Randall Terry, 26, began Operation Rescue in 1986. Since then, Operation Rescue activists have been successful in closing down major clinics in cities such as Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Philadelphia, and New York City. His pro-life activism began four years ago when he started Project Life, The Crisis Pregnancy Center and House of Life in Binghamtown, New York.
Recently we interviewed Terry in Atlanta, currently the national hotspot of this movement. After his appearance on Dr. James Dobson’s radio show, “Insight for Living,” and CBN’s “The 700 Club,” he was arrested in Atlanta. A $10,000 bond was placed on him for “aiding and abetting the commission of a crime.” A prominent family in Atlanta used their property as collateral to pay the $10,000 bail.
Rev. Jerry Falwell, who said he planned to get arrested in an abortion protest in the future, gave $10,000 to Operation Rescue in Atlanta. Operation Rescue has been protesting abortion in Atlanta since the opening of the Democratic National Convention on July 19th. “We plan on staying in Atlanta for maybe months.” Terry said. “We’re expecting over 300 people next week.” An area office has been set up in the meantime to monitor the progress of the demonstration.
The Forerunner: What is the philosophy behind Operation Rescue?
Terry: The foundation of Operation Rescue is a call to people and the Church to repent. The Church has sinned before God by allowing children to be ripped apart and mothers to be exploited. We have sat idly by and have done virtually nothing.
The Forerunner: Why are those being arrested in Atlanta witholding their names? Why are they identifying themselves as “Baby John Doe” or “Baby Jane Doe?”
Terry: We are withholding our names because the unborn children we represent have no names and no voice. We are identifying with them. We are making a statement to the system by identifying with their suffering. We want their plight to be known to the American people.
The Forerunner: Were there any rescues held prior to the conception of Operation Rescue in 1986?
Terry: There were no large rescues before that. I realized that we were losing the war. The pro-life movement is losing. Unless the Church repents and rises up to do rescues, which is the fruit of repentance, we will never win.
The Forerunner: What motivated you to start Operation Rescue?
Terry: In the spring and summer of 1986, during prayer and introspection, I began looking at American history and realized that we were losing the war. I began to get a sense of what God wanted to do.
The Forerunner: How long have you been involved in pro-life activism?
Terry: About four and a half years. The Lord got a hold of my heart and showed me that I had a responsibility to do something to protect the mothers and children from the holocaust. I wasn’t influenced by any books or films. But at a prayer meeting God spoke to me, and all I knew was that I was supposed do something.
The Forerunner: How many members does OR have?
Terry: We don’t have members. But we do have tens of thousands of people in sympathy with us. Within the last 14 days the most prominent voices in evangelical Christianity have stepped forward in support of us. Dr. James Dobson, Dr. James Kennedy, Dr. Jerry Falwell and “The 700 Club” have stepped forward in support.
The Forerunner: How do all the arrests affect your family?
Terry: I look at it as a time of sacrifice. I have enemies and lawsuits and I try to keep my family out of it. I would rather not say anymore.
The Forerunner: How do you justify violating the law in your fight against abortion?
Terry: Easily. When God’s law and man’s law conflict, Scripture clearly teaches that man is not to obey that law. Some examples are when the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fire, when the apostles were jailed for preaching the Gospel, and when the stone was rolled away from the Lord’s tomb. That was in defiance of a man-made law. God never gave the government a blank check to do what it wants to do. It is a heresy to teach Christians to obey a law which runs counter to His law.