A testimony to the power of faith and to the “26th victim,” an unborn child

By Dave Andrusko

On November 8, we posted a story under the headline, “A tally of 26 murder victims that includes ‘space for one more’–an unborn child.”

I wrote about the awful slaughter of parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Sheriffs found the bodies of 22 of the victims in the church “but by their reasoning,” wrote Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times, “one more victim died there — inside the womb of Crystal Holcombe, who was killed in the pews along with three of her five children.”

The story was not primarily about the carnage. It was essentially Goodstein rounding up a veteran pro-abortionist to grouse about Unborn Victims of Violence laws variations of which are on the books in 38 states. Goodstein correctly reminded her readers that the federal law recognizing unborn children as second victims passed in 2004 after a five-year-long battle.

If the Times story was a low point, the high point probably was a touching, tender story that ran this week in the Washington Post: “Family that lost 10 members in Texas church massacre remembered,” by Eva Ruth Moravec.

I dropped Ms. Moravec a line this morning. I told her that her story simultaneously broke my heart and raised my spirits.

Here is her lead:

FLORESVILLE, Tex. — Thousands of mourners said goodbye and celebrated the lives of an extended family that lost 10 of its members nearly two weeks ago in a mass shooting inside their small-town Texas church.

Colorful caskets contained the bodies of three generations of the Holcombe family, from an unborn child and a 1-year-old to the church’s 60-year-old associate pastor. Mourners overfilled an event center here, full of sorrow and of hope, knowing that the members of a deeply faithful family — who had been praising God when killed — were now home in heaven.

None of the nonsensical critiques of “counting” an unborn child among the fatalities. Not once but twice she writes about the “unborn child.”

Also none of the condescending tone that can (hopefully inadvertently) creep into any story of people of faith facing an unexplainable, unimaginable horror. None of the hints that they are irredeemables who ought to know better—that death is the end.

I could write a lot more, but Ms. Moravec’s conclusion speaks volumes and is far more eloquent:

Many in the community have turned to their faith to help cope with their losses, and the church decided not to hide the scene of the crime; instead leaders had it cleaned, painted and made into a standing memorial for those killed inside. White chairs embossed with the names of those who died — along with single red roses — stand solemnly in a stark-white sanctuary.

The day of the shootings, Bryan Holcombe, the associate pastor, was filling in for the church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, who happened to be out of town that day; Holcombe was on his way to the pulpit when he was killed. Both he and wife Karla, 58, taught their children to live their lives for the glory of God, friends and relatives said. Pomeroy buried his 14-year-old daughter Annabelle — who was killed in the attack — this week.

Bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” while pallbearers slowly rolled the caskets out to hearses that took the victims to a private burial. While many in attendance dabbed their eyes with tissues — individually bagged with a note from schoolchildren — some hummed along.