Evangelical leader joins Religious Institute in supporting family planning, opposing proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood


As a reminder that not all Christians–nay, not even all evangelical Christians–are liberty-hating, theocracy-promoting members of the Religious Right, I’m bumping this article from March of 2011. Finding people we can work with, such as these folks, is a key element of building successful coalitions. And we all want successful coalitions, right?

A former VP of Government Affairs for the National Evangelical Association has joined with a network of more than 5,200 religious leaders to denounce the proposed Federal cuts to family planning and basic healthcare services — in particular, Planned Parenthood.

In a joint op-ed piece in the Washington Post’s On Faith column, the Reverend Richard Cizik and the Reverend Debra W. Haffner speak out in favor of family planning, and against the House of Representatives’ proposed cuts to basic health services.

“Both of us are committed to helping create a just and equitable world where no woman will die giving birth to the next generation,” said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute. “I am delighted to be joined by a leading evangelical religious leader in supporting family planning services here in America and overseas. Although we hold differing moral values about abortion, we share a commitment that because life is sacred, it should never be created carelessly or unintentionally. That is why we both support the Title X family planning program, which helps avert nearly one million pregnancies in the United States annually.”

The Religious Institute’s website comments on reproductive justice:

Our religious traditions affirm that life is sacred. Our faiths celebrate the divinely bestowed blessings of generating life and assuring that life can be sustained and nurtured. We support responsible procreation, the widespread availability of contraception, prenatal care, access to abortion services and intentional parenting.

“Evangelicals need to seriously consider the merits of family planning, and see these federal programs as pro-life,” said Rev. Richard Cizik, co-founder of The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a partnership of progressive evangelical organizations. “The victims of defunding these programs are the poorest of the poor, here and around the globe, whom we say as Evangelicals we care about. This is what being ‘pro-life’ is all about.”

The Religious Institute, based in Westport, CT, is a nonprofit, multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society including sexuality education, reproductive justice and full inclusion of women and LGBT people in the life of each faith community. More than 5,200 clergy, seminary presidents and deans, religious scholars and other religious leaders representing more than 70 faith traditions are part of the Religious Institute’s national network.