By William Mahoney, PhD
The Kids in the Hall, a Canadian comedy team that was on television in the 90s, had an amusing skit in which a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, Robert, tries to sell an encyclopedia set to an easily confused gentleman. Robert enters into the gentleman’s home and says, “My name's Robert. And you are?” The gentleman responds, “You lost me.”
It is oddly funny because introductions and opening sentences are not typically confusing. My mind instantly recalled this skit when I read the opening two sentences of an opinion piece by Rev. Darcy Baxter on The Modesto Bee’s website. It went like this:
Darcy Baxter: “I’m a minister, and I wholeheartedly support Planned Parenthood. I believe the work they do is sacred work because Planned Parenthood cares for the poorest among us” (see here).
Me: “You lost me.”
Sacred work? Caring for the poorest among us? Are we talking about the same organization?
The poorest among us
“According to numbers provided by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which operates the Modesto site, our center provides care to over 7,000 patients each year. More than 5,000 of them earn less than $11,770 a year,” continues Baxter in the opinion piece.
She does not mention how much Mar Monte earns in a year. Have a look at Mar Monte’s 990 tax form from 2014:
In 2014, PP Mar Monte earned 93 million dollars.
Let’s crunch some numbers. According to PP, a medical abortion “[c]osts up to $800, but often less” (see here), and a surgical abortion “[c]osts up to $1,500 in the first trimester, but often less” (see here). The website does not specify how low “often less” is, but it does specify that “fees are determined on a sliding scale, based on your household income and family size.” PP accepts private insurance; qualified state funding (tax dollars); and naturally, donations (see here)—yes, feel free to give more money anytime.
PP makes it clear that it will accept money from health insurance, tax payers, or anybody’s pocket, but they offer nothing for free. The poorest in Modesto, CA—more than 5,000 of whom earn less than $11,770 a year, according to Baxter—contribute to Mar Monte’s yearly income of 90-something million dollars, be it from their own pockets or the pockets of others. PP is not a charitable organization serving the indigent; it is a non-profit organization that, in one way or another, profits largely from “the poorest among us.”
Baxter believes PP’s work is “sacred” because PP “cares for the poorest among us.” This is a farce. How can a religious minister consider “sacred” an organization that engages in such exploitation of the poor, not to mention its countless other offences against the teachings of most world religions?
In the article, Baxter quotes the New Testament, so she must be a Christian, right? She states:
Whenever I hear of a Planned Parenthood facility getting vandalized or attacked, as our Modesto Planned Parenthood health center was recently, I immediately think of the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew, particularly this line: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (see here).
“You lost me!” Again.
Baxter is not a Christian. She is a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Association, which holds seven principles/beliefs (see here) and six sources for its living tradition (see here). Followers of this belief system declare that they “celebrate the spiritual insights of the world’s religions, recognizing wisdom in many scriptures” (see here), but also state that, in this tradition, “scripture is never the only word, or the final word” (see here).
Consider those two statements carefully. You see, the “final word” is basically whatever you want it to be based on whatever scripture you like. By the way, the scripture that Unitarian Universalists like the most is the Humanist Manifesto (see here), which has been revised three times to date. True to this arbitrary use of texts, Baxter has used the Beatitudes of the New Testament to mean whatever she wants them to mean without any regard for what they actually mean.
Inasmuch as violently protesting anything is wrong, Baxter is correct to lament any vandalizing and attacking of PP facilities; however, “celebrating the spiritual insights” of the New Testament as a Unitarian Universalist by blatantly misinterpreting the Beatitudes to justify PP’s work as righteous and “sacred” is absurd. A rudimentary screening of the New Testament will show that the message of PP and the message of the Bible are contradictory (see here for an analysis of some contradictions between the two). PP has more in common with the worship of Moloch—an ancient pagan god to whom child sacrifices were offered—than it does with Christianity.
PP is not the victim, as Baxter’s words imply. She has it all mixed up. The women PP exploits and the children whose lives it ends are the two main victims. PP takes; God gives. PP profits from the “poorest among us” and serves its financial interests by ending human being’s lives through abortion. This is in stark contrast to the author of the Beatitudes who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).