U.S. in life-death struggle, Terry says

April 04, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion organization that blockaded a Wichita, Kan., clinic amid controversy last summer, told a Columbia audience last night the United States America is "engaged in a life-and-death life and death struggle of countercultures." counter-cultures."

"We want to define for you the nature of the battle," he said. "And the nature of the battle is this: whose God god and whose God's god's laws will dominate the culture? It's good vs. evil, good guys against bad guys."

No one 15 or older in 1959 would have believed that, 30 years later, America would make legal the "murder of 30 million children," Mr. Terry said. "It would have been unthinkable and unspeakable."

"If we've come this far in 30 years, what will be unthinkable and unspeakable 30 years from now?" he asked rhetorically. Christians might be put in relocation camps and children taken away from their parents for raising them according to Christian values, he said.

About 15 pickets stood in chilling cold on the street outside the Baptist church where he spoke to protest the appearance of Mr. Terry and members of his Operation Rescue organization.

Many carried signs, some homemade. One said, "I am the face of pro-choice America."

"It is important to let people know Operation Rescue is just one side of the choice issue," said Nancy Drost, president of the Howard County chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"The nature of the battle is child-killers vs. pro-life, sodomites against pro-families, pornographers against children," Mr. Terry told his audience of about 135 at Columbia's Covenant Baptist Church. Many were small children and mothers holding infants in their arms. All sang hymns for about half-an-hour

before Mr. Terry spoke.

But the biggest and most sustained applause of the night was not for Mr. Terry, but for the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, a national leader in Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group founded by Mr. Terry.

Mr. Mahoney said in his warm-up speech that one thing people of every persuasion can agree about "is that Roe vs. Wade is going down in flames."

After the applause subsided, Mr. Mahoney told the crowd, "We welcome applause because we want to make [the drive to end abortions] political. We want to make it a state-by-state battle.

"We want to challenge you and inspire you," Mr. Mahoney said. "If you came tonight just to hear a speech, you came to the wrong place."

Yolanda Bruno, chairwoman of the Howard County Coalition for Choice, said representatives of 15 groups took part in the picketing. "We're here to let people know we have a presence in Howard County," she said.

Operation Rescue has held more than 900 demonstrations since 1988, including one against the Women's Child Care Services in Wichita last summer. The clinic is run by Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the nation willing to perform late-term abortions. Mr. Terry was jailed by a federal judge July 24 for his part in the process. Later, Mr. Terry assailed the judge, Patrick Kelly -- comparing him to "a Nazi judge in Germany" and accusing him of seeing himself as "the savior of the child-killing industry."

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