The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has hired a prominent pro-abortion activist to lead the religious outreach program as it prepares to support the re-election campaign of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.
The Democratic Party has hired Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, the senior pastor of the prestigious Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, one of the largest historic black congregations in Washington, DC. In addition to serving on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Harkins serves on an advisory board for the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
In 2009, Harkins argued that Obamacare is morally imperative even though pro-life groups virtually unanimously opposed it (except for one, Democrats for Life of America) because of concerns related to taxpayer funding of abortions, rationing issues, and lack of conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
Institute on Religion and Democracy president Mark Tooley responded to the DNC’s selection of Harkins.
“The DNC selection of Harkins is understandable given his liberal politics and his connections with mostly conservative evangelicals. As a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), he has ready access to leaders of at least 40 member denominations,” Tooley said. “Should a pastor work directly for a political party while also leading a church? The Religious Left would complain if an evangelical pastor were similarly hired by the Republican National Committee.”
“It remains to be seen if traditional, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage evangelicals listen to Harkins’ appeals on behalf of the DNC,” he said.
Other leading pro-life advocates have also commented on Harkins’ new position.
Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins says he doesn’t think the new director will have any luck reaching pro-life advocates who are upset that Obama has repeatedly promoted abortion, forced them to pay for abortions or funding pro-abortion organizations in multiple circumstances, or cozied up with leaders of pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
“A Barna Research Survey conducted earlier this year shows that President Obama has a 6 percent favorability rating among evangelicals. A more recent Quinnipiac survey reports that the President has a 39 percent favorability rating among Catholics,” Perkins said. “The DNC and the President may hope this effort will reverse his falling poll numbers among religious voters, but I predict that as the fruit of this administration is examined by Christian voters, the President will find little support.”
“The President’s policies that promote abortion also undermine family formation,” Perkins added.
“Abortion does this by contributing to infant mortality, victimizing women, and encouraging the abdication of responsibility by men. He has issued executive orders to fund foreign abortion organizations and use tax dollars for experimentation on human embryos. He is even opposed to commonsense parental notification laws. These laws reaffirm the unique role that a mother and father have in the life of a child,” the FRC leader continued.
Perkins said real religious outreach from the Obama campaign would require him to defend human life at its earliest stages.
The FRC leader also said his organization would join others in making sure voters understand the depths to which Obama has gone to promote abortion and abortion funding.
Over the next year, FRC’s Values Voter Bus will travel the country alerting and engaging Christian voters with the message that what America needs is a President who will help make America militarily strong and secure, economically prosperous and free, and socially healthy and virtuous,” he concluded.
Perkins said some of the worst examples of Obama’s abortion advocacy include him, ignoring basic conscience rights protections when his administration ruled that Belmont Abbey College , a Roman-Catholic institution, must provide insurance coverage for abortion and contraceptives.
Perkins said Obama “has worked to overturn other countries’ pro-life laws, has issued executive orders that erode conscience protections for healthcare providers, use taxpayer dollars to fund foreign abortion organizations, and use taxpayer dollars for experiments that encourage human embryo destruction.”
He said Obama “has supported the restoration of funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in spite of the program’s poor human rights record and support for China’s coercive abortion policy” and said the Obamacare health care law “bypasses the long standing policy of the Hyde amendment by directly spending money on new programs without any abortion funding restriction and creates tax subsidies for plans with abortion.”