I don’t mind Christian churches helping the community, but if they are using federal dollars (yours and mine) to do it, then it becomes whole new ball game. There are rules associated with acceptance of federal dollars. Federal law allows discrimination in faith-based organizations hiring practices, but the money they receive cannot be used to promote their religion of fund any religious activities.
WASHINGTON — If you want to help carry out the anti-abortion mission of the taxpayer-funded Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center, you have to be a Christian.
It’s right there on the Rapid City, S.D., center’s volunteer application.
“Do you consider yourself a Christian?” “If yes, how long have you been a Christian?” “As a Christian, what is the basis of your salvation?” “Please provide the following information concerning your local church. Church name … Denomination … Pastor’s name.” “This organization is a Christian pro-life ministry. We believe that our faith in Jesus Christ empowers us, enables us, and motivates us to provide pregnancy services in this community. Please write a brief statement about how your faith would affect your volunteer work at this center.”
But that hasn’t stopped the center from receiving federal funding and other forms of government support.
In 2010, it was awarded a $34,000 “capacity building” grant as part of President Obama’s stimulus bill.
Last year, the nonprofit National Fatherhood Initiative, with “support from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance,” awarded the center $25,000 for capacity building.
And when South Dakota passed a law requiring that women get counseling from a “pregnancy help center” before receiving an abortion, the Rapid City center was quick to sign up — becoming one of three such facilities listed on the state’s official website.
The author goes on to say:
Like other crisis pregnancy centers, the Rapid City Care Net seeks to prevent abortions by offering women a combination of free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, a “24 hour hotline,” and medically dubious “abortion education” (its website claims that “a number of reliable studies have demonstrated connection between abortion and later development of breast cancer”).
The Rapid City center is not alone. On its website, the facility says it “submits to the affiliation guidelines” of the national Care Net organization, which supports more than 1,100 explicitly Christian crisis pregnancy centers. Care Net requires that at each center, “those who labor as pregnancy center board members, directors, and volunteers are expected to know Christ as their Savior and Lord” and that “all board members, staff, and volunteers of the center agree with the Care Net Statement of Faith.”
The fact that many of the country’s anti-abortion pregnancy centers are Christian organizations is not something that is prominently featured in state literature promoting these groups or even on many of the centers’ websites.
But for many of these places, Jesus Christ is central to their daily activities.
Care Net requires that each of its affiliates pledge to adhere to the network’s ” Pregnancy Center Standards of Affiliation,” the first of which reads: “The primary mission of the center is to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ in conjunction with a ministry to those facing pregnancy related issues. The pregnancy center is an outreach ministry of Jesus Christ through His church. Therefore, the pregnancy center, embodied in its volunteers, is committed to presenting the gospel of our Lord to women with crisis pregnancies — both in word and in deed. Commensurate with this purpose, those who labor as pregnancy center board members, directors, and volunteers are expected to know Christ as their savior and Lord.”
This organization, Care Net, is not a crisis pregnancy center, but an outreach ministry and clearly is in violation of federal law. We want our money back.