Friday, May 22, 2009

repost by request....

The Ethic of Control: Margaret Sanger, Eugenics, and Planned Parenthood

by Angela Franz

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), despite coming under frequent attacks by pro-lifers, remains one of the most respected and well-funded organizations in the country. Add the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to the equation, and you've got a billion-dollar industry in human fertility.
One would expect that the aims and agenda of such a huge organization would come under severe scrutiny, but Planned Parenthood has been immune from such questions, largely because its stated goals of population control and family planning are supposedly in agreement with America's interests at home and abroad. But is PPFA's stated agenda the whole story?
One way of determining PPFA's real agenda is to study its history. PPFA was founded with the establishment of the nation's first birth-control clinic in 1916 by Margaret Sanger. The clinic was located in Brownsville, New York, a poor neighborhood of mostly Jews and Italians, establishing a pattern of targeting poor and minority populations for family planning. The organization went through various name changes -- the American Birth Control League (ABCL), the Clinical Research Bureau, the National Committee for Federal Legislation for Birth Control (NCFLBC), the Birth Control Federation of America -- before becoming Planned Parenthood in 1942.
Sanger's motives in promoting birth control have often been questioned, by radical feminists and pro-lifers alike. Some feminists who otherwise support the "reproductive rights agenda" have taken issue with Sanger for selling out, maintaining that she abandoned her radical socialist background in order to court society women who helped her financially and socially. In so doing, some say Sanger allowed a misogynist medical profession to take over what should have been a women's movement.
When Sanger is attacked by pro-lifers, they often attack her sexual life, arguing that she was fundamentally a sexual libertine fighting for respectability. While Sanger certainly wished for the freedom to carry on with her numerous lovers (the short list includes sexologist Havelock Ellis, writers H. G. Wells and Hugh de Salincourt, anarchist Lorenzo Portet, and architect Angus Snead McDonald), mere sexual self-absorption cannot adequately explain her tireless fixation on birth control. Sanger's critics often invoke what they perceive as blatant racism on her part, but this approach leads to hasty and uncritical conclusions. Sanger made few statements that explicitly profess the superiority of one race over another; rather than racism, what is at issue is elitism, a more subtle -- but just as dangerous -- form of bigotry. This bigotry is shared by many of her contemporaries in what was called the "eugenics movement:" Ellis, Sanger's mentor, was actively involved in establishing and supporting the Eugenics Education Society of England, and Sanger approvingly quoted eugenist, and later Nazi supporter, Harry H. Laughlin in her anthology The Case for Birth Control as saying, "Society must look upon germ-plasm as belonging to society, and not solely to the individual who carries it."
Sanger's elitist bigotry was the motivation for her birth control advocacy. Looked at as a whole, Sanger's writings, speeches, and organizational connections with the eugenics movement all served the end of controlling the "unfit" -- those determined by Sanger to be unable to manage their own childbearing behavior. What Sanger promulgated was an ethic of control.
Sanger's involvement with eugenics was extensive. In her essay, "The Need of Birth Control in America," published in Birth Control: Facts and Responsibilities, Sanger defines "what we mean by birth control today: hygienic, scientific, and harmless control of procreative powers [italics hers]. Thus comprehended, birth control places in our hands the key to that greatest of all human problems -- how to reconcile individual freedom with the necessities of race hygiene." This was indeed the central dilemma for Sanger, and she solved it by determining who was and was not worthy of "individual freedom," in light of the race's needs. Contemporary family planning advocates, under the rallying cry of "choice," insist that they are only interested in the freedom part of the equation, but it seems the second factor weighs as heavily as ever, albeit under new names, such as the need to protect "society" or "the environment" or, more recently, "public genetic accountability."
Sanger is responsible for such reasoning. In Woman and the New Race, she argues that women incur a "debt to society" through their thoughtless reproducing, "unknowingly creating slums, filling asylums with the insane, and institutions with other defectives." Drawing on the pseudoscientific eugenic studies of her day, she compares "typical" small and large families in "The Need of Birth Control," concluding that the latter group "is correlated for the most part with poverty, distress, tuberculosis, delinquency, mental defect, and crime. Poverty and the large family generally go hand in hand," she concludes. "[T]his type is pari passu multiplying and perpetuating those direst evils which we must, if civilization is to survive, extirpate by the very roots."
The phrase "this type" shows the ideology at work. A large family is the sign of being unfit. In Sanger's world, the poor are poor because they are unfit, and they have large families because they are unfit. In the June 1917 issue of the Birth Control Review (which Sanger edited), she refers contemptuously to "the great horde of unwanted" that lacks the "courage to control its own destiny." The real problem, she notes in The Pivot of Civilization, arises when "the incurably defective are permitted to procreate and thus increase their numbers." At this point the state should interfere "either by force or persuasion." She acknowledges that personal liberty is important, but in the present situation society must segregate and sterilize its undesirables. The "defective" must be controlled, even if as Sanger insists, it requires "drastic and Spartan measures."
Sanger's scapegoat was invariably the poor and uneducated. Yet, while Sanger herself made few racist statements, there are overtones of racism in her organizations. While she herself did not define eugenic "fitness" along racial lines, she attracted supporters who did, and she often published their statements without comment. For example, ABCL National Board member and eugenist C. C. Little notes, in the August 1926 issue of the Review, that racial problems are not as "acute" where he works in New England as they are in New York, where there is "an immense diversity of racial elements." He continues, "I happen to be working in Maine, where the proportion of the old New England stock is very, very high... I don't want to see that particular element in the situation mixed up.... I want to keep it the way a chemist would prize a store of chemically pure substances..." Obviously, in such a formulation, poor white Southerners fare as badly as blacks.
In fact, this sort of elitist bigotry was often an unspoken assumption. ABCL National Council member and eugenist Leon J. Cole, responding to a letter from Sanger about whether or not the ABCL should endorse forced sterilization, notes:
I think you will see that to my mind there is fully as much necessity of giving attention to means of restriction of propagation in this lower irresponsible stratum of society as there is of providing a means of voluntarily reducing the numbers born in the better classes. (I use these terms such as 'better classes' without definition as I know you will understand the way in which I intend them.)
The "restrictive measures... imposed by law" that the benevolent scientist recommends "are naturally sterilization and segregation." Sanger devoted a whole issue (March 1928) to the former topic, stating, "sterilization as well as birth control has its place as an aim of the American Birth Control League."
Such class-consciousness points to one important reason for promoting birth control for the unfit -- the burden they place on what Sanger, in Pivot, called "the normal and healthy sections of the community." She claims that the healthy classes unduly bear the costs of "those who should never have been born." Indeed, Sanger's movement only took off when the wealthy elite, including the eugenic Rockefeller Foundation, rallied to her side.
These elite often came into the birth control movement as a result of their eugenic interests. Planned Parenthood has argued that Sanger herself was not a eugenist, quoting an article in the February 1919 Review in which Sanger says, "Eugenists imply or insist that a woman's first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state." PPFA neglects to quote the title of the article in question, "Birth Control and Racial Betterment," and its first three sentences:
Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for birth control. Like the advocates of birth control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods [emphasis added].
The Pivot of Civilization explains Sanger's position on eugenics in more detail. She disapproved only of "positive" eugenics -- namely, encouraging the fit to reproduce more -- simply because she did not believe in encouraging anyone to reproduce more. She did, however, approve wholeheartedly of "negative" eugenics: preventing the reproduction of the unfit by persuasion or force. The unfit were often portrayed as livestock, to be controlled and genetically manipulated by the eugenist -- all in the name of human betterment. Consider another eugenic claim:
Since the inferior is always numerically superior to the best, the worst would multiply itself so much faster . . . given the same opportunity to survive and procreate... that the best would necessarily be pushed to the background. Therefore a correction in favor of the better must be undertaken.
Compared with earlier quotations, this statement seems mild. But once the reader realizes that this last quote is not from America's own birth control crusader but from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, then the real threat of the unnamed eugenic "correction" -- and of Sanger's own negative eugenic program -- becomes apparent. From such sentiments come genocidal dreams, even in America.
Ironically, that population which would suffer the worst effects of eugenic doctrine in this century, the Jews, didn't see the writing on the wall. Dr. Hannah Stone, a Jewish physician who served as Sanger's clinic director, and wrote in Eugenics, the journal of the American Eugenics Society (AES): "Not to unlimited procreation but rather to controlled propagation based upon a knowledge of the laws of genetics and eugenics must we look for the production of a superior race and a higher intellectual status." Perhaps her lack of foresight was due to the elitist, as opposed to racist, overtones of American eugenics. Although racism certainly played a role, groups were usually designated "unfit" according to their perceived level of intelligence, morality, and income; poor black and Mexican minorities seemed to fall victim the most. Hence the great danger of elitism: Any dispossessed group can become its scapegoat.
In addition to her many eugenical statements, Sanger's organizational connections to the eugenics movement are substantial. The people with whom she chose to surround herself were committed, often professional, eugenists. Of the ten people listed on the board of directors of the ABCL in the mid-1920s, at least half had made public eugenic statements. At least twenty-three of the fifty people on her national committee were involved at a prominent level in eugenics, either as board members of the AES or as known public supporters of the eugenics agenda. Sanger herself was a dues-paying member of the AES and listed the organization as one of three that, in 1932, publicly endorsed her NCFLBC. Further, pro-eugenics groups such as the Brush and Rockefeller Foundations provided funds for the ABCL. (Ironically, in 1914 Sanger had advocated the assassination of Rockefeller in her radical magazine, Woman Rebel.)
As Germaine Greer has pointed out in her Sex and Destiny, "Negative eugenics is not dead: It lingers in the corridors of the health establishment, emerging in swift guerrilla raids on the Hippocratic tradition." A small cadre of feminists radical enough to criticize the mainstream feminist establishment (Greer, Linda Gordon, and Betsy Hartmann, for example) have challenged the common wisdom that contemporary family planning groups are acting out of a disinterested humanitarianism. While remaining, to varying degrees, pro-contraception and pro-abortion, these women have had the courage to point out the unspoken elitism and "crypto-eugenics" behind the seemingly benevolent fronts of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
Many female patients of PPFA have realized that the "choice" that Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics provide is really PPFA's choice -- the counselor's choice whether or not she will inform the patient about the danger of post-abortion syndrome, the risks of sterility, or even alternatives to the procedure. One shell-shocked former patient of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic wrote to the organization, saying, "I really wished I could have been told the relevant piece of information that I was carrying a life in being. There is a high probability that I would not have done the procedure." Yet deciding against abortion is exactly what PPFA's counseling intends to prevent the disadvantaged from doing.
Former PPFA president Pamela Maraldo insisted in 1993 that "Planned Parenthood has never strayed from the fundamental principles she [Sanger] espoused or from her determination to confront the glaring social and health needs of the day." Indeed, the ethic of control continues to be imposed on our country and on much of the developing world by Sanger's followers who choose to rid the world of the unfit.


inyrtrsting article:

The truth about Margaret Sanger
(This article first appeared in the January 20, 1992 edition of Citizen magazine)

How Planned Parenthood Duped America

At a March 1925 international birth control gathering in New York City, a speaker warned of the menace posed by the "black" and "yellow" peril. The man was not a Nazi or Klansman; he was Dr. S. Adolphus Knopf, a member of Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League (ABCL), which along with other groups eventually became known as Planned Parenthood.

Sanger's other colleagues included avowed and sophisticated racists. One, Lothrop Stoddard, was a Harvard graduate and the author of The Rising Tide of Color against White Supremacy. Stoddard was something of a Nazi enthusiast who described the eugenic practices of the Third Reich as "scientific" and "humanitarian." And Dr. Harry Laughlin, another Sanger associate and board member for her group, spoke of purifying America's human "breeding stock" and purging America's "bad strains." These "strains" included the "shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of antisocial whites of the South."

Not to be outdone by her followers, Margaret Sanger spoke of sterilizing those she designated as "unfit," a plan she said would be the "salvation of American civilization.: And she also spike of those who were "irresponsible and reckless," among whom she included those " whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers." She further contended that "there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped." That many Americans of African origin constituted a segment of Sanger considered "unfit" cannot be easily refuted.

While Planned Parenthood's current apologists try to place some distance between the eugenics and birth control movements, history definitively says otherwise. The eugenic theme figured prominently in the Birth Control Review, which Sanger founded in 1917. She published such articles as "Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics" (June 1920), "The Eugenic Conscience" (February 1921), "The purpose of Eugenics" (December 1924), "Birth Control and Positive Eugenics" (July 1925), "Birth Control: The True Eugenics" (August 1928), and many others.

These eugenic and racial origins are hardly what most people associate with the modern Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), which gave its Margaret Sanger award to the late Dr. Martin Luther King in 1966, and whose current president, Faye Wattleton, is black, a former nurse, and attractive.

Though once a social pariah group, routinely castigated by religious and government leaders, the PPFA is now an established, high-profile, well-funded organization with ample organizational and ideological support in high places of American society and government. Its statistics are accepted by major media and public health officials as "gospel"; its full-page ads appear in major newspapers; its spokespeople are called upon to give authoritative analyses of what America's family policies should be and to prescribe official answers that congressmen, state legislator and Supreme Court justiices all accept as "social orthodoxy."

Blaming Families

Sanger's obsession with eugenics can be traced back to her own family. One of 11 children, she wrote in the autobiographical book, My Fight for Birth Control, that "I associated poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jails with large families." Just as important was the impression in her childhood of an inferior family status, exacerbated by the iconoclastic, "free-thinking" views of her father, whose "anti-Catholic attitudes did not make for his popularity" in a predominantly Irish community.

The fact that the wealthy families in her hometown of Corning, N.Y., had relatively few children, Sanger took as prima facie evidence of the impoverishing effect of larger families. The personal impact of this belief was heightened 1899, at the age of 48. Sanger was convinced that the "ordeals of motherhood" had caused the death of her mother. The lingering consumption (tuberculosis) that took her mother's life visited Sanger at the birth of her own first child on Nov. 18, 1905. The diagnosis forced her to seek refuge in the Adirondacks to strengthen her for the impending birth. Despite the precautions, the birth of baby Grant was "agonizing," the mere memory of which Sanger described as "mental torture" more than 25 years later. She once described the experience as a factor "to be reckoned with" in her zealous campaign for birth control.

From the beginning, Sanger advocacy of sex education reflected her interest in population control and birth prevention among the "unfit." Her first handbook, published for adolescents in 1915 and entitled, What Every Boy and Girl Should Know, featured a jarring afterword:

It is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stoop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them.

To Sanger, the ebbing away of moral and religious codes over sexual conduct was a natural consequence of the worthlessness of such codes in the individual's search for self-fulfillment. "Instead of laying down hard and fast rules of sexual conduct," Sanger wrote in her 1922 book Pivot of Civilization, "sex can be rendered effective and valuable only as it meets and satisfies the interests and demands of the pupil himself." Her attitude is appropriately described as libertinism, but sex knowledge was not the same as individual liberty, as her writings on procreation emphasized.

The second edition of Sanger's life story, An Autobiography, appeared in 1938. There Sanger described her first cross-country lecture tour in 1916. Her standard speech asserted seven conditions of life that "mandated" the use of birth control: the third was "when parents, though normal, had subnormal children"; the fourth, "when husband and wife were adolescent"; the fifth, "when the earning capacity of the father was inadequate." No right existed to exercise sex knowledge to advance procreation. Sanger described the fact that "anyone, no matter how ignorant, how diseased mentally or physically, how lacking in all knowledge of children, seemed to consider he or she had the right to become a parent."

Religious Bigotry

In the 1910's and 1920's, the entire social order–religion, law, politics, medicine, and the media–was arrayed against the idea and practice of birth control. This opposition began in 1873 when an overwhelmingly Protestant Congress passed, and a Protestant president signed into law, a bill that became known as the Comstock Law, named after its main proponent, Anthony Comstock. The U.S. Congress classified obscene writing, along with drugs, and devices and articles that prevented conception or caused abortion, under the same net of criminality and forbade their importation or mailing.

Sanger set out to have such legislation abolished or amended. Her initial efforts were directed at the Congress with the opening of a Washington, D.C., office of her American Birth Control League in 1926. Sanger wanted to amend section 211 of the U.S. criminal code to allow the interstate shipment and mailing of contraceptives among physicians, druggists and drug manufacturers.

During January and February of 1926, Sanger and her co-workers personally interviewed 40 senators and 14 representatives. None agreed to introduce a bill to amend the Comstock Act. Fresh from this unanimous rejection, Sanger issued an update to her followers: Everywhere there is general acceptance of the idea, except in religious circles. . .The National Catholic Welfare Council [sic] (NCWC) has a special legislative committee organized to block and defeat our legislation. They frankly state that they intend to legislate for non-Catholics according to the dictates of the church.

There was no such committee. But 20 non-Catholic lay or religious organizations joined NCWC in opposition to amending the Comstock Act. This was not the first time, nor was it to be the last, that Sanger sought to stir up sectarian strife by blaming Catholics for her legislative failures. Catholic-bashing was a standard tactic (one that Planned Parenthood still finds useful to this day), although other Christian groups now also come in for criticism.

Eight years later, in 1934, Sanger went to Congress again. Reporting on the first day of the hearings, the New York Times noted:
... the almost solidly Catholic opposition to the measure. This is now, according to Margaret Sanger. . . the only organized opposition to the proposal.

Sanger wrote a letter to her "Friends, Co-workers, and Endorsers" that portrayed the opposing testimony as the work of Catholics determined ... not to present facts to the committee but to intimidate them by showing a Catholic block of voters who (though in the minority in the United States) want to dictate to the majority of non-Catholics as directed from the Vatican in social and moral legislation ... American men and women, are we going to allow this insulting arrogance to bluff the American people?

For Sanger, the proper attitude toward her religious critics featured character assassination, personal vilification and old-fashioned bigotry. Her Birth Control Review printed an article that noted: "Today by the Roman Catholic clergy and their allies . . . Public opinion in America, I fear, is too willing to condone in the officials of the Roman Catholic Church what it condemns in the Ku Klux Klan.

A favorite Catholic-baiter of Sanger's was Norman E. Himes, who contributed articles to Sanger's journal. Himes claimed there were genetic differences between Catholics and non-Catholics.

Are Catholic stocks . . . genetically inferior to such non-Catholic libertarian stocks and Unitarians and Universal . . . Freethinkers? Inferior to non-Catholics in general? . . . my guess is that the answer will someday be made in the affirmative. . . and if the supposed differentials in net productivity are also genuine, the situation is anti-social, perhaps gravely so.

Sanger sought to isolate Catholics by creating a schism between them and Protestants, who had held parallel views of birth control and abortion for centuries. She welcomed a report from a majority of the Committee on Marriage and the Home of the General Council of Churches (later the National Council of Churches) advocating birth control. This committee was composed largely of social elite Protestants, including Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. A number of Protestant church bodies publicly repudiated the committee's endorsement.

The Rev. Worth Tippy, council executive secretary and author of the report, told Sanger in April 1931 that: ... the statement on Moral Aspects of Birth Control has aroused more opposition within the Protestant churches than we expected. Under the circumstances, and since we plan to carry on a steady work for liberalizing laws and to stimulate the establishment of clinics, it is necessary that we make good these losses and also increase our resources.Could you help me quietly by giving me the names of people of means who are interested in the birth control movement and might help us if I wrote them.

Sanger immediately wrote Tippy that she would be "glad to select names of persons from our lists whom I think might be able to subscribe." Tippy replied to Sanger a week later, offering to give her some names for fund raising and thanking her for the offer of "names of people who are able to contribute to generous causes and who are favorable to birth control." He also related that they had expected some reaction from the "fundamentalist groups," but nothing like what had happened.

Protestants repeatedly stated their unity with Catholics in opposing Planned Parenthood's initiatives. During Sanger's attempts to reform New York state law, another Protestant stood with Catholics. The Rev. John R. Straton, Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church of New York City, said: "This bill is subversive of the human family . . . It is revolting, monstrous, against God's word and contradicts American traditions."

Sanger's attack on Catholics appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the class politics of Planned Parenthood. The Rev. John A. Ryan wrote: ... their main objective is to increase the practice of birth-prevention among the poor . . . It is said that the present birth-prevention movement is to some extent financed by wealthy, albeit philanthropic persons. As far as I am aware , none of these is conspicuous in the movement for economic justice. None of them is crying out for a scale of wages which would enable workers to take care of a normal number of children.

Sanger's sexual license was another motivation for her Anti-Catholic sniping. A Sanger biographer, David M. Kennedy, said her primary goal was to "increase the quantity and quality of sexual relationships." The birth control movement, she said, freed the mind from "sexual prejudice and taboo, by demanding the frankest and most unflinching re-examination of sex in its relation to human nature and the basis of human society.

Sannger's Gamble

It was in 1939 that Sanger's larger vision for dealing with the reproductive practices of black Americans emerged. After the January 1939 merger of her Clinical Research Bureau and the ABCL to form the Birth Control Federation of America, Dr. Clarence J. Gamble was selected to become the BCFA regional director for the South. Dr. Gamble, of the soap-manufacturing Procter and Gamble company, was no newcomer to Sanger's organization. He had previously served as director at large to the predecessor ABCL.

Gamble lost no time and drew up a memorandum in November 1939 entitled "Suggestion for Negro Project." Acknowledging that black leaders might regard birth control as an extermination plot, he suggested that black leaders be place in positions where it would appear that they were in chargeÑas it was at an Atlanta conference.

It is evident from the rest of the memo that Gamble conceived the project almost as a traveling road show. A charismatic black minister was to start a revival, with "contributions" to come from other local cooperating ministers. A "colored nurse" would follow, supported by a subsidized "colored doctor." Gamble even suggested that music might be a useful lure to bring the prospects to a meeting.

Sanger answered Gamble on Dec. 10. 1939, agreeing with the assessment. She wrote: "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten that idea out if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." In 1940, money for two "Negro Project" demonstration programs in southern states was donated by advertising magnate Albert D. Lasker and his wife, Mary.

Birth control was presented both as an economic betterment vehicle and as a health measure that could lower the incidence of infant mortality. At the 1942 BCFA annual meeting, BCFA Negro Council board member Dr. Dorothy B. Ferebee–a cum laude graduate of Tufts and also president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation's largest black sorority–addressed the delegates regarding Planned Parenthood's minority outreach efforts : With the Negro group some of the most difficult obstacles . . . to overcome are: (1) the concept that when birth control is proposed to them, it is motivated by a clever bit of machination to persuade them to commit race suicide; (2) the so-called "husband rejection" . . . (3) the fact that birth control is confused with abortion, and (4) the belief that is inherently immoral. However, as formidable as these objections may seem, when thrown against the total picture of the awareness on the part of the Negro leaders of the improved condition under Planned Parenthood, or the genuine interest and eagerness of the families themselves to secure the services which will give them a fair chance for health and happiness, the obstacles to the program are greatly outweighed.

Birth control as an economic improvement measure had some appeal to those lowest on the income ladder. In the black Chicago Defender for Jan. 10, 1942, a long three-column women's interest article discussed the endorsement of the Sanger program by prominent black women. There were at lease six express references, such as the following example, to birth control as a remedy for economic woes:" . . . it raises the standard of living by enabling parents to adjust the family size to the family income." Readers were also told that birth control" . . . is no operation. It is no abortion. Abortion kills life after it has begun. . . Birth Control is neither harmful nor immoral."

But the moral stumbling block could only be surmounted by Afro-American religious leaders, so black ministers were solicited. Florence Rose, long-time Sanger secretary, prepared an activities report during March 1942 detailing the progress of the "Negro Project." She recounted a recent meeting with a Planned Parenthood Negro Division board member, Bishop David H. Sims (African Methodist Episcopal Church), who appreciated Planned Parenthood's recognition of the extent of black opposition to birth control and its efforts to build up support among black leaders. He offered whatever assistance he could give.

Bishop Sims offered to begin the "softening process" among the representatives of different Negro denominations attending the monthly meetings of the Federal Council of Churches and its Division of Race Relations.

These and other efforts paid off handsomely after World War II. By 1949, virtually the entire black leadership network of religious, social, professional, and academic organizations had endorsed Planned Parenthood's program.

National Scandal

More than a decade later, Planned Parenthood continued targeting minority communities, but without much success.

In 1940, nonwhite women aged 18 to 19 experienced 61 births per 1,000 unmarried women. In 1968, the corresponding figure was 112 per 1,000, a 100 percent jump. What other factor could account for the increased rate of sexual activity than wider access to birth control, with its promise of sex without tears and consequences?

Alan Guttmacher, then president of Planned Parenthood, was desperate to show policy-makers that birth control would produce a situation whereby "minority groups who constantly outbreed the majority will no longer persist in doing so. . . "

Despite claims that racial or ethnic groups were not being "targeted," American blacks, among whose ranks a greater proportion of the poor were numbered, received a high priority in Planned Parenthood's nationwide efforts. Donald B. Strauss, chairman of Planned ParenthoodÑWorld Population, urged the 1964 Democratic national Convention to liberalize the party's stated policies on birth control, and to adopt domestic and foreign policy platform resolutions to conform with long-sought San gerite goals: [While almost one-fourth of nonwhite parents have four or more children under 18 living with them, only 8% of the white couples have that many children living at home. For the Negro parent in particular, the denial of access to family planning professional guidance forecloses one more avenue to family advancement and well-being..

Unwanted children would not get the job training and educational skills they needed to compete in a shrinking labor market; moreover, unwanted children are a product and a cause of poverty.

Surveying the "successes" of tax-subsidized birth control programs, Guttmacher noted in 1970 that "[Birth control services are proliferating in areas adjacent to concentrations of black population." (In the 1980's, targeting the inner-city black communities for school based sex clinics became more sensitive than expected.)

Guttmacher thought that as long as the birth rate continued to fall or remained at a low level, Planned Parenthood should certainly be introduced before family size by coercion is attempted."

Reaching this goal, he thought, would best be accomplished by having groups other than the PPFA preach the doctrine of a normative 2.1-child family, as doing this would offend Planned Parenthood's minority clients. He suggested that family size would decrease if abortion were liberalized nationwide and received government support. In this prediction he was right on target.

But Guttmacher did not completely reject forced population control: Predicting 20 critical years ahead in the struggle to control the population explosion, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, president of Planned parenthoodÑWorld Population, continues to urge the use of all voluntary means to hold down on the world birthrate. But he foresees the possibility that eventual coercion may become necessary, particularly in areas where the pressure is greatest, possibly India and China. "Each country," he says, "will have to decide its own form of coercion, and determine when and how it should be employed. At Present, the means are compulsory sterilization and compulsory abortion. Perhaps some day a way of enforcing compulsory birth control will be feasible.

Coerced abortion is already practiced in China, with the International Planned Parenthood Federation's approval.

Extreme Irony

Despite its past, Planned Parenthood has managed to present the image of toleration and minority participation through the vehicle of its divorced, telegenic, African American president, Ms. Faye Wattleton, appointed titular head of the PPFA in 1978, a post she still holds. Though paid in the six-figure range, she has impeccable minority credentials that would have fit the public relations criteria for both Margaret Sanger and Dr. Clarence Gamble.

Wattleton's PPFA biography touts her as a friend of the "Poor and the young"; a nurse at Harlem Hospital; and the recipient of the 1989 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Humanitarian Award and the World Institute of Black Communicators' 1986 Excellence in Black Communications Award. It further states she was featured in a national photography exhibit, "I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America"; interviewed in Ebony; and was the cover story in Black Enterprise magazine. (Time published a profile of Wattleton in 1990 entitled "Nothing Less Than Perfect.")

Her ideological orientation has received certification in the form of the Better World Society's 1989 Population Model, the 1986 American Humanist Award, and others. But surely, the spectacle of the Congressional Black Caucus awarding its humanitarian award to the black woman who presides over the organization that has hastened and justified the death of almost eight million black children since 1973 and facilitates the demise of the black family is ironic in the extreme.

Killer Angel

In his book, Killer Angel, George Grant says: "Myths, according to theologian J. l. packer, are Ôstories made up to sanctify social patterns.' They are lies, carefully designed to reinforce a particular philosophy or morality within a culture. They are instruments of manipulation and control.

Killer Angel tells the real story behind one of the biggest myths that controls our culture todayÑthe life and legacy of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Grant exposes "the Big Lie" perpetuated by Sanger's followers and the organization she started.

Through detailed research and concise writing, Grant unveils Sanger's true character and ideology, which included blatant racism, revolutionary socialism, sexual perversion and insatiable avarice. Grant includes direct quotes from sources such as Sanger's Birth Control Review to support his findings. His biography spans Sanger's disturbed and unhappy upbringingÑwhich Sanger said contributed to her agitation and bitterness later in lifeÑto her eventual fixation with drugs, alcohol and the occult.

Particularly shocking was Sanger's involvement in the Eugenics movement. Grant says: "[Sanger] was thoroughly convinced that the Ôinferior races' were in fact Ôhuman weeds' and a Ômenace to civilization.' . . . [S]he was a true believer, not simply someone who assimilated the jargon of the timesÑas Planned Parenthood officials would have us believe."

Sanger died September 6, 1966, a week before her eighty-seventh birthday. Grant says: "[She] had nearly fulfilled her early boast that she would spend every last penny of Slee's [her second husband] fortune. In the process, though, she had lost everything else: love, happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, family, and friends. In the end, her struggle was her naught."

The truth uncovered in grant's book has proven to be a threat to those who follow the cult of :Planned Parenthood. In fact, Killer Angel was recently banned from a public library in Toledo, Ohio. A library manager stated in a letter that, "The author's political and social agenda, which is strongly expoused throughout the book, is not appropriate even in a critical biography of its subject."

In response, Grant pointed out that "The question at hand is whether librarians should be making subjective judgments about my political beliefs and the beliefs of other authors."

By censoring Killer Angel, the library appears to be violating its own policies, which state that, "the Library collection shall include representative materials of all races and nationalities, and all political, religious, economic and social views." Except Christian views, apparently.

While the Toledo public library may not be interested in the information put forth in Grant's book, pro-lifers will find this biography useful and enlightening. It serves as a powerful tool in dispelling the myths surrounding a womanÑconsidered a heroine by manyÑwho began an organization that is responsible for the deaths of millions of unborn children.

Grant states that, "Margaret SangerÑand her heirs at Planned Parenthood . . . have thus far been able to parlay the deception into a substantial empire. But now the truth must be told. The illusion must be exposed." Killer Angel does an outstanding job in doing that.
Sanger's Legacy is Reproductive Freedom and Racism

Despite Margaret Sanger's contributions to birth control and hence women's freedom and empowerment, her legacy is diminished by her sympathies with eugenics. This writer says that, like many modern feminists, Sanger ignored class and race.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Margaret Sanger opened the nation's first birth control clinic in 1916. For the rest of her life she worked to establish a woman's right to control her body and to decide when or whether to have a child. In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control league, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood.

Her impact on contemporary society is tremendous. Enabling women to control their fertility and giving them access to contraception, as advocated by Sanger, makes it possible for women to have a broader set of life options, especially in the areas of education and employment, than if their lives are dominated by unrelieved childbearing.

A recent reminder of Sanger's impact on our society came when the Equal employment Opportunity Commission found that it is illegal sex discrimination to exclude prescription contraceptives from an otherwise comprehensive health benefits plan. Sanger's efforts to provide access to contraception are at the foundation of decisions to provide equal access to prescription contraceptives and other prescriptions.

Still, especially with the Bush administration, activists will have to fight to maintain access to contraception and to abortion. In April, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would establish criminal penalties for harming a fetus during the commission of a crime. While proponents of the bill say it does not include abortion, some see fetal protection legislation as an attempt to undermine abortion rights. The passage of this legislation is a reminder that the rights Margaret Sanger worked so hard to establish are tenuous rights that many would challenge.

For all her positive influence, I see Sanger as a tarnished heroine whose embrace of the eugenics movement showed racial insensitivity, at best. From her associates, as well as from some of the articles that were published in Sanger's magazine, the Birth Control review, it is possible to conclude that "racially insensitive" is too mild a description. Indeed, some of her statements, taken in or out of context, are simply racist. And she never rebuked eugenicists who believed in improving the hereditary qualities of a race or breed by controlling mating in order to eliminate "undesirable" characteristics and promote "desirable" traits.

Sanger: We Must Limit the Over-Fertility of Mentally, Physically Defective

"Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying . . . demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism," she wrote in the recently republished "The Pivot of Civilization." This book, written in 1922, was published at a time when scientific racism had been used to assert black inferiority. Who determines who is a moron? How would these morons be segregated? The ramifications of such statements are bone chilling.

n a 1921 article in the Birth Control Review, Sanger wrote, "The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective." Reviewers of one of her 1919 articles interpreted her objectives as "More children from the fit, less from the unfit." Again, the question of who decides fitness is important, and it was an issue that Sanger only partly addressed. "The undeniably feebleminded should indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind," she wrote.

Sanger advocated the mandatory sterilization of the insane and feebleminded." Although this does not diminish her legacy as the key force in the birth control movement, it raises questions much like those now being raised about our nation's slaveholding founders. How do we judge historical figures? How are their contributions placed in context?

It is easy to see why there is some antipathy toward Sanger among people of color, considering that, given our nation's history, we are the people most frequently described as "unfit" and "feebleminded."

Many African American women have been subject to nonconsensual forced sterilization. Some did not even know that they were sterilized until they tried, unsuccessfully, to have children. In 1973, Essence Magazine published an expose of forced sterilization practices in the rural South, where racist physicians felt they were performing a service by sterilizing black women without telling them. While one cannot blame Margaret Sanger for the actions of these physician, one can certainly see why Sanger's words are especially repugnant in a racial context.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been protective of Margaret Sanger's reputation and defensive of allegations that she was a racist. They correctly point out that many of the attacks on Sanger come from anti-choice activists who have an interest in distorting both Sanger's work and that of Planned Parenthood. While it is understandable that Planned Parenthood would be protective of their founder's reputation, it cannot ignore the fact that Sanger edited the Birth Control review from its inception until 1929. Under her leadership, the magazine featured articles that embraced the eugenicist position. If Sanger were as anti-eugenics as Planned Parenthood says she was, she would not have printed as many articles sympathetic to eugenics as she did.

Like Many Modern Feminists, Sanger Ignored Race and Class

Would the NAACP's house organ, Crisis Magazine, print articles by members of the Ku Klux Klan? Would Planned Parenthood publish articles penned by fetal protectionist South Carolina republican Lindsey Graham?

The articled published in the Birth Control Review showed Sanger's empathy with some eugenicist views. Margaret Sanger worked closely with W. E. B. DuBois on her "Negro Project," an effort to expose Southern black women to birth control. Mary McLeod Bethune and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. were also involved in the effort. Much later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. accepted an award from Planned Parenthood and complimented the organization's efforts. It is entirely possible that Sanger Ôs views evolved over time. Certainly, by the late 1940s, she spoke about ways to solve the "Negro problem" in the United States. This evolution, however commendable, does not eradicate the impact of her earlier statements.

What, then, is Sanger's legacy?

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has grown to an organization with 129 affiliates. It operates 875 health centers and serves about 5 million women each year. Planned Parenthood has been a leader in the fight for women's right to choose and in providing access to affordable reproductive health care for a cross-section of women. Planned Parenthood has not supported forced sterilization or restricted immigration and has gently rejected the most extreme of Sanger's views.

In many ways, Sanger is no different from contemporary feminists who, after making the customary acknowledgement of issues dealing with race and class, return to analysis that focuses exclusively on gender. These are the feminists who feel that women should come together around "women's issues" and battle out our differences later. In failing to acknowledge differences and the differential impact of a set of policies, these feminists make it difficult for women to come together.

Sanger published the Birth Control Review at the same time that black men, returning from World War I, were lynched in uniform. That she did not see the harm in embracing exclusionary jargon about sterilization and immigration suggests that she was, at best, socially myopic.

That's reason enough to suggest that her leadership was flawed and her legacy crippled by her insensitivity.

Constantinople considers opening office in Ukraine

Kiev, May 20, (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko and Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I have discussed the possibility of setting up "a representative office [in Ukraine] in the format of a metochion (подворье or ecclesiastical embassy church) or a culture and information center of the Ecumenical Patriarch."

Yuschenko and Bartholomew I met in Istanbul on Wednesday, as part of the Ukrainian head of state's working visit to Turkey, the Ukrainian presidential press service said.

The meeting also addressed ways to step up contacts between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Yuschenko said he wants this dialogue to be intensified at all levels.He confirmed his country's interest in establishing a local Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian president said he is convinced that "the Ecumenical Church and the personal wisdom and efforts of the Patriarch himself play the most important role in all unification processes."

The Ukrainian president and the Patriarch discussed also preparations for the All Orthodox Council and meetings between representatives of local Orthodox Churches that should take place ahead of the event, the press service said.
Ecumenical Patriarch and Ukrainian President Yuschenko hold meeting

President Victor Yuschenko of Ukraine met with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Patriarchal Residence in Tarabya, as part of the President's working visit to Turkey. A cordial and whole-hearted discussion on issues of common concern took place on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.

Discussions were held on a representative office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate opening in Ukraine in the format of a churchyard or a cultural and informational center. The two leaders also addressed ways to step up contacts between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. President Yuschenko said he wants this dialogue to be intensified at all levels and confirmed his country's interest in establishing a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. His Excellency also said he is convinced that "the Ecumenical Church and the personal wisdom and efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarch himself play the most important role in all unification processes."

The press service said that His All Holiness and President Yuschenko discussed preparations for the All Orthodox Council while meetings between representatives of local Orthodox Churches will take place ahead of the event.

His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and the Very Reverend Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, were also present at the meeting on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Vice President Biden visits Serbia and Kosovo

US Vice President Biden visits Monastery of Visoki Dechani

The US Vice President Joseph Biden has visited today the monastery of Visoki Dechani. On behalf of the abbot of the monastery , Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, who takes part in the regular may session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the high guest from the States has been received by deputy abbot Father Sava Janjic with the brotherhood of the monastery.

After the visit to Dechani church and lighting of candles, US Vice President has stayed for some time to talk with the monks. Father Sava informed Mr. Biden with a life of the monastery and a situation in which Serbs live in Kosovo and Metohija.

It has especially emphasized a need to protect human and property rights, for preservation of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage on these territories, as well as a need for the return of the displaced people.

Vice President Joe Biden received a tumultuous welcome in Kosovo...
By Adam Tanner

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden received a tumultuous welcome in Kosovo on Thursday just hours after leaving Serbia where thousands of police kept streets empty to avoid anti-American protests.

The contrasting welcomes on a three-day tour of the Balkans highlighted both warm Kosovar feelings for the United States which has supported its independence, and the still uneasy relations between Serbia and Washington.

"Welcome and Thank You," said posters across Pristina, showing pictures of Biden, a former U.S. senator known for his support of Kosovo independence from Serbia.

Thousands of schoolchildren lined his route into town, holding up American and Kosovo flags. They cheered wildly as his black limousine passed, and some chanted: "USA, USA.

"The United States and God saved us in 1999. Biden is our man and I came here to see him," said Shukri Morina, who traveled 30 kilometers (19 miles) to Pristina.

In Serbia, police cleared the streets of people who still bitterly remember the NATO 1999 bombing of Belgrade, and some offices were told to keep their windows shut with the curtains drawn. Hundreds of police lined Biden's route to the airport and even the tarmac itself.

Kosovo, where more than 90 percent of its two million people are ethnic Albanians, declared independence last year, but Serbia is suing in an international court, claiming it had no right to do so.

International troops still patrol, including about 1,400 from the United States. Over the past decade the international community has given billions of dollars in aid to landlocked Kosovo, the Balkans' smallest geographic country.

"I think the government has made considerable progress in the first year, it's remarkable," Biden said in a meeting with Kosovo's prime minister and president. "The United States has made it clear that the recognition of Kosovo is irreversible."

Unemployment is still very high and crime and corruption remain serious. With several European Union countries refusing to recognize Kosovo, it is the only Balkan country without any EU prospects at present.

"We have given our commitments to continue good governance, transparency, rule of law and fight corruption," said Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. Biden's visit "is a reconfirmation of powerful support from the U.S. for the progress that we have achieved in Kosovo."


To highlight American support for the rights of the ethnic Serb minority, Biden plans to visit the 14th century Decani monastery, one of the jewels of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

But Orthodox Church leaders in Kosovo with jurisdiction over Decani criticized the plans.

"The U.S. vice president is visiting Kosovo as an independent state, to confirm the forceful secession of Serbia's territory and its handover to Albanian terrorists who were not punished for numerous crimes against Serbian people, Serbian property and Serbian cultural and religious heritage," they said in a press statement.

"Does Joseph Biden want to confirm with his gesture that Decani is an American base in Kosovo, the same as camp Bondsteel?" the statement asked, referring to a military base Biden was also to visit on Thursday.

(SOC) - The US Vice President Joseph Biden has visited today the monastery of Visoki Dechani. On behalf of the abbot of the monastery , Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, who takes part in the regular may session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the high guest from the States has been received by deputy abbot Father Sava Janjic with the brotherhood of the monastery.

After the visit to Dechani church and lighting of candles, US Vice President has stayed for some time to talk with the monks. Father Sava informed Mr. Biden with a life of the monastery and a situation in which Serbs live in Kosovo and Metohija.

It has especially emphasized a need to protect human and property rights, for preservation of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage on these territories, as well as a need for the return of the displaced people.

Biden visit muddies Balkan waters
Ian Bancroft

The visit of US vice-president Joe Biden to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia has reinvigorated debates about the extent and nature of US engagement in the region. Described as "unfinished business" by the Obama administration, there are growing calls for the deployment of a US special envoy to the region.

Such a move, however, would only serve to undermine the legitimacy and leverage of the EU in a region that is deemed key to the development of its common foreign and security policy capabilities. Furthermore, it would also be suggestive of a sense of urgency that belies the current situation, though often exacting and enervating, throughout the Western Balkans.

While the US was certainly instrumental in helping to end the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe has since developed a range of foreign policy instruments and commitments that make it substantially better prepared to contend with the plethora of challenges facing the Western Balkans on its onerous path towards EU membership.

A resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina, passed by the US Congress last week, called for the appointment of a new special envoy to the Balkans "who can work in partnership with the EU and political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to facilitate reforms at all levels of government and society, while also assisting the political development of other countries in the region".

Although the resolution is not binding for President Obama, the post of special envoy has proved popular with the new administration; the last US special envoy to the Balkans, Richard Holbrooke, is currently serving as US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and George Mitchell, who was previously the US special envoy for Northern Ireland, has been appointed special envoy to the Middle East.

Deploying a US special envoy at this juncture, however, would send a clear message that Washington does not believe that Brussels is capable of sealing a swift and sound transition from the increasingly irrelevant office of the high representative to a reinforced EU presence – thereby undermining the role of the EU not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but throughout the Western Balkans.

Valentin Inzko, Bosnia and Herzegovina's new high representative, should therefore endeavour to guarantee that he is indeed the last high representative by ensuring that the conditions for the OHR's closure are achieved forthwith, and by defining the composition and character of the EU's future deployments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As the EU's enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, recently relayed to the foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sven Alkalaj, "such a transition is indeed essential for Bosnia-Herzegovina's [EU] candidate status some time in the future". While the US can certainly complement this process, it has at the same time the potential to cripple it.

With respect to Bosnia and Herzegovina, talk of a US special envoy has increasingly coincided with debate about the need for another Dayton conference – a supposed follow-up to the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 – as a means of reforming the country's constitution after the failure of the April 2006 package of reforms.

Such proposals for a "Dayton II" – whereby "after consultations with all participants, the US and the EU would prepare a draft new constitution that meets European standards" – have been firmly rejected by Inzko. Instead, more international support needs to be given to the Prud process – a domestic initiative aimed at achieving the consensus and compromise necessary for constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Though US influence can undoubtedly have a positive impact on certain elements of the reform process – particularly when applied with the aim of facilitating and complementing, not predetermining and prejudicing, negotiations over constitutional reform – the appointment of a US special envoy to the Balkans would only serve to undermine the legitimacy and leverage of the EU at a critical juncture for its deployments throughout the Western Balkans.

By providing a mirror to Europe and its endeavours in the region, the visit of Vice-president Biden should therefore raise further questions not about the role of the US as such, but about that of the EU itself and the need for Europe to re-engage and re-energise the Western Balkans.

"Iron Lady" to meet the Pope in a private audience at the Vatican

Margaret Thatcher is to travel to Rome for a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI next week, The Independent has learnt. The former Prime Minister will fly to Italy today with her daughter Carol and her week-long stay will include a private audience with the pontiff next Wednesday.

The 83-year-old will make a brief protocol visit to the Vatican and has been afforded time to see the Pope face to face. She did not seek the private audience, but agreed to its being arranged by her old friend Carla Powell, whose husband, Charles, was a key foreign policy advisor to her Conservative government. Lady Thatcher will be staying with Lord and Lady Powell at their villa on the outskirts of Rome.

Lady Thatcher's visit to the Vatican follows that of both Gordon Brown who met the Pope in February, and Tony Blair who saw him in June 2007. But Lady Thatcher can claim a certain one-up-manship in the Papal stakes: she has met two of Pope Benedict's predecessors as well.

Her first Papal visit was in 1977 when she was leader of the Opposition and met Pope Paul VI. But her relationship with his successor Pope John Paul II was politically – if not spiritually – closer. An arch anti-communist, her view was very much at one with the former Polish cardinal and their relationship was strengthened further on a visit to Rome in November 1980, when Pope John Paul II agreed to put pressure on inmates at the Maze prison who were on hunger strike. Irish Republicans had been protesting over the British government's policy towards Northern Ireland.

Sources said that a framework for discussions between the Pope and Lady Thatcher has not been agreed, but relations between different versions of the Christian faith are likely to feature.

The Pope frequently meets members of other faiths and denominations. While Prime Minister in June 2006, Tony Blair had a private audience with the Pope in the Vatican. Mr Blair, who remained reticent about his religious faith during his time as Prime Minister, converted from the Anglican church to Roman Catholicism in December 2007, six months after stepping down from the leadership of the government.

Gordon Brown, whose father was a Church of Scotland minister, met the Pope while still Chancellor in February 2007. In February this year he had a 35-minute private audience with Pope Benedict, after which the Pontiff appeared to snub a formal invitation from the Prime Minister to visit Britain.

In many ways Lady Thatcher's Methodist faith and Catholicism represent opposite ends of the Christian spectrum. Methodism, popularised in Britain in the 18th century by the Anglican cleric John Wesley, deliberately shuns the pomp and ritual of organised religion, emphasising the value of personal communion with God.

Last night Lady Thatcher's daughter Carol, who will not meet the Pope herself, said that her own role in arranging this week's visit had been very limited. "I'm just there as a passenger. All I've got to do is turn up at the airport with my passport. It's getting out of the television studio in time that I'm worried about", she said.

"I had nothing whatsoever to do with the itinerary, so I'm afraid I can't tell you what they'll discuss. I've just been invited along for the ride. I'm afraid you almost certainly know more about this than me," she added.

However she let slip the news of the visit to Rome while a guest on the Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff, saying: "I'm going with my mum, who's possibly going to see the pope next week."

Lady Thatcher's health has deteriorated slowly since she suffered a series of minor strokes in 2002, after which she was advised by doctors to scale back her public activities.

Nevertheless, The Independent understands that Lady Thatcher's diary remains crammed until August. On Tuesday evening she met the Queen, also 83, at the Goring Hotel at a garden party for the patrons of the Castle of Mey, the late Queen Mother's former Scottish home.

The Queen reportedly asked her: "Isn't it extraordinary about the Speaker?" Lady Thatcher is said to have responded: "Quite extraordinary, but I think it was the right thing to do. The Speaker needs to explain more thoroughly the reason behind his decision, however." On Wednesday evening, both were at a service in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, to honour recipients of the Order of Merit. Lady Thatcher was proudly displaying her own Order, a red cross surmounted by a gold crown, which she received from the Queen in 1990.

Lady Thatcher has spoken often before, during and after her 11 years in power about the influence of a Methodist upbringing on her politics. Her father Albert Roberts, who owned a grocery shop, served as an alderman and Methodist lay preacher in the family's home town of Grantham in Lincolnshire.

Officials from Lady Thatcher's private office refused to comment on the trip for security reasons.

Margaret Thatcher meets Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in June 1977, the year before he died

Interreligious meeting: Let us pray for peace

Pope encourages young Catholics to use Internet

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged young Catholics to use the Internet to spread the church's message.

The pope promoted the use of the digital world as a means of making the Gospel known in remarks to 20,000 pilgrims at his weekly audience Wednesday.

He says that the Internet has brought about change in the way news is distributed and how people relate to each other. Benedict urges young people to use the potential of the Internet to build a better world through bonds of friendship and solidarity.

He also underlines the need for a what he calls a culture of respect when navigating.

The Vatican is constantly updating its own presence on the Internet. Earlier this year, the pope got his own YouTube channel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In Israel, Pope Urges 'Just Resolution' of Conflict

TEL AVIV -- Pope Benedict XVI landed in Israel Monday, denouncing the persistence of anti-Semitism world-wide and urging Israelis and Palestinians to reach a compromise on a two-state solution.


Pope Benedict walked with Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, right, as they greeted Catholic school children at the Mount Scopus helipad in Jerusalem.

The pope's five-day visit to the Holy Land is the third by a Vatican leader in the 61 years since the founding of the Jewish state.

"Even though the name Jerusalem means city of peace, it is all too evident that for decades, peace has eluded the inhabitants of this Holy Land," the pontiff said at Ben Gurion Airport, after emerging from a Royal Jordanian Airlines passenger jet flying Israeli and Vatican flags.

Pope's Trip to Middle East Deemed Controversial


Pope Benedict's Mideast trip is meant to soothe relations between the Vatican and Jewish and Muslim communities. But Pope Benedict's attempt to lift the excommunication of British Bishop Richard Williamson is still fresh in many minds.

"I plead with all of those responsible to explore every possible avenue for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own within secure and internationally recognized borders," he said.

The remarks underlined the growing international pressure on the recently installed government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israeli analysts consider the very visit of Pope Benedict a diplomatic achievement. The Vatican and Israel established relations only in the months following the 1993 Oslo peace accord.

After a stop at the presidential residence, the pope participated in a memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial. The pope was welcomed by Yad Vashem Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Lau, who survived the Buchenwald death camp, and laid a wreath at the burial site of the ashes of Holocaust victims.

[Pope Benedict] Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI with, sitting from left, Chief Tel Aviv Rabbi and Holocaust survivor Yisrael Meir Lau, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Avner Shalev, the Director of Yad Vashem.

"I have come to stand in silence before this monument," he said. "...May the names of these victims never perish. May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten."

The pope didn't visit the exhibition at the Yad Vashem museum, which accuses Pope Pius XII of not speaking out during World War II against the Nazi genocide, a view the Roman Catholic Church disputes.

In a reminder of how delicate ties remain between the Vatican and Israel, his remarks triggered a swift critique from Mr. Lau, who expressed disappointment that the Pope did not express any remorse over the Holocaust or mention Nazi Germany. The Vatican has denied that Pope Pius XII failed to speak out during the war and says the pontiff worked to save the lives of many Jews.

Monday's events weren't without stumbles. At an evening multifaith gathering, a Muslim cleric delivered a 10-minute monologue denouncing Israel, as the pope looked on. The cleric ignored at least two requests to sit down. When he finally did so, the pope left the auditorium.

Earlier in the day, the pope said that "every effort must be made to combat anti-Semitism wherever it may be found."



A stage where the Papal mass will be held is seen in the Kidron Valley, outside Jerusalem's Old City.


A poster in Jerusalem offered the Pope a greeting in several languages.


A Palestinian set up Vatican flags in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday.


The pope leads the prayer service during his visit to the Lady of Peace Church in Amman.


On the fourth day of his first trip to the Middle East as pope, Benedict XVI arrived Monday in Israel and immediately called for a solution to the conflict that would yield a "homeland of their own" for both Palestinians and Israelis.


The pope was met by Israel's president, Shimon Peres, second from right, and the country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, second from left, during a welcoming ceremony Monday.


Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by hundreds of people outside the Lady of Peace Church in Amman, Jordan, where he held a mass on his first trip as pontiff to an Arab state. In his address, the Pope underlined his "deep respect" for Islam, in an attempt to redress controversial remarks he made about the religion three years ago.
Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by hundreds of people outside the Lady of Peace Church in Amman, Jordan, where he held a mass on his first trip as pontiff to an Arab state. In his address, the Pope underlined his


Pope Benedict, accompanied by the Jordanian royal family (King Abdullah and Queen Rania are to his left), visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the spot on the Jordan River believed to be where Jesus was baptised.
Pope Benedict, accompanied by the Jordanian royal family (King Abdullah and Queen Rania are to his left), visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the spot on the Jordan River believed to be where Jesus was baptised.


Pope Benedict and Jose Rodriguez Carballo, minister general of the Franciscan Order, stand beside The Staff of Moses in Jordan, the spot where God is believed to have shown Moses the Promised Land. The pontiff called for reconciliation between Christians and Jews during his visit to the Arab state.
Pope Benedict and Jose Rodriguez Carballo, minister general of the Franciscan Order, stand beside The Staff of Moses in Jordan, the spot where God is believed to have shown Moses the Promised Land. The pontiff called for reconciliation between Christians and Jews during his visit to the Arab state.


Pope Benedict walks past Israel's national flag during a welcoming ceremony on his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International airport. The pontiff on Monday began the most delicate part of his first trip to the Middle East, landing in Israel for a five-day tour that will take him to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
Pope Benedict walks past Israel's national flag during a welcoming ceremony on his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International airport. The pontiff on Monday began the most delicate part of his first trip to the Middle East, landing in Israel for a five-day tour that will take him to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.


Pope Benedict is greeted by Israel's President Shimon Peres at Ben Gurion International airport. The pontiff faces a challenge to win over Israelis, following his efforts to rehabilitate a bishop who questioned the scale of the Holocaust.
Pope Benedict is greeted by Israel's President Shimon Peres at Ben Gurion International airport. The pontiff faces a challenge to win over Israelis, following his efforts to rehabilitate a bishop who questioned the scale of the Holocaust.


Pope Benedict delivers his address next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Shimon Peres, in front of various religious leaders during a welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International airport.
Pope Benedict delivers his address next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Shimon Peres, in front of various religious leaders during a welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International airport.


A Palestinian man spray-paints a welcome message on a wall next to a section of Israel's separation barrier in Aida refugee camp, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

A Palestinian man spray-paints a welcome message on a wall next to a section of Israel's separation barrier in Aida refugee camp, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.


An Israeli right-wing activist is carried away by border police officers during a protest against Pope Benedict's visit. Pope Benedict called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian homeland on his arrival in Israel on Monday, a stance that puts him at odds with some Israelis.

An Israeli right-wing activist is carried away by border police officers during a protest against Pope Benedict's visit. Pope Benedict called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian homeland on his arrival in Israel on Monday, a stance that puts him at odds with some Israelis.

On His Tour, Pope Runs Into Politics of Middle East and Holocaust

Pope Benedict XVI rekindled the eternal flame in a ceremony on Monday in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Pope Benedict XVI said he came to the Middle East as “a pilgrim of peace,” but on Monday, his first day in Israel seemed to underscore the tensions in the region rather than ease them.

After the pope visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and offered the “deep compassion” of the Roman Catholic Church for Hitler’s victims, Jewish leaders expressed disappointment that the pontiff, who is German, had not mentioned Germany or the Nazis.

Later, at an interfaith meeting where the pope urged greater dialogue, Sheik Taysir Tamimi, the chief justice of the Palestinian Islamic courts, veered from the program and accused Israel of taking innocent lives.

And that was only Day 1.

On Tuesday, the pope is expected to visit some of the most sensitive sites in the world: the Western Wall, holy to Jews; and the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Later in the week he is expected to visit a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem, and to celebrate a large open-air Mass in Nazareth. Israel has mobilized 80,000 security officers for Benedict’s five-day visit.

At the interfaith meeting on Monday, Sheik Tamimi, speaking in Arabic, urged Muslims and Christians to unite to protest against Israel and called on Benedict to “pressure the Israeli government to stop its aggression against the Palestinian people.”

He also welcomed the pope to Jerusalem, which he called “the eternal political, national and spiritual capital of Palestine.”

The Vatican immediately condemned Sheik Tamimi’s remarks. “In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

He said he hoped the episode would not “damage the mission” of the pope in “promoting peace” in the region.

“We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident,” Father Lombardi added.

During Pope John Paul II’s historic trip to Israel in 2000, an interfaith meeting ran aground when Sheik Tamimi and Yisrael Meir Lau, who was then the chief Ashkenazic rabbi of Israel, tangled over Israeli-Palestinian politics.

For Monday’s event, held at the Pontifical Institute of Notre Dame, organizers planned that only the pope would speak; other leaders on the podium included the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, and the chief rabbi of Haifa, Shear Yeshuv Cohen.

“It was discussed very clearly that neither the sheik nor the rabbi would give any kind of discourse,” said the Rev. David Neuhaus, one of the event’s organizers and the cleric responsible for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel. “Sheik Tamimi simply hijacked the microphone.”

According to several people present at the event, as soon as Sheik Tamimi was finished speaking, Benedict shook his hand and was ushered off the stage by the papal entourage.

Just a few hours earlier, the pope had stood at Yad Vashem in the Hall of Remembrance, a dark cement vault. He was there to honor “the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the horrific tragedy of the Shoah,” he said, using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

“They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names,” Benedict said. “These are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again.

“Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God,” he continued.

Yet Benedict’s visit to Yad Vashem did not entirely heal his vexed relations with the Jewish world four months after he revoked the excommunication of four schismatic bishops, one of whom denied the scope of the Holocaust.

In his speech, he did not mention Germany, the Nazis or his own experience as an unwilling conscript into the Hitler Youth and Hitler’s army.

By contrast, in his visit to Yad Vashem in 2000, John Paul said: “My own personal memories are of all that happened when the Nazis occupied Poland during the war. I remember my Jewish friends and neighbors, some of whom perished, while others survived.”

After the event, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, said the pope’s visit had been “important.” But he said he was sorry that Benedict had not spoken about anti-Semitism or mentioned “the nature of the murderers, the perpetrators,” as “Nazis” or “Germans,” instead offering a more theoretical discourse.

Rabbi Lau, now the chairman of Yad Vashem’s board of directors, also found fault with Benedict’s speech.

“There is a clear difference between ‘killed’ and ‘murdered,’ ” Rabbi Lau, a Holocaust survivor, told Israel TV, The Associated Press reported. “There is a difference between saying millions in the Holocaust and saying six million. The word six was not said.”

But some of the survivors who met the pope during the ceremony said the very fact of his presence at Yad Vashem was significant.

“I don’t look at him as a German; I look at him as a human being,” said Ed Mosberg, who survived the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland and now lives in New Jersey.

Ruth Bondy, who survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen and lives near Tel Aviv, said, “In the first years, the Holy See didn’t even recognize Israel.”

The pope’s presence is “some progress,” she said, adding, “I told him thank you for coming.”

Benedict XVI and President Shimon Peres planted a tree symbolizing "peace between religions and peace between peoples" at the president's home.

Pope's Speech Receives Tepid Jewish Response

JERUSALEM — Pope Benedict XVI, trying to quell Jewish anger over a Holocaust-denying bishop, bowed in silence Monday at Israel's memorial to the Jews slaughtered by the Nazis in World War II and then declared that their suffering must "never be denied, belittled or forgotten."

"They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names," the Roman Catholic leader said in a quivering voice before shaking the hands of six Holocaust survivors at a haunting ceremony in the darkened Hall of Remembrance.

"These are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again."

Jewish leaders gave the speech a tepid response, calling it a welcome affirmation of historical memory that nonetheless avoided questions of responsibility for the Holocaust or reflections on the pope's own German origin and his involuntary service in the Hitler Youth.

Some faulted him for not acknowledging wartime Pope Pius XII's public silence on the extermination of 6 million European Jews.

Benedict's fence-mending effort came on the first day of a five-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, part of a Holy Land pilgrimage aimed at contributing to Middle East peace and setting his billion-member church's relations with Jews and Muslims on a new path.

Rather than tread softly with his Israeli hosts, Benedict reaffirmed the Vatican's long-standing support for an independent Palestinian homeland alongside Israel, putting himself at odds with the new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who pointedly has resisted promising the Palestinians a state.

Speaking in Netanyahu's presence minutes after arriving from Jordan, he said the "hopes of countless men, women and children for a more secure and stable future" depend on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Israeli officials played down the possibility of a rift, saying the pope's visit was not political. Benedict's appeal, however, added to international pressure on Netanyahu, who is expected to hear a similar message from President Barack Obama when he visits the White House next week.

Benedict got a close look at the region's explosive tension late in the day when Taysir Tamimi, a Palestinian cleric, commandeered the microphone at an interfaith gathering and gave an unscheduled speech lashing out at Israel's recent military assault in Gaza and its occupation of the West Bank.

Pope Benedcit XVI arrives in Israel