Third Evangelicals for Life event to address human dignity

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Evangelical Christians will gather for the third consecutive year in the United States' capital city beginning Thursday (Jan. 18) to speak for the sanctity of all human life.

For the second year in 2017, Evangelicals For Life joined tens of thousands of others on the National Mall for a rally and the march to Capitol Hill during the annual March for Life.
Screen capture from Facebook (2017)
Evangelicals for Life (EFL) -- a three-day conference hosted by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Focus on the Family -- will address abortion and a host of other human dignity issues. The event is structured around the annual March for Life, which will be held Jan. 19 on the National Mall.

The timing of the march and the conference coincides with the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court opinion that legalized abortion throughout the country.

The conference "exists as a platform for the reborn to stand for the unborn," ERLC President Russell Moore told Baptist Press in written comments. "Our culture assumes that life is only worth living when it is powerful and of a perceived usefulness. We believe that every human life bears the dignity rooted in the image of God.

"This event is designed to speak a word of witness to the watching world," Moore said. "Against a culture of death, the church of Jesus Christ will stand and speak for the powerless and vulnerable."

Two U.S. senators -- James Lankford of Oklahoma and Ben Sasse of Nebraska -- will be among the keynote speakers. In addition to Moore and Focus President Jim Daly, others addressing the conference include:

-- Joni Eareckson Tada, a popular author and a disability advocate who is quadriplegic;

-- Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S.;

-- Ann Voskamp, a well-known author;

-- Benjamin Watson, tight end for the National Football League's Baltimore Ravens;

-- Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief.

Protecting the unborn and ministering to their mothers will gain much of the attention at Evangelicals for Life. Panelists in the main sessions will address the work of pregnancy resource centers and the importance of pro-life legislation.

EFL also will focus on other human dignity issues, such as adoption, foster care, service to the disabled and ministry to refugees.

The conference's speakers will address topics in keynote speeches, brief talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions.

The ERLC and Focus launched EFL in 2016 as what Moore described as a "call to arms" to evangelicals. Evangelicals have been heavily involved in the pro-life movement for decades but have not made participation in the March for Life a priority. The ERLC and Focus started EFL with the hope it would help increase awareness of the march among evangelicals and prompt more to participate in the event.

Roman Catholics have dominated attendance at the March for Life since it began in 1974, a year after the Jan. 22 Roe decision. The march brings together tens of thousands of pro-lifers to rally on the National Mall before walking to Capitol Hill. Leaders from the diverse organizations that make up the pro-life movement typically gather for the march and related events.

The Jan. 18 and 19 evening sessions will be live streamed at live.evangelicals.life.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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