Ben Johnson

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Joining March for Life should only be the beginning: leaders at Christian prayer service

Ben Johnson
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OTTAWA, May 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “If today is the only thing we do all year” for the pro-life movement, “then today will be a failure.” That's what Jonathon VanMaren of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) told a church teeming to overflowing with Protestant Christians this morning before they stepped through the narthex and joined the Canadian March for Life.

Approximately 350 people from as far away as Chatham and Niagara crammed into the First Baptist Church near Parliament Hill this morning as leaders of their church told them to take their private convictions into the public square.

Christian reticence matches that of Parliament, said Pastor George van Popta of Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church in Ottawa. “Babies in the womb are regularly killed by a society that considers them less than fully human,” he said. “We don't even dare to have the discussion about whether an unborn child is a human or not.” MPs across party lines, he said, have an “unwillingness to even think about it.”

In March, the Conservative Party stripped MP Mark Warawa of his speaking time, because its leaders did “not approve” his attempt to open a debate over sex-selective abortion. The injustice is particularly stinging, said van Popta, because “many of Canada's founders acknowledged the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

André Schutten, legal counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), said that will only change when Christians change the debate. “Our job is to make people see the injustice” of abortion, he said.

His high-energy talk focused on the fact that science defines every unborn baby as a complete, unique, living human being. However, current Canadian law says that a child “becomes a human being” at the moment of birth.

The presenters recounted the bloodstained atrocities that followed in other societies when a group was legally defined as less than human.

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VanMaren held up the case of Nicholas Winton, who saved trainloads of Jews in Czechslovakia from the Holocaust but was always haunted by those he was unable to save. “We're here to talk about what Canada has been perpetrating, not against the children of some other race, other ethnicity, other religion, [but] what we've been doing to our own children since the year 1969,” VanMaren said.

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., he said the death toll of more than two million unborn Canadian children must end, “because no lie can live forever.”

The key to the historical success of the civil rights movement is that King worked all year long.

“They were working hard every day,” VanMaren said. “That's what we in the pro-life movement need to do.”

“This march has to be a springboard to consistent action on behalf of our preborn brothers and sisters,” he said.

That requires a change on behalf of more reserved Reformed Christians, according to the speakers.

Schutten, who is 29, told LifeSiteNews.com he grew up in a pro-life home but began a public ministry only after he saw a display of graphic images that CCBR erected on campus during his first year at university a decade ago.

“For a lot of Christians, especially the Reformed Christian community, I would say they are 99 percent pro-life but they don't know how to engage as pro-life,” Schutten said. He said he hopes Christians are empowered and “challenged to engage, and it's not a one day a year type thing but an everyday of the year type thing.”

Bruce DeBoer, of ARPA told LifeSiteNews he was pleased with the annual meeting. “A crowded house, standing room only. It's great,” he said. But he hopes the visitors “take it to the streets where they are.”

He and his family “go to all the festivals in Richmond Hill,” their hometown. “We knock on doors. We've got to keep the forward momentum.”

He said he has been involved in the pro-life movement for 14 years, but “it's really gaining momentum the last six years.”

This veteran had a simple message for others discouraged by the fact that Canada has no restrictions on publicly funded abortion at any stage of gestation.

“Don't give up,” DeBoer said. “I was one of those doubters 12 years ago. I got engaged.”

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