeting, Brownback appeared alongside Engle and led in prayer. Tennessee’s General Assembly passed a resolution applauding Engle and TheCall.
“I ask for forgiveness for the loss of innocent lives,” Brownback prayed about abortion. According to the Tennessean, he also reminded believers to stand with Israel and asked Latinos for forgiveness for the negative tone of immigration debate.
In an article on his Web site, Engle discusses Brownback as a potential “Wilberforce candidate” for pro-life voters. The reference is to William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament who was instrumental in abolishing the British slave trade, whose story is told in the movie “Amazing Grace.”
Just as God used Wilberforce to end slavery, Engle said he is praying for God “raise up a Wilberforce president who will end abortion and help turn this nation back to God.”
“God is going to drive a wedge into this nation over the issue of abortion,” Engle said. “He drove slavery as a wedge and in the civil war a generation paid for the shed blood of the slave. It was required of that generation. I fear that the blood of the unborn will be visited on ours. Unless now we get a great awakening; unless now we hear the voice of the church rising out of its intimidating 501c3’s and its temptation to be politically correct but morally wrong. And maybe the elections of 2008 will be our choice that we make and we will say that we are either Pro-Life or Pro-Choice and that could be the dividing line, the very hinge of history upon which our nation shall either flourish or wander into moral oblivion.”
Protestors in Wichita surrounded a clinic owned by Dr. George Tiller, one of the few U.S. doctors who perform late-term abortions and the subject of several exposes by radio and television personality Bill O’Reilly.
Tiller currently faces 19 misdemeanor charges under a state law requiring that two physicians without legal or financial ties must concur on the need for a late-term abortion. The charges allege that Tiller and physician Ann Kristin Neuhaus had financial ties when both signed off on late-term abortions performed at Tiller’s clinic in 2003.
Tiller’s lawyers claim the law is unconstitutional. If convicted he could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each charge. If convicted the state’s medical board could also consider penalties, including revoking Tiller’s license to practice.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.
Bob Allen was the managing editor at EthicsDaily.com from 2003-2009, writing more than 1,500 news stories during his tenure. He is currently the news editor at Baptist News Global.