Randall Terry, a once prominent anti-abortion activist, is trying to work his way back into the national spotlight.
Terry made a name for himself and his group, Operation Rescue, in the 1980s and into the ’90s by leading raucous protests at abortion clinics around the country. For a time, he was arguably the best-known anti-abortion leader in the nation. A messy divorce, excommunication from his church and a failed political career pushed Terry to the back burner.
During August’s Democratic National Convention in Denver, Terry was among 13 protestors who were arrested after they blocked a public street and ignored police orders to move. A press release issued in advance of the event said Terry and other “Catholic and Evangelical Christians will peacefully ‘break the law’ to protest the slaughter of the innocent by abortion, and to call on fellow Christians to reject the Obama/Biden ‘Ticket of Death.’”
The event may signal that Terry hopes to lead the anti-abortion movement once again, after a decade of assuming a lower profile.
In November 1998, Terry ran for Congress in New York’s 26th congressional district. He took less than 7 percent of the vote (although he did secure a glowing endorsement from Religious Right honcho James Dobson, who said Terry is a “great friend of the family.”)
Terry’s life went downhill from there. In 1999, Terry was tossed out of his house of worship, Landmark Church in Binghamton, N.Y., for allegedly abandoning his wife and children and engaging in sinful relationships with other women. (In 2005, Terry converted to Catholicism.)
Terry moved to Vermont where he launched a campaign against the legalization of same-sex unions. After a few years there, he relocated to Nashville and attempted to start a new career as a country singer. That also bombed.
In 2006, Terry reemerged in Florida, where he ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature, losing 2-1 in the Republican primary to a candidate who was accused of frequenting strip clubs and taking donations from strip club owners.
Commenting on Terry’s checkered career on AU’s “Wall of Separation” blog, Director of Communications Joe Conn observed, “Randall, get a clue. Americans have rejected your message of extremism. America to Randall Terry: Get lost already!”