In what is fast becoming one of the most serious, culture-changing conferences in America, abortion abolitionists from Oklahoma are gearing up for Abolition Now – a two-day conference of teaching centered around engaging legislators and communities with the message of Biblical abolitionism.
The conference kicks off on Monday February 8 with a full day of presentations from abolitionist leaders including Russell Hunter, Bradley Pierce, Dusty Deevers, Senator Joseph Silk, and others. Day one will focus on preparing attendees to engage their elected officials as well as their communities. On Day 2, attendees along with thousands of other Oklahomans will put what they learned to use at the Abolition Day Rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Then ralliers will head inside the Capitol to engage their legislators for a few hours, before the conference will conclude with a night of presentations on why Christians must move beyond pro-life incrementalism and abortion regulations to embrace consistent Biblical abolitionism. Hunter, Pierce, Jeff Durbin, and Brett Baggett will be teaching.
A few hundred will attend the conference and a few thousand will be at the rally. Compared to previous abolitionist conferences, this one is unique for the involvement of Oklahoma churches. Numerous pastors from inside the state will be teaching alongside the long-time movement leaders like Hunter and Pierce.
In the early years of the Abolitionist Movement, it largely lacked local church and pastoral involvement, as the message was seen as too radical by many Christian leaders. But enormous progress has been made in recent years with both the Oklahoma Baptists and Oklahoma State Association of Free Will Baptists passing resolutions in 2019 calling for the total abolition of abortion without compromise.
At the center of the event is a newly filed piece of legislation: Senate Bill 495, the successor to SB13. The bill was filed by Senator Warren Hamilton, an outspoken abortion abolitionist who won his seat after primarying and ousting the incumbent senator Larry Boggs for refusing to support actual legislation that sought to save the preborn. Boggs was in power for 8 years, and his defeat was a sign by many that the people of Oklahoma were willing to choose Warren’s abolition over his regulation when given an opportunity.
Unlike all of the incremental, toothless, nibble-around-the-edges pro-life bills passed by Republicans in the country over the last 40 years, SB495 is unique in that it is designed to have Oklahoma completely and decisively abolish abortion regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the practice.
Under the proposed legislation, Oklahoma would ignore that court ruling and defy the Supreme Court if and when they invariably interfered.
Consequently, the Abolition Day Rally and the Abolition Now Conference have grown from small grassroots events to a major totem and force to be reckoned with in Oklahoma politics, gathering steam and supporters daily. The conference educates people to convert them into full-throated abolitionists and the rally demonstrates the sheer size of the movement in the state.
Part of this is achieved by exposing the insanity and hypocrisy of Oklahoma’s pro-life political culture.
Oklahoma is widely considered the most pro-life state in the U.S. Republicans have a supermajority in both the House and Senate in Oklahoma. Of the 48 seats in the State Senate, 39 are held by Republicans and 9 by Democrats, meaning that over 80% of the senators are Republicans. In the House, the GOP clobbers the Democrats 77 to 24.
Furthermore, Oklahoma has a professing Republican pro-life Governor, a Republican pro-life Lieutenant Governor, a Republican pro-life President Pro Tem of the Senate, and a Republican pro-life majority floor leader.
Despite this, hardly anyone in the government is actually interested in abolishing abortion in the state, with the issue being tossed around like a political football in order to score political points and accrue fundraising dollars. Last year, pro-life politicians refused to give SB13 a vote, and it died in committee.
For this reason, it’s not progressives and Democrat politicians who stand in the way – they have absolutely no power to stop it. Rather, bills like SB13, and now SB495 have for years been opposed by pro-life politicians and even pro-life organizations such as National Right to Life and religious leaders like Southern Baptist Convention JD Greear, who has publicly opposed the legislation.
Yet discontent is growing in the midst of the people who refuse to be mollified by pro-life politicians any longer, and Abolition Day helps shift that culture. In 2018, Dan Fisher ran for Governor of Oklahoma, receiving 35,818 votes, or nearly 8% of the total, an astounding achievement for a candidate running with only a fraction of the funding of his opponents on a platform that many previously viewed as radical.
SB495 is expected to engender the same support from key allies that its predecessor did, who contrary to SBC leadership, are unwavering and uncompromising in their desire to see it passed, including 100 Southern Baptist pastors from around the State who signed and delivered petitions calling for a fair hearing of SB13. That number is expected to grow this year.
With mainstream pro-life events like Rose Day, March for Life, and many other going all virtual, Abolition Day is expected to be the only game in town. Despite uncertainty around COVID 19, organizers are hoping to increase participation from last year, where they had over 2000 attendees for the rally.
The rally on the 9th is free for anyone to attend.
For those interested in the conference portion on the 8th, including those from out of state, please check out this link and register here.
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