“Just let us walk and pray.” That’s what Dr. Gabriel Rogers, a local pastor of Kingdom Christian Church, requested of Charlotte, North Carolina’s City Council during an initial hearing about a new noise ordinance that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for pro-life demonstrators to pray and counsel women on sidewalks outside abortion clinics. His request fell on deaf ears. On Monday, the City Council ignored the pleas of the pro-life community, and instead sided with abortion businesses and Planned Parenthood and passed the noise ordinance.
The decision wasn’t exactly a surprise. As Dr. Rogers explained in a phone interview, the timing of the new ordinance could not have been more strategic, especially for Planned Parenthood. The decision to adopt the new noise ordinance coincides almost perfectly with the opening of the abortion business’s latest clinic in a historically African American community. It’s not a stretch to suggest that Planned Parenthood flexed its political muscle to ensure that its operations would not be interrupted by the passionate and dedicated pro-life demonstrators, prayer warriors and sidewalk counselors.
“We’re aggravated and offended that Planned Parenthood wanted to set up shop in this city,” Dr. Rogers said. “One of the largest abortion clinics in the Southeast already exists in the city of Charlotte. For Planned Parenthood to decide to come and get their market share of what I call a murder mill, most certainly is to our chagrin. We are not happy at all.”
So, the community decided to do something. On June 15, local leaders and pastors, most of them African American, met and led a demonstration against Planned Parenthood’s latest incursion into their city. The event attracted nearly 300-400 members of the community, about 80% of whom were African American. It was an incredible response.
“To see the body of Christ in general, people who cared about this,” Dr. Rogers said. “We marched, we prayed, and we rallied in the park. We all realize that as we joined hands and prayed that this is a spiritual battle. Paul was clear in Ephesians 6 that we battle not against flesh and blood, but this is principalities. This is spiritual wickedness. We were encouraged to see people whose eyes have become open to the reality of this genocide in our community by Planned Parenthood.”
When Planned Parenthood sets up shop, there is always one goal in mind: abortion. No matter how many lives are lost or how many women are left in vulnerable situations, Planned Parenthood continues to abort as many babies as it can. The group most affected by this is African Americans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abortion report, non-Hispanic African Americans make up 36% of all abortions. To put that into perspective, this community only makes up about 13.4% of the U.S. population. Charlotte has a similar problem with 54% of Mecklenburg County abortions completed on African American women, who only make up 32.8% of the population. A new Planned Parenthood is likely only going to increase the number of abortions performed on vulnerable women.
It’s something that Dr. Rogers and others within the African American community are familiar with and, in many ways, have dedicated their lives to fighting. As a pastor with a Ph.D. in counseling, he knows more than most the toll that abortion takes on his community and congregation. In his practice and as a pastor, he has worked with many women and men who have experienced the trauma of abortion.
“We’ve seen an impact on both ends,” Dr. Rogers said. “There are ladies that still having night terrors because of abortion. They’ve even heard babies crying, but it’s about working through the pain and the trauma of it. I’ve also been blessed to see the babies who are saved at local pro-life pregnancy resource centers. Some of whom have become members of our church or frequent attenders at the very least. There are many people who are very happy that they’ve made a decision for life. I’ve even watched some of those babies bouncing on the knees of their family members during worship services.”
That’s such a comforting image. Despite the ugliness that Planned Parenthood brings to a community, life and the light of the Gospel can still shine through the darkness.
The fight with Planned Parenthood and the abortion-supporting City Council isn’t over yet. The pro-life community in Charlotte is among the most dedicated and passionate in the country. For years, demonstrations, prayers and sermons have been happening outside abortion clinics, and they aren’t going to stop anytime soon. This new noise ordinance is a setback and a disappointment, but this will not stop people from proclaiming the promise of life to women and men who are looking for hope and healing.
To that effect, Dr. Rogers had some inspiring and encouraging words:
“I want to remind the Body of Christ that we are never defeated. Jesus truly is Lord. He died for all of this. It’s time for us to stand up for him and to know as we take our stand, he will back us, to and for His Glory. And we will never lose. I don’t care if Planned Parenthood tries to move in, I don’t care if City Council tries to put in an ordinance. At the end of the day, nobody is God but God, and believers need to know and be encouraged that our labor is not in vain. I want to say that to all the soldiers out there who continue to stand for these causes.”
Those are marching orders that I think that we can all embrace.
Photo from the Douglas Leadership Institute