Pro-lifers pick up where MLK left off, says African American pastor

Rev. Clenard Childress speaks at the St. Joe County Right to Life dinner
Rev. Clenard Childress speaks at the St. Joe County Right to Life dinner


Rev. Clenard Childress, Jr., the founder of and a leader in the pro-life movement, recently praised pro-lifers as the successors to the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.  During his keynote address at a pro-life event in northern Indiana, the black pastor also took a swipe at Barack Obama for his stance on abortion.


Speaking to an overflow crowd of 445 pro-lifers gathered for the annual Saint Joseph County Right to Life fund raising dinner in Mishawaka, Indiana on October 16, Rev. Childress detailed the challenges faced by the pro-life movement today.


Childress began by noting that for African Americans, the most dangerous place they can be “is in the womb of their African American mother because one out of two will choose to abort…There is a black genocide going on in America.”


Quoting the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation of the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the pastor considered the plight of women who are told that their life will not be enjoyable unless they abort their children. “You have to understand there is another life in the womb, whose pursuit [of happiness] you will cut off. And the Declaration says—No! That life has a right to pursue happiness,” he exclaimed.


Pro-lifers and the leaders of the civil rights movement must fight for that right, said Childress, likening Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil right movement he led to today’s pro-lifers. “Your life is linked to Dr. King because you have picked up the baton where others have dropped it…That first movement was the Baptist Church; now this movement is the Catholic Church. But it takes all of us to get it done.” 


Rev. Childress criticized the role of some church leaders in this struggle. “And the shepherds are so pivotal, those that hold the title of clergy. Because in the Afro-American community right now many of the shepherds are leading the sheep to the slaughter.  And this is an abomination –no play on words—to God,” he said, alluding to the expression “Obamination.”


The minister also quoted extensively from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” According to Childress, King lamented in his letter how the church of his day was weak and ineffectual as compared to the early Christians who were “small in numbers but big in commitment…The early church put an end to the evil of infanticide.”  


In a pointed but veiled reference to Barack Obama, Childress said, “But isn’t it strange that Martin Luther King  would mention infanticide in 1963, that the church stood up against infanticide, infant killing?…Isn’t it strange to you, civil rights worker, that there would be a candidate  that basically endorsed infanticide? In reading Martin’s letter, he called it evil.  How can anyone call it good?  How can a baby that survives an abortion be left on the table to die and you say it should be a law that it’s good that the child die? Would somebody explain that to me please?!!  And that’s why I don’t want to hear about your health plan! I want to know what the deal is here!” he exclaimed to loud and extended applause from the audience.


Childress emphasized the importance of 40 days or 40 years in Salvation History and expressed his belief that 40 years after the assassination of Dr. King, there would be a shift in American history that would bring about the end of abortion.  “He encouraged the attendees to remain faithful because “your faithfulness and your willingness [quoting King] to not be “merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion [but a] a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”


The pro-life movement in South Bend has seen significant growth with the recent kickoff of the 40 Days for Life campaign. Nearly 5,000 local people are involved in the 40 day-long effort of prayer, peaceful protest and fasting for the end of abortion.

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