Raleigh community leaders divided over Lt. Gov. Forest’s comments on family planning :: WRAL.com

– Raleigh community leaders are divided over comments by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest during a speech at a church during Martin Luther King Jr.’s vacation

The Republican candidate for governor has targeted family planning, saying it originated “from destroying the entire black race.” He has made no secret of his Christian beliefs over the years, including his opposition to abortion.

Speaking to a group of black ministers in Raleigh on Monday, he said he was happy the party honoring the civil rights leader brought together issues of justice and life.

“There is no doubt that when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race,” he said. “That was the goal of Planned Parenthood. It’s just the truth. It’s not just a block to the side. That was the goal when this organization was created.

“How the black community can’t come together and see this, understand that and fight that, I don’t know,” he added, “and how the white community can’t come together and see that and fight against that, I don’t know either. “

“I’m grateful Dan Forest stood up and said it, but as a local church he didn’t have to say it because we say it all the time,” John said. Amanchukwu, assistant to the bishop and youth pastor with Church of the Cenacle of Christ.

Forest had articulated a narrative pushed by anti-abortion groups for years. The controversy is linked to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

While Sanger is considered a pioneer in birth control and reproductive rights for women, she was also a supporter of the eugenics movement, a concept designed to improve humanity through selective breeding.

At the time, Sanger’s views were not unique. Winston Churchill, Herbert Hoover, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw and African-American leader WEB Du Bois shared similar views.

Planned Parenthood rebuffed racist claims, saying Sanger’s views had been taken out of context and that she had strong alliances with black leaders, including DuBois. The organization released a report on Sanger’s views.

Susanna Birdsong, spokesperson for the South Atlantic region of Planned Parenthood, issued a statement to WRAL News condemning Forest’s comments.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Forest has chosen to push his political agenda to the extreme on a day that should unite us in celebrating the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated his life to the struggle for equality and racial justice, ”Birdsong said.“ The reality is that Dr. King admired the work of Planned Parenthood and, in 1966, received an award for his work in partnership with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which was accepted by his wife, Coretta Scott King. “

A spokesperson for the Church of the Cenacle of God in Christ, where Forest spoke, supports his statements. But a local branch of the NAACP does not.

“I don’t know why the Lieutenant Governor feels authorized to speak on behalf of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or what African Americans are seeing,” said Gerald Givens, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, in an email. “His opposition to organizations like Planned Parenthood shows that he hasn’t learned much from Dr King. However, Dr. King would likely agree that we have unfinished business in education, economics, health care, and the franchise in North Carolina. The Lieutenant Governor agrees. “

When asked to clarify Forest’s comments, campaign spokesperson Andrew Dunn emailed various articles referring to Sanger’s controversial background and quotes about King’s opposition to the ‘abortion.

Dunn pointed out Sanger’s beliefs in eugenics as well as his connection to what was known as the “Negro Project”. This effort, which began in 1939, brought birth control services – but not abortion – to southern black communities, according to PolitiFact, WRAL’s fact-checking partner.

PolitiFact has touched on Sanger’s story several times:

  • In 2011, presidential candidate Herman Cain said Planned Parenthood’s original goal was “to help kill black babies before they come into the world.” (Pants on fire)
  • In February 2015, a former New Hampshire politician said Sanger was “an active participant in the Ku Klux Klan”. (False)
  • In September 2015, presidential candidate Ben Carson said Sanger “believes people like me should be eliminated.” (False)

Critics often cite a particular quote from Sanger to support their point. In a letter, Sanger once said, “We don’t want it to be known that we want to exterminate the black population and the minister is the man who can right this idea if it ever happens.”

But historians say critics misinterpret his quote. As PolitiFact reported, Sanger wanted to extend care to black communities. But because the lynchings and the Jim Crow laws gave African Americans reason to be suspicious of whites, she enlisted the help of black ministers to fight disinformation.

As PolitiFact reported, Sanger hired a black doctor and social worker to allay those fears. Ultimately, black leaders DuBois and Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Black Women and pastor of the influential Black Abyssinian Baptist Church, were members of the Negro Project’s advisory board.

As to the relevance of abortion to MLK Day, Dunn said King was a Baptist pastor who “did not support abortion.” He said Forest’s message was about “the unity and fulfillment of Dr. King’s vision of equality and praising his efforts to push America to keep the promises of the Founding Fathers, building on the Dr. King’s Christian Faith “.

In a acceptance speech by Coretta Scott King on behalf of her husband, King praised Sanger’s work.

“For the Negro, therefore, smart family planning guides are a deeply important ingredient in his quest for safety and a decent life,” King wrote, according to Planned Parenthood. website. “There are still mountainous obstacles that separate blacks from a normal existence. Yet one element in stabilizing his life would be an understanding and easy access to the means to develop a family based on the size of his community environment and the income potential that he can. order.”

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