What do you think about the Operation Rescue group?
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 20:18
Oh my...you have asked this question to the guy who believes that you should always boycott a boycott. It seems that Central Florida is always in the middle of something that is going on. I heard the director of Operation Rescue, Flip Benham, say that Orlando is like the "gates of Hell" and "all that is wrong with America can be found right here!" Gosh, I thought Orlando was a great place to live. I don’t think that city officials will be using Flip’s quote in their brochures or advertising campaign next year.
Let me say right up front that I share Operation Rescues concerns. Their agenda in the Central Florida area focused upon 3 things.
Abortion, I agree with them that abortion is wrong.
Child Pornography, I agree with them that child pornography is wrong.
Homosexuality, I agree with them that homosexuality is wrong
The convictions that I have on all 3 of these items come from my understanding of what Scripture says to be right and wrong. I agree with their concerns and think that a majority of the Christian community would agree as well.
While I agree with the position of the members of Operation Rescue I strongly disagree with their methodology. This past week I have watched as the director was arrested for disobeying instruction given by local law enforcement groups. We watched on TV as boys were arrested for laying across a driveway and their parents spoke with pride as they carried on a family tradition (of being arrested). I listened to the reports that each member of Operation Rescue were signing a non-violence commitment and was amazed at the cost to tax payers in mobilizing special tasks forces to prevent any trouble from not only Operation Rescue, but from those who might oppose them.
John MacArthur said once that civil disobedience is not Biblical. He may be right, but the biggest problem I have, and what concerns me about Operation Rescue, is their methodology. Their motivation, as stated by the group itself, is doing what God has called them to do, and sharing Jesus with those who need to meet Him. Yet the group rarely shows or reflects love as their motivation. In the past we have discussed, taught, and given implications of the way we meet needs as being so very important, so we won’t go into that lengthy discussion again here. But as far as Operation Rescue is concerned I think we get a glimpse into the methodology by looking at what took place in Lynchburg, Virginia.
That is the home of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. It was there on March 19 that at least 3 dozen Operation Rescue protesters held signs showing photographs of nude children from a book that they claimed was available at the campus bookstore. Falwell quickly and angrily called the group "thugs and thieves." The protesters were there after their director, Flip Benham, had been arrested protesting outside an abortion clinic (which has happened here in Florida as well). The group at the campus was being led by Patrick Mahoney, the director of Christian Defense Coalition, and Keith Tucci, of Operation Rescue. Mahoney held a copy of a book which he said he had ordered at the campus bookstore operated by Barnes and Noble (the same target here in Central Florida).
The truth is that the book is not carried by the bookstore on campus. A worker at the store did say they were able to order the book when asked, and did so. The store manager cancelled the order upon discovering the book’s contents. The copy that was being used at the protest had been purchased elsewhere.
It does make a difference in how you say things, but when you want to slightly warp the truth to get a point across, it hurts your credibility and forces people to look at your motivation. Also the need for people who are operating out of the love of Jesus needing to make such a major point of signing a non-violence agreement causes one to question their methods as well. A historical look will reveal that violence has been a problem associated with the group in the past. I do find it interesting that Jerry Falwell, also a very vocal opponent of the same things as Operation Rescue, found it necessary to distance himself from the group during their events in Virginia. Falwell went so far as to apologize to city officials on behalf of the Christian community, and then reimbursed the city for costs incurred from their protests. It is apparent who has the greater voice for the body of Christ in Lynchburg. In a nutshell, Falwell has earned his credibility and the right to be heard.
People will not care what you know, until they know that you care. This is Operation Rescue’s problem. They create a lot of situations where the body of Christ has to do much damage control after they have been in town. They are part of the family of God, I love them, I admire their convictions, I share their convictions. However, I do not like or endorse their methodology.
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