Southern Baptists’ Role at March for Life in Washington

Coleman Philley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, and his wife Jennifer and son Josiah were among Southern Baptists participating in the March for Life Jan. 18. Photo by Karen McCutcheon

Southern Baptists joined tens of thousands of other Americans in demonstrating their pro-life convictions during the annual March for Life Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C.

A contingent of those who participated in the Evangelicals for Life (EFL) conference Jan. 16-17 took part in the march and the rally that preceded it on the national mall. Many attendees and staff of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), which sponsored the EFL conference at McLean Bible Church in suburban Washington, carried signs that said, “All people are created in the image of God.”

The March for Life has been held every year since 1974, one year after the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the country in the Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22, 1973.

The rally included addresses from President Trump, Vice President Pence and his wife Karen, legislators, a former abortion doctor and an ex-Planned Parenthood clinic director.

After Mike Pence introduced Trump, the president announced in a video message his commitment to maintain federal pro-life policies after the Democrats gained the majority in the House of Representatives in the November election. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the same day, Trump pledged to veto “any legislation that weakens current pro-life Federal policies and laws, or that encourages the destruction of innocent human life at any stage.”

The president told the massive crowd that the pro-life movement is “founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life.”

“We know that every life has meaning and every life is worth protecting,” he said. “As president, I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence — the right to life.”

Trump’s letter came three days after 49 senators and 169 representatives sent letters thanking him for the pro-life policies of his administration and asking him to pledge publicly to veto any bill that undermines federal law on abortion or abortion funding.

Some Southern Baptists explained to Baptist Press during the March for Life why they participated.

Coleman Philley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, said the march “provides an opportunity to support a holistic, biblical view from birth all the way to the last seasons of life.”

While local churches may wonder how they can contribute to the pro-life cause, “coming out here gives a tangible sense” so Christians can return to their local churches and “be re-motivated to stay true” and support the sanctity of human life.

Kaitlyn Wester, a member of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, said, “[E]very human life is important.”

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Source: Baptist Press