As the Army of God honors executed murderer Paul Hill in Milwaukee and Operation Save America descends upon the same clinic bombed by Eric Rudolph, Operation Rescue prepares to host its own event in Wichita. Its target is Dr. George Tiller, the object of a years-long crusade by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.
Besides the usual gang of suspects with shadowy pasts and dubious friends, this year's list of high-profile guest stars includes the president of a United States NGO delegation to the United Nations.
Not bad for a group with its own ties to the Army of God.
Bill O'Reilly didn't brave a Kansas blizzard to follow his own advice, of course. But no such event can be considered a complete failure when it unites such ostensibly disparate opponents of reproductive freedom as the Center for Reclaiming America — the political arm of Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries — the Christian Defense Coalition, the hardline Survivors and an ever-present mascot of the domestic terrorists who call themselves the Army of God.
Operation Rescue's connections to Phill Kline became a matter of public record with Kline's appointment of OR associate Don "the Dingo" McKinney as a special prosecutor charged with continuing Kline's attempted prosecution of Dr. Tiller. But its connection to Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries had flown under the radar until now. The Center for Reclaiming America is led by Dr. Gary Cass, who traveled to Wichita … to lend his organization's full support to Operation Rescue and its effort to revive Kline's failed prosecution of Dr. Tiller.
Both Patrick Mahoney and Cass, along with Jeff White and Cheryl Conrad of Survivors, threatened Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston with a federal investigation of her office unless she acceded to their demand that she prosecute Dr. Tiller. As Cass once said, "If they don't vote our way, we'll change their view one way or another."
Since Cass' appearance with Troy Newman last winter, the Center for Reclaiming America has entered a "collaborative relationship" with Tony Perkins' Family Research Council — itself an offshoot of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. So Operation Rescue was already enjoying some highly influential support.
But this month's guest star line-up is even more impressive.
The desire of this emerging generation is to see the Holy Spirit bring a dramatic spiritual shift across America, which will produce cultural reformation and radical change. (See theCall.com) Immediately after the event, hundreds of young people will join a caravan that will travel across country to San Francisco.
On July 14-16, they will be in Wichita, Kansas, to pray for an end to abortion and plead with God for revival and spiritual awakening. They are inviting all Christians from the Wichita area, especially emerging leaders, to come join with them!
National pro-life leaders have answered the call and are scheduled to participate in the Wichita Awakening.
Who you can expect to see:
- Wendy Wright — President of Concerned Women of America, the nation's largest women's group
- Rev. Rob Schenck — President of the National Clergy Council in Washington, DC
- Eric Wittington — Director of the national youth group Rock for Life
- Rev. Pat Mahoney — Director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, DC and member of the original Operation Rescue leadership team during the historic 1991 Summer of Mercy
- Brandi Swindell — Director of Generation Life and pro-life spokesperson for the younger generation
- The Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a group of young activists from Los Angeles, California
- An estimated 500 young people from The Cause, internationally known prayer warriors who conduct silent prayer events while wearing Life Tape.
- Various Wichita area pro-life groups and churches.
Dr. George Tiller, the primary target of Kline's investigation, has an impressive and enviable list of medical and public service credentials. But that's not the point; despite decades of unrelenting threats and harassment from anti-choice activists, despite being shot twice by the Army of God's "Hero of the Faith" Shelley Shannon — and despite years of persecution by Phill Kline — Dr. Tiller continues to provide women with skilled and conscientious abortion care.
That fact alone has kept Dr. George Tiller in the crosshairs of Operation Rescue, and will put him there again this week.
Country music superstar Ricky Skaggs helped kick off The Call by blowing a shofar, an ancient Jewish custom that signifies the start of an important ceremony or a call to battle.
According to many of the 100,000 in attendance at LP Field Skaggs' shofar is doing both.
Founder Lou Engel said, "We've come here with a faith that God can turn a nation and mighty shift can take place here today."
They've come from as far away as Washington State, feeling that America has gone down the wrong road for too long, and they want Jesus to take the wheel.
Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican running for president, apologized for the government's sins against African Americans and for allowing abortion.
Senator Brownback said, "We've seen 40 million abortions in America, and I ask for forgiveness."
Along with the caravan from Nashville and the usual suspects – veteran activists such as Jeff White, Rob Schenck and Pat Mahoney — this year's slate of attractions includes Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright. CWA is recognized as a United States NGO delegate to the United Nations, and Wright — together with Janice Crouse of the CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute, who was herself an official delegate to the UN in 2003-2004 — frequently appears as a public spokesperson in that capacity. Their primary mission consists of opposing any move by the UN that might expand the rights of women either at home or abroad.
Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust is more than just "a group of young activists." Survivors has a long record of collaboration with Army of God operatives such as Jonathan O'Toole and the late Robert Ferguson – who is, like murderers Michael Griffin, John Salvi, Paul Hill and James Kopp, an AOG Anti-Abortion Hero of the Faith.
O'Toole — who defined the AOG as "an amorphous, autonomous eruption of rage on the part of individuals pushed to the point by legalized abortion that they're not willing to take it anymore, and will use what's at their disposal to stop it, which tends to be bombs and rifles" — is also an official member of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
Like Flip Benham's OSA and other anti-abortion groups, Troy Newman's Operation Rescue draws support from both the politically acceptable face and the radical, and sometimes violent, underbelly of the Christian Right. This year, that mainstream socially acceptable support has come all the way out into the open.
And on Sunday, July 15, Wendy Wright — whose more accustomed milieu is Bill O'Reilly's studio or the halls of the United Nations — will lead Troy Newman's motley crew in a prayer vigil outside Dr. Tiller's clinic.
Operation Rescue "prayer vigils" at Dr. Tiller's clinic tend to degenerate into much more lively events than what most of us would consider a religious service to be.
It's a shame that Ricky Skaggs won't be part of the caravan from Nashville. If things should get too rowdy this time out, maybe Wendy Wright could have called on him to blow his shofar and call the crowd to order before the Survivors had to step in and settle things their way.