This article is the second in a multi-part series highlighting the annual National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention (NRB 2023) held recently in Orlando, Florida. Here you can also read the first piece.
How do you commemorate one of the greatest moments in U.S. history? For starters, with a limited-edition, commemorative table book called Legacy of Life.
The soon-to-be-released, life-affirming book Legacy of Life: Honoring Fifty of the Greatest Pro-Life Leaders of the Last Fifty Years celebrates the one-year anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
The book will be released on June 26 and highlights 50 of the greatest pro-life leaders of the past 50 years. The book serves as “a powerful tribute to fifty different respected leaders who have made numerous sacrifices to defend the sanctity of life.”
Legacy of Life was edited by John Stemberger, a leading conservative voice and President of the Florida Family Policy Council, an allied organization of Focus on the Family.
In an interview with the Daily Citizen at NRB 2023, Stemberger shared about the book’s origins.
“When Roe was overturned, it was such an emotional thing for me because this issue runs to the core of my DNA,” Stemberger said. “I was struck by the whole thing and couldn’t believe it was happening.”
He added that he was “surprised that there wasn’t more celebration and commemoration, marking the weight and gravity of the moment.”
To serve as that special and appropriate celebration of the ruling, he commissioned Legacy of Life.
The book highlights and records the great work of pro-life leaders like Pope Saint John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Mother Theresa, Phyllis Schlafly, Bernard Nathanson, John Cardinal O’Connor and Jack Willke.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro authored the forward for Legacy of Life, and each of the 50 tributes was written by a different respected advocate for life, including Al Mohler, Professor Robert P. George, Senator Marco Rubio and Ryan T. Anderson among others.
Stemberger shared that something inside of him is unsettled when people do amazing things but aren’t honored for it. He then quoted Romans 13:7, “Pay to all what is owed to them … honor to whom honor is owed,” and Proverbs 27:2, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth” (ESV).
“That’s not only for us not to be self-laudatory, but it’s also for us to praise other people,” Stemberger said.
Stemberger emphasized the importance of three individuals in particular who are featured in the book. One is Jack Willke, the former president of National Right to Life, who Stemberger called the “founding founder of the pro-life movement.”
A second is Mildred Jefferson, a Harvard educated physician who created a PBS documentary on the issue of life. That documentary profoundly influenced a young Ronald Reagan, who then made Jefferson one of his pro-life advisors after being elected president.
The third individual is Francis Schaeffer, whom 18 individuals in the book credit with influencing them in profound ways.
Stemberger said that the three goals of the book are to:
- Honor the men and women whose shoulders we now stand upon.
- Educated people about the history of the pro-life movement.
- Energize and inspire young people to become a new generation of pro-life leaders.
You can watch the short trailer for Legacy of Life here:
“It’s more than just a book. It’s a piece of artwork and it’s a piece of history,” Stemberger said. “All the pages are beautifully designed with striking photographs.”
Towards the end of the interview, Stemberger, becoming visibly emotional, shared that the last tribute in the book is dedicated to all of the unknown pro-life activists.
Tearing up, he said, “We try to honor all those thousands of people who will never be known.”
To learn more about the book or to pre-order your copy, click here. Just 5,000 copies will be printed.
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