The Presbyterian Church (USA) is no stranger to controversy. The denomination, which is consistently accused of having a liberal streak, is comprised of 2.3 million American Christians. Earlier this year, the denomination caught fire for a document that some members had proposed calling for condemnation of Israel's "apartheid against the Palestinian people." Now, conservative activists are appalled over awards that Auburn Seminary, a New York City-based seminary associated with the denomination, gave to Planned Parenthood staffers.
Now, it's important to note that these employees aren't just random individuals working in the lower rungs of the controversial organization's structure. They are higher-ups who have the very literal power to dictate Planned Parenthood's services and direction.
Auburn Seminary honored Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood and Cecilia Guthrie Boone, chair of the board of Planned Parenthood at its annual benefit breakfast. The two women were given the "Lives of Commitment" award. The event, according to the school's web site, is devoted to “honoring women who bridge religious divides, build community, and pursue justice.”
Considering Planned Parenthood's activities and services, Live Action News' Joy Miladin reacted strongly to the choice of award recipients:
Planned Parenthood’s actions in the political realm lately have hardly been amiable towards religious institutions or promoted solidarity among families. And I won’t even get started on the heinous, twisted idea than an abortion industry is promoting “justice” through the murder of innocent children. Rather, Planned Parenthood advocates the violation of Americans’ religious liberties, attacks women’s health organizations, and continues to denounce as “anti-choice” ordinances legislation increasing safety regulations on abortion. [...]
The presentation of this Christian award to Planned Parenthood officials is nauseating. Scripture undeniably refers to the unborn as human beings, formed in the womb and covered with the fingerprints of the Almighty.
Psalms 139: 13, 15-16 says, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.”
But while the pro-life group has harsh words for the award recipients, Auburn seems fully aware of the reproductive positions these individuals have taken. In fact, Richard and Boone seem to gain praise as a result of their stances -- or at least connection -- to progressivism and abortion. Take, for instance, these biographical elements from the Auburn site:
The daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Ms. Richards was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. She worked side by side with her mother on her very first campaign — the election to the state legislature of Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. [...]
Ms. Boone is the past chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation (where she led a successful $30 million campaign), Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund, and Annie’s List, a PAC that recruits, trains, and funds progressive women candidates running for statewide office in Texas.
In a recap video of the event posted by the seminary, The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn, touted the school's efforts to create a "progressive religious movement."
Watch the recap, below:
The issue here truly comes down to political perspective. While conservative Christians view Planned Parenthood as an organization that violates liberal truths, progressive believers see the organization as a beacon helping the underprivileged.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section, below.
Editor’s Note: It is important to note the difference between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Presbyterian Church in America. The former is the larger, more liberal of the two, with 2.3 million members and 11,000 congregations. PC(USA) has taken other leftist positions on issues such as gay marriage) The latter is much smaller, but is regarded as the more conservative denomination. As of 2000, it had 1,450 congregations and more than 306,000 members. There are also other denominations within the larger Presbyterian Church.
(H/T: Live Action News)