By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
SALEM — Mike Huckabee spoke in general terms, but then in very specific terms, as he sought to prod to real action an estimated 2,000 total attenders at rallies here and in Portland and Medford.
In general terms, he called for his audiences simply to take seriously the horrendous loss of 60 million unborn lives to abortion in America and to “do something” for the cause of life. “This is really a stain on a country that ought to be protecting innocent life,” he said at Peoples Church in Salem Jan. 21.
But at rallies on both Jan. 21 and 22 sponsored by Oregon Life United, he also got down to the specific goal of the events — to see enough signatures gathered statewide to put on November’s Oregon ballot a measure to halt state funding of abortion.
“I have a good idea that you’d like to see that money going for something better than the taking of a human life,” he said.
Huckabee. the former three-term governor of Arkansas, two-time presidential candidate, former pastor and current host of a weekly program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, received an enthusiastic response at all three rallies; about 500 attended Sunday afternoon at the Red Lion on the River in Portland, more than 1,000 that evening in Salem and then about 600 on Monday at Bethel Church in Medford.
Hundreds indicated their willingness to help circulate petitions to secure the needed 117,000 signatures of registered voters by late May, and preferably as many as 150,000. Already 92,000 people have signed since the drive began last summer.
Huckabee’s faith-motivated stance on the controversial abortion issue has been long known to the nation. He opposes any public funding for abortion, and believes that abortion should be legal only when the life of the mother is at risk. He told the Salem crowd that, from his perspective, it is not a political matter, but rather one that goes to the core of basic human existence.
“The bigger issue is, what kind of civilization do we want to have,” he said. “There’s no more vulnerable person among us than an unborn child.”
He likened the abortion deaths to the Holocaust of Nazi Germany. During a visit one time with his then-young daughter to one of the former concentration camps where millions of Jews were exterminated, she wrote afterward in a visitor’s book, “Why didn’t somebody do something?” to stop the tragedy.
That young girl, Huckabee proudly noted, is Sarah Huckabee Sanders — now White House press secretary. He said she learned at a young age the importance of acting to halt injustice.
“Will you be a somebody who does something?” Huckabee asked those at the rally. “Let’s make Oregon a pro-life place.”
He said it took three tries in his home state of Arkansas to see a similar initiative pass. “Never, never, never give up,” he said. “And this is why — greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.”
Jeff Jimerson, Oregon Life United founder and director, explained that this third attempt since 2012 at securing needed signatures got off to a solid start. Thus far 550 churches have assisted and he hopes to enlist as many as 2,000 statewide.
“We’re in this to win it,” he said.
For more information, go to oregonlifeunited.org