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September 3, 2008
Pro-life vigil held at new abortion clinic draws 3,000
By Elizabeth M. Deline
Some 3,000 people passed on watching the opening night of the Democratic National Convention and instead chose to take part in a prayer vigil at Martin Luther King Park followed by a candlelight walk to the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic on 38th Avenue and Newport Street. The event was organized by the Denver Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office.
People from across the metro area showed up Aug. 25 to hear Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and Alveda C. King, niece of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., share words on why preserving the right to life is the foundation for the preservation of our country’s future, and consequently for the future of mankind.
“No children,” Archbishop Chaput noted simply, “no future.”
Simply talking about what needs to be done to support women with crisis pregnancies is not enough, he said. Everyone, the prelate said, “has the obligation and duty to support these women and families making decisions about their future.
“Killing is not the answer,” Archbishop Chaput emphasized, adding that “abortion is the most intimate act of violence.”
The prelate expressed his appreciation for King’s participation and for that of Pastor Willard C. Johnson of Macedonia Baptist Church in Park Hill, who shared remarks about the days when he worked with Martin Luther King Jr.
Johnson reminded the crowd of the civil rights movement’s theme song, which states, “We shall overcome because God is on our side.”
The theme is no less relevant today than when it was sung in the ‘60s, he said, when people were fighting for equality and justice.
The Baptist pastor gave a brief history of his work with the civil rights hero and the fatigue that was undergone to protect and secure human and civil rights.
“If we can’t stand for the living,” he declared, “we don’t have anything to die for.”
Loud applause was heard from all corners of the park.
King approached the microphone as at a revival.
“Glory be to God!” she chanted with upraised hands, eliciting more cheering from the crowd.
Master of ceremonies Dan Caplis, an attorney and radio personality, called King, the director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life, the “Tiger of America.” Unlike the “Lion of the Senate,” Caplis said, referring to pro-choice Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, King protects the young and fights to keep them alive.
“I do have a dream,” King said echoing her famous uncle’s historic speech. ”And it is in my genes. And that dream is that the waters of the political sea be parted.”
The right to life transcends politics, she said. Defending life, she added, is not and should never be a partisan issue.
Offering a testimony, King said that she was nearly aborted by her mother who found herself with an unexpected pregnancy. Her famed uncle fought tirelessly against the preliminary groundwork of abortion clinics in the ‘60s, she said.
King echoed remarks made earlier by Archbishop Chaput about the targeting of minority groups, especially African-American and Hispanic babies. King noted that 30 percent of abortions are African American babies, while African Americans make up only 12 percent of the nation’s population.
King recounted the story of her uncle receiving an award in 1966 from a Planned Parenthood clinic, calling it a distorted attempt to appease the outspoken advocate of the unborn.
“The negro is like a weed,” King said, quoting from the diary of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who also wrote that giving African American leaders accolades and awards will help subtly extinguish their race.
Among the crowd were many families, seminarians, priests and religious as well as people from other religious denominations. Many marchers wore T-shirts proclaiming, “I survived Roe v. Wade.”
With a prompting by King, the entire crowd began to sing, “This little light of mine” as they walked around the perimeter of the abortion clinic.
“We must pray,” King told the marchers. “The answer to our problems always comes from heaven and not from the flesh.”