Neela Banerjee’s Monday political memo, "The Abortion-Rights Side Invokes God, Too," certainly helps the pro-abortion lobby Planned Parenthood portray itself as just as religious as any pro-life organization.
"In any given week, if you walked into one of Washington's big corporate hotels early in the morning, you would find a community of the faithful, quite often conservative Christians, rallying the troops, offering solace and denouncing the opposition at a prayer breakfast.
"So you might be forgiven for thinking that such a group was in attendance on Friday in a ballroom of the Washington Hilton. People wearing clerical collars and small crucifixes were wedged at tables laden with muffins, bowing their heads in prayer. Seminarians were welcomed. Scripture was cited. But the name of the sponsor cast everything in a new light: the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To its critics, Planned Parenthood is the godless super-merchant of abortion. To its supporters, it is the dependably secular defender of abortion rights. But at this breakfast, God was everywhere, easily invoked by believers of various stripes."
Banerjee parrots the liberal line from the conference:
"Margaret Sanger, founder of the organization that became Planned Parenthood, drew clergy members in the early 20th century by relating the suffering of women who endured successive pregnancies that ravaged their health and sought illegal abortions in their desperation, said the Rev. Thomas R. Davis of the United Church of Christ, in his book "Sacred Work, Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances."
Banerjee doesn’t get into Sanger’s views on race and eugenics, which hardly seem godly.
Though Banerjee never labels Planned Parenthood liberal, she passes along the views of Rev. Davis, the chairman of its clergy advisory board, that the pro-abortion side is being "out-shouted" by its "conservative brethren."
"It is not lost on Mr. Davis how the passion of the Christian right in its effort to abolish abortion and curtail access to birth control now mirrors the efforts of clergy members 40 years ago to do the opposite….A perception may exist that the denominations supporting abortion rights are outnumbered and out-shouted by their more conservative brethren. But that worried Mr. Davis little, he said, for he and other like-minded clergy members were in the minority in the 1960's, too."
"Still, some clergy members could barely contain their outrage. ‘The more we are able to cultivate the capacity in every person -- women and men -- to make informed ethical judgments both in ourselves and our society, the more we are coming into relationship with the transcendent, with God,’ said the Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary.
"‘Human existence as a materialistic quest for power and dominance, a crass manipulation of fear and intolerance for political gain, drives us apart both from one another and from God,’ she said. ‘For what does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul?’"
And the Times leaves it at that, concluding the story without further comment on Thistlethwaite echoing a Bible verse to suggest pro-lifers can literally go to hell.
TimesWatch doubts the Times would be so sanguine about such a portentous Bible quote from, say, Rev. Jerry Falwell on gays.
Conveniently enough, Paul Krugman (behind the Times Select firewall) suggests at the top of his column today that Republicans should shun Rev. Falwell for his recent claim that, as Krugman summarizes, "Jews can’t go to heaven unless they convert to Christianity."
That’s a less controversial theological statement than suggesting pro-lifers are hell-bound.
For more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.