Thaddeus Baklinski

‘Shining light’: politicians, pro-life leaders mourn passing of Nellie Gray, March for Life founder

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
Image
Image
Image
Image

WASHINGTON, DC, August 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The news of the passing of Nellie Gray, founder of the U.S. March for Life, has produced a huge outpouring of glowing tributes to the indomitable defender of the lives of the unborn.

Gray was no stranger to Washington politics, having been an employee of the federal government for 28 years. John Boehner, the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, posted a Tweet this morning saying he is “Deeply saddened by the death of Nellie Gray, an indefatigable defender of human life. Our prayers are with Nellie’s family.”

Former U.S. presidential candidate and President of American Values Gary Bauer called Nellie Gray “a tireless defender of women and the unborn and a clear voice for a pro-life America” in a press release this morning.

“I send my condolences to the family of Nellie Gray, who served as a clarion call for a pro-life America that valued all its citizens, born and unborn,” said Bauer. “In sometimes daunting January weather, Nellie stood firm and brought hundreds of thousands together for the hope of restored civil rights protections for the unborn and for the protection of women and girls who are also victims of abortion. She will be greatly missed, but she set an example for us all to follow of determination and conviction for a pro-life America.”

Judie Brown, President of American Life League, expressed her deep admiration for a “shining light” who “set the standard” for pro-life leadership.

“Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life, was a shining light in my life from the first moment I heard her speak at the 1976 March for Life,” Brown recalled. “The subjects of her talk were human personhood and her hero at the time, Senator Jesse Helms, who led the fight for a personhood amendment to the Constitution from 1975 until his departure from the Senate. Nellie was a consistently strong opponent of any compromise measures proposed by pro-lifers, such as gestational legislation which she held was wrong and not genuinely pro-life.

“Nellie never wavered from principle and set a standard for every one of us in pro-life leadership.  We will miss her, but we thank her for showing us the way to true, meaningful victory for every human being, born and preborn,” Brown said.

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

Monica Migliorino Miller, Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, described Gray as a “pro-life giant” who “showed the rest of us the way … to ending the slaughter of the unborn.”

“May angels guide her into Paradise. Let us not forget to pray for the repose of her soul. If you are Catholic it is our duty, and undoubtedly Nellie would want us to pray,” Miller added.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said that Nellie’s “purity of intention” produced the fruit of hundreds of thousands of participants joining in the March for Life every year.

“She relied upon one power to guide her: the power of the Holy Spirit. She revealed it to be more effective than all the political strategy this world could formulate,” said Dannenfelser.

“Now Nellie is prepared for the glory she did not experience on Earth and that pro-life Rep. Henry Hyde described vividly: ‘When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God - and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world - and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him, because he loved us!’”

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called Nellie Gray “a visionary woman who understood the importance of a national memorial event to commemorate the significance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Like the majority of women, she understood the power of women’s voices in the debate over the importance of a life-affirming society.”

Nellie “had a fierce heart that valued all people – born and unborn – fearlessly working to create a picture worth a thousand words – the sight of hundreds of thousands of peaceful Americans calling on their courts and their legislators to defend life in law,” said Yoest.

“When we march this January in solemn commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe, we will miss Nellie and her unflagging determination to press on toward the goal. But march we will, with deep gratitude for the example she set of sacrifice and commitment to the human rights struggle of our day.”

The president of Care Net pregnancy centres, Melinda Delahoyde, said Nellie was an inspiration to pro-life leaders through her personal example of enthusiasm and hard work for the cause of life.

“Nellie has been an inspiration to me and so many pro-life leaders,” Delahoyde said. “Her tireless advocacy for women and their preborn babies began when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand in the United States and Nellie never stopped for an end to the brutality of abortion.

“Nellie brought her experience as a World War II Women’s Army Corps corporal and attorney to bear on the entire pro-life movement. She founded and led the annual March for Life. The March – and Nellie’s personal example - motivated, energized and inspired generations of life-affirming leaders and local activists.

“The Care Net family extends heartfelt condolences Nellie’s family and dear friends. We pray for their comfort in this season of grief,” Delahoyde said.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said that not only was Nellie Gray a “tireless warrior for the unborn,” but that her founding of the March for Life led to his own vocation to the priesthood and commitment to the pro-life cause.

“Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life,” said Father Pavone. He explained that in 1976 when he was a senior in high school, he went to the March for Life with his mother and grandmother. Although he had been quietly considering the priesthood before that, Fr. Pavone said the March cemented both his vocation and his passion for pro-life issues.

“Every year since 1974, Nellie Gray has mobilized a diverse and energetic army for life,” said Father Pavone, who has attended every march since his first one. “Her own commitment to the cause never wavered. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn and her motto was ‘no exceptions.’ “

Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign recalled that every year Nellie invited the women of the Silent No More to stand on the rally stage holding signs that said, “I Regret My Abortion,” and arranged for a larger group of post-abortive men and women from Silent No More to be in the vanguard of the March.

“We are so grateful that Nellie Gray shared our vision of Silent No More, and recognized that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice,” said Morana. “Every year more women and men come to march and to share their testimony. Nellie Gray helped make that possible for us.”

Nellie Gray is also credited for realizing that African-American pro-life leaders had to become more vocal and visible in the fight for life.

“Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice,” said Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life. “She was a visionary.”

Fr. Pavone has offered the use of his blog for anyone wishing to share memories of Nellie and to offer spiritual bouquets and promises of prayers.

A Prayer for Nellie Gray is posted on the site.

Father of Life,
You have created each human being

To reflect your glory
From the moment of fertilization.

You have also planted in our hearts
The awareness that no human power
Can authorize the taking
Of a single human life.

You have stirred the hearts of your people

To respond to evils like the holocaust
And you have awakened their consciences
To likewise battle the evil of abortion.

We thank you for the pro-life movement
And for all its leaders.
We thank you for the life and example
Of Miss Nellie Gray

And for the work she did

In leading the Annual March for Life

And reminding us all
About the Life Principles which shape our movement.

Lord, give us new strength.
Bring us together in greater unity.
Give success to the work of our hands
As we defend every preborn child.

May we speak and pray,

May we write and march,

May we lobby and vote,

And may we see the victory of life!

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Subscribe today. 

Select Your Edition:

Donate to LifeSiteNews

Give the gift of Truth.


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, on the right.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

All one fight: Why the leader of 40 Days for Life says he may become active in the fight for marriage

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just eight years ago, 40 Days for Life was founded as a pro-life Christian ministry. This year, it reached 252 cities in 19 countries.

Now, says founder and National Director David Bereit, he's discerning whether to expand his personal activism to marriage.

"The various moral issues we confront in our culture today are all intrinsically connected," Bereit told LifeSiteNews at Saturday's March for Marriage. “When you look at the various factors that lead to the breakdown of nations and civilizations, they are moral factors," Bereit said. "It's the devaluing of human life, it's the abandonment of religious belief and practice, it's immorality -- the increase thereof – and it's the breakdown of the family."

"They're all tied into this moving away from God, and America was founded as a nation with Christian principles and ideals that used to say 'In God We Trust.' And the further we've turned away from that, the more we have fallen,” he said. "I believe that with man, turning the tide in our culture is not possible, but with God, all things are possible."

Bereit stressed that his attendance at the March for Marriage, as well as his ongoing process of discernment, was representative only of his own circumstances -- not those of 40 Days for Life, which remains an abortion-focused ministry.

Bereit did not shy away from questions that are often raised about what President Barack Obama called America's “tragic” history.

"America was built on Judeo-Christians principles,“ he said. “There are still fallen people that make up our churches and our communities."

"The question is, will people of faith and conscience turn back to God and do their very best to align themselves with the principles that formed our nation and made our nation such a great place in history?"

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

The third annual March for Marriage, which was organized by the National Organization for Marriage and exclusively livestreamed by LifeSiteNews, drew thousands of people, mostly minorities, just three days before what is being billed as the definitive U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue of same-sex "marriage."  

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

‘Persecution plain and simple’:  Franklin Graham fundraises for Oregon bakers after GoFundMe shuts them down

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

BOONE, NC, April 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – First, they were fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual “marriage” ceremony. Then, a rival business owner convinced GoFundMe.com to stop Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein from raising money to pay the fine on the grounds that, since their religious beliefs violate state law, they are common criminals.

Now, one of the nation's most well-known Christian ministers and philanthropists is coming to their aid.

An administrative law judge fined the Oregon bakers, proprietors of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, $135,000 to pay for the emotional suffering of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer – a lesbian couple who say they feel the Kleins “mentally raped” them.

The Kleins have since closed their Portland-area business and lost substantial income. After hearing of the fine on Friday, Melissa said the amount would financially crush them.

The family opened a GoFundMe page and, within hours, they collected more than $109,000.

Then Lisa Watson, the co-owner of Cupcake Jones in Portland, began lobbying the website to banish the couple's appeal.

“The amount of money they have raised in a matter of a few hours by thousands of anonymous cowards is disgusting,” Watson wrote on Facebook. She added that the website's “terms of service address hate speech, bigotry, criminal activity, and sexism among other things in their campaign.”

GoFundMe then suspended the Kleins' fundraising.

“While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live,” GoFundMe said in a statement. “However, the subjects of the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

The day after the announcement Watson, who operates her business with husband Peter Shanky, posted a photo of her 2015 Equality Advocate Award “for outstanding leadership to advanced lived equality for all LGBTQ Oregonians.”

The Kleins hope the website will reconsider. “We have told GoFundMe that the money is simply going to be used to help our family, and there is no legitimate breach of their terms and conditions,” the Kleins wrote on Facebook.

That's when the Reverend Franklin Graham and his ministry Samaritan's Purse stepped in, allowing those who wish to alleviate the couple's suffering to donate on its website.

"The fund was created to help persecuted Christians in the U.S., including Aaron and Melissa Klein,” an employee at Samaritan's Purse told LifeSiteNews today. “It was only activated over the weekend and the organization has not yet announced any numbers. Currently, Samaritan's Purse is focused on the earthquake in Nepal and providing relief supplies to people impacted by the disaster.”

Graham praised the Kleins' steadfastness in the face of legal challenges. “They have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone,” the ministry's founder and president Franklin Graham said. “I believe that Christians across our nation will rally around Aaron and Melissa and their five children. Please pray for Aaron and Melissa, and pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that’s persecution, plain and simple.”

“God bless Reverend Franklin Graham,” AFR Talk radio host Bryan Fischer said today. 

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

The Kleins will still receive the money raised by GoFundMe, in addition to any supplemental funds raised by Graham's international charitable ministry.

Conservative author Dan Calabrese wrote that “Melissa's Sweet Cakes will not have to go into bankruptcy and the family won't personally be ruined. And what a disappointment that must be to the gay mafia, whose agenda is to intimidate all gay marriage opponents into not just silence but compliance, for fear of just such” an outcome.

Christians have risen to the challenge before. Memories Pizza raised more than $840,000 after the Indiana pizzeria was harassed into closing its doors for saying it would cater a same-sex “wedding.”

Calabrese warns that these victories may lead to more intense anti-Christian persecution.

“When put in an untenable position like this, Christians and others who support their right to operate their business as they see fit will come to their aid. So the gay mafia will take it up a notch, attempting to intimidate the fundraising organizations from cooperating with the effort,” he said.

If that fails, “Maybe they can persuade friendly Democrat lawmakers (or terrified Republicans) to legislate them out of business.”

Readers can donate to the Klein family here.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

,

Opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ – a deeper love

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

April 27, 2015 (CNSNews.com) -- Same-sex “marriage” – the legal recognition of same-sex relationships – is one of the most contentious issues in America. Laws, constitutional interpretation, and the future of religious liberty may well rest on what nine justices decide two months from now.

Many observers seem to believe that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of redefining marriage. And while many on all sides of the debate, especially those who are undecided, believe this will bring cultural peace, evidence around the world points in the exact opposite direction.

Rather than settle animosity and ease cultural tensions, the advent of same-sex “marriage” will lead to the repression of religious freedom and determination to root out dissent to the gay rights doctrine. At LifeSiteNews, we have watched this play out for nearly two decades in 17 countries around the world – and America is next.

A prime example is Canada. Same-sex “marriage” passed in 2005. Similar to European countries which have done so, there has been a relentless pursuit of the minds of children against the wishes of their parents. Schools, both public and private, were first mandated by law to have gay-straight alliance clubs under the auspices of anti-bullying. Then, sex-education, teaching the normalcy of homosexual sex, was given to children without parents being permitted to opt their children out of the classes.

We have arrived at this state of affairs because of the silence of Christian pulpits on sexual matters, and the concomitant shouting from every secular pulpit, screen and book. Even the current discussion around same-sex “marriage” in the United States reveals a grave reluctance to speak about the heart of the issue – homosexual sex. Rather, arguments are made about the goodness of natural marriage, about its benefit to children, and its unchangeable character.

From reporting on the subject every day for so many years, we knew that the struggle for same-sex “marriage” has very little to do with marriage. In fact, until just recently, gay activists didn’t even want to be “married” to each other. Most had no interest in the constraints that such a formalized union would entail in terms of exclusive partnership.

However, the leaders among the activists convinced the movement that they must attain marriage as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behavior. And, frankly, they have largely succeeded.

Today, in many of the nations where same-sex “marriage” is law, opposition to it is seen as akin to racism. It is seen falsely as an animosity against someone for who they are—an unwillingness to recognize the human dignity of a class of persons due to an immutable characteristic.

However, that false perception is due to a purposeful agenda to conflate animosity against homosexual sex acts with animosity against persons who experience same-sex attraction. The ancient Christian teaching to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is an impermissible distinction in the minds of some. It is, however, the key to understanding the majority of the opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

The plain truth of the matter is that opposition to same-sex “marriage” is rooted not in hatred and bigotry, but just the opposite – in love. Like parents who do not allow children to behave dangerously without lovingly correcting them, opponents of same-sex relationships are hoping to save people with same-sex attractions from severe physical, psychological, and spiritual harm.

Just as, out of love and concern for their children’s welfare, parents must correct and discipline, despite the protests they may get in return, any true believer in marriage, natural law and science must lovingly correct their fellow man.

In other nations, the perception that opposition to same-sex “marriage” is based upon bigotry has led to laws that violate religious liberty, parental rights and freedom of speech. This is why those who oppose same-sex “marriage” must present their reasoning as based on love and concern for the welfare of those in homosexual relationships, in addition to concerns for children and society itself. And there is ample evidence on which to base that concern in the numerous studies showing the grave harm of homosexual sex to both body and psyche.

When I’ve spoken of these findings at conferences around the world, some have questioned if the researchers who showed these harms weren’t themselves biased by anti-gay sentiment. And so I’ve taken to carrying with me on my phone the quotes of the late Canadian gay activist Gens Hellquist, whose testimony proves the harms of gay sex better than any study ever could.

Speaking a year after the passage of same-sex “marriage” into law, Hellquist was seeking more healthcare dollars for the LGBT community. "We have one of the poorest health statuses in this country,” he said. “Health issues affecting queer Canadians include lower life expectancy than the average Canadian, suicide, higher rates of substance abuse, depression, inadequate access to care and HIV/AIDS."

"There are all kinds of health issues that are endemic to our community,” he added. “We have higher rates of anal cancer in the gay male community, lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer.”

He concluded: “Now that we can get married everyone assumes that we don't have any issues any more. A lot of the deaths that occur in our community are hidden, we don't see them. Those of us who are working on the front lines see them and I'm tired of watching my community die."

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Pastors and preachers must take up this call to speak the truth in love, for without this approach, the public will be led to believe that those opposed to same-sex “marriage” are indeed haters needing to be stopped with the force of law. Love is the most powerful force in any argument, and gay “marriage” pushers have used it very effectively. As Hilary Clinton tweeted as she fought religious freedom laws in Indiana: “We shouldn't discriminate against ppl bc of who they love #LGBT”

The truth is that those who oppose same-sex “marriage” are showing a deeper love, as any parent does when instilling difficult discipline. We have enough love and concern for those with same-sex attraction to warn them not to engage in behaviors proven to be very harmful. We won’t encourage people to enter into such harmful behaviors by redefining marriage to encourage it, nor will we allow our children to be indoctrinated into regarding it as a healthy and safe alternative lifestyle.

We have failed so far to get this message of love out to the public. I will not be surprised if the Supreme Court approves of same-sex “marriage” – and I will be even less surprised to see a subsequent  crackdown on religious freedom, as already seen in states like California and Colorado.

Pope Benedict XVI predicted it a decade ago. Observing the international trends, the then-Cardinal said “very soon it will not be possible to state that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.”

Reprinted with permission from CNS News

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook