Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes speaks at ‘40 Days’ rally

CHARLESTON — Alan Keyes, a 2008 presidential nominee for America’s Independent Party, was the featured speaker at the 40 Days for Life Mid-way Rally in Charleston March 21.

During a phone interview with The Miscellany, he said it is part of his mission to join people who are mobilizing to end abortion and to make sure efforts to promote respect in every way are continued with unflagging devotion.

Keyes said he always does his best to help people understand that all the crises afflicting the world are the result of the basic moral collapse of society.

“The issue that most epitomizes the collapse of our morals is society’s willingness to turn its back on God’s gift of life,” he said.

The midway rally started at 8 a.m. in front of Charleston Women’s Medical Center, where abortions are performed. Father Edward W. Fitzgerald, pastor of Divine Redeemer Church in Hanahan, led the rosary and prayers.

Father Jesuprathap Narichetti, administrator of Our Lady of Good Counsel on Folly Beach, also spoke.

The fickle March weather was cool but sunny and Keyes delivered his message with zeal. Observers said he was unperturbed by the volunteer escorts at the clinic who tried to disrupt his speech by booing and making loud comments to nearby spectators.

He told participants they were not there to be praised for their actions or to receive glory, but because they were called to be there by Christ.

“Bear the ridicule of the world, bear the burden of responsibility to our God,” Keyes said.

As he spoke, the estimated crowd of about 150 pro-life advocates did their best to ignore the distractions around them and focus on the message.

“We are not here to win the world’s approval. We are here to bear witness for God’s will for human life,” he said.

Keyes, 58, was born on Long Island, N.Y. He received a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in government affairs from Harvard University.

A Roman Catholic, Keyes is a long-time leader in the conservative movement and a staunch pro-life champion. He held several high-level posts under President Ronald Reagan. In 2008, he left the Republican Party to run as an independent.

Tim Cox, an organizer of the rally, said he arranged for Keyes to be the featured speaker at the instruction of the Lord. “I prayed and God put him on my heart, so I made some phone calls,” Cox said. “It was that simple.”

Cox is a member of Beth Shofar Messianic Congregation in Mount Pleasant, a congregation of Jews and Gentiles who believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel.

He said Keyes provides an important contrast to the beliefs of President Barack Obama.

Keyes confessed that he is disappointed in the results of the election and the repercussions already being felt by pro-life advocates. He said, however, that he has learned that just when it looks like all is failing and all we have to rely on is God, we realize that all we need to rely on is God, and fear and anxiety suddenly turn to joy.

“God’s enough,” he said. “God’s more than enough. God can get it done.”

He added that the turmoil currently facing America and the world are actually a wonderful gift and opportunity from the Lord, and said he hopes people will discover the true fountain of their spiritual strength and shine with clarity in the Catholic faith.

40 Days for Life started Feb. 25 and ends April 5. The campaign’s vision is to access God’s power through 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach to end abortion in America.

Closing ceremonies will be held April 5 and include speakers Beatrice Fedor, a member of Silent No More; and Father Peter West, the associate director of Priests for Life. Father West will also celebrate all Masses at Our Lady of Good Counsel that day.