By Bob Allen
The head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s publishing house said Feb. 3 that Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s reversal of a decision to disassociate from Planned Parenthood means that pink-bound Holman Christian Standard Bibles taking up warehouse space likely won’t be going anywhere soon.
“I am deeply disappointed with today’s announcement from Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation if it means a reversal of Komen’s decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood,” Thom Rainer, head of LifeWay Christian Resources said in a statement.
Earlier Rainer said changes in Komen foundation funding policies to deny grants to Planned Parenthood might revive plans to sell copies of the Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible with a portion of proceeds benefitting Komen. LifeWay canceled the project last year amid reports that some Komen affiliates gave money to Planned Parenthood. Despite assurance that none of those grants were used to fund abortions, LifeWay officials said they did not want to be identified with Planned Parenthood even indirectly.
When news broke earlier this week that Komen was cutting off Planned Parenthood, Rainer expressed hope that the Bibles collecting dust since the recall might be used for their intended purpose after all.
“I would say that reconsidering our relationship with Komen is certainly on the table,” Rainer told Baptist Press Feb. 1. “In the last 24 hours, we haven’t even gotten to the point where we’re making a decision on that. We certainly haven’t spoken to Komen about it.”
After days of criticism from women’s groups, however, the nation’s leading breast cancer advocacy group said Friday it would continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, which in addition to breast examinations offers reproductive services to poor women including abortion.
“I renew my strong encouragement of Komen’s leadership to end that relationship permanently, and restate LifeWay’s commitment to not be involved, even indirectly, with Planned Parenthood,” Rainer said Feb. 3.
Komen officials originally said Planned Parenthood failed newly added criteria for grants because of an investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, into whether the organization has spent public money on abortions. A new statement on the Komen website said the policy denying grants to organizations under investigation would be amended to specify they be criminal and not political probes.
“We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood,” the statement said. “They were not.”