A drill team opened the morning, their footsteps echoing through the reverent silence as however many hundred individuals stood for the flag that was being carried upon the stage. I spent last weekend at the Kansas GOP Convention, and this was my first time attending a state convention. I have been to national activism trainings and events, but never had I been in one location where the people grew up on and loved the same prairie sunsets, open plains, and quirky Midwest towns as I did.
Saturday morning held a prayer breakfast hosted by Kansans for Life. As I looked around, I was surprised by the variety of people I saw in the room. In fact, the “party of rich, old, white men” was hardly that. There were countless women, young conservatives and libertarians, and representatives from the Kansas Black Republican Council. Prayers were said, and Representative Willie Dove sang the Lord’s Prayer in a way very few had experienced it. That’s right – he stood before the entire convention and sang the Lord’s Prayer. I can promise you that no matter who or what anyone bowed to, prayed to, or believed in, in that moment, there was not one heart left untouched by the representative’s praise. Several elected officials and other community leaders then stood up to give speeches regarding issues such as abortion, the sanctity of life, and how being pro-life is not limited to the womb.
Roger Marshall, a retired OBGYN, spoke of his time while practicing. He told stories of a young mom hearing her baby’s heartbeat and feeling movement for the first time at 17 weeks, and how he had two patients when that mother walked into a room. Representative Kevin Yoder declared that we must “continue the fight for the souls of thousands of babies that are born in this nation.” Senator Jerry Moran received a resounding cheer when he said, “The problem is that we think the solution for this problem and this nation is at the ballot box, not the alter.”
There was a sense of unity and passion that filled that conference room, as well as a renewed sense of awe and wonder for the concept of life.
It is easy to attend a conference and feel a surge of passion and enthusiasm for a particular topic, event, organization, or movement. While so many who attended the breakfast spoke of their wonder and desire to be involved after the breakfast, that truly means nothing. The true test of the resolve, drive, and courage of the Kansas pro-life movement is entirely dependent on the way these words are carried out in the future.
While policy does matter in the fight for the pro-life movement, it will be important for those involved to recognize that morality cannot be legislated. Senator Moran declared, “We have the opportunity to do something; we’d better not miss it.” The Kansans for Life prayer breakfast was one full of fellowship, inspiration, and great words, but the test has only begun. Will the citizens of Kansas rise and do as they say they will: protect life at all stages and ensure the hope of America for the souls of every baby born? Or will apathy rule and the potential for a pro-life generation be ruined? The next few years will be critical to the pro-life case as we see whether or not the words, hopes, and promises that were declared this past weekend come to fruition.