MIAMI COUNTY — It is not very often that citizens get to travel to Washington D.C. to talk with their representative, but Dale Christian, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Troy, was one of 10 pastors who got to speak with Speaker of the House John Boehner.
A group of 10 pastors, representing pastors from Ohio’s District 8, went to Washington D.C. to meet with Boehner, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, Ohio Senator Rob Portman and South Carolina Representative Mark Meadows on Sept. 17.
Their purpose: to make an appeal to defund Planned Parenthood and ask the leaders to support the pro-life cause.
Christian said it started back in April. He had scheduled his summer preaching series, “Culture Shock,” which focused on cultural concerns of the church and ministry. One of those concerns was abortion, with the sermon coming on Aug. 2, about a week after the controversial Planned Parenthood videos regarding selling fetal body parts became known.
“Johnathan Newman (Pastor at Koinos Church) called me and said, ‘Dale, what are we going to do?’” he said. “There must be something we can do as pastors instead of sit idly by.”
Christian said he agreed with Newman, but did not know what they could do, to which Newman suggested arranging a meeting with Boehner.
The next week there was a meeting of pastors, and from that meeting six pastors from Ohio’s District 8 agreed to do something. The week afterward, 21 pastors had joined the appeal, and from there it was decided to write a letter requesting to meet with Boehner and to appeal to him to defund Planned Parenthood through must-pass legislation that was signed by as many pastors as possible.
“We had 70 from District 8 sign, and 19 from outside the district, so a total of 89 signed the letter that went to Mr. Boehner,” he said. “It was really grassroots and what was interesting is that the staffer told us this was the first time they had received a letter from so many people on one subject.”
The group of 10 left on Sept. 16 to drive to Washington D.C. Christian said that Troy Ford donated the van, which he expressed his gratitude for. They arrived at the capital at 8 p.m., did some sightseeing from 9-11 p.m. and then woke up the next morning at 6 a.m. for the 1 p.m. meeting with Boehner.
“In each of the meetings, we had one person that was going to introduce us, the second person that would elaborate on our appeal, and a third one that was going to ask if we could close in prayer, which all of the congressmen agreed to and we appreciated,” he said. “There were three set to speak but that wasn’t prohibiting anyone else from speaking.”
Christian expressed his gratitude to Boehner for being willing to meet with them and said the purpose of the meeting was not to call anyone out or issue criticism.
“Our appeal was to take leadership on this particular issue, as it was to all the other men,” he said. “Our appeal to them was to stand up at a time like this and lead, because I think the American people are craving strong leadership in all areas and especially our area of defunding Planned Parenthood.”
Christian talked about the Hyde Amendment, which was introduced by Congressman Henry Hyde and states that no federal dollars can be used to fund a voluntary abortion. The pastors commended Boehner for calling Hyde his hero, and noted that Boehner has received the Henry Hyde Award.
“In light of that, he is a friend to the pro-life cause, but we believe that now is the time because of the horrific things that have exposed concerning Planned Parenthood, now is the time to take action, and we need strong leadership in this area.”
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at [email protected] or on Twitter @Troydailynews.