Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is joining with “faith leaders” from the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to pray for “God’s blessing” upon an abortion clinic in Columbus.
The event is billed as an “interfaith gathering” scheduled for Nov. 9 at 5 p.m., to be followed by a reception.
According to a notice posted on the Planned Parenthood of Ohio website, “anti-abortion advocates do not have the monopoly on faith or God. Many faith leaders and people of faith hold that accessing and providing abortions are good and godly decisions.”
The event notice further states:
During this clinic blessing, participants will gather with local faith leaders and guests to ask for God’s blessing upon Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s East Columbus Surgical facility, the abortion providers and staff, and all those who pass through the center.”
The abortion clinic targeted for blessing, East Columbus Surgical Center, is at 3255 East Main St., Columbus.
Another stated purpose of the event is to remove the stigma and “shame” surrounding abortion, an act which these faith leaders believe is worthy of celebration.
The Ohio “faith leaders” participating in the event are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an abortion advocacy group formed in 1967 that claims to represent the “vast majority of Christians.” It is made up of clergy who say they are part of the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Islamic faiths.
Women will be present at the Columbus event to testify about their positive experiences in “receiving and providing” abortions.
“In celebration of conscience and moral decision making, this event will include interfaith blessings, prayers, and testimonies about receiving and providing abortion care,” according to the online notice. “This clinic blessing will create space for progressive voices of faith to speak boldly in support of comprehensive reproductive health care, especially abortion.”
This isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood has invited faith leaders to come and pray a “blessing” over one of its abortion clinics. Earlier this year, the Rev. Marvin Ellison, a Presbyterian minister, joined with four other “faith leaders” to bless a Planned Parenthood facility in Portland, Maine.
“There are some who assume that if you’re a person of faith, you must stand in opposition to all that Planned Parenthood represents, but that’s far from true,” Ellison wrote in an op-ed for the Press Herald titled “For me as a chaplain, Planned Parenthood’s name is blessed.”
“As chaplains, we recognize that Planned Parenthood is called many names. Some of those names are hate-filled, disrespectful and terribly misguided,” Ellison continued. “At the blessing, we concluded the event by saying, ‘Hear this loud and clear: In the name of all that is holy and good, Planned Parenthood your name is blessed. Each staff member is a blessing to this community and to those for whom you provide health care, education and advocacy. You are the blessing, and we thank God for you.’”
The keynote speaker at the Columbus event will be the Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith, leader of Crazy Faith Ministries, which meets each Sunday at Summit United Methodist Church in the North Linden area of Columbus.
At her website for Crazy Faith Ministries, the Rev. Smith concedes that “we’re not a traditional church.”
The website describes the spiritual values of the ministry in purely political terms:
“Democracy and voting rights, poverty and economic justice, education, healthcare, immigrants’ rights & xenophobia, LGBTQ rights, war-mongering & the military…these are MORAL ISSUES that Ohio and candidates for office must address.”
The website shows a picture of what appear to be members of her congregation, raising clenched fists, an international sign of Marxist solidarity.
Smith’s Facebook page reads like a promotional flyer for the Democrat Party, outwardly encouraging people in Ohio to vote against Republican candidates.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.
Photo “Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Demonstration” by ohiorcrc.org.