Religious Leaders bless Planned Parenthood clinic
In a surprising turn of events, a new Planned Parenthood clinic has been blessed by a number of religious ministers. Although Christians have traditionally been the strongest opponents of abortion rights and Planned Parenthood, the presence of so many Christian pastors of various denominations among the group of ministers is sure to create quite a stir.
Over 20 ministers from different faiths gathered at the event organized by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice for the Planned Parenthood Metro Washington’s new Carol Whitehill Moses health center. Contrary to what religious leaders have otherwise been saying about abortion, the leaders at the gathering used words such as “sacred” and “holy” to describe the reproductive health services performed by Planned Parenthood.
The prayer gathering was led by a Jewish Rabbi, Michael Namath. The Rabbi is the Program Director at the Action Center of Reform Judaism, an organization that seeks to promote a more progressive and liberal form of Judaism. He called upon God to bless the staff working at the clinic, referring to them as instruments of God’s hands. He then reminded the gathering of ministers of their duty to the world and asked them to stay strong to their commitment to make the world “whole and holy.”
The event also included prayers by America’s first openly gay imam, Daayiee Abdullah, who joined the gathering over Skype. In addition, two Hindu priests, Venkatesh Vadhyar and Bragadeesh Balasubramanian, chanted incantations that would bring “good vibrations” to the building which would help the mothers who visited the clinic to be healed sooner.
Co-pastor of Washington, D.C.’s Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ and supporter of pro-choice and abortion, Rev. Dr. Christine Y. Wiley, laments that Christians with conservative attitudes dominate on media, which has created a false idea of Christianity among people. Rev. Wiley insists there are many kinds of Christians and just like there are Christians who are against abortion, there are Christians who support abortion.
President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Dr. Laura Meyers, notes having an interreligious prayer service at the premises sends a positive message to people – one that empowers rather than stigmatizes. She also called her work “sacred” because she always reminds her staff about how their work is meant to help women have a better life. Dr. Meyers believes that the support shown by the ministers can go a long way in helping women enjoy freedom of will and choice.