Health care professionals and religious leaders joined forces with a visiting minister from California to speak out against abortion at a rally Saturday in front of the Boyle County Courthouse.
Rives Grogan, who along with parishioner Frank Cruz was arrested for protesting during the vice-presidential debate at Centre College, and Danville resident Dinah Hopper organized the “sanctity of life” gathering that drew about 50 spectators.
“We must speak up for the babies who cannot speak for themselves,” Grogan said during the rally.
Grogan, Hopper, Kent Ostrander from Focus on the Family’s Lexington office, Dr. Jon Doty and pharmacist Raymond Float, both of Danville, Alum Springs Christian Church Pastor Keith Willoughby, Bishop Jeff Tritapoe of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Danville and Martha Reardon from Danville’s Redemption Road Church all took turns at the microphone during the rally.
Kay Lamb of Danville played the keyboard and sang songs such as “Jesus Loves Me.” Grogan placed a handmade colorful sign that read “Jesus loves all babies” on the front and “Support Romney” on the back. Several audience members and speakers wore stickers and buttons supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president.
Ostrander discussed the Declaration of Independence and the Civil War during his speech. He believes the Civil War was God’s retribution for slavery.
“What will God’s judgment be for the taking of over 50 million lives through abortion?” he said. “I do not know and I do not want to find out.”
Ostrander said many members of society view Kentucky’s history of conservatism as weak. He pointed out that the state has only two abortion clinics because of the strength of family values among many Kentuckians.
“There is unborn life in the womb,” Ostrander said. “Just because you do not want someone to live doesn’t mean you have the right to take their life.”
Members of the audience applauded at his statement and Grogan said, “That’s right!”
Since Roe v. Wade was enacted in 1973, “it’s the question of life that we’re missing,” Ostrander said.
Regarding the imminent presidential election, he said, “I believe God’s giving America one more chance.”
Doty, an ear, nose and throat doctor, said he does not profess to be an expert on obstetrics or gynecology but is a Christian who adopted two daughters from Ethiopia. He estimated about 50 million fetuses have been aborted as a result of Roe v. Wade and that less than 1 percent of abortions are the result of rape, incest or endangerment to the mother’s life.
“Satan destroys and Satan deceives,” Doty said. “Through deception we have killed millions of our citizens.”
Hopper said she does not represent an organization but is concerned about the level of “immorality” in the United States and leaders succumbing to the demands of “liberal pagan humanists.”
“The American clergy have refused to take a stand in the moral freefall of our country,” Hopper said.
After the rally, Hopper said that some people probably think Grogan is “crazy” for climbing a tree during the vice-presidential debate and loudly expressing his anti-abortion views. He sang “Let the babies live, let the babies live” to the tune of the Marshall Tucker Band’s hit song “Can’t You See” as the group performed during the debate festival.
“Some of us in Danville really believe in Pastor Grogan,” Hopper said. “He is a very sane and gentle man who is willing to speak out for those who do not have a voice.”
Grogan, 47, runs a sober living home in Los Angeles and is pastor of New Beginnings Christian Church. He, Cruz and other pro-life activists are traveling around the country with little financial support and a lot of faith. The pastor, who has been arrested at least 20 times, was recently arrested in Ohio for interrupting a Cincinnati Reds game with his views.
Grogan said before the rally he plans to stay in the Kentucky and Ohio region for a while and has been blessed by supporters in the Danville area.
“Ohio is a swing state so the next anti-abortion rally will be held in Cincinnati,” Grogan said. “Ohio voters are critical and can determine whether Obama can continue killing babies or if we get a protector of life in office.”