Why do pro-lifers fund abortion? Pro-life churchgoers are among the most charitable Americans in the country, yet they often donate to causes that clash with their core beliefs.
Regular church attendance manifests itself in other ways, as well, including impacting a congregant's views on important life and family issues, such as abortion. An article in LifeNews.com in 2011 cited figures from a Gallup analysis of polls it conducted on abortion from 2008-2011 that compared respondents' frequency of church attendance with how pro-life they were.
The poll isolated Republicans from Democrats, to separate political influence from religious influence, but the results were still dramatic.
Eighty-four percent of Republicans who were weekly churchgoers said they were pro-life, while only 47 percent of Republicans who seldom or never attend church proclaimed themselves to be pro-life.
Democrats who are weekly churchgoers were actually pro-life 48 percent versus 40 percent. As expected, however, Democrats who seldom or never attended religious services were overwhelmingly pro-abortion, with 77 percent calling themselves "pro-choice" compared with just 19 percent who said they were pro-life.
To summarize these surveys and studies: a higher percentage of people of faith --if identified by those who attend church on a weekly basis--give to charity than those who rarely attend church. And this same demographic--weekly churchgoers, whether they are Republicans or Democrats--are much more likely to identify themselves as "pro-life" than those who seldom attend church.
A fair conclusion, therefore, is that these same churchgoing people of faith who donate generously to charity and who are also pro-life would want their donations to be used in ways compatible with their religious principles. They most certainly would not want their donations used in ways that undermine their faith, and especially not to promote abortion.
Unfortunately, that is often exactly what happens.
A study of many charitable, nonprofit organizations reveals that while many are faithful to their stated missions, others advance socially liberal agendas that are anathema to moral conservatives. And the morally and constitutionally conservative donors who provide a substantial amount of the funding for these nonprofits are often unaware of how their donations are used.
In an article published in 2009, "Time for Conservatives to Stop Financing the Left," veteran conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie and constitutional attorney Mark Fitzgibbons wrote that determining which nonprofits are worthy of support is not always as easy as it might seem. They noted:
It's easy to spot openly left-wing nonprofits such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood. But supposedly non-ideological charities have become mouthpieces for liberalism, even socialism. For example, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Catholic Charities, and others recently slapped their conservative donors in the face by praising the highly partisan stimulus bill.
We will provide a brief sampling of what we have discovered about many leading American charities. Because the number of nonprofits is almost uncountable, however, Viguerie and Fitzgibbons recommended that conservatives visit David Horowitz's DiscoverTheNetworks.org, which they say "does a good job identifying some of the more notorious left-wing organizations."
Last fall, Forbes published a list of the 50 largest U.S. charities, ranked according to the amount of private donations received. Number one on the list was United Way, with receipts of $3.9 billion. The parent United Way organization, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, works with more than 1,200 local United Way offices throughout the country. Since each local United Way office determines which charitable organizations it will support through its grant programs in its own area, it is undeniable that much United Way money goes to worthwhile projects.
However, a curious category on United Way's website refers to "public policy work," which indicates that the organization does not limit itself to direct aid, but seeks to influence "public" (government) policy. Such suspicions are confirmed when we read the online pamphlet entitled "Advancing the Common Good: United Way Policy Agenda for the 113th Congress." What is immediately apparent from this stated agenda is that United Way, by making an effort to influence Congress, is moving from the realm of private charity to being an advocate for federal aid, which is not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.
In addition to lobbying the federal government to expand its reach beyond the area mandated by the Constitution, United Way has in the past used its funds in ways many donors would have moral objections to.
An article on LifeNews.com for October 24, 2011 reported that--while each local United Way determines whom it will support, and most United Way organizations claim they do not fund programs for abortion services--"some do support Planned Parenthood or other abortion-advocate agencies."
The writer, Texas Right to Life President Jim Graham, notes that despite United Way's claim on its website that none of its funds are currently used, or have ever been used, to support abortion services, "any finances being donated to Planned Parenthood (even if not specifically for abortion services) will free up more of their money to be used toward abortion services."
And the bottom line is that in 2008, local United Ways distributed an estimated $1.9 million to Planned Parenthood agencies.
United Way is far from the only organization providing funds for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood also receives funding from organizations that many Americans would consider to be worthwhile assets to the community.
Most Americans do not know the entire story behind Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nonprofit breast cancer awareness organization known for popularizing pink ribbons to remind people to donate to their cause and for staging 5K "Race for the Cure" events, Komen ranks 30th in the Forbes list, having received $330 million in private donations in 2013.
Starting in 2007, Komen provided money to pay for 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and affiliates. But on January 31, 2012, Komen stopped funding Planned Parenthood, citing a congressional investigation by Rep. Cliff Steams (R-Fla.) into Planned Parenthood's performing abortions while accepting federal funding, as well as an internal rule against funding organizations under any federal, state, or local investigation.
While the move was applauded by prolifers, pro-abortion advocates raised a hullabaloo, and many increased their donations to Planned Parenthood to make up for the loss.
Komen's Board of Directors fled from the controversy quickly. Just four days later, they reversed their decision to defund Planned Parenthood, stating that they would amend the policy to "make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political."
Other organizations that family-value donors have confidence in, such as the Girl Scouts, while not providing funding for Planned Parenthood, support the abortion provider's work and encourage the girls under its guidance to rely on it as a source for making important life decisions. This past winter, a coalition of national and local pro-life organizations joined in calling for a boycott of the Girl Scouts' annual cookie drive because of the Girl Scouts USA's support for Planned Parenthood.
Among the groups supporting the boycott were the Pro-Life Action League, American Life League (ALL), the Radiance Foundation, LifeNews, Operation Rescue, the National Black Pro-Life Union, and Life Coalition International.
"The Girl Scouts were once a trusted organization dedicated to character building in young girls and women. Now, GSUSA is abusing that trust," Paul Rondeau, executive director of American Life League, quoted Judie Brown, ALL'S president, in a January 30 article. "Most parents and grandparents remain painfully unaware that GSUSA has introduced so-called 'family planning' ideology in its curriculum and promotes groups like Planned Parenthood to our daughters and granddaughters."
Another charity that has long been heavily supported by Catholics and others is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an annual appeal held by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) each November. As posted on the USCCB website,
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic antipoverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, working to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ ".... to bring good news to the poor ... release to captives ... sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free. " (Luke 4:18) [Emphasis in original.]
It was not the CCHD's stated mission of helping the poor that caused its programs to come under watchful scrutiny, however, but its funding of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), the radical non-governmental organization that ceased its activities in 2010 amidst much-publicized controversies.
Critics of ACORN have pointed out the influence of radical Saul Alinksy (often called the founder of modern community organizing) on the group. ACORN founder Wade Rathke worked with Alinsky, who trained activists from the Massachusetts chapter of ACORN's parent organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), and other groups before he died in 1972. Alinsky is also considered to have been an important influence on Barack Obama and the inspiration behind the then-future president's decision to become a community organizer in Chicago.
Since most people in the pro-life movement consider Obama to be the most proabortion president in our nation's history, it seems incongruous that the USCCB would fund the group that was so influential in launching him on his career in politics.
Especially considering the widespread battle between the Obama administration and Catholic institutions over the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate, it does not seem that an organization such as ACORN --which was squarely in Obama's corner during his run for the presidency--would merit the time of day, much less funding, from any Catholic institution. However, that is not the case.
CCHD's activities have been so far removed from the traditional Catholic view of "charity" that its most strident indictments have come from Catholic laymen and women. Among these is Judie Brown, an active Catholic laywoman who is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest grassroots pro-life educational organization.
ALL posted a statement on its website on February 8, 2010 that delivered a severe rebuke of the CCHD's choices in making charitable grants:
Last fall, American Life League joined the Reform CCHD Now coalition after Bellarmine Veritas Ministry released a report exposing several USCCB grantees who actively promoted an abortion and same-sex marriage "rights" agenda. "Why is an organization that claims to represent the interests of Roman Catholic bishops paying dues or lending its name to a group whose mission includes advocating for what the Catholic Church calls 'intrinsic evils'?" asked Michael Hichborn, American Life League's lead researcher into the USCCB.
A follow-up report from ALL noted that the pro-life group had joined up in September 2009 with several other Catholic organizations that were "highly concerned about the granting practices of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its inconsistent statements in defense of its grants." Because of those concerns ALL called for "a boycott of CCHD funding until each is adequately addressed and satisfactorily rectified."
A report posted on ALL's website last November 22, "The CCHD, Wendy Davis, and Obama," written by ALL director of outreach Rey Flores, notes the link between the CCHD and the notorious pro-abortion Texas gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis:
Having been the former director of the CCHD in Chicago, I can again assure you that all is still not right with this campaign. Year after year and report after report from several reliable sources have not been enough to convince the bishops that this annual collection no longer serves the noble purpose it purports to fulfill.
Flores explains why he remains skeptical of the CCHD:
How can we believe them when the national director of the CCHD is none other than Mr. Ralph McCloud, a lay Catholic with quite an interesting connection to Texas gubernatorial candidate and pro-abortion filibuster favorite Wendy Davis?
In a June 2013 article published on the LifeSiteNews website, American Life League's Michael Hichborn had this to say shortly after Davis' filibuster in the Texas capital: "The real problem here is that McCloud had an obligation to know where Wendy Davis stood on moral issues before he gave her a ringing endorsement and agreed to be her campaign treasurer, but he didn't even ask.... If he is unable to discern where a colleague he's worked with for six years stood on abortion, then how on Earth is he going to be able to determine which organizations are worthy of Catholic funds? It would seem that our findings over the past four years speak for themselves." I don't see how much clearer we could be.
A check of the CCHD webpage on the USCCB website confirms that Ralph McCloud is still the director of the CCHD.
The CCHD is not the only religiously affiliated organization whose funds help finance abortions. In January, Michael Schuermann, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sherman, Illinois, wrote several articles for Daring Lutheran about how Thrivent Financial (formerly Thrivent Financial for Lutherans--a faith-based, not-for-profit fraternal benefit society) "has directly funded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, at least three Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the United States, and the NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation, through the Thrivent Financial Gift Multiplier program."
Pastor Schuermann makes the following point: "Many of Thrivent's Members and employees would argue that this action is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and, therefore, contrary to Thrivent's promise to support 'the values of faith, family, stewardship and service.'"
In researching for this article, we found that United Way, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Girl Scouts USA, the CCHD, and Thrivent Financial were not unique. On April 9, the American Life League posted a list of "Charitable Organizations and their Positions on the Life Issues" that it had compiled. Among the factors ALL considered in evaluating the organizations are:
* Fetal tissue, cell or organ use when that tissue is acquired from direct abortion done at any time during nine months of pregnancy;
* Human embryo research and/or experimentation
* Human embryonic stem cell research and/or experimentation; and
* Human cloning.
By going to all.org/charities the reader can search for ALL's findings for many charitable organizations, based on the above-listed criteria. This short list provides a few examples of what we found:
* "The American Cancer Society is not considered a pro-life organization for several reasons, including:
1. Support for human embryonic stemcell research
2. Grant funding at facilities known prominently for human embryonic stemcell research
3. Grant funding for morally questionable research
4. Grant funding to Planned Parenthood."
* "Grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure are flowing to Planned Parenthood, as the women's health organizations seek to rebuild their relationship after the controversy in February over the breast cancer charity's unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood."
* YMCA "In addition to renting its facilities to and sponsoring seminars presented by Planned Parenthood, the YMCA is a member of the National Family Sexuality Education Month, a coalition of organizations that promote family communication about sexuality. NFSEM is organized and promoted by Planned Parenthood. The materials and resources for NFSEM in October are provided by Planned Parenthood."
* "UNICEF is, undoubtedly, the most well known and, probably, the most popular UN agency among Americans. What is not well known, however, is UNICEF's evolution from a life affirming, child saving, and Nobel Peace Prize-winning foundation to a contraceptive-distributing, abortion-performing and sterilization-providing partner of some of the world's most notorious 'family planning' organizations."
Not surprisingly, UNICEF's support for abortion has caused it to come under fire from pro-lifers. An article posted by LifeNews.com on December 27, 2013 noted:
The UN children's agency (UNICEF) called on countries to recognize a right of children to confidential sexual and reproductive health services [i.e., abortion] and information. They followed the lead of UN "experts" that monitor the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They say children must have confidential access to "safe abortion" and the morning after pill among other things.
Life Issues Institute, Inc., a nonprofit prolife organization, has posted a fact sheet online headed "UNICEF and abortion" that notes the following:
It can be concluded that UNICEF is an opportunistic advocate of abortion rights. UNICEF has used the issue of HIV/AIDS to promote abortion. UNICEF has used the issue of maternal mortality to promote abortion. UNICEF has used the issue of refugee crises to promote abortion. And it now appears that UNICEF has accepted the most explicitly pro-abortion element of the United Nations--the Committee on the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)--as a fundamental guide for its own policies and programming.... What should be concluded about UNICEF and abortion? On multiple occasions, UNICEF has endorsed statements calling for the legalization of abortion and for an increase in access to abortion. UNICEF employs the pro-abortion CEDAW Committee as its policy guide. UNICEF has funded a number of programs that may involve abortion.
We could offer a book-length dissertation about the endless number of charitable, nonprofit organizations promoting agendas that morally conservative and constitutionalist donors would find objectionable. At best the examples we have provided serve simply to illustrate how some of the better-known such nonprofits misuse their funds.
The best assurance a donor will have that his gift will be used according to his principles and values is to do his own research. Many resources are available online to do this. In addition to the ALL webpage cited above (all.org)
* DiscoverTheNetworks.org (A Guide to the Political Left): discoverthenetworks.org
* Charity Navigator (rates on accountability, transparency, and efficiency, not on ideology): charitynavigator.org
* American Institute of Philanthropy Charity Rating Guide (rates mostly on financial accountability): charitywatch.org
The most important lesson to keep in mind is that charitable giving, like spending for any other purpose, requires diligence. (Caveat emptor. "Let the buyer beware.") Fortunately, a little online research about any charity the donor wants to find out about is only a few clicks away.
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|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Jul 7, 2014|
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