Don’t Sink the Ship!

During the War of 1812 the peerless power of the Royal Navy enabled Britain to blockade the eastern coast of the US and thus severely limit merchant trade and the supply of needed war supplies.  The USS Chesapeake, commanded by James Lawrence, sailed from Boston on June 1, 1813. Almost immediately the Chesapeake clashed with the HMS Shannon. Within minutes the Chesapeake was disabled and her captain lay mortally wounded on the deck. As his men worked to move him below Captain Lawrence gave the order that has become immortal: “Don’t give up the ship!”

In 2013 we are engaged in a struggle to preserve the values that we hold dear. We expect to clash with progressives, statists, and others from the left on every relevant issue facing our society. When it comes time to do battle for those things we believe in, I expect my brothers in arms to stand with me.

However, it seems that some who call themselves conservative, or who at least want the support of conservatives, have given up the ship.

When they need donations, they reach out to us. When they need volunteers, our phones ring. When it is time for us to cast our ballots, they tell us that they are our candidates.  But when cannons begin to fire, they are quick to surrender.

Throughout 2011 and 2012, many life-loving conservatives worked for the passage of Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill.  This bill passed the Ohio House and was sent to the Senate for a vote. To no one’s surprise, Planned Parenthood, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), and other pro-abortion groups closed ranks and prepared to do battle against this life-saving legislation that threatened their multi-billion-dollar business.

Many of us were surprised, however, when those we counted as friends at Ohio Right to Life and the Republican-controlled Senate refused to support what Dr. Jack Willke called “a major advance in once again protecting all unborn babies.”  These “friends,” who fly the banner of “right to life” and campaign as pro-life candidates have given up the ship.  Another battle we are engaged in is the battle for the traditional family. No civilization has long endured after losing this fight. As concerned conservatives, we anticipate clashing with Equality Ohio and other groups that push the radical gay agenda.  But we also expect those whom we helped to reach elected office to stand with us, and we expect the political party that most of us identify with to hear our concerns. Recently, however, we have been disappointed on both fronts, as Senator Rob Portman deserted us and embraced homosexual marriage, and the Republican Party named Matt Borges as its new chairman (see OCR: “Conservatives Smacked Again by Ohio Republican Party”).

Many conservatives had donated, walked neighborhoods for, and asked their friends to vote for Portman. When he was elected, we celebrated, thinking that we had won a victory. Now we regret helping him campaign. Rob Portman has given up the ship.

Matt Borges’s resume includes working for Equality Ohio, which was founded in 2005 by radical LGBT activists to fight against Ohio’s marriage amendment, which Ohio’s voters approved in 2004. Now one of Equality Ohio’s lobbyists is the head of the Ohio Republican Party.  The ORP has given up the ship.

Our values are worth fighting for.  Just as Captain James Lawrence uttered so long ago, today I implore my conservative friends: when the battle seems to go against us; when those you call friends and even respect as leaders desert the battle, “Don’t give up the ship!”


Tim O’Bryant is the assistant pastor at Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Kettering, Ohio.  He is also a Realtor, small business owner and firearms instructor.

All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.


Sources & References:

Alex Stuckey, Heartbeat Bill Divides Ohio Anti-abortion Leaders

 Ann Sanner and Julie Carr Smyth, Ohio Senate Puts End to Heartbeat Abortion Bill

The Facts on H.B. 125 The Heartbeat Bill

Rachel Weiner, Rob Portman loses GOP Support After Backing Gay Marriage

 Ben Johnson, Conservatives Revolt as Gay Marriage Lobbyist Appointed Head of Ohio Republican Party.