Cloning rally in Jeff City to feature Keyes
By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY – Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America, is organizing five rallies around Missouri to mobilize pastors for the fight against the proposed constitutional amendment promoting embryonic stem cell research, or cloning.
Scarborough, a former Southern Baptist pastor who now is a member of First Baptist Church, Martinsville, Texas, announced the rallies June 27 in a luncheon meeting with about two dozen pastors and other leaders at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, will be hosting a rally July 31 that will feature former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Alan Keyes, a powerful pro-life orator and close friend of Scarborough.
“Alan Keyes is a principled conservative driven by his own love for Christ,” Scarborough said. “I’ve spent hours and hours with Alan Keyes, who is a Catholic, but when you hear him talk, you’re going to think you’re listening to a Southern Baptist because he’s Christ-centered and Christ-driven. And he will be doing this rally as a fellow believer in Christ who believes that this is an abhorrent evil that must be stopped.”
Scarborough represents the first wave of national organizations pouring resources into the cloning battle here, placing Missouri on the national stage with regard to the future of human cloning in America. Focus on the Family also has been active early on in the state, mailing out booklets to women, warning them about their bodies being exploited in the name of science. Such activity by various national pro-life groups is expected to intensify throughout the summer and the fall as the Nov. 7 vote approaches.
“A lot of people are doing a lot of things, and it’s a big help to us,” said Jaci Winship, executive director, Missourians Against Human Cloning.
Scarborough explained that he has been given a budget of $100,000 so that he can go to Missouri as often as he feels it is necessary to do what he does best – mobilize pastors.
“The next five months of my life I intend to dedicate myself to stopping this tragic evil from coming, working with Missourians, people of conscience and faith,” he said.
One of his early contacts has been with Monte Shinkle, pastor, Concord Baptist. Shinkle offered to host the July 31 rally with the hope of drawing hundreds of pastors from a 50-mile radius to the spacious Concord sanctuary. Scarborough said it would be great to put 1,500 people in the church and in its overflow rooms that evening. If the June 27 meeting is any indication, Catholics, Lutherans and Pentecostals will be among those filling the pews to hear Keyes speak.
“I really see it as kind of a connecting point for pastors from many different denominations,” said Joe Ulveling, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) family ministries specialist.
The rally at Concord is the first of five scheduled meetings throughout the state. Rallies will be held on yet-to-be-determined dates in August in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Cape Girardeau. Specific sites for the rallies have yet to be announced.
Besides Ulveling, MBC President Ralph Sawyer, MBC Executive Director David Clippard, MBC Associate Executive Director David Tolliver, MBC Executive Board Member Randy Comer and Pathway Editor Don Hinkle all attended the luncheon. Clippard has agreed to serve on a state host committee for the rallies, a role which he said simply serves to help Missouri Baptists get used to the idea of participating in events such as the July 31 rally that will be drawing in Christians from many denominations.
“These rallies are focusing on a small area but one that transcends denominational issues,” Clippard said. “We are focusing on an issue that we can rally together on.”
“We want to communicate through the rallies that this is not just Baptist, not just Catholic, it is a trans-denominational effort of Christians uniting against cloning,” he said.
Scarborough talked about his past successes in the area of mobilizing pastors to win political battles, and he emphasized in an interview after his speech that “when pastors get involved, we cannot lose.” Involvement simply means to preach on the issue, to register church attenders who are not voters, to give church attenders voter’s guides, and to lead them to the polls.
He said he is grateful to the two donors who have given him the seed money for Missouri, but he added that he will be on a tight budget as he puts on the five rallies.
“If we have more money, we can do 10 rallies, we can do 100 breakfasts and lunches,” he said. “More importantly than that, when it comes down to fish or cut bait time, we can do massive targeted mailings and operate phone banks to call pastors to remind them to mobilize their people. That takes money.
“I estimate that we need about another $200,000 to wage this campaign effectively, but I’ll tell you what—we’re the Continental Army, and we’ll fight in wore-out shoes and holes in our pants and save our ammunition until the right time to fire it if we have to.”
Scarborough reminded the pastors at the hotel luncheon meeting about his purpose in Missouri.
“We’re going to be in the business of helping to facilitate you,” he said.