The prayer rally included trucks with pictures of aborted fetuses.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- A small gathering of anti-abortion activists prayed for a George Bush victory downtown Monday, as passers-by gaped at two trucks plastered with large, graphic displays of aborted fetuses.
The group, composed of members of several anti-abortion organizations including Operation Rescue and The Christian Defense Coalition, is on a 15-day Prayer for Life Tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania. They began the tour Oct. 17 in Lancaster, Pa., and their daily stops have included Erie and Pittsburgh. Youngstown was their first stop in Ohio, and they were set to be in Cleveland on Monday night. They will visit city halls in Columbus, Cincinnati and Zanesville.
The vans circled the block as the group gathered near the corner of Phelps and Boardman streets during lunch-hour traffic. Slogans on the trucks read: "Kerry/Edwards: A bloody team for a bloody America" and "Kerry's 'Choice.'"
Pedestrians reacted with comments including "nasty" and "sick." A few stood listening across the street or nearby.
Why they support Bush
The Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Coalition told about 10 people that Bush supports traditional Christian values in three areas: the sanctity of life, support of religious freedom and freedom of expression in the public square.
"Based on the teachings of the historic Christ, there is no doubt President Bush's public policies embrace these truths," he said.
"We believe in prayer in public," the Rev. Mr. Mahoney said, "and we're going to pray that God grants President Bush four more years."
"Everything that is in my heart is on the side of that truck," Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told the group. "When we go to the poll booth on Nov. 2, there are 45 million who won't be heard from."
"We must build a culture of life and we must begin on Nov. 2," he said.
Mr. Mahoney is from Washington, D.C., and Newman is from Seattle.
Mr. Mahoney said they chose Ohio and Pennsylvania because of their important positions in the upcoming elections.
Local people attending the prayer session included the Rev. William J. Witt, founder of Friends of Life, and a few members of his organization.