First, I’d Like to Thank the Academy . . .
From The Scrapbook
Feb 13, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 21 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
And so, on January 31, the university called a town hall meeting to discuss the issue. Administrators clarified that the policy for student organizations is “all comers”—that is, any student may join and also may run for office. There’s no obligation, they say, for religious organizations to elect nonbelievers to leadership positions, but in the interest of nondiscrimination, no one may be barred from running for office for religious reasons.
It was Jordan Rodgers, the Commodores’ quarterback and an active member of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes (and the younger brother of Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers), who articulated the obvious. “If someone that doesn’t share the faith is teaching [in a leadership role], then what’s the point of even having these organizations?” Rodgers asked at the meeting. “The fact that we are not going to change the fact that you have to affirm your faith in Jesus Christ to be a teacher, to be a leader, to teach new people of any faith that come through our doors . . . we don’t feel that’s a problem.”
In his response, Vice Chancellor David Williams summed up the university’s thinking. “The university is going to have to make a decision on what side of the line they want to be,” he said. “Do they want to say ‘It’s totally all comers’? Or do they want to basically say, ‘Well, we understand the concept of some faith-based organizations, and we agree we will create an exception for them, either by membership . . . or by leadership.’ And I just think that’s something [on which] this university, at this point and time, has made a choice.”
We won’t be holding our breath waiting for Vanderbilt to have a change of heart. But for the sake of religious freedom and common sense, they ought to.
The Susan G. Komen foundation, the nation’s leading breast cancer charity, announced last week that they would no longer be giving grants to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. As a financial matter, this was a relatively inconsequential decision. Judging, however, by the reaction from liberal activists and media elites—but The Scrapbook repeats itself—you would have thought the Ragnarök was upon us.
It didn’t matter that the grant from the Komen foundation amounted to just $700,000 of Planned Parenthood’s $1 billion annual budget ($487 million of which is taxpayer provided). And almost no one noted that pro-lifers, which is to say a donor base that consists of roughly half the country, had sent Komen’s fundraising through the roof following their decision.
Instead, ABC News led last Thursday night with a remarkably one-sided news report. “That ubiquitous pink ribbon for decades uniting women in the greater good is sporting a black eye today. Thousands of women [are] saying they will no longer support the Komen foundation or buy pink. Women like Monique Benoit who benefited from a Komen Planned Parenthood mammogram . . . ” and it went downhill from there. Komen’s critics repeatedly claimed that Planned Parenthood provided mammograms—but it doesn’t, only referrals. Not only that, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards ended up in hot water last year because she falsely claimed in a TV interview that defunding her organization would deny women mammograms.
For her part, Andrea Mitchell conducted an interview with Komen founder Nancy Brinker, though it quickly devolved into a petty and spiteful one-sided tirade. As agit-prop, it was cheered loudly by the left-wing rabble. As journalism, it was a remarkable nadir, even by MSNBC standards.
According to a New York Times editorial, Komen “threw itself into the middle of one of America’s nastiest political battles, on the side of hard-right forces working to demonize Planned Parenthood and undermine women’s health and freedom.”
Thus, by the Times’s lights, so long as Komen was subsidizing abortion providers, it was apolitical. Once it ceased to do so, it was undermining freedom. Ah, nuance. The Times also said the decision to defund Planned Parenthood meant Komen had “suffered a grievous, perhaps mortal, wound.” Note well: Even though Susan G. Komen had raised almost $2 billion for breast cancer to date, that didn’t buy it any goodwill with the Times. For denying Planned Parenthood .07 percent of its annual operating budget so it can continue to not perform mammograms, the charity deserved to be marked for destruction.
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