Counterdemonstrators Protest Christian Coalition
"Celebration of Life" Rally
August 26, 1996
Counterdemonstrators protest Christian Coalition "Celebration of Life" Rally
A wide coalition of left, liberal, and feminist activists turned
out on the steps of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago to
protest the Christian Coalition anti-choice "Celebration of Life" rally. A
smaller group of Christian Coalitionites lingered outside to confront them
during the program inside the museum which was restricted to the public.
The two groups faced off across a police line, with the
progressive coalition confronting the Christian coalition members on
topics such as gay rights and immigration rights, as well as choice. The
strategy was conscientiously adopted by groups present such as Refuse &
Resist, a member of which described it as a national organization
interested in fighting the whole right-wing grassroots agenda, as opposed
to merely single issues.
Among the progressive-to-radical groups present in the pro-choice
faction were N.O.W., the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice,
several socialist and anarchist organizations, and Queer Nation.
Inside the museum the speakers included Ralph Reed, the Executive
Director of the National Christian Coalition currently under investigation
by the Federal government for possible abuse of its tax-free
organizational status, as well as five Democratic pro-life Representatives
explicitly courting the CC's support: Harold Volkner (MO), Colin Peterson
(MN), Ralph Hall (TX), Bart Stupak (MI), and Charles Stenholm (TX). The
mostly white, largely female crowd numbered approximately 400.
In his remarks, Reed reportedly said that though the Coalition had
been accused of trying to take over the Republican party, its goals were
much more ambitious. Also, Reed described the Democratic party as having a
tradition of being the voice of the oppressed -- blacks, workers, etc., --
and stated that the unborn should similarly be welcomed by the Democratic
party. Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Sr., and Ed Kennedy were labelled members
of a "Hall of Shame" of politicians on record as having converted from an
anti- to a pro-choice position. Reed did not comment on the current
Federal investigation of the group.
by Steve Sposato
This news alert issued by CounterMedia, a coalition of political
organizations, media groups and individuals dedicated to providing
alternative coverage of the Democratic National Convention and community
struggle in Chicago.
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