Commentary: A Questionable Indictment Amid the Political Blowback

Planned-Parenthood-video

While the indictment of David Daleiden has importance politically, at the end of the day it simply reinforces my belief that we ought to do away with the antiquated Grand Jury system.

The most important thing to come out of the Grand Jury process is that Planned Parenthood has been cleared of any wrongdoing in Texas – just as they have in every other state where Republican lawmakers have attempted to criminalize political disputes over abortion – after Mr. Daleiden accused Planned Parenthood of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.

As we reported yesterday, in this sense, the indictment was a clear miscalculation and backfire for Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who, among others, called for a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood. Instead, the Grand Jury believes it found criminal conduct on the part of the anti-abortion activist rather than the organization he was investigating.

The New York Times notes that 12 states have investigated Planned Parenthood and all have cleared them. Eight other states declined to investigate the group at all.

They write, “In the Republican-led Congress, Speaker John A. Boehner resigned last fall rather than lead a government shutdown to force an end to federal funds for Planned Parenthood. Conservatives’ efforts to defund the group have since failed. Senate leaders increasingly fear that the fight threatens several Republican seats, and with them the party’s majority. Several congressional committees investigating the organization have yet to produce results.”

However, just as I believe that Republicans overstepped their bounds attempting to trump up criminal charges here against Planned Parenthood, I think charging Mr. Daleiden for his actions is problematic.

Mr. Daleiden, in his making of the videos, set up a fake company called Biomax Procurement Services and created fake identities to pose as legitimate providers of fetal tissue to researchers. This is a common tactic for a journalistic investigation.

Mr Daleiden probably went too far when he created fake IDs that actually resembled California driver’s licenses.

However, Mr. Daledien is also charged with a misdemeanor for violating the law that prohibits people from attempting to buy fetal tissue. He set up a meeting in April with Planned Parenthood officials in Houston, offering to buy fetal tissue for $1,600 per sample.

But here’s the problem – Planned Parenthood never responded to the offer and Mr. Daleiden will undoubtedly argue that it was not his intention to buy the tissue, rather he was attempting to confirm that the organization was engaging in illegal acts.

This undoubtedly raises legal issues. Many journalists in legitimate investigative reporting will set up stings such as the one that Mr. Daleiden attempted to perpetrate. Legal analysts suggest that, while the purpose of whistleblowing wrongdoing may not be a legal defense, it would at least be a mitigating factor in reducing any penalties.

Mr. Daleiden, for his part, argued that he used the “same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws.”

George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley writes, “The difficulty for Daleiden and the Center is that, as we have previously discussed, the media has faced liability over the years for such techniques. Courts have held that journalistic privilege does not insulate media from such torts and crimes as trespass, though it can have an impact on the level of damages allowed.”

What I see as a bigger problem for Mr. Daleiden is the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which alleges that Mr. Daleiden and company engaged in fraud and misrepresentation when he set up meetings and recorded conversations. Moreover, the fact that Planned Parenthood has been exonerated on the selling of human tissue charges leaves him very vulnerable to defamation. The suit has been filed on a series of complaints related to wire and mail fraud, as well as charges ranging from invasion of privacy to illegal secret recording and trespassing.

While the one charge seems problematic, the false IDs are a more serious legal problem because they can be viewed as tampering with a governmental record – which can be charged as a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

It is a crime under the provision if a person “makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record.”

Still, we are talking about a fairly minor crime for someone attempting to engage, not in criminal activities, but in public advocacy. We may disagree with the direction and tactics of that public advocacy, but I am less than comfortable moving this from the political realm to the criminal arena.

To me this is a political issue through and through, and the Republicans end up on the losing end of this. The Times reports, “Party strategists worry that such attacks will backfire with the general electorate in November, especially among women, younger voters and political independents.”

“In the last several elections, the Democratic playbook has been to discuss the ‘war on women’ narrative” against Republicans, said Brian Walsh, a Republican consultant and former adviser to House and Senate leaders.

The Times notes, “Karl Rove, a Republican strategist and a former top adviser to President George W. Bush, has called proponents of shutting down the government to defund Planned Parenthood the ‘suicide caucus’; party leaders are well aware that Republican attacks on the organization back to the Clinton era have not ended well for Republicans.”

Polling backs up these concerns: “A majority of Americans continue to support Planned Parenthood and its federal payments, which reimburse nearly 700 affiliates for providing reproductive care, preventive health services and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases to low-income Medicaid recipients.” Federally-funded abortions are prohibited by federal law except in extreme cases.

The Times adds, “A survey for The New York Times and CBS News this month showed that nearly six in 10 Americans say Planned Parenthood should receive federal funds. That finding was statistically unchanged from a similar survey in September, even as conservatives at the local, state and federal levels stoked outrage about the videos from a group called the Center for Medical Progress, founded by a 27-year-old Californian, David R. Daleiden, one of those indicted Monday.”

Bottom line: let this play out in the political arena. Criminalizing advocacy is a dangerous game and unnecessary here.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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65 Comments

  1. sisterhood

    “Still, we are talking with a fairly minor crime for someone attempting to engage not in criminal activities but public advocacy. ”

    I disagree. His actions are not fairly minor. He probably caused P.P. to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and thousands of hours in wasted time. Money and time that could have been spent helping others.

    It annoys me to no end that anyone can falsely accuse anyone of anything, and there is no way to recoup the loss of money and time when that person, or organization, is found innocent. Mr. Daleiden should have to compensate P.P. for his actions, imho.

    1. David Greenwald

      “He probably caused P.P. to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and thousands of hours in wasted time. Money and time that could have been spent helping others.”

      And that’s a tort claim that they can recover through a lawsuit.

      1. revmlt

        They may be able to recover funds. However, they won’t be able to recover their already fragile reputation.  Although the lies have been uncovered, they were spread so broadly that they will continue to be circulated – and believed – most harmfully by those who make decisions about PP funding.

    2. Frankly

      I disagree. His actions are not fairly minor. He probably caused P.P. to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and thousands of hours in wasted time. Money and time that could have been spent helping others.

      But the Black Lives Matter activists can cause many people monetary harm and that is ok?

      I get it.

      1. Don Shor

        Aren’t they being cited? Did someone say that it “is ok” or that there should be no consequences for the disruptions they cause? Or is this just another of your straw man arguments?

        1. Barack Palin

          How many got charged that were burning down buildings and robbing stores in Ferguson and Baltimore?  What charges ended up being levied on the Black Friday BLM protestors who were just forgiven their $70,000 fine for disrupting BART and it’s commuters?

          1. Don Shor

            Are the people who looted in Ferguson and Baltimore members of the Black Lives Matter movement? Do you actually know how many or who got charged in those cities? Or are you just setting up false comparisons, too?

        2. Sam

          Aren’t they being cited?

          No, they are not. The charges were dropped for those who closed down BART on Black Friday. They have already said that most likely no charges will be filed for blocking the Bay Bridge.

        1. Frankly

          I agree Tia.

          Conservatives and Christians advocating for the helpless baby in the womb is not comparable to liberals and criminals advocating for cops to stand down from their attempts to prevent crime.

          1. Don Shor

            advocating for cops to stand down from their attempts to prevent crime.

            That, of course, is not what Black Lives Matter advocates are demanding.

  2. Barack Palin

    Political Hit Job

    The prosecutor, Napolitano explained, was asked to investigate the videos and whether or not they “were real.” But instead, she presented the case to the grand jury “not charging Planned Parenthood with selling body parts, but charging the journalists who were testing Planned Parenthood with participating in an actual conspiracy to sell body parts,” said Napolitano, who believed charging the filmmakers made no sense.
    “These are what we call ‘crimes of intent,’” he said. “You have to intend to commit the crime. You can’t just utter the words.”
    “Absolutely this is a political hit job,” he added.

    http://www.bizpacreview.com/2016/01/26/political-hit-job-judge-nap-calls-it-like-he-sees-it-on-indictment-of-anti-abortion-activists-298695
     

    1. David Greenwald

      Too much speculation there. We don’t know what the prosecutor presented because Grand Juries are secret and transcripts are sealed. Besides, what is the prosecutor, a Republican’s agenda here?

        1. David Greenwald

          Still in the realm of speculation because we don’t know what happened in there. Don’t you find it problematic that Grand Jury proceedings which hugely impact the lives of people can remain shrouded in secrecy?

        2. Barack Palin

          Yes, I’m starting to come around to your way of thinking on this.  I’ve read a few articles and watched some pundits and they all say it’s really unheard of for a grand jury to charge the accuser who wasn’t the target of the investigation.  They said this will have the effect of whistleblowers being afraid to step forward.

          “Napolitano further explained that “the grand jury does not turn around and indict your witnesses, the people who brought you the case, without the prosecutor wanting this to happen.

          What’s the reason that grand jury proceeding are sealed?  It would be nice to know how the case was presented and what the jurists felt about the process and evidence that was presented.

        3. Tia Will

          BP

          Whether a prosecutor is a Democrat or a Republican has nothing to do with what there view on abortion might be.”

          With this statement, I think that you have inadvertently revealed the crux of the issue which is “what their view on abortion might be”. This is the real battle being fought. If Mr. Daleiden had centered his activities honestly and openly on the issue of abortion, I would have had no complaint although I am in disagreement since it is a legal service. This is the essence of “free speech” and Mr. Daleiden has as much right to it as anyone else. My complaint is his falsely accusing and attempting to prove through deception and editing that Planned Parenthood was engaging in an illegal activity in which it clearly was not engaged.

        4. Matt Williams

          BP, I thought this was about selling body parts.  You seem to be saying that it isn’t about selling body parts, but rather about abortion.  Am I hearing you correctly?

  3. Tia Will

    I am quite conflicted about what I believe is an appropriate outcome in this case. Mr. Daleiden’s intent was clearly in alignment with his firmly held moral beliefs. Unfortunately he chose to attempt, and managed to inflict great financial harm on an institution that provides essential services including in the infectious disease realm to individuals, both men and women, who have difficulty accessing these services and he did this through the use of slander. If we are arguing for equality under the law, as I frequently do….then he should be subject to that law.

    However I see a claim to recover financial losses as also not be fitting to the situation. Investigative journalism is supposedly done in an attempt to find and report on the truth of a situation. It is not honestly engaged in to make up your own version of the truth and then warp and bend and edit what you have uncovered to fit your fictional version of the truth. This is what Mr. Daleiden did, and it cannot be considered investigative journalism. Many posters make that point clear here on the Vanguard when David does not make it clear ( at least in their minds) which part of an article is fact, and which part is his opinion. And yet, there was whole sale willingness of some here to accept Mr. Daleiden’s version of what was being said even in the face of no comments supporting, and many comments providing evidence against the intent to sell on the part of Planned Parenthood associates, let alone any actual sales of fetal tissue as I pointed out repeatedly using his own material.

    I think that the best possible outcome here would be monetary reparations to Planned Parenthood and community service to those directly and indirectly injured by Mr. Daleiden’s activities by limitation of their services through Planned Parenthood.

    1. sisterhood

      “Investigative journalism is supposedly done in an attempt to find and report on the truth of a situation. It is not honestly engaged in to make up your own version of the truth and then warp and bend and edit what you have uncovered to fit your fictional version of the truth. This is what Mr. Daleiden did, and it cannot be considered investigative journalism. 

      Hear, hear. Would 60 Minutes, or CNN’s Anderson Cooper, or even one of the very few intelligent journalists on Fox “News”,  do what Mr. Daleiden did?

  4. Biddlin

    “firmly held moral beliefs.”

    More likely compensation for his sense of inadequacy resulting in a need to control others around him, lest they see him as weak.

  5. PhillipColeman

    Watching the intriguing and sometimes distressing Texas justice system is like a judicial soap opera were not actual lives and personal liberties at risk. I doubt much will be seen of these criminal charges coming to fruition although I disagree they are minor in the name of journalistic deceit and betrayal of physician/patient confidentiality. The criminal charges were more of a politically-motivated message in a web of political shenanigans long involved with the pro-choice/pro-life controversy. The Harris County prosecutor sent a clear message back to the Lieutenant Governor. Back off!

    The Georgetown Professor put everything into its proper legal perspective which does not bode well for the defendants in either civil or criminal court.

    The defendants need to be far more fearful of the tort action. Presumably, this was a federal filing as local politics often contaminate local courts.

    Getting rid of the antiquated grand jury system, now we’re talking! I’ve made that plea dating back years, with California to follow the example of numerous other states which have already gotten rid of this obsolete form of investigation and criminal indictment. But leave it be in Texas, it’s the useful test laboratory for how to do everything wrong.

  6. Biddlin

    ” They said this will have the effect of whistleblowers being afraid to step forward.”

    No whistle blown here. Just an over-privileged fabricator’s false allegations and distortions.

  7. Misanthrop

    I don’t remember David complaining about the Grand Jury when it investigated the Davis Fire Department.

    The attempt to buy fetal tissue is the misdemeanor and isn’t the big charge. The felony is the fake driver’s license. Obviously there are going to be differing opinions on the seriousness of the fraud and forgery involved but that is what a trial is supposed to test.

    1. David Greenwald

      That’s a different function – indictment versus oversight. However, in the last few years, I have come to doubt that function as well. Even the fire department investigation was superficial and had to be followed up with the ombudsman’s investigation.

      1. PhillipColeman

        Thanks, David, for refreshing our collective memory on this particular history. The county library shelves are full of Grand Jury recommendations where nothing happened. Again, you and Rich Rifkin can take a bow when we muse, “Davis Fire Department, then and now.”

        “Superficial” is the prime characteristic of all Gran Jury investigations. It’s not their fault, grand juries are selected from a process where appointing judges literally plead for “persons of good standing” (the only qualification) to accept. It is a thankless job with short-term prestige now tainted.

        Banish grand juries at the county level. Take the money and appoint a County Ombudsman, fully independent, and having investigative skills, subpoena power, and clerical support to do the job properly.

  8. ryankelly

    I refuse to accept David Dalaiden as a investigative journalist.  Regardless, if going through legal steps to set up a fraudulent non-profit company with the IRS, receive non-taxed income for this fraudulent company, creating fake California Driver’s licenses, signing legal agreements and contracts with a false identification, videoing people without their knowledge or consent, carefully editing the videos to alter what actually occurred, creating and offering contracts for the illegal purchase of human body parts…if all of this is what you claim as standard tactics of investigative journalists, then I am astounded.   Are you really saying that if one claims that they are investigative journalists, no laws apply?

    I believe that David broke laws and needs to accept the consequences.  Unless people feel that because he is white, educated and comes from a good family that he should be given a pass.

  9. Frankly

    Unless people feel that because he is white, educated and comes from a good family that he should be given a pass.

    Only if he is a card-carrying liberal involved in the politically-correct civil disobedience activism.

    1. Dave Hart

      I must give Frankly credit or stimulating me to think about the basic differences between “lefty” leaning activists and “righty” leaning ones.  Sisterhood’s dictionary definitions of liberal are helpful.  The narrowness versus the wider view has been going through my mind.  The Bundys are a good example of trying to appear as having a wide, inclusive yearning when in fact, what they want is to destroy an incredibly valuable wildlife refuge and lock it up in the hands of a relatively few as yet unnamed ranchers for livestock.  Same thing for Daleiden:  eliminating or narrowing the right and options available to women to make an informed choice in consultation with a medical professional.  He does this by attacking and with the hope of destroying the one national organization that can provide the abortion services in many parts of the U.S.

      The difference between right and left activists is pretty striking.  While I don’t presume to say that every tactical move by our liberal activists is the right one or the best one, I can’t ever remember a right wing activist doing or saying anything that would lead me to believe they have my back on any issue whatsoever.

      Can anyone out there suggest otherwise, i.e., what conservative activist has ever done anything that could be considered inclusive or bettering the lives of the society as a whole? I just can’t think of any and I’m relying on Frankly or anyone else to help me out.

      1. Frankly

        Your questions actually provide your answer in that, like many liberals, you are obsessed with what is wrong and bad in a fairness and care context, and unable to connect the dots for what is right and good… and hence are a risk for destroying what is right and good in your myopic pursuit of fairness and care.

        Conservatives protect and promote the things that that serve us well, while countering those that could cause great harm if unchecked:

        Protection of human life in the womb.

        Promoting individual freedom and independence.

        Promoting individual accountability and reward based on merit.

        Protecting the honoring and compliance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

        Protection of cultural and social norms and traditional morality.

        Protection of free-market capitalism and a belief in the legitimacy of market outcomes (ironically the things that led to the creation of that marvelous machine you typed your challenge on). 

        Proliferation of the belief that America is an exceptional nation, a shining city on a hill, whose rightful role is leader of the free world.

        Promote the embrace of localism, community and family ties, human scale, and a responsibility to the future.

        Proliferation of the belief that America shouldn’t intervene in the affairs of other nations except to defend ourselves from aggression and enforce contracts and treaties.

        Counter for the march of liberalism, socialism, communism, multiculturalism, identity politics, affirmative action, welfare, European-style social policy: all sufficiently proven destructive ideas.

        Protection of the principles of federalism, small central government and a distributed  balance of power.

        Counter to the run-away spending of liberals and the debt and deficits that put America in peril.

        Reminder of the fallibility of man, and an promotion of the awareness of the value of skepticism, doubt and humility.

        Promotion of realism in foreign policy.

        To name just a few…

        1. Dave Hart

          Frankly, you did not provide a single example in which a right wing cause or a right wing activist has done one thing that benefits society as a whole and not just his own skin. Instead, you post a list that seems to be lifted from some pamphlet put out by the John Birch Society or maybe the Koch brothers.

          Many of the items on your list could just as easily be framed as liberal values given a particular historical circumstance.  Liberals can support personal freedom and independence, individual accountability and reward based merit, protecting the U.S. Constitution (except where it allows for a black person to be considered as 3/5 of a human) and there are many liberals who even support capitalist economic relations as long as they are not running amok as in the days of child labor (thankfully before your time).

          I understand it is not pleasant or comforting for you to acknowledge that just about everything that has brought our society forward from the dark days of child factory labor, poverty for the elderly, dangerous working conditions, inhuman forms of labor exploitation (yes, even you must enjoy the concept of the weekend) discrimination by race, gender, etc., commonplace lynchings and terrorist violence by the ultra-right KKK as one small example have been gained at the cost of people’s (liberal peoples’) lives.  Frankly, you just aren’t qualified to condemn the incredible sacrifices made by people you derisively label “liberals”.  Right wingers didn’t put and end to these things, liberals and others further to the left did it.

          If you are prepared to not take your Social Security check when the time comes, or you wish to check the political credentials of your doctor who may have been educated in a public university before you let them treat you and want to live the pure right-wingish life, be my guest.  It’s not a world most of us want to live in and it’s not a world most right-wingers want to live in…they just can’t admit how important the liberal tradition is to their present quality of life.

  10. sisterhood

    liberal

    1. Possessing or manifesting a free and generous heart; bountiful   2. Appropriate and/or fitting for a broad and enlightened mind.  3. Free from narrowness, bigotry, or bondage to authority or creed  4. Any prson who advocates freedom of thought, speech or action

  11. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Conservatives and Christians advocating for the helpless baby in the womb “

    I would be much more impressed with the advocacy of conservatives and Christians if they extended their caring for the helpless babies to the time after they have left the womb. Unfortunately for most, the time of caring ends at birth. Michelle Bachman and her husband are notable exceptions. I wonder just how many children Mr. Daleiden has adopted and/or fostered, just as I wonder how many unintended pregnancies he has helped to prevent.  Listening carefully for those crickets.

    1. Frankly

      Unfortunately for most, the time of caring ends at birth

      Do I really have to list all the work done by Christian Missionaries running orphanages?

      Do I really have to list all the Catholic Church’s that operate food banks and other emergency assistance charities in their regional areas?   There are dozens just in Sacramento alone.

      Do I really have to list all the Christian organizations running adoption services?

      Do I really have to explain the value of a congregation helping their member families and youth having trouble?

      Do I really have to explain how Christianity saves many kids from a self-destructive life through the lessons of forgiveness and salvation?

      Maybe you want to rethink this comment and retract it.

      1. sisterhood

        On the surface, Catholics do good. I was raised Catholic and we raised our two children Catholic. However, when they both started to question what was taught to them in catechism, enough was enough.  It was also enough when, several years back,  my new parish here in AZ sent me a Christmas letter from the previous Pope, basically telling everyone in America that homosexuality is a sin.

        Catholics encourage the rhythm method and abstinence. Is there any correlation between these church teachings, and the large number of low income Catholics who receive public assistance? The large number of Catholics who experience an unwanted, accidental teenage pregnancy in their family?

        Catholics are doing a disservice to everyone by ignoring their formal instruction of abstinence and the rythm method, while privately using contraception and feeling guilty, even sinful, for it.

        I am sad to write that today, neither of my children attend any faith based service, and both consider themselves to be agnostic. They both, however, do volunteer work in the bay area and are what I consider to be kind, spiritual people.

        I do not know of any statistics, but guarantee you the majority of Catholics in the U.S. do not practice the rhythm method, and they darned sure don’t abstain past their teenage years.  Many of them use the services of Planned Parenthood.

        1. Tia Will

          sisterhood

          I truly appreciate your sharing. I do have one question. Why are you sad that your children do not choose to attend any faith based service ?  It would seem that you have raised two decent, caring human beings who contribute to our society. Like myself, I would consider my two children spiritual, but not religious beings. Both are kind and making positive contributions to our world. For me, this is a cause for joy, not sadness.

        2. sisterhood

          Good morning Dr. Tia!

          I guess I’m a tad sad because I’ve always believed in a supreme being in our universe, watching over us. Good vs. evil, goodness wins. I was fortunate to have relationships with caring nuns and priests. No inappropriate behavior, no ruler beatings on my hand, like my husband was subjected to at his parochial school. No beatings on my head, like my father in law was subjected to by nuns in southern CA in the 40’s.

          I interacted with nice, decent, benevolent nuns and priests.

          My children used to believe in God. I decided to put them through the Catholic religious training at St. James vbecause the women that lead the religious ed there are caring, wonderful women. Regardless, the catechisms come directly from Rome, so there you go. Somehow the beautiful message is distorted. Now my kids are not even sure that there is a supreme good being in the univeres. Somedays I think of that being as Mother Nature.

          I wish they had the certainty that I have My prayers have been answered on numerous occasions, almost in a surreal state of grace It’s hard to describe faith. I wish my kids had my absolute faith, that’s all.

          I will also share with you, in times of crisis, my father has appeared to me in a dream. It only happened twice, but it reaffirmed my belief in the afterlife.

          And now BP will complain that I’m sharing too much of my personal life. Too bad, BP. If you can’t handle me, scroll past my name, please.

          Thanks, Tia, for all your articles that addressed the Daleiden debacle. You did a wonderful service to women and men everywhere.

        3. Barack Palin

          And now BP will complain that I’m sharing too much of my personal life. Too bad, BP. If you can’t handle me, scroll past my name, please.

          I could care less about your personal life or if you want to tell the whole world about it.  I’ve never brought your family members into my postings as you have mine, that was my point.  You often accuse me of trying to pull chains, but if you come right down to it it’s you who often does the chain pulling.  Some advice, don’t pull people’s chains if you can’t handle their response.

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Absolutely no retraction felt needed. All of the organizations that you have listed have an ulterior motive. They all believe in the conversion of those that they help to their religion. Yes, many of these organizations do good along the way. But all are motivated a desire to cause others to think as they do. And let us not forget also all of the “Christians” who use their preaching to amass vast wealth for themselves. Religion in and of itself is neither good nor bad. It is the actions and motives that matter and I will stand my ground.

        Again, not speaking for all who are religious, but certainly for Mr. Daleiden, who has he

        helped ? Who has he harmed with his lies ?

    2. hpierce

      Well, perhaps Tia, Conservatives, and/or people of faith, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim could learn from all those agnostic, liberal, atheist/agnostic folk who are TRULY caring for those babies/children once they’ve left the womb… yet, I have heard of the Catholic Relief fund, other of those of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, but don’t recall hearing about the agnostics/atheists organizing to help pretty much anyone.  Perhaps you could enlighten… many folk I’ve known who fostered and then adopted children at risk… I guess you’re saying they really don’t do ‘diddley”.

      BTW, many Christians, Jews, Muslims are VERY socially liberal.  An “inconvenient fact”.  For some of us, a guy named Jesus was darn near the ‘perfect’ social liberal.  He preached feeding and clothing the poor, protecting those who could not do so for themselves, etc.

      Consider me Jiminy Cricket… examine you own damn conscience and your actions/commitments, before you lump others into an “uncaring”/uncommitted box.  [Yeah, you pushed my buttons, big time]

        1. Dave Hart

          I would suggest Doctors Without Borders, Project Medishare, Partners in Health, Every Mother Counts, and the list goes on and on and on of “liberal” do-gooders who have no ulterior motives related to religion or political conservatism who make the world a better place than it otherwise would be.

        2. hpierce

          I know several Doctors without Borders folk, and all are “Christian”… I applaud all those who serve, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, other, or none…  A poster implied (big time) that “conservatives AND Christians” were hypocritical about concerns for fetuses.  That is what I initially responded to, and given the poster’s prior disclosures that they distrusted any-faith based system, I felt a need to respond… excuse me for living.

          Don, I say the second time, feel free to remove all my posts on this topic… apparently I pushed buttons like the other poster pushed mine..

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I would suggest that prior to activating, you consider the context of my comments. What I wrote was with regard to the activities of Mr. Daleiden. I completely agree that many religious organizations do provide for the poor. So do many secular organizations as Don and Dave have pointed out.

        Again, I ask the question. Who has Mr.Daleiden helped with his lies?.Who have those who have attacked Planned Parenthood via arson, bombings and murder ( sometimes in the name of their religion ) helped ?

  12. hpierce

    Not “specific”, but look at its origins, and current/historical major sources of funding… also note the existence of the Red Crescent movement and its origins… and main sources of funding… pretty sure that agnostics/atheists neither formed either, nor contribute 50% or more to their missions… pretty much people of ‘faith’ across all denominational/religious beliefs.

    1. Don Shor

      The origins of the Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations are not religious. It is, and always has been, secular. And the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols are very specifically not religious in their usage by those organizations, as they will firmly tell you (and did when they rejected application by Israel to have a Star of David symbol). Wikipedia has a good overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Red_Cross_and_Red_Crescent_Movement#History_of_the_emblems. Also, you’ve probably heard of UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.

      1. hpierce

        Look at the biographies of the founders… the organization has indeed, always been secular [for good reasons, due to possible prejudices], but if you look at the founders (Clara Barton was an example of the ARC) they were people of faith, even if not actively “churched”… if you can cite sources where the founders were atheists/agnostic, I could stand corrected… one of the ‘marks’ of the “believers” is that they extend their concern and charity towards others, far beyond their “own”… name ONE significant organization, for charitable purposes, serving all, irregardless of the beliefs of those they served, that was started/instigated/founded by those who did NOT come from a faith-based system…

        1. Don Shor

          You’re really dug in on this. You don’t seem to know the difference between secular and “atheist/agnostic.”
          There are substantial secular organizations that do great charitable work. The Red Cross is one of them. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the leading philanthropists in the world, are both atheists.

        2. hpierce

          I “timed out” before I could add, that those who are atheist/agnostic are and have been very supportive of humanitarian efforts [liberal or conservative]… and good people… just cannot think of one significant humanitarian organization, serving all, founded by non-faith oriented folk.

          A poster questioned Conservatives (I’m not one) AND Christians for being sincere in putting their efforts where their words are… that was the “cheap” and erroneous “shot” that I objected to, but given MY behavior, financially and otherwise, and those behaviors of many other people of faith, the shot was unjustified… and, possibly, hypocritical… but now I think I’ve  crossed another “inconvenient truth” line…

          Guess I’m just violating the VG rules on “party lines”, so feel free to eliminate all my posts on the subject, Don, so I don’t “offend”.

          [written before your site let me elaborate]

        3. KSmith

          Is the absence of such widespread organizations so surprising, considering that it’s only been very recently that it’s been even remotely socially acceptable to openly identify oneself as atheist or agnostic?

          Oh, silly me. It’s still not really all that socially acceptable, considering atheists and agnostics are identified as more untrustworthy by the American public than terrorists.

          But this is slowly but surely changing, since the “nones” are the fastest growing “religion” in the United States (I believe several recent polls have contended). So I’m quite sure many of those “believers” you cite who are donating money and/or time to various charities are religious in name only–only because it’s not yet completely socially acceptable to come out as a “none.”

          And I think you should check your implied blanket statements about the traits of “believers.” There are a goodly number of organizations that *do not* help all comers, regardless of their beliefs. And there are many that are not just giving out the kindness of their hearts, but only to win converts to their particular creeds. And some of the Christian adoption organizations are right at the forefront of this (for e.g., as presented in this article: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/christian-evangelical-adoption-liberia).

          I’m not sure why you seem to be so convinced that atheists or agnostics aren’t just as interested in contributing to charitable causes as those with religious convictions. There are lots of “nones” right here in this town who are out there working in the community every day for selfless reasons, and also donating their hard-earned dollars.

        4. hpierce

          Talk about “over-weaning pride”… this started (my comments) with a poster’s assertion that neither conservatives nor Christians cared about fetuses after they were born.  Yet it appears you defend that, and that I (and perhaps Frankly) are out of line for refuting that assertion.  OK… you are entitled… please feel free to remove any/all of my posts on this topic…

          1. Don Shor

            No, I don’t defend what Tia said. She can do that, or not, as she chooses. You said

            yet, I have heard of the Catholic Relief fund, other of those of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths, but don’t recall hearing about the agnostics/atheists organizing to help pretty much anyone.

            I gave you examples of secular organizations.

        5. hpierce

          Don… “secular” does not mean that those involved are not faith-based… it just means they want to be all-inclusive, which is a quite faith-based concept… the folk who ‘separated church from state’ were overwhelmingly, personally, faith-based…

          1. Don Shor

            I disagree. Secular literally and exactly means not faith-based.

            …denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

            People of faith and of no faith can come together to do secular charitable activities. Red Cross is a good example of that.

  13. Tia Will

    hpierce

    a poster’s assertion that neither conservatives nor Christians cared about fetuses after they were born”

    That is not what the poster in question asserted. This is the post that seems to have set both you and Frankly off.

    I would be much more impressed with the advocacy of conservatives and Christians if they extended their caring for the helpless babies to the time after they have left the womb. Unfortunately for most, the time of caring ends at birth. Michelle Bachman and her husband are notable exceptions. I wonder just how many children Mr. Daleiden has adopted and/or fostered, just as I wonder how many unintended pregnancies he has helped to prevent. “

    Please note that this quote is in response to an article on the consequences of the activities of Mr. Daleiden. Also please note that I was only saying what would be more impressive to me had Mr. Daleiden chosen to take those steps. I made one unfortunate gaff by saying “unfortunately for most” which I can only assume was interpreted to mean most conservatives and Christians, when what I meant was most of these antiabortion activists.

    I also noted a very conservative couple who have taken those steps in a positive light. Please note what was absent from my post. Nowhere did I state that no conservatives or religious folks do good in the world, or act in charitable ways. Quite the contrary, I myself named what I consider a “notable” couple because of their political prominence. All the rest of it was you and Frankly deciding to “activate” and come to the defense of a whole class of people,those who you deem” religious, rather than making any comment about the individuals that I was criticizing, namely the Daleiden group.

    From my point of view, all the “crickets” have done is to draw a red herring across the path, not address the issue of the ethics, efficacy or legality of the actions of Mr. Daleiden.

  14. Tia Will

    Hi Sisterhood

    I am sorry to be so late in getting back with you. I wanted to thank you for sharing so beautifully about your own faith experience. My life experiences have led me to a very different, but no less deeply felt spiritual perspective. This raises for me the importance of respect for and appreciation of the differing ways that humans can experience our existence and appreciate our role in the world as we understand it.

    Unfortunately, we have many in our society who would like to use their own religious experience to dictate the lives of others. Not to accept democratically derived principles and laws, but to want to force their beliefs onto others. We are seeing this amongst those who would claim leadership positions ( “we will all be saying “Merry Christmas” when I am elected) and amongst those who are willing to lie and defame in order to advance their views ( as did Mr. Daleiden and associates). I applaud whomever is seeking to honestly and openly advance the good of all, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack there of ,but abhor the actions of those who are willing to lie and deceive and use force to compel others to abide by their personal beliefs whether religious or secular.

    Hopefully that will have clarified my position.

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