Cover Story

Frontline dispatches

WORLD's 10th Daniel of the Year represents all those fighting an evil empire

Issue: "Daniel of the Year," Dec. 15, 2007

A lawyer who lost his shot at the Supreme Court when he laid out the ugly moral and legal case against Bill Clinton. An attorney general who lost popularity by pushing the legal war against Muslim terrorists. A ministry leader who also told the truth about Islam as politicians whispered sweet nothings.

Ken Starr, John Ashcroft, and Franklin Graham were three of WORLD's Daniels of the Year.

A crusader for human and religious rights who traded aristocratic drawing rooms for the front lines of oppression. A southern Sudanese pastor who preached Christ as government forces from the North tried to annihilate his people. Young American Christians who professed their faith even when gunmen threatened to murder them, and sometimes did.

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Baroness Caroline Cox, Michael Yerko, and Generation WWJD-teens committed to Christ at Columbine High School and elsewhere-were three more of WORLD's Daniels of the Year.

A painter highly respected by other artists who risks his standing by showing Christ through his work and words. Two African Anglican bishops who battle Scripture-twisters in their denominational leadership. A professor ridiculed for jump-starting the Intelligent Design movement.

Makoto Fujimura, Archbishops Peter Akinola and Henry Luke Orombi, and Phillip Johnson were three other Daniels of the Year.

This is our 10th year of choosing a Dan of the Year, a very different individual from Time magazine's typically power-grasping Man of the Year (now Person of the Year). We've had some well-known Daniels and some little-known ones, but in all cases their faith in God gave them the strength to stand up against tyrants who tried to put themselves in God's place. That's what made them Daniels: They exhibited bravery in defense of God's authority, not their own autonomy.

We've tried to choose individuals notable for their own work but also representative of Christian efforts in a variety of frontline fields. We have not yet covered many areas, but one omission is particularly glaring.

That night was a nightmare for me. My wife was ready for an appointment next morning with an abortion clinic. I wanted to stop her but could not convince her. I was searching the Internet and saw your profile on AOL. You were online. I sent you an instant message and told you what my wife wanted. You wrote me about the procedure and consequences of abortion. I showed that to my wife and she agreed not to go for an abortion. The baby was born in October. Today he is a three-year-old, bringing joy and happiness in our lives every moment. I have no words to thank you for what you have done for me, my wife and the baby.

The woman who received that email, Wanda Kohn, had faced her own abortion decision in 1977, when she was 17, and given in to death. During the 1980s she became a Christian and came to understand that women who had aborted could still receive God's forgiveness. She began volunteering for the Pregnancy Care Center in Leesburg, Fla., in 1989, and five years ago she became its director.

That pro-life center is one of thousands throughout the country with low-paid directors and unpaid volunteer counselors: Those directors and volunteers are WORLD's Daniels of the Year for 2007, and Wanda Kohn represents them well. She has impressed even liberal journalists such as Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie, who headlined one column, "Wanda Kohn-she is what I want to be." Ritchie called Kohn "Leesburg's version of Mother Teresa. . . . She is passionately anti-abortion, but tempers it with practicality that provides a place to live and diapers."

Passion plus practicality. Kohn over the past two years has occasionally emailed me, at my request, dispatches from the front lines like this one:

She's sweet but scared, and she's carried a huge burden for months as she's hid her pregnancy. I asked her, do you believe in God? Yes. Do you believe what the Bible says? Yes. Do you know what the Bible says about abortion? No, I haven't really read the Bible much. So I proceeded to tell her how God calls us to protect the innocent (her baby) and how much He hates abortion. How He created the womb as a place for safety not danger, etc. Talked about honoring God in her decisions . . . doing things His way instead of her own. . . . She's not going to have an abortion. Thank you Jesus!

But that doesn't always happen. A counselor may give everything she has, and a young woman may still choose abortion:


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