Jay Rogers
Jay Rogers

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The Forerunner

Abortion Wars

By Jay Rogers
Published September 1, 2008

An open letter to the pro-life community

My unlikely odyssey — a God-ordained battle pitting spy-houses, killer web sites, killer mailboxes, and tort volcanoes versus no-prayer zones, night-stalker does, neo-pagans, witches, and child-murdering extortionists — has led me to a drastic yet simple conclusion. Abortion must be criminalized nationally before it can be defeated.

While it is widely held that abortion was legalized in 1973 through Roe v. Wade, this idea is absolutely wrong. While abortion was restricted in various places, abortion has never been nationally criminalized in American history. We must begin to create the kind of tension in the minds of people that will help them to extend beyond the current debate over the morality of abortion versus a woman’s right to choose. We must change the argument. Should abortion be restricted by the state in the same way that the FDA puts restrictions on food production? Or should an abortionist be tried as a murderer and executed?

I came to this realization over the last decade, as I was led of God to participate in many unusual yet effective pro-life actions.

These and other actions helped me gain a few moments of notoriety with local and national press and television media. In each case, the idea was to show the reality that abortion is child murder and expose abortionists in their shame.

Street activism and peaceful prayer rescues jump-started my foray into pro-life activism in December 1988. After writing several articles chronicling pro-life activities including, Why I went to jail for life, I was hired as the editor of The Forerunner newspaper in Gainesville, Florida in 1989.

I then moved to Melbourne, Florida in 1993 wanting to participate in pro-life activities that had been gaining a spotlight in the news. The first roadblock I encountered was when the pastor of my church, a national pro-life leader, told me that I could not participate in discussions during a leadership meeting because I was “not a local pro-life leader.” This was despite my five years experience with the movement and my role as editor of The Forerunner newspaper. In the meantime, I witnessed pro-life leaders always at each others’ throats. They seemed to be more interested in preserving their base of support and their imagined spiritual authority rather than in encouraging new leadership. They were constantly accusing each other and evangelical leaders throughout the nation of being apostate.

Part of a growing frustration among leadership was that their organized events had not been attended with the same level of revivalistic fervor as they had experienced in the past. The model of targeting an entire city, such as Wichita, as the site of a national Rescue event, was no longer as effective. Even today, this disappointment lies behind many of the sour attitudes in the pro-life movement. The Christian activists who experienced such events know that God moved powerfully. We sensed in our hearts that we were on the verge of another Great Awakening.

Even as the event in Wichita was occurring in the summer of 1991, I was in Russia and Ukraine for one month distributing Bibles and helping to start a Christian publishing ministry called Predvestnik (the Russian Forerunner). When I returned to America, I realized that July 1991 was also the 350th anniversary of the Great Awakening, the greatest revival in American history. This was an international revival which began with Concerts of Prayer, a cooperative effort between churches in America and Great Britain, led by Jonathan Edwards, a pastor in Northampton, Massachusetts.

In the summer of 1993, I moved to Melbourne, Florida, with a sense of destiny in my heart. I too, had experienced a spirit of revival through my contacts with thousands of young converts in a newly liberated nation. I came to Melbourne with a simple message. Ending legal abortion will be a focal point in the next Great Awakening, but we must expand our vision far beyond this. When I tried to relate this larger vision for a spiritual awakening to pro-life leaders, I discovered that their vision began and ended with promoting pro-life street activism. In addition, they were defeatist and harshy critical of Christians who focused on ministries other than pro-life activism.

Ironically, in the next few years, none of the national leaders of Operation Rescue could live up to their own rhetoric. A federal law called FACE (Freedom of Access for Clinic Entrances) prohibiting rescue-type clinic blockades drove them out of business. National Rescue events since that time, such as the Cities of Refuge Campaign in 1993, have had a more limited effect.

In the fall of 1994, I purchased the house across the street from the Aware Woman abortion clinic to help keep street activism going after an unconstitutional 36-foot “no-free-speech” buffer zone injunction was imposed on sidewalk counselors and picketers.

In 1999, I was named in a lawsuit by Roy Lucas, the lawyer who framed the winning argument for Roe v. Wade. The lawsuit was filed in the name of the abortion clinic across the street from my house. I was now perceived as one of the ring leaders of the local movement. I gained this notoriety by simply continuing to do what I had already been doing. The enemy perceived me and a few others as a threat. Most of our success was just in showing up. In response, several lawsuits were filed throughout the state of Florida naming several Melbourne area pro-lifers as defendants. The language of these lawsuits was so paranoid it is hilarious.

The following is just a short treatment of Lucas’ rantings. To this day, it is debated whether the alleged “Nightstalker Doe” a real person, or merely an imagined specter in the prolific imagination of the Roe lawyer.

On further information and belief, the “Spy House” was financed and acquired by Rogers and other persons presently unknown, to encourage and provide a “staging area” for negligent, reckless, and tortious activities of harassment and intimidation toward AWCC and associated persons…. Said “Spy House” has in fact been used by defendants inside and out extensively to promote and facilitate multifaceted negligent and reckless tortious activities. It has been a metaphorical “tort volcano”…. These activities have included the maintenance and storage of the aforesaid “blackmail database,” ongoing intrusive surveillance, stalking, videotaping, binocular observations, use of long distance directional microphones, staged contemptuous violations of the 36 foot “buffer zone,” harassment, intimidation, attempted blinding by flashlights at night, lurking & looming about at night, and obstruction of driveways and persons coming in and out of AWCC…. Persons utilizing the “Spy House” property have shined flashlights in the eyes of AWCC staff and other individuals driving out of the AWCC parking lot in semidarkness. Raney has been identified as one such “illuminator” person. Another is the unknown defendant NIGHTSTALKER DOE who regularly stalks at AWCC until as late as 1 AM, and refuses to identify himself. Defendants, including Mark Hall and Meredith Raney have aided and abetted DOE.

Roy Lucas eventually filed four lawsuits throughout the state of Florida on behalf of three abortion clinics. Two years later, an Orlando area abortionist who filed a similar lawsuit was jailed for extortion and perjury because of his threats to bankrupt the county of Ocala, Florida.

All lawsuits were eventually dropped. Lucas literally disappeared from the map. His whereabouts are unknown.

Aware Woman abortion clinic continued to lose business and the owners retired when U.S. Highway 1 expanded and their property was seized by the state of Florida. We were elated to finally witness the bulldozing of the abortion clinic in 2000.

The problem with much of what we did in the past was not that it was ineffective on the local level. Pro-life activists in Melbourne successfully cut the number of abortions in that county in half over a 15 year period. Even though some of the models we used in Melbourne have propped up elsewhere, it would be difficult to reproduce each of the methods that led to our success locally on a national level.

Most national pro-life leaders are too arrogant and combative to discern the purposes of God for a revitalized national movement that could stop abortion in our generation. Many local leaders are too myopic to see beyond the fact that the methods they used successfully over ten years ago must now evolve.

Further, many of the former leaders of rescue groups have kept up their pattern of biting and devouring their fellow Christian activists. To this day there is this demented posturing in accusing evangelical churches of being “not pro-life enough” because they won’t continue to picket abortion clinics and disobey trespassing laws.

In my experience as one who lived across the street from an abortion clinic for five years, the success of these methods is limited at best. Prayer rescues and giant photos of bloody fetuses had their effective time and place. God can still use these ministries as Balaam’s Ass to speak the truth to the unrighteous. However, these methods become counter-productive when activists become too inflated and self-important. I believe in my heart that God wants to further the Revival that we experienced locally on a national level. But He is holding us accountable to see beyond self-centered efforts.

We must move on and mature.

Pro-life vs. Pro-law

In 1988, I participated in my first rescue in Brookline, Massachusetts. I understood that the purpose was threefold — repentance, spiritual warfare, evangelism. Rescue was a way of waking the heart of a sleeping church and gaining media exposure. Before long, people would see that abortion was murder because here were Christians who were finally acting like it was murder.

Over the next few years, I noticed that there was a wide difference in what some pro-life activists were saying about the abortion issue and the biblical authority of the law of God. On either side, there were two extremes. On one side, there were a few who would advocate violence. On the other side, there were some who were so extreme in their sanctity of life view that they would deny that capital punishment by the state is a proper biblical punishment for the murderer.

There is inherent in all human beings the sense of good and evil. We all know deep down that murder is wrong, theft is wrong, adultery is wrong. According to Romans 1:18-21, natural revelation testifies of the nature of God, His power and the nature of His creative acts. Man recognizes the existence of the power of God and His creative acts even without knowledge of the Bible.

Obviously, natural revelation teaches us that abortion is wrong. But this knowledge will not alleviate the evil of abortion. In most cases, knowing that abortion is murder will only sear the consciences of the unconverted. Such is the depravity of man. This is why I believe extravagant forms of street activism designed to grab media attention are actually counter-productive in the long run. We would do well to remember that the natural man siting in front of his television set is not basically good. He is intrinsically evil.

The greatest error the pro-life movement made early on is that it was not law-based. That is, abortion is not simply wrong. Abortion is murder. If we believe abortionists and the fathers and mothers who kill their little boys and girls in the womb are murderers, then we must treat them like murderers. There is not a single pro-life organization that is currently lobbying to criminalize abortion. This must now change. We must now begin a movement, by the grace of God, to criminalize abortion with capital punishment as a penalty for murdering children in the womb. We must also advocate criminalizing the actions of those who act as accessories to murder. The mothers and the fathers who pay to kill their babies are also guilty.

Dialectical Activism

The dialectic is a concept that states that in order to make social progress one must advocate the extreme view — the antithesis to the status quo — in order to make a change. We will not make abortion illegal by taking baby steps. That is, one law advocates parental consent in Montana. Another law in Florida will put restrictions on partial birth abortion. And so on. That method will never eradicate abortion any more than picketing or holding up signs of bloody fetuses. No, we must begin by publicly advocating the most extreme view that we would eventually like to see put into place. Let’s put abortionists on trial with the death penalty as a maximum punishment. Let’s try the fathers and mothers of those dead babies as accessories to murder.

Sometimes it is necessary to create a tension in the mind of society so that individuals can see beyond the falseness of the status quo. Non-violent prayer rescues created this social tension in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prayer counselors successfully turned women away from killing their babies. The news media gave coverage to the rescuers thus creating a powerful issue out of abortion. Christians from different parts of the Church banded together in love and achieved unprecedented unity.

But what many of these activists fail to see is that today, 10 to 15 years later, this tension has been wrung out and has not the elasticity that it possessed for a few short years. The spectrum of tension was defined as the morality of abortion versus a woman’s right to choose. After several years of rescue related activities, laws were enacted to prosecute pro-lifers who blocked access to clinic entrances. The tension then swung to the side of the pro-abortionists. It became the right of pro-lifers to protest versus the right of a woman to privacy. Those of us who participated in picketing and nonviolent resistance to unjust laws are now only maintaining a status quo among ourselves rather than fomenting a revolution on a larger scale.

The next step in creating social tension is to campaign for the criminalization of abortion. The very idea will create tension even among Christians. This is exactly where we must begin. We must begin a debate and discussion within Christian circles. Is abortion murder? If the answer is yes, then what should the penalty for murder be?

This idea is likely to create a sensation, but it is this type of sensation that the pro-life movement needs right now. Unless, of course, we are happy with laws against partial birth abortion that decrease the total number of abortions by zero percent. Unless we are happy with parental consent laws that take effect for a few hours and are then struck down by a court.

Part of this campaign is to enlighten the people to the truth that abortionists are murderers with a license to kill. We must do all we can to portray them as murderers who must be brought to justice. We must do all we can to portray the pro-abortion extremists on the opposite end of the spectrum as the cowards and crackpots that they truly are. We must hold them up to the light naked with no dignity in the public square. We must make them so paranoid that they will flee even while none are pursuing them. We must do all this without breaking the law or leaving ourselves open to prosecution.

We can make progress by taking few giant steps forward and a few baby steps backward. We know that initially we might fail to get our point of view across to the majority of America in the mushy middle ground. The first victory needs to be won among the circle of pro-life activists and in the church. In the meantime, the mainstream — the status quo view — will move closer and closer to the pro-life view. We will see some restrictions on abortion enacted. And hopefully, we will see in our lifetime abortion all but eradicated as a legal means of infanticide.

Your comments are welcome!

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

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Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

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