During the 40 Days for Life campaign leading up to Easter this year, the Waco Tribune-Herald published a full-page advertisement that included 93 local pastors affirming the peaceful prayer campaign. The ad was sponsored by Pro-Life Waco, which, together with Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central Texas, sponsors the 40 Days for Life campaign in Waco.
John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco, told Texas Right to Life in an email that the ad is a central part of the ongoing effort to encourage local pastors in meaningful public support for the Pro-Life cause. Pisciotta noted that many Bible-believing communities carry out Pro-Life principles within their communities, but many pastors are not confident entering into the public square and expressing their Pro-Life views. Pisciotta told Texas Right to Life, “We hope that members of churches not named in the full-page ad will encourage their pastors to join the ad and participate in 40 Days for Life. If abortion remains in Waco, we expect the 2020 ad to be affirmed by well over 100 pastors.”
The advertisement, which was well-received in the community, is a manageable first step for many pastors to make to championing Pro-Life principles in the larger community. Engaging pastors in the public discussion of abortion is vital, not only to stopping the death of preborn babies but also to addressing the wounds of post-abortive mothers.
Studies show that more than half of women undergoing elective abortion are Christians. Mothers and families are in need of the Pro-Life truth in order to reject abortion and in order to heal from the wounds abortion has inflicted on Christian communities. Yet, a 2015-2016 study conducted by the Barna Group showed that only 10% of Protestant pastors had preached on Pro-Life principles in the last six months. The study also showed that a mere two percent of Protestant churches host Pro-Life groups and events. Christians will not have a response to the Culture of Death if our churches are afraid to give them one.
There is no better time than the Easter season for churches to speak for Life. The Christian message is one of hope for those in crisis pregnancy, forgiveness for those affected by abortion, and Life for all people. Most Texans are strongly Pro-Life, but Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry continue to prey on the vulnerable and take money for the destruction of innocent human Life throughout our state. Pastors must lead their communities in condemning this evil and offering a life-affirming alternative.
Christian communities have answered the Pro-Life call in establishing crisis pregnancy centers that support women years after the birth of their child. Pro-Life legislators have fought to secure funding for the life-saving Alternatives to Abortion program and ensure that women have access to medical services without going to the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. Pastors can be instrumental in growing these life-saving efforts by participating in them and having the courage to publicly speak on behalf of Life. Many pastors continually demonstrate this courage. How many more lives could be saved if all our pastors publicly defended Life?
The fight is not easily won, and we must work together if we have a hope of ending elective abortion and the loss of innocent Life in our state. Pro-Lifers in Waco know this first-hand. In 2013, the prayers of Pro-Life warriors in Waco were answered when the local Planned Parenthood was shuttered. Between 1994 and 2013, Planned Parenthood in Waco killed 19,000 preborn babies through the violence of abortion. Pro-Lifers in Waco rejoiced to see Planned Parenthood go.
In 2017, however, outside money funded an expansion of Planned Parenthood and the opening of a new abortion mill. Pro-Lifers worked tirelessly to petition local businesses and communities to stop the reintroduction of Planned Parenthood, but the abortion giant once again became a part of Waco.
The solidarity demonstrated by the faith communities of Waco coming together to publicly support the 40 Days for Life campaign is laudable. More pastors need to take the lead in defending Life and speaking for the most vulnerable in our society.
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