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10 minute read
Richard Lacayo and Randall Terry

Crusading Against The Pro-Choice Movement As founder of the controversial Operation Rescue group, RANDALL TERRY doesn’t care that most people reject his blockades of abortion clinics and other confrontational tactics. He insists that the country is dying from moral pollution and will be saved only by his measures.

Q. This summer Operation Rescue caused an uproar in Wichita, Kans., by blocking the entrances to local abortion clinics. What did you gain from those six weeks of confrontation?

A. More than 40 children were rescued from death. If that were the end of the story, that would be enough. But we also rekindled some fresh fervor in the whole pro-life movement. And we put child killing back on the front page where it belongs.

Q. But you also got a public reprimand from George Bush for breaking the law. After that, you sought to meet with him, but to no avail. Why do you suppose he won’t meet with you?

A. The President did a great disservice to the pro-life movement by his remarks. He has been inconsistent. He encourages or applauds the civil disobedience of Kurdish rebels or Russian citizens or students in Tiananmen Square. But he tells us to sit down and be quiet. I don’t think he’s getting the straight dope from his staff. I don’t think George Bush knows that our people have had their limbs broken, women have been sexually molested by prison guards, Mace has been used on nonviolent demonstrators.

Q. According to a poll in the Wichita Eagle, your tactics in that city — screaming at women who approached the clinics, chaining yourselves to clinic doors, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars for extra police — turned off a large majority of people. Does that matter to you?

A. Absolutely not. Look at the arrests in the civil rights movement. The majority of Americans were against the tactics of the civil rights workers, the lunch-counter sit-ins, etc. And yet those street-level protests produced political change. Frankly, the fact that 20% of the people polled liked our tactics was a shock to us.

Q. The civil rights movement sought to expand and guarantee the rights of blacks. Aren’t you seeking to do the opposite in the case of women, preventing them from exercising a right that the law currently recognizes?

A. A white supremacist would have argued that he had the right to serve whom he wanted at his lunch counter and that these black protesters were prohibiting him from operating his legitimate business. Whenever you are seeking to expand the rights of one group of people, inevitably you’re going to have another group crying that their rights are being infringed upon. The problem in the child-killing debate is that the children have no voice. When the abortion industry succeeded in legalizing child killing, there was no group of babies who stepped forward and said, “Wait, we have a right to be alive.” It was left to those of us who were already born.

Q. Are there no exceptions to your opposition to abortion? What about rape and incest?

A. Incest and rape are both hideous crimes, and we can never make light of the trauma that a woman has undergone when she has been violated in this way. However, an abortion will not undo rape or incest. And furthermore it is unjust to kill an innocent child for the crime of its father.

Q. You’ve helped establish “crisis pregnancy” centers around the country that appear to offer abortion. But women who go to such places are confronted instead with films and lectures intended to frighten them away from having an abortion. Some members of Congress say the operators of such places may be guilty of fraud. What do you think?

A. No, it’s not fraud at all. What most crisis pregnancy centers advertise is that they give “abortion information.” Not only is that true, but they are the only place that a woman is going to get straight information about abortion. The abortion industry has thrived in secretive darkness.

Q. Last year you formed a new organization called the Christian Defense Coalition, which you say was created “to teach Christian communities to defend themselves against police brutality, judicial tyranny and political harassment.” What is it doing?

A. We mobilize Christians to speak out against the abuse of fellow Christians. For one thing, we give out judges’ phone numbers and addresses and highlight the injustices they’ve been involved in ((such as issuing injunctions against Operation Rescue demonstrators)).

Q. You encourage people to flood them with calls?

A. Absolutely. The First Amendment says we have a right to petition for redress of grievances, whether that’s an elected official or an appointed official. We also organize pickets in their neighborhoods.

Q. What’s your complaint about police?

A. In some jurisdictions the police have systematically tortured people. It’s a very low-grade torture, but it’s torture nonetheless. When you have police pushing their knuckles into people’s eye sockets or lifting people up by their jawbones, that’s agonizing. What has me so irritated is that if we were any other group that was politically correct there would be a hue and cry from the media and from civil rights groups over such tactics. But because we are pro- lifers, because we are not a currently hip cause, we are ignored.

Q. Why did you once say “I hate the Renaissance”?

A. It sought to make man autonomous from God and from moral absolutes. Man is not autonomous from God, and man always has been and always will be accountable to God and his laws.

Q. You’ve denounced feminism repeatedly. If there had not been a women’s movement, how would the world be different?

A. If by feminism you mean women’s voting rights, equal pay for equal work, freedom from being harassed sexually on the job, then I am supportive of those objectives. However, if you will just look at the positions of the National Organization for Women, you will see a very antimale, lesbian-oriented, Marxist-oriented, put-your-kids-in-day-care-and-go-out-and-pursue-a-career, proabortion mentality.

Q. In a country where most households need two paychecks, how would many families survive without day care?

A. I disagree. Most families do not need two paychecks. We’re talking oftentimes of an antichild attitude. In most of Middle America, people can make it on one income.

Q. Though you would permit use of condoms and gels, you oppose many forms of contraception, including the pill and IUDs. Doesn’t that virtually guarantee more single mothers and children in day care?

A. I believe that married couples who confess to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ should leave the number of children they have in the hands of God. I believe there is a very antichild mentality in this culture. People don’t want kids. They want money, they want bigger homes, they want a boat. I believe that there is a devil, and here’s Satan’s agenda. First, he doesn’t want anyone having kids. Secondly, if they do conceive, he wants them killed. If they’re not killed through abortion, he wants them neglected or abused, physically, emotionally, sexually. Barring that, he wants to get them into some godless curriculum or setting, where their minds are filled with pollution. One way or another, the legions of hell want to destroy children because children become the future adults and leaders. If they can warp or wound a child, he or she becomes a warped or wounded adult who passes on this affliction to the next generation.

Q. You talk about wanting to base American government on laws of the Bible. What happens to a free society if you try to institutionalize biblical authority?

A. The freest societies are the societies that self-consciously try to build their laws and institutions around the principles and laws of the word of God. Why is rape always wrong? Because God says that it’s wrong. Why is theft always wrong? Because God says that it’s wrong. If you do not have the unchanging moral principles of Higher Law — and that’s capital H and capital L — as the bedrock of your culture, then you are left with the ever shifting sand of the newest fad, the latest whim.

Q. How does that make you different from the Islamic fundamentalists who have established a theocracy in Iran?

A. I do not believe that the church should rule in this country. I believe in a constitutional republic. However, the underpinnings of the republic have got to be what God gave Moses on Mount Sinai and confirmed through the Lord Jesus.

Q. Where does that leave everyone who’s not a Fundamentalist Christian?

A. They’re going to be just as safe and free in a culture where it’s wrong to murder and steal.

Q. Aren’t there already laws against theft and murder?

A. Yes, and why? This country’s roots are in the Puritans and people who believed in biblical values.

Q. Your group owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid court fines from previous blockades of abortion clinics. Do you plan ever to pay?

A. You can’t get blood from a stone. Why aren’t the people from ACT UP ((a gay activist group)) and the animal-rights protesters and the antinuke protesters being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Q. What will you do if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that created a constitutional right to abortion, is overturned but many state legislatures vote to permit abortion in their own states?

A. We will continue to do rescue missions, boycotts and protests in the states where they are killing children, and we will work to change the face of the state legislatures. The apple is for the plucking for whoever is willing to do the work. Most nonpresidential elections are determined by 15% to 18% of the voting electorate. There is something like 20% to 25% of the electorate in this country who claim to be hard-core pro-life.

Q. A lot of people would say that the power of religious Fundamentalism in the U.S. peaked in the 1980s. Do you agree?

A. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, we’re seeing a whole new wave of Christians come in, through two main venues. One is the Rescue movement. It brought in thousands and thousands of people who were not involved in the religious right or the Moral Majority. The other was the Rev. Pat Robertson’s presidential campaign. Robertson brought out of the pew and into the process tens of thousands of new people, many of whom are still involved. Their full impact will not be felt until the 1996 election, the 2000 election, 2004.

The pollution and degradation of this culture did not happen overnight, and neither will our ability to reclaim it and reform it happen overnight. It’s going to take a good half-generation to turn things around. The church for two full generations has been taking its brightest and its best and saying to them, Be a pastor or be a missionary. It’s time we took our brightest and our best and said, Be a lawyer, be a judge, be a Governor, be the dean of a university, be the editor of a newspaper. We’re involved in a cultural civil war. Right now there are very few Christians involved in the trench warfare. Part of my mission is to challenge Christian families to deliberately raise up their children to serve and to lead, in every walk of life.

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