Dear Komen Foundation…

Dear Komen Foundation…

I’ve always been a “Race for the Cure” fan. I’ve been to several, and have been deeply moved to see the thousands who turn out to run/walk. I’ve watched members of my family run/walk, in memory of my grandmother. I’ve cried tears when survivors are introduced. I even used your organization in a sermon illustration once.

But tonight, I am stunned to hear you are cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings.(1)

Based on what I am reading on the internet, I am not the alone.

My understanding is that you have cut off funding because Planned Parenthood is the target of a congressional investigation, launched by an untra-conservative member of that body.

This is a disturbing precedent on several fronts.

First, the political front. In a single decision, you have emboldened the most radical elements of our society, You have given them the encouragement that a mere investigation might result in groups like yours taking pre-emptive action.

Your spokesperson, Lesli Aun, said this: “We want to maintain a positive relationship with them…We’re not making any judgment.”

Actually, you are making a judgment. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Please do not pretend otherwise.

You want to “maintain relationship?” Then why do anything at this time?

Your actions speak louder than your words.

The second “front” is what you have done to split a community in this country who passionately support the health and well being of our nation’s women.

Tonight, you present women and men a “Sophie’s Choice” between supporting your organization and Planned Parenthood.

I know Planned Parenthood to be a fine organization the provides low-cost health services to millions of women in our country. A part of that health screening has been screening for breast cancer.

This is the funding you are cutting? Funding to prevent the very disease you claim to want to cure? This makes no sense whatsoever.

It is hyperpolitical, not a-political.

I was deeply moved by the comments of Patrick Hurd, who is CEO of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Virginia, which was in turn a recipient of a 2010 grant from your organization. His wife, Betsi is battling breast cancer, and has been a participant in many of your races.

I think he put it best when he said this:

“…cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative.”

So true.

So why do you?

(1) Disclosure: In addition to being a fan of your group, I am a fan of Planned Parenthood. Once upon a time, I served as a clergy member of the Religious Advisory Committee of Planned Parenthood of Dallas and Northeast Texas.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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