David Hains: There is a stain on the pink ribbon
The greatest marketing triumph of this new century has to be changing the focus of the month of October from the horrors of Halloween to the danger of breast cancer.
The predominant early autumn colors have gone from pumpkin orange and midnight black to Pepto-Bismol pink and white. I never thought I'd see the day when the most macho of athletes, professional football players, were willingly decked out in pink, a color once reserved for 6-year-old girls.
Unfortunately, all of the good done in raising awareness for the scourge of breast cancer is clouded by the participation in the events by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
Despite marketing attempts by the Komen organization to "own" Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the observance predates its involvement. It started in 1985 through the joint efforts of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a pharmaceutical company. Komen's involvement began in the 1990s with the handing out of the now ubiquitous pink ribbons during a foot race in New York.
Older and more established cancer-fighting organizations are also involved, including the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.
The Komen organization supports cancer awareness mostly through education and also does some cancer research. To its credit, it is highly regarded by the group Charity Watchdog. Komen has a four-star rating for its transparency and fundraising efficiency.
It has a strong presence in the Diocese of Charlotte, with billboards in many cities and a Komen Race in Charlotte. Held on the first Saturday of October, the race attracts more than 10,000 participants who walk or run and celebrate a concerted effort against a devastating illness. Local news coverage in print and on television abounds. Pink is cool.
Pink is also green for the Komen organization. It is huge, and growing rapidly. Last year more than $420- million was raised by Komen for its cancer-fighting efforts, an 21 percent increase over the year before, according to Komen's annual report.
But all of the good the Komen organization does is cancelled out by its persistent support for the culture of death.
The Komen organization willingly and steadfastly supports the wanton killing of innocent unborn children that has been going on in this country for too long, by funding abortions through its donations to Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in America.
Catholics may want to think twice about whom they are raising funds for before they tie on their running shoes for the next "Race for the Cure."
The Komen organization disputes a direct connection to abortion and claims to provide only breast cancer screening services to low-income women in communities where there is no alternative for the service other than Planned Parenthood.
Within the diocese, the Triad chapter of Komen gave $20,000 to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening in 2009. A spokesperson for the chapter describes it as a drop in the ocean of the $600,000 it gave away via grants. Unfortunately, it is a drop of innocent human blood.
The Komen organization attempts to explain the evil donations in a statement published on its website. The statement first seeks to blame local Komen affiliates for writing checks to Planned Parenthood and then makes an off-hand admission of the obvious – that abortion is wrong – by stating, "Under no circumstances are Komen funds used to fund abortions or other non-breast services, and any service provider shown to violate those rules would be immediately terminated from the Komen grant program."
Even if you agree with Komen's "yes we do, no we don't" spin on contributions to Planned Parenthood, Catholics and others who support the culture of life must ask themselves: Should I raise money for an organization that helps to keep the lights on in abortion mills?
David Hains is the diocesan director of communication.
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