It’s been rockin’ the U.S. for many years with the pro-life message and now it’s spreading in Canada.
Rock for Life started in this country in 2002 and in the time since, has already established itself with chapters in Calgary, High River and Westlock in Alberta, as well as Prince George and Victoria in B.C.
It was also the subject of a feature article in the Calgary Herald newspaper on May 15, 2004. Writer Joe Woodard noted that Rock for Life was a “somewhat anarchic sign of things to come” and that although its supporters encounter a lot of swearing and middle-finger salutes, the good responses they receive far outweigh the bad.
As with its American counterpart, based in Stafford, Va., and founded in 1993, Rock for Life in Canada is committed to “offering the truth about abortion, infanticide and euthanasia” to youth through music and ministry. It also serves as a counterweight to musical acts that outspokenly support the anti-life cause. Rock for Life supporters can often be seen in their trademark “Abortion is Homicide” T-shirts.
Joanne Pollock is head of the Calgary chapter and, with Edmonton chapter leader Mark Isinger, was instrumental in bringing Rock for Life to Canada. She said Canadians are now working to establish a distinctive Canadian Rock for Life organization, a website, a clearinghouse for pro-life materials and speakers’ bureau, among other things.
“Mark is a drummer and I play a bunch of things, depending on the day,” laughs Pollock. “Our Calgary chapter has a band. I started off doing talks with Mark. Now, I do talks with a guy from Calgary. The band goes out to schools and youth groups. We incorporate music as part of our talk … We show up at Christian concerts by groups that are supportive and set up tables there to sell T-shirts and start new discussions. It’s a way to explain the issues.”
Pollock stressed that Rock for Life is not just for those who play a musical instrument, but for anyone who enjoys music and wants to reach out to youth with a pro-life message.
“There are so many musicians supporting Rock for Choice, or pro-choice and anti-family things, that we want to have an alternative. So people don’t have to be musicians, just into music. And we do a number of different projects, not just music. We do speaking, training, prayer services outside abortion clinics, lobbying the government …”
Pollock said one of Rock for Life in Canada’s big projects right now is a youth pledge, for which it hopes to get 100,000 signatures. The completed pledge is to be sent to the prime minister and federal minister of health.
The Canadian chapters try to keep an eye on what pro-abortion acts in Canada are up to – the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin are two of the most prominent examples – and warn people to stay away from concerts by pro-abortion American bands when they tour in Canada. (In fact, at this writing, Pollock was spreading the word for young people to stay away from a scheduled Calgary concert by pro-abortion U.S. band Green Day.)
The international Rock for Life website, at www.rockforlife.org, includes resources such as a boycott list of pro-abortion bands, as well as a support list of bands that are friendly to the pro-life cause.
“Unfriendly” bands are not limited to the abortion issue, however. A news report recently noted that more than 30 music acts contributed to a CD called Love Rocks, the proceeds from which were to go the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign’s “push for equality” for homosexuals. Yoko Ono, Christina Aguilera, the Dixie Chicks, Carole King, Melissa Etheridge and Dolly Parton were among the contributors. (Many of these artists are also abortion advocates).
Pollock said Rock for Life hasn’t yet had the ability to demonstrate at concerts by pro-abortion bands in Canada, mainly out of liability concerns, since most of its current membership is under the age of 18. But that will likely change in the future as chapters spring up across Canada and youth of all ages get involved.
She said a priority is getting Rock for Life chapters established in all parts of Canada, rather than just in Alberta and B.C. She encourages anyone with an interest in setting up a chapter or getting involved otherwise to contact her or the international Rock for Life office in Virginia (contact info below).
“The (Virginia office) can set them up and give them a lot of support. And we can provide them with info on what’s going on in Canada, so we can co-ordinate our efforts up here and sell some Canadian merchandise,” she said.
Apart from new chapters, Rock for Life is always on the lookout for new events with which it can get involved. The annual March for Life in Ottawa might be one of those. In the U.S., Rock for Life is intimately involved with the Washington, D.C. march every January by staging a weekend-long training seminar for interested youth.
If you’d like to know more about Rock for Life in Canada, are interested in possibly setting up a chapter in your area or want to sign the youth pledge, you can e-mail either Pollock at email@example.com or the international Rock for Life office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The international office can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, Va, U.S.A., 22555. And its website again is at www.rockforlife.org