By Mark H. Hunter, Regional Reporter
The sound of steel ball bearings falling into a galvanized bucket was absolutely chilling.
The crowd of about 2,500 to 3,000 attending the 5th annual Louisiana Life March South was solemnly silent as Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life Federation, slowly poured 9,976 bearings, each representing a baby aborted in Louisiana in 2013, into the bucket.
“We commend them to you Lord, and we want to make sure that they did not die in vain,” Clapper prayed from the stage of the outdoor Greek Amphitheater on the LSU campus. “Show each of us how we are to defend the defenseless.”
“The unborn child in our society doesn’t even get the fundamental right to life,” Clapper said to illustrate the Jan. 24 event’s theme, Defend the Defenseless. “The unborn child is denied their own birthday.”
Jonathan Stockstill, lead pastor of Baton Rouge’s Bethany Church, told the group how, during a recent exam with his pregnant wife, they saw an ultrasound of their baby boy.
“Every child is a gift from God,” Stockstill said. “We’re here to commemorate the 1.2 million children who lost their lives this past year – the same number of people who live in New Orleans. Just imagine if that whole city was wiped out in a year, the grief America would go through.”
Stockstill cited the command of Proverbs 24:11-12, to rescue those who are about to die and reminded the audience that God will render to every person according to their works.
Jim Garlow said he and his wife Rosemary Schindler, a descendant of Oscar Schindler, of “Schindler’s List,” attended the Life March in Washington DC where about 700,000 marched.
He said one of his four adopted children was the result of her birth mother being gang raped at the age of 14. “My child would not be here if that policy (of abortion for rape) was followed.”
Schindler told how the Nazis wanted to destroy every Jewish life, and encouraged the audience to be like Schindler and try to “do more.”
After receiving a standing ovation, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that Louisiana “is once again THE number one, most pro-life state in the country,” to more hearty applause.
Jindal said he was disappointed in the failure of Congress earlier in the week to ban the practice of late term abortions.
“When in the world did it take political courage to stand up and say ‘we’re going to ban later term abortions?”
“I do hope they will bring this measure back and I hope it will get bi-partisan support,” Jindal said. “In Louisiana when we passed a similar bill it wasn’t controversial – people said it was just the right thing to do.”
“Protecting innocent human life for me is a matter of conscience and a principle of faith,” Jindal said.
“Remember this – we worship a risen Lord – He’s not on the cross anymore,” Jindal declared. “God has given us the Book of Life and we know on the last page – our God wins!”
Ursula Anderson told her wrenching story of how, as a college student living a party life, aborted two babies. Her life changed, she said, when she was born again.
During the morning, people visited a host of pro-life organization tables and the LBC’s Mobile Pregnancy Care Center RV. The crowd then marched several blocks across campus behind a large banner held by Catholic teens accompanied by a squad of sharply dressed Knights of Columbus.
When they reached the bottom of the hill, between the football stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, they were met by a noisy crowd of LSU students, professors and other liberal-minded people opposed to the American Family Association’s role in renting the PMAC for The Response prayer rally.
Ed Enloe and his wife Judy, members of Istrouma Baptist of Baton Rouge, participated in the march and also the Response rally.
“As a Christian in this country it is very important thing to stand up for the Word of God,” Enloe said. “A baby cannot defend itself.”
When the pro-life marchers approached the protesters, Enloe said, “I stopped and said a prayer for them.”
Ron and Patricia Lambe, also of Istrouma, attended both events as well.
“We are very blessed to have a good, Christian governor,” Patricia Lambe said. “I was glad to be a part of it.”
She ignored the protesters saying, “I thought it best to not even look at them.”
Keith John Paul Horcasitis, a pro-life Catholic activist who often pickets the Baton Rouge abortion clinic, said he appreciated the chance to join others in prayer and standing up for Christ.
“The gathering was about recognizing our common ground and need and dependence on our God and standing for the fundamental right to life for all – especially the innocent unborn,” Horcasitis said.
Regarding the protesters, Horcasitis added, “it appeared that they were very concerned about their rights, which they somehow felt threatened by the respect life emphasis we were promoting.”