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Money, Power and The Radical Right in Pennsylvania
Planned Parenthood Association of Pennsylvania, 1996, Liz Hrenda-Roberts, Executive Director [this material is also available in hardcopy as a 64 page booklet from Planned Parenthood, at 1514 N Second Street, Harrisburg PA 17102 phone: 717-234-3024]

I. Introduction
The Foundations of Modern Religious Political Extremism in America
         A global movement
III. Family Planning and Politics in Pennsylvania
         Early attempts to outlaw abortion
         Regulating abortion out of reach
         Legislation in the post-Webster era
         State funding for anti-choice activities
         Family planning funding restored
IV. Organizational Profiles
         Council for National Policy
         Christian Coalition 13
         Concerned Women for America
         Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
         The Commonwealth Foundation
         Focus on the Family
         National Association of Christian Educators/ Citizens for Excellence in Education
         The Rutherford Institute
         American Family Association
V. Funding the Radical Right
         The DeMoss Foundation
         McKenna Foundations
         Scaife Foundations
VI. Who's Who
Sources of information on organizations and foundations

I. Introduction

Planned Parenthood's decision to research and publish this document came as a result of our observation of the forces opposing the work of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has long enjoyed strong community support in Pennsylvania. For seventy years local volunteer leadership and financial support have enabled us to provide health care and educational services to over 100,000 people each year. While we have strong support for our work from many Pennsylvanians, we have also experienced opposition, both in the legislature and at the doors of our health care facilities.
   Planned Parenthood is firmly committed to the philosophy that the choice to have a child, including the choice to continue or terminate a pregnancy, belongs to the individual, not to the government. In studying our legislative opposition and the motives of anti-choice protesters, it has become clear that, for some, their ire is directed not against abortion, but against the idea that women should be able to make their own family planning choices, outside the dictates of government. Planned Parenthood has endeavored to learn why some groups are so incensed by our work. Our concern is both to promote reproductive health and privacy, and to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.
   In our study we have found that some of our opponents have an ideology which is even more alarming than the anti-choice agenda we initially perceived. They hold beliefs which contradict the very principles upon which our nation was founded. We found that an organizing manual from one group instructs members to use deception and secrecy to gain positions of power within political parties. We discovered relationships between groups that oppose abortion rights and groups that would replace our democracy with a theocracy, and our judicial system and trial by jury with a council of appointed elders.
   This monograph contains profiles of key radical right organizations and funding sources in Pennsylvania and their local and national affiliations. The information in this document has been compiled through examination of public records, media accounts, radical right publications and interviews. Addresses, phone numbers, names of key personnel and funding information have been included to assist those interested in identifying religious political extremist activity in their community or in further research. A Who's Who section profiles some of the more prominent individual leaders. A list of organizations working to monitor and expose radical right organizations is included as well.
   While it is tempting to look at the individuals and groups profiled in this report as part of a vast conspiracy, the reader is warned against such a view. While some groups have similar goals, or share board members and financial supporters, there are philosophical differences, ego-clashes, differing strategies and priorities. The widely reported split in the Pennsylvania Christian Coalition at the end of last year is a example of the results of the divergent views and goals among religious political extremist organizations.
   We gave careful thought to the language used to describe these groups. Organizations like the Christian Coalition self-identify as religious organizations, though they often do not maintain affiliations with religious denominations. These organizations use religion as a legitimizer and sometimes as a smoke screen for radical political and public policy initiatives. Rather than use popular but inaccurate terms such as "religious right" or "Christian conservatives," we have chosen to refer to the individuals and organizations which are the subject of this monograph as "radical right" or "religious political extremists".
   Increasingly, anyone who raises objections to the activities of groups which claim a religious basis for their political activity is accused of "anti-Christian bigotry". It is not Planned Parenthood's intention to disparage anyone's religious beliefs. Indeed, many Planned Parenthood supporters are Christians, while others adhere no less ardently to different religious philosophies. We are respectful of this diversity, and draw much strength from it.
   Moreover, we respect the right of those who oppose our work to express their opposition, and to explain a religious basis, should they have one, for those beliefs. However, we assert that the claim that one's political positions are derived from religious beliefs does not render those positions immune from scrutiny and criticism.

Writing in the April 1994 issue of Freedom Writer, Holly Gunner reported that participants at a 1993 Christian Coalition conference in Denver were instructed to:

  • Hide your affiliation and true agenda
  • Use the gay issue to raise funds for the cause
  • Always cover your tracks; always use local front men - a wacko if necessary
  • Appeal to people's fears of society and change
  • Appeal to Americans' worst impulses
  • Remember that "tension will provide the winning edge for candidates"
  • Lie, if necessary 1

This aspect of religious political extremist strategy demonstrates why understanding these organizations and their agendas is so important. It is our hope that this report will strengthen the American tradition of tolerance and diversity, by contributing information to the public debate.