Life Chain rally, Christ Hospital, Illinois
October 24, 2004
Thank you, so much. [applause] Thank you so much.
Well, I have to say I have many things on my heart today. But let us begin with one of those things that is obviously never far from my mind these days. I noticed we have friends here from Channel 5 [laughter], who have apparently been following the Life Chain and doing other things today. One of the things I have noticed over the course of my weeks here is that it’s so hard to get folks in the media to report the truth about the nature of these issues. [applause, cheering]
One thing that will never leave my mind or consciousness . . . when Martin Luther King was leading the Civil Rights Movement, he used to mention the importance of the reforming influence of Christianity. And one of the things he mentioned was that it was on account of Christian faith and belief and influence that the heinous practice of infanticide had ended in the ancient world.
And we now live in a time when that heinous practice is being revived in the name of abortion that have extended the death into the world to take life of fully-born human beings, revealing what we have known all along that they intend to target with death anyone against whom someone is willing to choose in the name of abortion. And I think that it’s time that the media understood this not about abortion anymore. It’s about the revival of the heinous practice of infanticide and the hardness of heart that will soon extend to every deprived, every disabled, every backwards human being that someone wants to target. It’s got to be stopped now. [applause, cheering]
Now, I had heard that at one point . . . I believe it was in the race in Oklahoma . . . I think my good friend, Tom Coburn, got into a little trouble, because he had the courage to stand before his people and make very clear that in our elections these days, when you have somebody who is pro-life standing against somebody like Barack Obama who is pro-abortion—people might say, well, that’s Republican versus Democrat, that’s liberal versus conservative, that’s this versus that—and he looked people in the eye, and he told the truth that I think everyone in this room and everyone in Illinois needs to understand. When you have a choice between someone who stands in defense of innocent life and someone who seeks to extend the principle of abortion, even to the killing of fully-born babies outside the womb, let nobody in this state deny that that’s not just conservative versus liberal, Republican versus Democrat, that is GOOD versus EVIL and every conscience has to understand the truth. [applause, cheering]
One of the reasons why I think it is so sad that some people would like to reduce our elections to personality and materialism—the latter being, of course, the business of politicians these days, which is to go everywhere and promise everybody that you’re gonna spend some money on them. And all they do is sit down with their advisors and figure out what money shall we spend on this group? What money do they want? What money do they want? What program do they want? One of these days we’re going to realize that a politics in which politicians come to power by spending money on problems is a politics that will lead us to ever to have the problems and never to see the money. And that’s exactly where this society is headed right now. A cynical exploitation of the good instincts and good heart of America in the name of the consolidation of power in the hands of cynical, exploitative politicians. And the truest sign of it is their willingness to pretend that while we are slaughtering innocent babies in the womb we should spend our day about how we get money for this program and money for that program, when money can never repair the damage that is done to our moral heart and our moral spirit by the heinous business of killing our innocent young. [applause, cheering]
And you probably noticed . . . and you probably noticed . . . these folks in the media . . . also, I had an interview this morning still on my mind, because they always begin with the phony polls, and then they want to talk about how . . . oh, the Republican Party’s not supporting you, and all this. Can I share a little secret with you? [Yes!] What I’ve noticed going around the state? What I’ve noticed going around the state, and this I say on behalf of all of the Republicans in the room and in Illinois, and, I know, the election’s not just about the Republicans, but I just want to report to you the truth, though, because the media’s been misrepresenting. I have found all around the state of Illinois that because of my willingness to stand forward and speak the truth about the moral crisis, that we confront in Illinois and around America, people have come forward by numbers never seen before in the Republican Party’s history in this state to bear witness to the truth. And that truth is now reviving the hopes of the Republican Party throughout the state of Illinois. [applause, cheering]
And here I will make clear something I haven’t spoken about thus explicitly before in the course of this campaign, but I think it’s time everybody understood the truth. Yes. Yes! Shall I admit it? There are a handful of leaders in the Republican Party who seem to have declared war upon the party’s prospects and upon me. And they do it solely for one reason, because I will not stop preaching the gospel of life! [applause, cheering]
I want to put to them on notice. I want to put them on notice. We may only have ten days until the people of Illinois decide on November 2nd what shall be the outcome of this election. But I want to make it clear that no pro-abortion politician, whether it’s Barack Obama or any Republican in any leadership position in this state, will silence my voice or the heart of the people of Illinois. [applause] We will stand for innocent life. We will speak for innocent life. We will fight for innocent life, until we prevail. [applause, cheering—Alan, Alan]
We need to be clear also about this, though. ‘Cause some people like to pretend. “Oh, that’s just you . . . one-issue candidate and all this.” I have said it repeatedly, but I always think it bears repeating.
That there is not a problem you can name. We can talk about education. We can talk about poverty. We can talk about housing. We can talk about crime. We can talk about gang violence in the neighborhoods. In every single case, go look at the studies that have been done and you will find that the major contributing factor to every one of these expensive social problems bankrupting our society is the decline and collapse of the marriage-based, two-parent family. That is what is causing our problems. [applause, cheering]
And I think it’s time we opened our eyes. You can’t fix the collapse of the family with money. When are we going to stop lying to ourselves with this notion that families collapse because they are poor? I spent several years researching the history of black America. People were enslaved. You don’t get any poorer than not even owning your own labor, not even being acknowledged in the freedom of your own body. But once emancipation came, the people who had absolutely nothing—I documented it in “Masters of the Dream”—first thing they did was put their families back together. You don’t have to be rich to know who your children are, and to know that you love them. [applause, cheering]
But I’ll tell you this, you don’t have to be rich, but often you do have to have a heart that fears the Lord our God and is willing to do His will. [applause]
And we are suffering today from a whole panoply of problems in economic life and social life in terms of [unintelligible] raising our children and violence in our streets and drug taking and the decline and collapse of our respect for one another, if we are suffering all those problems, you and I both know that what I said years ago is still true today. We don’t have money problems. We have moral problems, and you can’t solve those problems by hardening the heart of America against innocent children in the womb. [applause, cheering]
And I want to say clearly that it’s time voters in the state of Illinois stop fooling themselves. Those moral problems are directly related to the support given by politicians like Barack Obama to the heinous practice of abortion. Abortion hardens the hearts of parents against their children. Abortion requires in this society that fathers harden their hearts against their children in the womb.
What are we going to think about this, y’all?
If you look at what the situation is today, the natural instinct of a father’s heart is to love and defend the child. But we are telling fathers that they can have no role in the defense of their offspring in the womb, that they must turn their back on their offspring and that the life and death decision will be made without their participation, without their involvement and regardless of their will. If you must harden your heart against a child in the womb, why should we expect anything but a harden heart against your children in the world?
I find it shocking that we would countenance a practice that demands that fathers harden their hearts and then express surprise when that hardness of heart leads to the abandonment of so many children, so they will be raised not by their parents, but by the streets and by the hardness of the gangs and of the world.
There’s a direct link here between the practice of abortion that suppresses our allegiance to the future in the womb and the collapse right now, this minute, of the lives of so many of our children in the world. Abortion hardens America’s heart. And as our heart hardens, we turn our backs on the silent cry that comes to us from the future as we extinguish the light that ought to be born now to enlighten it. This is the real meaning of abortion, and it’s why I don’t feel the least bit of compunction.
I know there are folks like to chide me every minute, as if I should talk about everything under the sun, but this. But there are a lot of reasons that I can’t. Some them obviously just because I’ve thought it through, and others of them, quite frankly, because I come from a background that I can’t escape, that has focused my heart and mind on the real consequences of this abortion holocaust.
One of those episodes occurred the other day in the debate I had. Did anybody see the debate? [Yeah! Applause] It’s one of those remarkable things that in the course of that debate a question came up. And I have to share this with y’all, because you’ll understand it, but some people wouldn’t. I have been really praying and agonizing over the fact that, if things were left to the reporters and the media, the key issues that I care about would never be put on the table. And so I had been thinking for days, what am I going to do? Because if they keep asking these questions and never get to the things that I really believe are critical then at some point I’ll be forced to just ignore their questions and start putting these things on the table. Then, of course, they’ll criticize me for not answering the questions, and I’ll be in trouble. And so, I was praying over it and asking for God’s help to deal with this, and still even before, just before I went on, I hadn’t decided yet how I was going to resolve this problem. But this is one of those examples of how too much thinking and too much reliance on what you think you need to do is always a bad idea. Sometimes you need to just sit back and smile about it and let the peace of God settle over you and realize that He’s going to take care of it. [Amen]
And lo and behold, there I am in the midst of the debate, still in the back of my mind thinking, “When am I going to be able to talk about some truth here? And they’re dealing with Iraq, and they’re dealing with guns and the 2nd Amendment, and they’re dealing with . . “ And then suddenly one of them out of the blue says, “Well, both of you are African-American candidates. What bearing do you think race has on this campaign?” [laughter] And you must realize, y’all, that at that moment it just came over me like a flash, “God is good!” I said to myself. “Thank you, Lord!” [laughter, applause] [unintelligible] It was like a batter waiting for that pitch that’s just right there smack over the plate, coming at you hard and fast. You can hit that one out of the park. Thank you, Lord!
And there I was . . . and so Barack Obama gives the usual kind of liberal answer, “You know, it should have no bearing, but racism is alive and well. And we can do something about it by spending government money.” Don’t you love that? The solution to every problem—spend some government money. Now, they always forget, don’t they, that there’s not a cent the government has that doesn’t come out of the pockets of the working people of this country. [applause, cheering]
I’m slightly distracted from my story, but that does remind me that every time I read in the paper that the Democrats have taken such pride now—excuse me for bad-mouthing them a little bit—in the fact that they’ve come up with this idea that the government, they say, is going to pay for all our highest-cost medical expenses. When are the people of this country going to sit back and say to themselves, every penny the government has comes from us. When John Kerry says the government’s going to pay for it, that just means you’re going to pay for it! [applause, cheers] Nobody’s doing you any favors.
So, he answers this question about race. Government’s going to pay for it. We have racism. Let the government pay for it—this program, that program. And what I said, of course, was to . . . well, given my background and heritage, I have to take a particular concern over the plight of black Americans, and guess what? The number one killer of black Americans in the last several generations has been abortion. Since the Roe vs. Wade decision was countenanced, 13 million black lives have been taken—a 25% reduction in what should have been the population in the black community, a disproportionately targeted community where the largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, has 78% of their facilities located in or near the black community.
And I love the way my opponent responded. See. It’s one of those examples of how the media does. Because I spent the whole of my little response talking about why my heritage led me to have a particular concern with the impact of abortion in the black community. His response was to say that somehow I had said something about him. [laughter]
Now, I have gone over the transcript, and I have looked high and low and what I said for any reference to this guy whatsoever. One of these days, he’s going to realize that I was fighting for innocent babies before I ever heard his name, and I’ll be fighting innocent babies long after America has forgotten it. [applause, cheers]
Did you know what the scripture said? “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach” to any people. And I suppose when somebody hears the description of the sin that they are aiding, abetting, supporting, facilitating, and extending, it may sound like I was talking about him. [laughter] It may indeed. It may indeed.
Because I think it’s about time that we realized that we have reached a point in American on issues that are absolutely critical. And I hope you realize, too, as people who are dedicated to the pro-life movement that we shouldn’t be drawing lines of distinction that are false, either, between what we care about and other things going on in the world. It’s one of the reasons, if I may say so, that I have always appreciated what has been the comprehensive and I think very thoughtful position of the Catholic Church on the issue of life, because they never isolated it. They always understood it starts over here with a contraceptive mentality that doesn’t embrace God’s plan for procreation, but instead seeks to reject the child out of sexual relations. It goes to abortion, which then is the physical suppression of that child’s life in consequence of an understanding of sexual relations that is not devoted and dedicated to the acceptance of God’s grace in the gift of that child’s life. And you know where it ends up? It ends up, y’all, in the embracing of something like homosexual marriage. What is homosexual marriage, but the idea that marriage itself can be defined without reference to God’s gift of life? Without reference to procreation, without any reference whatsoever to the life of that child. We are dealing in each of these cases with exactly the same principle, exactly the same mentality.
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