How Christian Groups Push Right-Wing Religion With the Help of Your Tax Dollars
If you want to help carry out the anti-abortion mission of the taxpayer-funded Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center, you have to be a Christian.
It’s right there on the Rapid City, S.D., center’s volunteer application.
“Do you consider yourself a Christian?” “If yes, how long have you been a Christian?” “As a Christian, what is the basis of your salvation?” “Please provide the following information concerning your local church. Church name … Denomination … Pastor’s name.” “This organization is a Christian pro-life ministry. We believe that our faith in Jesus Christ empowers us, enables us, and motivates us to provide pregnancy services in this community. Please write a brief statement about how your faith would affect your volunteer work at this center.”
But that hasn’t stopped the center from receiving federal funding and other forms of government support.
In 2010, it was awarded a $34,000 “capacity building” grant as part of President Obama’s stimulus bill.
Last year, the nonprofit National Fatherhood Initiative, with “support from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance,” awarded the center $25,000 for capacity building.
And when South Dakota passed a law requiring that women get counseling from a “pregnancy help center” before receiving an abortion, the Rapid City center was quick to sign up — becoming one of three such facilities listed on the state’s official website.
Like other crisis pregnancy centers, the Rapid City Care Net seeks to prevent abortions by offering women a combination of free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, a “24 hour hotline,” and medically dubious “abortion education” (its website claims that “a number of reliable studies have demonstrated connection between abortion and later development of breast cancer”).
The Rapid City center is not alone. On its website, the facility says it “submits to the affiliation guidelines” of the national Care Net organization, which supports more than 1,100 explicitly Christian crisis pregnancy centers. Care Net requires that at each center, “those who labor as pregnancy center board members, directors, and volunteers are expected to know Christ as their Savior and Lord” and that “all board members, staff, and volunteers of the center agree with the Care Net Statement of Faith.”
And it’s not just Care Net. Across the country, crisis pregnancy centers that refuse to hire non-Christians are receiving taxpayer funding and other forms of government support.
Equal Opportunity Employer?
The Life Center, a crisis pregnancy center in Midland, Texas, is looking for a new receptionist. The receptionist is expected to be bilingual in English and Spanish, proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel, and in agreement with the Life Center’s “Common Christian Beliefs.” Typed on each page of the three-page job application is: “The Life Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer” – even on the page that asks for a church reference.
Applicants for the open executive director position at the LifeTalk Resource Center in Frisco, Texas, have to prove they are “mature Christians.” The Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center is only hiring “committed Christians.”
Each of these centers appears on a list compiled and publicized by the Texas health department of organizations that offer free sonograms to pregnant women and that do not provide abortion services or referrals. The list was created last year as part of a sweeping anti-abortion law signed by Gov. Rick Perry. Doctors are required to distribute this list to women before performing an abortion.
The Life Center is among 12 centers on the list that also receive state funding through the controversial Alternatives to Abortion Services Program.