Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dr. Alan Keyes addresses SWAC conservatives

Dr. Alan Keyes at Tuesday's ComfortCare banquet.

Del. Chris Saxman (R-House 20) and his daughter, Mary.

A sold-out crowd of 240 listened as Dr. Keyes spoke. He had addressed a crowd of 275 in the same room the night before.

Bob Stuart with the Waynesboro News Virginian talks with Dr. Keyes.

Many tables were sponsored by groups. The Blue Ridge Church of Christ table included Mr. and Mrs. Bev Cundiff, Mr. and Mrs. Craig Smith, and Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Michael.

Tuesday was an evening for SWAC area conservatives to gather in support of the Comfort Care Women's Health Center (formerly the Pregnancy Crisis Center) at the annual fundraising banquet that featured Dr. Alan Keyes as its speaker.

A Harvard graduate who is conservative, he is a long-time leader in the conservative movement and well-known as a staunch pro-life champion. He received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in government affairs from Harvard, and has run on the Republican ticket for U.S. Senate (in 2004 he challenged Barack Obama in Illinois) and U.S. President.

In 2008 Dr. Keyes severed his Republican Party affiliation and has worked with America's Independent Party to build an effective vehicle for citizen-led grassroots political action.

Dr. Keyes did not disappoint Tuesday night. Though he has been part of the political scene since the days of Ronald Reagan when he served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, he shifted to his pastor's cap to address the pro-life crowd.

With his voice rising and falling as he made a point, he emphasized that politics and the very existence and survival of a nation depended on its foundation. Years of legal abortions, he said, have been just one step in the process and America is about to take the next step (never specifically mentioning the "death panels" of Barack Obama's nationalized health care but it was clearly understood).

He compared the 9/11/01 terrorism attacks on America when innocent lives were disregarded with the "wholesale" terrorism already in place due to abortions which he called child murder ... "licensing the murder of children."

This country, Dr. Keyes declared, has been blessed beyond imagination but has turned its back on God. Like the Twin Towers, it is crumbling as our liberty, elections, and dreams are now under threat. What judgment, he asked, is there for a nation that allows abortion? He was speaking to a receptive audience that responded with applause throughout the 30-plus minutes of remarks.

Touching personal testimonies were provided by two women who took separate paths when confronted with the life-alternating news that they were pregnant. One who had contemplated abortion decided instead on giving her child up for adoption ... the other kept her little girl who was born six months ago and accompanied her mom to the banquet.

Bob Stuart with the Waynesboro News Virginian was at the banquet to talk with Dr. Keyes afterwards about some political issues that were not mentioned during his formal remarks:
[Dr. Keyes] said the current unrest could be "the greatest crisis ever in the history of the American Republica."

"People are angry and dismayed and don't know where to go," Keyes said.

Keyes does not just blame the administration of President Barack Obama, but what he described as a group of American elites, ruling the country.

"There are czars, bureaucrats and a handful of politicians who are deciding health care," Keyes said. Generations will be "enslaved" by the debt Washington is accumulating, he said.
Sponsors for the event were from throughout the SWAC area including Philip and Kathie Zodhiates with Response Unlimited (and who hosted Dr. Keyes at their home for this event), Cornerstone Construction of Augusta, Gary Eavers with Eavers Tire, Michael and SallyAnn Gowen with Shenandoah Eye Care, and Gary Lee Eavers with The Cheese Shop.

Many volunteers including a number of home school parents and their teen children helped with food service, registration, set-up and clean-up, and everything that goes into such a production.

ComfortCare Women's Health provides all services free of charge for every patient regardless of income level, race, or religion. Lay persons and medical professionals donate over 4,000 hours of time annually to provide pregnancy confirmation, counseling, nurse's consultation, and STD testing.

Patient demographics for the SWAC area show the average patient is 22 years old, 70% are single, 50% are still in school, the average income if $14,000 or below or still a dependent, with service distribution divided up with 42% Staunton, 29% Waynesboro, and 25% Augusta County.

The annual fundraising banquet raises 25% of the annual operating budget and is sustained by over 2,000 individuals, 100 churches, and 100 businesses. ComfortCare is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization ... contributions are tax-deductible.

I had the pleasure of being introduced to Dr. Keyes which provided the opportunity to thank him for his work throughout the years. I also had the opportunity to hug my friend Chris Saxman and his daughter, Mary, who has grown into a beautiful young lady. Chris and I talked football (we were texting back and forth during the Steelers-Vikings game Sunday) and politics (imagine that!), and about Dr. Keyes.

It was a good evening of fellowship spent with many friends from throughout the SWAC conservative community for a good cause that has been growing for years.

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