Memorial: 50 million pennies for 50 million babies aborted
From the Clarion-Ledger, December 2:
There's a half million dollars sitting on the corner of Mississippi and President streets [in Jackson, MS], but no one could possibly steal it.
That's because the cash is in the form of pennies - 50 million of them - that collectively weigh 156 tons.
The coins, which fill a glass house on the grounds of the Mississippi Baptist Convention building, provide a visual reminder of the number of abortions performed in the United States since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. [Photo above shows memorial with only 26 million pennies in 2007.]...
"We just needed something to memorialize and help people see the magnitude of abortion over the last several decades," said the Rev. Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention's Christian Action Commission.
Called the "Memorial to the Missing," the penny-filled structure is a project of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, which set out more than two years ago to collect one penny for each child who would have been born were it not for legalized abortion.
Now that the convention reached its goal of collecting 50 million pennies, it plans to invest the money in a fund dedicated to anti-abortion causes.
"I think it's been real effective," said the Rev. Clarence Cooper, who was president of the convention when the memorial was erected on Mother's Day weekend in 2006, "especially to those who have taken the time to read the large plaque that is there."
The plaque says the coins not only represent aborted babies but "the difficult process of decision-making, fear and loneliness" involved with abortion. It asks passersby to "stop, pray, consider what we are doing as a nation, ask God to forgive us, seek ways to help those who are struggling with the decision and look to the Lord to restore each of us."
Convention spokesman William Perkins said people often stop at the container to pray and insert their own coins into the structure's penny slot.
"There are a number of stories we've heard about grandparents who walk by and saw it and read the plaque and dug in their pockets and put pennies in the memorial for grandchildren who have been aborted," he said. "It's been an interesting couple of years."
Meanwhile, continued contributions can be made to the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission.
Removing the pennies from the container will be no easy feat.
"It will be interesting to see how that's done," Perkins said. "There's no clear-cut way to do that."
The coins are piled 6 feet deep in the 13-by-7 glass house.
The structure weighs more than 300,000 pounds - or the equivalent of 100 sedans stacked on top of each other.
The container is made of steel and bullet-proof glass and is reinforced by five concrete pilings buried 14 feet into the ground.
The first batch of 20 million pennies were poured into the container when the memorial was dedicated in 2006....
Perkins said the memorial's position facing the MS State Capitol sends a message to legislators that MS Baptists support laws that oppose abortion.
"This is one of the most pro-life states in the country as far as our Legislature goes," he said.
There is only one abortion provider in MS, and the state has some of most restrictive abortion laws in the country....