Mar 30, 2009
Someone close to the fight for Terry Schiavo’s life says that up to a certain point the effort to save her life was getting traction and gaining ground. The effort had managed for a time to branch out from a left-right divide to become an issue of human rights. Even Jesse Jackson was on her side. Overnight everything changed. According to my source, it all changed when Randal Terry parachuted into Florida and started issuing press releases. The tenor changed and so did the press coverage. The fight for Schiavo’s life became a fight over the religious right.
In recent years, even before he converted to Rome, Randall Terry has pushed himself beyond battles to protect life into the fight for Catholic orthodoxy. And he bids fair to do the same thing to legitimate Catholic concerns that he has done elsewhere, make them cartoonish and even silly.
First things first: Randall Terry is a very talented guy. I am told he is a riveting speaker. He is utterly fearless. And he has a remarkable ability to project himself and his convictions into the mainstream press.
He created Operation Rescue, though not the rescue movement, which predated him by years. Even so, according to some in the pro-life world, Terry and Operation Rescue resuscitated a moribund movement. He got large numbers of evangelical pastors involved and he motivated thousands of men for the first time to do the manly thing and try literally to rescue babies. And it was successful in that; thousands of unborn lives were saved. Terry and Operation Rescue were a mixed bag, though. Though peaceful, Operation Rescue was used by the media to paint the pro-life movement in America as inherently violent.