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Planned Parenthood\’s Pastoral Letter

May 29, AD2014 11 Comments

\"JoAnna

Planned Parenthood\’s “Clergy Advocacy Board” recently issued a “pastoral letter,” telling women that God is okay with abortion.

Oddly, I haven\’t heard about any backlash from the Freedom From Religion Foundation or Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Given that Planned Parenthood receives federal tax dollars, isn\’t it wildly inappropriate of Planned Parenthood to involve religion in their business at all (according to the aforementioned groups)? Why aren\’t they making a huge fuss over this? Seems right up their alley.

The members of the Clergy Advocacy Board are as follows:

Chairperson Rabbi Jon Adland (Reform Jewish); Vice Chair Rev. Susan Russell (Episcopal); Rev. David Ames (Episcopal); Rev. Tom Davis (United Church of Christ); Rev. Dr. Gawain de Leeuw (Episcopal); Rev. Kevin Jones (Baptist); Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter (Unitarian); Rev. Vincent Lachina (American Baptist); Rev. Jeremy Lopez, United Church of Christ; Rev. Janet Maykus (Christian Church DOC); Rev. Mark Pawlowski (Presbyterian); Rabbi Dennis Ross (Reform Jewish); Dr. Scott Sattler (Universal Sufism); Rabbi Peter Stein (Reform Jewish); and Ani Zonneveld (Muslims for Progressive Values).

Moral Relativism In Action

I\’m rather surprised there isn\’t an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America pastor on that list, given that denomination\’s support of abortion. (Thank God there aren\’t any dissenting Catholic clergy or religious on that list as well – I was actually pleased that no LWCR nuns were listed.) Regardless, it\’s disturbing that any clergy believes that abortion is condoned by God as a neutral action.

Their letter is a perfect example of moral relativism in action.

The decision to have an abortion is personal. Though your reasons may be complicated and private, you’re not alone. As religious leaders from a number of religious traditions, we’re here to support you in your decision.

Remember, it\’s “the decision to have an abortion” that they support, not “looking at all your options and see which decision is right for you.” They\’re not even trying to hide the fact anymore that they are outright advocating for abortion, not seeing it as one option among many (as was previously their modus operandi for many years).

Many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion. The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures – Jewish or Christian – and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.

This is an incorrect statement (I guess the clergy above don\’t understand that whole “do not bear false witness” part of the Bible, either). Father Frank Pavone at Priests for Life has an excellent analysis of the Bible\’s teaching against abortion, and I\’ve refuted the claim that the Bible actually condones abortion in a previous article for Catholic Stand. (I wish the abortion activists would get it straight – does the Bible condone abortion or does it not mention it at all? Seems they disagree on that point.)

The beliefs of each person are deserving of respect, and each person deserves care and compassion. No one should be allowed to force their faith teachings on anyone else. We believe this decision is yours, made with your doctor and anyone else you choose to bring into the conversation, such as a spouse, partner, parent, or clergy person.

First, what if my faith teachings said that marital rape was okay? Or child marriage? Or polygamous marriage? Are those beliefs really “deserving of respect,” and does the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board practice what they preach in regard to respecting those beliefs?

Second, why are all the people who say that homosexual acts should be accepted and celebrated able to force their faith teachings on people who believe otherwise? Somehow I don\’t think the clergy listed above are too respectful of the beliefs of those who advocate for traditional marriage.

Thirdly, the Obama administration, via the HHS mandate, is attempting to force their “faith teachings” (i.e., that recreational contraception and abortion are “health care”) on everyone else and are even trying to force us to pay for them. I\’m guessing they are okay with that as well, given their affiliation with Planned Parenthood, but it seems like a double standard.

Somewhat Different Opinions

Of course, they altogether neglect to mention the fact that abortion is a human rights issue, not solely a religious issue, and that there are many non-religious people who oppose abortion on those grounds. See, for example, the excellent website Secular Pro-Life.

Our religious traditions have somewhat different opinions about abortion, but we share some basic understandings:

“Somewhat different opinions” – that\’s code for “we know we\’re violating God\’s law, but we want to be popular and not truthful.”

No one knows the circumstances of your life as well as you know them; no one knows what’s in your heart better than you. Allow yourself to be at peace with your decision.

Apparently these clergy are unfamiliar with the Biblical, moral principle that we may never do evil so that good may result (Romans 3:8). No amount of circumstances or good intentions justifies an objectively evil act (such as the deliberate killing of an innocent human being). Someone\’s circumstances and intentions may impact a person\’s culpability, but it doesn\’t change the intrinsic evil of the act itself.

God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide. You can find strength, understanding, and comfort in that love.

Absolutely! However, they neglect to mention that having God\’s unconditional love is not at all the same as having God\’s unconditional approval. God loves all sinners, including (for example) people who commit adultery, but that doesn\’t mean He approves of their actions.

 If you’d like to speak with a clergyperson, your local Planned Parenthood health center can refer you to someone who will be supportive of you and your decision. Your privacy will be protected and all conversations will be completely confidential.

If you\’d like to speak with a clergyperson who will affirm you in your sin while possibly endangering your immortal soul and setting you up for a lifetime of regret, contact Planned Parenthood.

Our hope for you is for peace in your heart.

Their hope for you that you\’ll increase Planned Parenthood\’s bottom line. I wonder what kind of donations their individual churches get from Planned Parenthood, with its $58.2 million in profits?

I also wonder what they say to the woman who comes to them in tears, professing deep regret and heartsickness over her abortion? What about the woman in a crisis pregnancy who desperately wants to keep her baby but can\’t figure out how to make it work? Where is the message for them? Funny how their “pastoral statement” isn\’t at all pastoral when it comes to women who want to keep their babies. Thank God we have the Catholic Church to help those women (as well as the women and men who regret their abortions or participation in same).

© 2014. JoAnna Wahlund. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

JoAnna was baptized, raised, and married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America but converted to Catholicism in May 2003, on G.K. Chesterton's birthday. She has five terrific kids here on earth, two saints in heaven praying for her, and a wonderful husband of 13 years who supports her in all things. By day, she is a content editor for a global information company; by night, she enjoys defending the Catholic faith online (in between her duties as chief cook and bottle washer for La Casa Wahlund). She blogs sporadically at http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com.

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  • popejoephx

    “No one knows the circumstances of your life as well as you know them; no one knows what’s in your heart better than you. Allow yourself to be at peace with your decision.”

    Funny, I thought God knows us better than we know ourselves, but of course they wouldn’t want you to ask what He would have you do. To trust that He knows and wills what is truly best for you rather than what may seem best at the time.

    Do these “religious leaders” really believe God has no part in an eternal soul coming into existence? Doesn’t care how we treat that life? It just makes me so angry to see these shepherds literally leading the sheep to the slaughter house.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      I’d say they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I absolutely agree. It’s sickening.

    • Bill S

      The problem is with believing in any of these religions and trying to convince people that, first of all, there is such a thing as God, and secondly, that this God cares one way or another about what you do. They should just say, “look, your religion is what it is, it is up to you to decide for yourself what to do”.

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  • Guy McClung

    This is nothing new for Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger publicly sought the help of “negro ministers” to foist on AfricanAmericans her eugenic scheme to rid the US of AfricanAmericans and other “human undergrowth.” These ministers and Pastor Obama, the modern pope of PP, have sold about 17,000,000 new black voters down the population-control river. Can you imagine a more eloquent, more smarmy slicker shill than Pastor Obama? The BlackGenocide folks and many other AfricanAmericans have figured it out. Now it is time for our Hispanic brothers and sisters to realize that this DERTA – Democrat Eugenic Racially Targeted Abortions – policy has resulted in the deaths of about 11,000,000 new Hispanic voters. Could you really believe a wide-eyed PP executive or a feigned-amazement Democrat saying “Really? Is that a result of our protection of women’s rights? Is that a consequence of us making sure all women and 13 year old girls are free to choose? And we got tax money to pay for this! Who’d a thunk it!?”. Guy McClung, San Antonio

    • Bill S

      Abortion might be a tool for eugenics and as such could be a bad decision if it is made by someone who is unknowingly being manipulated. A tool in the wrong hands is not the same as a bad tool. References to what Margaret Sanger did and why she did it are irrelevant to the question as to whether abortion should be accepted as a basic human right for all women.

    • Guy McClung

      Bill S-“Abortion might be a tool for eugenics”? No “might” about it-the stated policy of the current Democrat administration makes this crystal clear-Obama’s CDC stated policy-The CDC says the “purpose of this program is to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multicomponent, community wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino/Hispanic youth aged
      15–19 years.”
      How could we reduce not only “pregnancy” rates, but also “birth” rates? Hmmmm..hmmmm…No way to spin this, this is not only population control, this is indeed Margaret Sanger’s eugenics on the ground here in the USA today thanks to the Party OF Death and their “negro minister” Pastor Obama.
      “Abortion might be a tool for eugenics”, Bill S? Spin this statement from Planned Parenthood’s [Democrat tax funded eugenics arm] federal tax filing documents: “PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA INC. 13-1644147 2129793, STATEMENT FORM 990, PART III,
      LINE 1 – ORGANIZATION’S MISSION: THE PURPOSE OF THE FEDERATION IS:. . . ACHIEVING, THROUGH INFORMED INDIVIDUAL CHOICE, A U.S. POPULATION OF STABLE SIZE IN AN OPTIMUM ENVIRONMENT.”
      1400 black babies are killed each day in the USA at abortion
      bus$inesses. Over 50% of PP revenue is from abortions. Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece pretty well sums it up – and it is not about “women’s rights” or any “freedom for women,”: “The most obvious
      paractitioner of racism in the United States today is Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger and recently documented as ready to accept money to eliminate black babies” – Dr. Alveda King.
      So, yes, “references to” M Sanger are very relevant.
      Guy McClung, San Antonio

    • Bill S

      I mean “might” meaning “that may be so, but…” I’m not saying that it is only a possibility. You misunderstood it and its context.

      You have taken a very rational approach to a very real problem and spun it into a conspiracy theory. We need a solution to teenage pregnancies. If contraception and abortion help mitigate the problem, that’s what we’re going with whether moralists like you like it or not.

  • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

    Planned Parenthood apparently took down the original letter, but you can read it here: http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/06/planned-parenthood-points-to-the-bible-to-justify-having-an-abortion-1.html

  • Jon

    This is simply yet ANOTHER pathetic attempt by a misguided,brainwashed person TRYING TO REPUDIATE THE LEGASL FACTS THAT AMERICAN FEMALE CITIZENS DO, IN FAC LEGAL, CIVIL AND CONSTUITUTIONAL RIGHTS OVER THEIR WON BODIES– INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO TERMINATE AN UNWANTED PREGNANCY. FURTHER, CATHOLIC BIGOTS DO not HAVE A RIGHT TO DENIGRATE THE ABOVE MENTIONED CLERGY WHO DO WHAT CATHOLICS do not– THEY RESPECRT WWOMEN AND WOMENS’ RIGFHTS!

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      “Having the right to do a thing is not at all the same as being right in doing it.” – G.K. Chesterton

      By your logic, it was perfectly acceptable for an American Catholic to advocate for slavery in 1835, when slavery was legal. Is that what you believe?

      The above-mentioned clergy advocate for the killing of innocent human beings, Jon. Do you truly believe that women have the right to kill innocent human beings? If so, why not say it? Why couch your beliefs in euphemisms such as “terminating a pregnancy”?