In memory of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, about 40 people gathered Sunday in Brookings to learn how to defend their pro-life beliefs.

Hosting the third-annual Respect for Life rally was Father Justus Alaeto of Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Bob St. Jean served as master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker was Pastor Jim Schultz of Lighthouse Assembly of God, who shared information from the Life Training Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I was very pleased with the turnout,” Schultz told the Pilot. “I received a lot of positive feedback.”

Schultz said there was discussion about when life begins, but the main focus was on being an apologist, one who presents an argument for their beliefs.

The workshop included an handout titled “Making a Case for Life on Hostile Turf.” The worksheet specifies words to avoid that could give the person making the opposite argument leverage to fight back.

Schultz stressed the importance of remaining calm and for the speaker to not lose their cool.

“It’s hard to keep your emotions out of it,” Schultz admitted, “but we believe in the power of reasoning.”

Staying focused is important, he said.

It was stressed that, to make an argument, the person must know both sides of the issue. They must know their pro-life beliefs, but also the pro-choice principles. The apologist should also discuss science and philosophy using both sides of the issue.

Schultz said he believes the pro-life cause is most effective at the grassroots level. He doesn’t see the Roe v. Wade decision allowing pro-choice decisions to be overturned anytime soon.

However, at the state and local levels there have been many victories.

“More than 350 pro-life laws have been passed since 2010,” Schultz said. These laws were passed at the state levels.

The rally ended with a question-and-answer session, and a discussion of follow-up events including end-of-life issues that include assisted suicide.

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