Three New Hampshire Pastors on Racism

There’s been so much grief and anger and even noise in our nation since George Floyd died in Minneapolis that I have hesitated even to put down in writing my own reactions. My social media feeds – and I can’t just drop them; they’re integral to my work – leave me feeling alienated and quite inadequate to rise to the occasion we’re in.

I have a couple of things to share with you that I hope you’ll find constructive.

a webinar worth your time

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a contractor with Cornerstone Action, dealing with legislation and communication. One of my Cornerstone colleagues, who’s on the Cornerstone Policy Research (non-political) side of the organization, facilitated a webinar this week with three Manchester-area pastors. Two are black, one is Hispanic, and each has something to say about his own experience in New Hampshire. This was an eye-opening hour for me.

You can register for the webinar recording at this link, which I believe will expire on or around June 17th.

I’m grateful to pastors Michael Worsley, John Rivera, and Isaiah Martin (a former UNH Wildcat football player, by the way) for their participation.

a thought for future reference

Say what you will about COVID-19 precautions and how they may or may not have been selectively enforced during recent public demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. My own takeaway is this: any response made by government and law enforcement to the peaceful rallies in Mr. Floyd’s memory is equally applicable to rallies and all other peaceful public witness to the dignity of human life, now and in the future, with or without public health emergencies.

It’s good to see how law enforcement was careful to distinguish the recent peaceful demonstration in Manchester’s Stark Park from violent demonstration. Peaceful pro-life witnesses have all heard at one time or another that our very presence creates “an atmosphere of violence.” We know better. Peaceful demonstration, even with an undercurrent of anger, isn’t on a spectrum with violence on the other end. Violence is in a separate dimension all its own.

Giving: it’s for more than Tuesdays

I’m told that #GivingTuesday is a kickoff to the charitable season. Thanks for the clear border, guys, but where I live – amid people of modest means whose time is the greatest gift they have to offer – giving isn’t a seasonal thing. Still, this recently-minted hashtagged holiday sparks a few ideas. Some involve money, others involve time, and each has special meaning for me. While many of these suggestions are New Hampshire-based, similar opportunities exist wherever you live.

Gifts collected at the 40DFL baby shower will go to four agencies in Greater Manchester.
Gifts collected at a recent 40DFL baby shower went to four agencies in Greater Manchester.

Pregnancy care centers that provide abortion alternatives always need your help. Look for CareNet, Birthright, and Manchester’s Pennacook Pregnancy Center. Visit them and learn about the programs each one offers. Volunteer, or make a donation, or hold a drive to collect the goods they need. How about having a baby shower to benefit your local care center? Perhaps you have the business skills or fundraising savvy that make a good board member.

40 Days for Life is dedicated to peaceful and prayerful witness outside abortion facilities, in two worldwide campaigns each year, one in Lent and one in the fall. Manchester, Greenland and Concord have hosted New Hampshire 40DFL campaigns in recent years. No 40DFL donation is more critical than your time at a prayer vigil. A close second is rallying a team from your church to sign up.

The New Hampshire Food Bank does much more than supply food pantries throughout the state. While donations of food are welcomed, cash donations support the Food Bank’s extended programs. Host a food drive. Volunteer at the Manchester warehouse.

St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester provides one-on-one behavioral treatment for students referred by local school districts. Where once it provided residential foster care, the Home now serves children in day programs. The Home is staffed by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love, AKA the Running Nuns. The Labor Day St. Charles 5k race in Portsmouth for runners and walkers is a big fundraiser for the Home, and there’s room for you on the starting line.

The latter two projects have something in common: they’re agencies of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, which makes good use of your support for many other projects as well: health care, adoption, and refugee services, to name a few.

Give blood. I am as needle-phobic a person as you’re likely to meet, and yet I make time for this. I donated for a long time just because it seemed useful. Later, I saw loved ones benefit from medical procedures that would have been impossible without blood products. Go to redcrossblood.org to find a drive near you, or pay a visit to the Red Cross blood center on Reservoir Avenue off Mammoth Road in Manchester.

The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.
The annual NH March for Life is organized by NH Right to Life.

For educational and political work on the life issues in New Hampshire, consider supporting New Hampshire Right to Life and Cornerstone Policy Research. (Full disclosure: I’m a past board member of NHRTL and Cornerstone is a client of mine.)

Look in your own back yard. Local road races often benefit local charities; check them out. Is there a club or clearinghouse in your town that keeps up with community needs? For example: a few years back when we had that second “hundred-year-flood” in two years, several homes in my town needed extensive work. One of the service clubs put out a call for assistance, and we basically had a two-day town-wide rebuilding party. (I learned I can tear down soaked drywall like a pro.) If you’re a member of a church, do you have an ongoing local project? Each town has its own needs, and no one knows a town better than its own residents.

Farther afield, And Then There Were None serves abortion-industry workers who want to leave the business. To my knowledge, there is NO other ministry doing what ATTWN is accomplishing.

My thanks and respect go to everyone who keeps these agencies going, whether as a volunteer or a donor or a staff member. Every day is “giving Tuesday.” Let’s make it count.

Edited to add updated links and information.

PP funding in NH: another end run?

An astute reader left a comment on my last post.

“…are we sure the Executive Council is going to be the decision making body about who gets the NH contract? Didn’t Planned Parenthood orchestrate a by-pass on the NH Executive Council vote against their NH contract during the construction of the previous NH budget?”

State House, Concord NH
From here …

visitthecapitol.gov photo
…to here? (visitthecapitol.gov photo)

 

 

No, we’re not sure. And yes, PPNNE did an end run around a state family planning contract rejection in 2011 by somehow procuring funds directly from the federal government. Regarding that nimble move, the New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services remarked in 2013, “It’s not appropriate for me to know what they did.”

All we know about the current situation is that the New Hampshire Executive Council has no PP item on its agenda for next Wednesday’s meeting, and that the last PP contract approved by the Council was set to expire eighteen days ago. (What’s more, PPNNE isn’t complaining that “women are being denied health care.”) Late items may be added to the agenda, as the Council’s agenda page indicates. Anything about a future contract or grant is speculative at this point. But if we can’t see into the future, we can certainly look at the past.

Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are feeling the heat from the video of a PP medical director chatting about procurement of intact fetal organs. PP’s public funding is under a spotlight, for now. Public dollars are not used for abortion, we’re told. Instead, tax money for “family planning” frees up other PP resources to use for abortions, and the harvesting of fetal organs, and salaries of medical personnel willing to consider changing an abortion method not for the health of the woman but for the better extraction of a child’s organs.

But a state contract or federal grant to PP doesn’t mean I’m paying for abortion itself – just so we’re clear on that. Whew.

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As long as we’re seeking clarity, note this: New Hampshire Right to Life has been fighting for years to get information about how a federal grant materialized for PPNNE after three out of five Executive Councilors said “no” to PP’s Title X contract in 2011. (The Council the same day approved contracts with ten other providers, putting a crimp in attempts to cast Councilors as anti-woman.) In April of this year, NHRTL filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a lower court decision that turned away in part an NHRTL Freedom of Information Act request about the federal grant. Bits and pieces of information have emerged, but the whole clear story of how the dollars got from the feds to PP is still not on the public record.

This doesn’t mean that history will repeat itself this month. It only means the precedent has been set.

~~~~~

This is as good a time as any to recall the time four years ago just after the Executive Council vote, when Planned Parenthood put enormous public pressure on the three Councilors who had denied them a contract. At that time, I was with New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Policy Research. We teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List for a press conference to defend the Councilors. That was the day I met Catherine Adair, who spoke to the crowd about her experience as a PP employee. Here’s a reminder that the need to let taxpayers divest their funds from PP didn’t just spring up this week.

 

 

 

Mentioned on WSMN 1590 AM, “We Hold These Truths,” 4/30/15

My thanks to Karen Testerman who invited me to be her guest host. Here are links to the organizations and projects I discussed with guest Jane Cormier of New Hampshire Right to Life.

New Hampshire Right to Life Committee

Information about NHRTL Open House, Saturday , May 2FOIA case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

Piccola Opera

Also on the air: information about Cornerstone Policy Research banquet, May 12 in Manchester

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This week by the numbers: 4/29/13

Two events:

  • 40 Days for Life, in which New Hampshire volunteers have played an important role, is having a webcast this evening at 9 p.m. that will serve as a review of the success of the last 40 Days campaign nationwide. The web announcement also promises “abundant hope … three keys to stopping abortion in your community.” Register at the 40 Days for Life website. This is tonight, 9 p.m., and participants may listen via phone or webcast. 
  • This one is a few weeks off, but because of the cost I’m listing it now so you may plan accordingly. The New Hampshire Federated Republican Women will have its annual Lilac Luncheon on May 20, and the speaker will be Star Parker of CURE. Tickets for non-members of NHFRW are $50. I know, ouch – but I will be there to cover Parker’s remarks, and you can count on a blog post or two from that.

Two Twitter feeds:

  • @nhcornerstone. (Full disclosure: I have been employed by Cornerstone Action and Cornerstone Policy Research.) Cornerstone promptly reports on important votes in Concord, and the Twitter feed also keeps you informed about Cornerstone’s pro-life/pro-family work in New Hampshire. 
  • @students4lifeHQ, from Students for Life.

One web site to bookmark: nhrtl.org. New Hampshire Right to Life sponsors our state’s annual March for Life. It also has an email alert list to keep supporters notified of times and places of public witness outside abortion facilities. This is New Hampshire’s oldest pro-life group not affiliated with a church. By the way, the site includes an announcement that the speaker at NHRTL’s annual fundraising banquet in October will be Kristan Hawkins, executive director of the aforementioned Students for Life.

One volunteer opportunity: Birthright is always looking for people to help in direct ministry to women in crisis pregnancy. The group is resolutely nonpolitical, and their only work is to “love them both,” mother and child. To find out the particular needs in your area, you can call Birthright in Manchester at 668-3443 or Derry at 434-3000.

As always, these links are for informational purposes only and do not constitute my endorsement of everything on the sites.

One more number, just for fun: ONE. That’s for this blog, which I started one year ago this month. It was a tiny thing at first, and then I abandoned it for a few months, but now here we are! I am grateful to my readers.