"PLEASE STEP AWAY, SIR!"
“DPS TROOPERS DIRECT REV. STEVE SANCHEZ OF JOHNSON CITY to step away from abortion rights demonstrators during the Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol on Saturday, January 27, 2018.” That was the caption of this photo taken by Jay Janner of the Austin American-Statesmen.
You may be wondering what I did. Just exercising my First Amendment Right to Free Speech.
It was the end of the march and the crowd of 5,000 pro-lifers had come to the Capitol to hear Governor Greg Abbott and other anti-abortion advocates speak on behalf of the pre-born. Instead, I wanted to engage the fifty or so people who had a different opinion regarding the “Life” issue, specifically, the ten “handmaids” who stood speechless in their white bonnets and deep-red robes at the entrance of the Capitol gates. The handmaids are a class of women from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, who are kept for reproductive purposes by the ruling class. They were the only silent protesters.
I wasn’t there to argue, but to bring a very different message, one that had nothing to do with abortion. I was shouted down by a young lady with a bullhorn and an angry attitude. I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise because of her cursing at me. Still, I persisted. I stood in-between two troopers, a small gap in the wall of deputies that surrounded the loud obscenity-shouting “Choicers,” apparently, for their protection.
Have you ever been to a pro-life event? They are radically peaceful, proper and placid. Men, women and children march together with smiles and clean chants of “We are pro-life!” They put their trash in receptacles. Respectful signs are held up like “Aggie Catholics Respect Life.” “I am the Pro-Life Generation.” “Babies Lives Matter.” No one was against the government, or the President or a particular Party. This “Life” march walked the talk. We respected all people, especially those not yet able to walk or speak. Or live.
I addressed our “Pro-Choice” friends by asking them where they would spend eternity. “Heaven or Hell? God has a standard by which he will judge everybody, the Ten Commandments, and you must keep them perfectly. Sadly, no one can. If you have lied, or stolen one thing, or ever misused God’s name, God would see you as liars, thieves, and blasphemers. Jesus said that if you have ever gotten angry or hated someone, then you are a murderer. On Judgment Day you will be found guilty and end up in Hell. But that’s not God’s will. If you repent of your sin and trust in Jesus, who died for your sin, was buried and one the third day rose again, he will forgive you.”
At that point, the police stepped in and told me to rejoin the marchers. I wanted to say more but relented. When the police left, I went back and engaged in more friendly conversations—about the Savior.
Why would I do that and not argue this hot-button political issue? Because, when someone turns to Jesus, their heart and thinking will change over time. In fact, everything changes.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
***After reading about my article, my Canadian friend, Paul Latour brought his perspective to bear.
THE UNWELCOME GOSPEL
By Paul Latour of The Word Street Journal
Yesterday, the Texas Rally For Life was held in Austin, Texas. My good friend and brother, Steve Sanchez, of Johnson City, Texas, was in supportive attendance.
During the parade, he came across a line of women dressed up in “The Handmaids Tale” garb in protest of those who oppose the legal murder of babies otherwise known as “abortion.”
Steve, a well-seasoned street evangelist, took the opportunity to proclaim the gospel to the handmaids and other pro-abortion activists nearby.
No sooner did he begin was he approached by DTS troopers and ordered to move away.
I can see that happening if he or any other was yelling obscenities, insults, and threats towards the pro-abortion advocates but he was doing nothing more than showing compassion for them by preaching the message of God’s provision of mercy and eternal life via repentance and faith in Christ for their salvation.
Such is the message that can either draw people’s hearts to or from God, the latter being the norm in our post-modern, post-Christian, God-hating society.
FYI…Steve finished what he started, obeyed the troopers’ order by stepping down and moving on. Later, he was able to return and continue what he set out to do at the rally: demonstrate his support for the right to life AND profess Christ and Him crucified by preaching His saving gospel to all who would care to listen…or not.