Thursday, February 2, 2012


Atheists have a bad reputation for being angry.  Just the other day I was talking to a friend and the subject of religious fundamentalism came up.  About ten seconds in, my friend brings up that he can't stand atheists, they are so angry and always trying to force their views on other people.  I listened patiently for a while before revealing that I was an atheist.  That was fun to watch.

Truthfully, I have not met any "angry" atheists.  I am sure there are some people out there who are angry most of the time and also happen to be atheists, but the great majority of atheists I have met have been fun and genuinely caring people.

All that aside, today I am an atheist who is angry (correlation only).  The source of my anger is Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  The pink ribbon people.

Before I go further, I would like to say that I have nothing but respect for the foundations efforts in the battle against breast cancer.  What I can't respect is there decision to cut their funding for breast exams to Planned Parenthood, an organization that always seems to be at the forefront of women's health issues.

I also don't buy their reasoning.  According to a statement on Komen's website in response to the furious reaction of so many to this decision:

To support this new granting strategy, Komen has also implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars.  Consequently, some organizations are no longer eligible to receive Komen grants.


We regret that these new policies have impacted some longstanding grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics.

So why is it that Planned Parenthood no longer meets Komen's eligibility standards?  Apparently, Komen's board decided last year that they wouldn't support any organization that was under official investigation.  As it would happen, Planned Parenthood is under investigation by Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida.  He is an anti-choice Republican, and as you know, Republicans hate Planned Parenthood (my irony meter flipped out when I read that he is also trying to increase privacy protection for Americans).  According to this article, the president of Komen, Elizabeth Thompson, didn't know of any organizations other than Planned Parenthood that would be affected.  So it seems that to act surprised and say that they are just following their standards that they hold everyone to is a load of crap.  It seems far more likely that this restriction was put in place specifically to distance themselves from Planned Parenthood.

The faux-surprise expressed in that statement is also irritating in that if it were genuine it would mean that Komen, a $400 million charity, lacked any sort of PR savvy.  How could they not expect a backlash to cutting funding for breast cancer screenings from someplace like Planned Parenthood that is constantly under attack from forces that are virulently (and inexplicably) against proper women's healthcare.  How are people to believe that this was not Komen caving to bullying from these anti-choice groups.

Anyhow, that is my little rant for today.  Planned Parenthood is accepting donations directly for breast cancer screening.  There are also some nice petitions to sign.

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