Not so wild a dream

by Cynthia J. Starks on November 29, 2013

As the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was marked around the world last week, I was finishing James W. Douglass’s riveting 2010 book, JFK and the Unspeakable. The book makes a powerful case that President Kennedy was murdered in a government conspiracy involving the CIA as he labored to end the Cold War, produce a nuclear test-ban treaty, engage in peaceful negotiations with Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev, and curtail U.S. involvement in Viet Nam.  

The book’s argument – supported by more than 100 pages of extensive research notes – is that Kennedy was surrounded by members of the military, the CIA, Joint Chiefs and the National Security Council who took it upon themselves to both make US policy around the world and ignore the president’s direct orders, which were contrary to their own agenda.

The threat Kennedy posed to the money, power and status of the military industrial complex, its high-ranking officials and its corporate sponsors was all too real; I am convinced he died because of it.

Again this weekend, as Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled his nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, we heard the voices of those threatened by the prospect of peace.

“What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement. It was a historic mistake,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting Sunday morning.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., warned that the deal sets a bad precedent. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement he found it “troubling” that the agreement “still permits the Iranians to continue enriching.” And Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that the deal does not meet the standards necessary to protect the United States and its allies.

None of the naysayers has the courage, the vision nor the love of mankind that enabled President Kennedy to step out in faith to our country’s “enemies,” knowing they were, in truth, human beings with the same hopes and fears we all possess.
Reading Douglass’s book about the tragic results of Kennedy’s peace overtures, we better understand why virtually no communication has taken place with Iran in the 25 years since the Iranian revolution, and why, according to the Council on Foreign Relations website, our relationship with Cuba is “virtually nonexistent.”

It is very hard to speak truth to power. It cost at least one president his life. That is why President Obama and Secretary Kerry are to be applauded for reaching out to the “enemy” to seek peace. As President Kennedy said in a speech on peace to the graduates of American University in June 1963:

Is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation – the right to breathe air as nature provided it – the right of future generations to a healthy existence? While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests.

Award-winning essayist Norman Corwin, writing at the end of World War II, put it this way:

Post proofs that brotherhood is not so wild a dream as those who would profit by postponing it pretend.

Let the proofs begin to be posted.

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Dear Colleagues

I’m writing to you today about a client who has de-frauded me because I want all those in our writing community to beware taking any assignments from him. His name is Johnny Richardson and his company is called KliqMobile.

In mid-August I was contacted by Richardson, the alleged CEO of KliqMobile, whose business is an app that allows users to create separate digital “Kliqs” of family members, friends, colleagues, etc. and be able to post to them no matter what platform those individuals are on  – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Richardson’s request was for a quick-turnaround 5-minute speech for an event in Sao Paolo, Brazil, called The Next Web. He and his partner were going to use this venue to introduce KliqMobile to the South American market, he claimed.

I emailed him my terms and conditions, including my rate, which is $1000/day. I estimated the work would take 3 days, for a total of $3000.

Without blinking an eye, he agreed to my terms, which should have tipped me off. Usually smaller businesses, which from what I can tell his was – basically a start-up – might give me a little push-back on my rates. I now believe he didn’t because he never intended to pay me.

My terms and conditions state that upon contracting with me, I receive 50 percent of my fee up front before I’ll begin any work. The next 25 percent is to be paid upon the client receiving a detailed outline or first draft; final 25 percent payment is to come no more than 30 days after the final speech is delivered.  Of course, this includes several drafts based on client changes.

Richardson assured me he had put a check in the mail to cover the initial 50 percent, and because this was a short turnaround I began work on the remarks. I researched the event, the participants, background on Sao Paolo, and developed a detailed outline. The client also wanted to use images to illustrate speech points, so I did extensive Web research and pulled together a nice group of images.

The check arrived, but it was not for a full 50 percent (which would have been $1500), but only for $1000. Because I was busy with the speech, the check sat on my desk for several days.

I kept working on the speech; the client kept giving me feedback, and I completed the speech on time. In addition, because the work had taken me only two days instead of three, I told Richardson my fee would be $2000 instead of $3000.

In the meantime, I had deposited the check, which took several days to clear.

The check bounced. I called and emailed my client. He called back, very apologetic. It was a mistake; he was having some trouble with the bank; it was a mix-up, etc. However, my own bank had informed me that the check was drawn on an account that had been closed. I was charged a $35 return check fee.

Richardson promised he would issue me a cashier’s check drawn on a different bank. He would scan the check and send me the FedEx tracking info. But neither of these things happened.

More time passed. Last Thursday, after I told him I had posted a review of him on Freelancers Union, and sent him a copy of it, he sent me a scan of a cashier’s check made out to me for $1000 (although he owes me $2000). But I have not received that check or any payment of any kind. Plus I’m out the $35 return check fee. Sigh…

It is now almost a month since I took the assignment.

When I first talked to Johnny Richardson, I looked him up on LinkedIn and found nothing amiss. I also looked up KliqMobile online and although I found it odd that his website was not live (it says it’s in Beta), I found nothing remarkable there either.

However, as the saga played out, I decided to check in with the Freelancers Union. Sure enough, a lot had been said about Johnny Richardson by several other writers he had similarly de-frauded. None of it good. His rating on this site is “horrible.” And other writers who had had the bad fortune to be “hired” by him wrote of their sad experiences. I added mine. You can read them here.  And here is where you can search clients on the Freelancers Union site, see what others have said, and post your experiences with them, good or bad.

So, my friends and fellow writers, if you get a phone call out of the blue from a Johnny Richardson in Birmingham, Michigan, hang up on him. I wish I had. And before you accept any work from new clients, you might be wise to check them out on the Freelancers Union site first. I wish I had also done that.

Today, I am exploring options with the police and my attorney. If any of you have had similar experiences with not being paid for your work, I would be very interested to hear about them, as well as any recourse you took.  Thanks so much.

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A recent visit to a little bookshop in San Francisco where I picked up a couple of interesting cards has raised this question in my mind. See what you think.

On one was a photo of an old-fashioned doctor’s bag, with a container of Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder, a round bar of Yardley Shaving Soap, a small can of Peterson’s Ointment and a half-full bottle of Vitalis for hair lined up in front of it. Peeking from the top of the bag itself were an old Syracuse Herald-Journal and a small amount of blue-and-white striped cloth.

The front of the other card pictured backless, lace-up, high-heeled shoes made from a silvery satin, an old-fashioned wooden hanger, a  sparkly belt and a few other items in an old suitcase.  

While the images on the cards were fascinating, what was printed on the back sent me on a journey to learn more. It said, “Forgotten patients’ belongings, Willard Psychiatric Hospital, New York.”

It turns out the images on my two cards were only a tiny part of the 427 suitcases, trunks, crates and bundles recovered after the Willard Psychiatric Hospital closed down in 1995, and which turned out to belong to patients who had spent decades in that vast state mental institution in the Finger Lakes region of New York, according to a New York Times’ story.

“The history of mental health is almost always told by psychiatrists and hardly ever by patients or through patients’ lives,” says Darby Penney in the Times article, “so this is pretty amazing.” Ms. Penney worked in the New York State Office of Mental Health. Together with Dr. Peter Stastny, a psychiatrist and documentary filmmaker, they spent years piecing together what happened to 25 patients from their belongings, medical records and interviews.” This resulted in both a book, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, with photographs by Lisa Rinzler, and an exhibit at the New York Public Library in early 2008.

Here are three of the poignant stories behind these belongings, again from the Times:

“Margaret, a tuberculosis nurse, owned the most suitcases and boxes, 18 in all. Inside were the makings of a home: dishes, pots and pans, a Japanese porcelain vase, a percolator, lamps, clothing, a bone-china teacup and saucer, hundreds of photos, her nursing diploma, citizenship papers and a pair of ice skates.

“Suffering from TB herself, and stressed over a series of illnesses and deaths among her loved ones, she was brought to Willard in 1941 without ever having seen a psychiatrist on the basis of complaints that she ‘annoys people’ and felt persecuted. On her way to the ward Margaret, 48, said she felt ‘like a fly in a spider web.’ She died there 32 years later.”

Frank was the only African-American identified among the suitcase owners. “He ended up at Willard in 1946 at the age of 35, when he became enraged after being served food on a chipped plate at a restaurant in Flat Bush, Brooklyn, a block from his apartment. Though never violent before, he was given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, a diagnosis more commonly given to black men than any other group, according to Ms. Penney and Dr. Stastny.

“An Army veteran, Frank stayed at Willard for three years before being transferred to a Veterans Administration hospital for the rest of his life. But his trunk stayed behind. A few of its contents are now in a glass case: a folded white T-shirt, arcade photos, a natty blue jacket and a starter pistol.”

The Times article tells us that for most of Willard’s existence, an understanding of psychiatric disorders was minimal, as was appropriate care. “Electroshock treatments, ice baths and insulin shocks were common.”

The effects of these types of treatments are revealed on the faces of the patients, we are told. “Photographs of Madeline, a rich French woman taken before her institutionalization at 36 in 1932, show a stunning and sophisticated traveler in locations from the Azores to the Adirondacks. Among her belongings were a silk dress, riding habit, fine kid gloves, books of philosophy, literature and poetry, and papers from her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and Columbia and Hunter in New York.

“During the Depression, she spiraled down into poverty and emotional distress, believing she had telepathic powers. During her 47 years at Willard, she was prescribed the first generation of neuroleptic drugs, which caused an incurable movement disorder, targive dyskinesia. A photograph from about 1960 shows Madeline, her mouth pinched and puckered, her eyebrows drawn together in a tightened frown. A doctor’s note described her ‘shriveled, wizened face, narrow eyes’ and a ‘stiff and sarcastic smile frozen on her face.’

The article concludes this way, “Psychiatry, even today, is often about stripping individuals of their identities. If someone had taken the time and effort to piece together these people’s stories during their lifetimes, Ms. Penney and Dr. Stastny write, perhaps they could have resumed the lives they led before being institutionalized.

“In the following years the staff either upped her medication or tried ‘behavior modification therapy’ to stop the ‘extreme grimacing and various twitching of the hands, arms and trunk’ – a vain attempt in the face of neurological damage, Ms. Penney and Dr. Stastny note in the book. “After several years,” they write, “she, like millions of her peers, was in the same predicament: she had become dependent on the very medications that had caused these neurological symptoms.”

There are, indeed, some things that seem too horrific or sad to write about, but with sensitivity, care and respect, I suspect there are really very few about which we cannot write. The NYT article I’ve cited bears witness.

Looked at another way, how might the use of images, instead of words, add strength, power and poignancy to the speeches you and I write?

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You think you’ve got it bad – writing for executives who don’t want to tell stories, who don’t get your humor, who edit out all the good stuff.

How would you have liked to write speeches that inflamed and inspired thousands and thousands of men to basically go get killed on a Crusade?  

Funny you should ask. I just finished reading a book called Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades by Jonathan Phillips, which shares examples of how people were roused to join a Crusade. Seems it was a combination of dramatic speeches, publicity tours and religious symbols and artifacts.
But even with promises of spiritual rewards, as the Crusades dragged on through the centuries, it was no easy task.

Let me tell you that reading a book on the Crusades was not my idea. My teenage son believes he knows more than I do on most every subject. The smart aleck’s usually right, alas. So when he wanted to have a conversation on the Crusades, he suggested I read up on them so I could speak intelligently. Translation: Mom, if you think the Christians behaved better than the Muslims during the Crusades you are so totally wrong!

Sad to say, the book reveals he was mostly right.

Before we get to those rousing speeches, however, a little background to set the stage.

Leading up to the first Crusade, (1095-1099), author Phillips writes that Pope Urban II was upset by the evils that beset western Europe – “violence and lawlessness were rife.” In Urban’s mind, “the fundamental cause of such chaos was the diminution of faith: it was his role to restore peace and stability.

“It was Urban’s genius that he conceived of a plan (a Crusade) that offered benefits to the pope and to all of his flock. He linked several ingredients familiar to medieval society, such as pilgrimage and the idea of a holy war against the enemies of God, with an unprecedented offer of salvation, a combination guaranteed to enthuse the warriors of Western Europe.”

Phillips continues, “To persuade people – in any age – to leave their homes and loved ones and to venture into the unknown, it is usually necessary to convince them that the cause is worthwhile. Pope Urban’s speech at Clermont (France) used highly inflammatory images to provoke moral outrage in his audience. The Muslims were described in language that emphasized their ‘otherness,’ and their barbarity toward Christians.”

In reality, Phillips writes, “While it is true that pilgrims were occasionally maltreated, it was also the case that there had been no systematic persecution of Christians by the Muslims of the Holy Land for decades.”

“Urban’s impassioned rhetoric called for vengeance, a concept that was second nature to the knights accustomed to correcting injustice through force, supported by the weight of moral right. Through references to authorities on Church law, such as Saint Augustine, Urban and his circle of advisors constructed a case whereby violence could, in certain circumstances, be seen as a morally positive act.”

(Drone warfare, anyone?)

To these “just war principles,” Phillips continues, “crusading added the taking of a vow (the interactive part of the speech!) and association with pilgrimage. Thus, because it was judged to be morally positive the crusade became an act of penance that merited a spiritual reward.”

On the Muslim side, the rhetoric was just as passionate from its First Crusade leader, Al-Sulami.

“Al-Sulami often spoke from the elaborately carved pulpit (minbar) in the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, a magnificent building that remains one of the splendors of medieval Islam. He used Hadith to remind people that the holy war was the duty of all Muslims; he then offered an acute overview of the problems of the Islamic world. To him, the failure to prosecute the jihad was one cause of the present situation: it was a disgrace that such a state of affairs had been allowed to develop and now God punished such laziness and dereliction of duty through the breakup of the Muslim world.

“His speech was directed at the ruling military classes. He lambasted them for their inactivity. He regarded their present moral laxity as the cause of the crusader invasion.”

Al-Sulami’s “appeal for action was couched in remarkably similar terms to contemporary calls for the crusade; in fact, it may be only a slight exaggeration to suggest that the removal of the word jihad and the modification of names would allow this to pass off as a crusader sermon,” or speech.

Here’s a segment of Al-Sulami’s speech to his recruits:

“Prepare, God have mercy on you to strive hard at the imposition of this jihad and the obligation to defend your religion and brotherhood with aid and support. Take as your booty an expedition that God, who is exalted, has arranged for you without great effort. You will gain from it a finest winner (God) and a glory which…(will) remain on you for many years to come. Beware with all watchfulness that you avoid disgracing yourselves or you will arrive at a fire with flames, which God, who is exalted, has made an evil place and your worst final destiny.”

Speeches remain powerful things – whether written to inspire men to fight – or written to engage an executive’s employees, competitors, communities or peers. They all take the same form: here’s the problem; here’s the solution; here’s your call to action.

Some things never change, although I know I wouldn’t be disappointed if there were fewer speeches devoted to stirring up that ol’ war fever.

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I subscribe to Speaker magazine, the publication of the National Speakers Association (you don’t have to be a member to subscribe), and each month there are several articles I learn from and apply to the speeches I write.

The July/August issue is no different. The entire magazine is devoted to “story.” The cover article features Robert McKee, legendary screenwriter, author and teacher on how to infuse stories into your writing.   

In addition, Lee Gordon has a great piece on “The Power of Story,” which includes these “Storytelling Tips for Speakers.” See if some of them apply to you and your speaker.

  1. “Seek connection, not perfection. Perfection is all about you, and it creates frayed nerves and mistakes. Connection is about the audience. How can you help them?
  2. “Have conversations; don’t give presentations. No one likes being talked to; people want you to talk with them. Are you asking questions and giving people time to reflect? Make your speech more interactive and less of a monologue.
  3. “Keep your stories concise and compelling. Audiences have short attention spans, so the quicker you get to the take-away the better your speech will be.
  4. “Make your stories struggle to solution. The struggle is the emotional hook and the solution is the help. Be vulnerable and share the struggles you have overcome. Showing your vulnerability will make you relatable and credible.
  5. “Relive – don’t retell – your stories. Create an experience that your audience feels and motivates them to take the desired action.
  6. “Use dialog for humor and impact. Mark Twain said, ‘Don’t tell me that the lady screamed; bring her on stage and let her scream.’ Let the characters in your stories deliver their lines and it will make their stories dynamic, and
  7. “Practice your movement. Gestures, posture, facial expressions and the way you move on stage bring your stories to life.”

In general, I think these are excellent suggestions, but I like to add the caveat that the articles in Speaker are directed to professional speakers hired by companies to speak in entertaining ways to audiences at conferences, and various sales and motivational events — not your typical CEO or SVP.

That being said, I’d love to have your take on their relevance and usefulness.

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I have a lovely book of daily meditations by the late Fr. Herni Nouwen, called Bread for the Journey

Fr. Nouwen was a Dutch-born Catholic priest who authored more than 40 books about spirituality, was a man of peace and an opponent of both the Vietnam War and nuclear proliferation. For some years, he served as pastor for the “L’Arche” community for developmentally disabled persons in Canada, and wrote a book on his relationship with one profoundly disabled man, called Adam: God’s Beloved. Fr. Nouwen also struggled to reconcile his depression with his Catholic faith.

He died in 1996 at age 54.

I was privileged to hear Fr. Nouwen speak at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven when I was an undergraduate there. I remember him as softspoken but radiating the Holy Spirit. He was one of those rare persons whose goodness and kindness — his total love, really  – was a felt presence emanating from him like a brilliant light.

But back to Fr. Nouwen’s book of meditations. The meditation for today, June 8, is titled, “Empowered to Speak,” and Fr. Nouwen writes:

“The Spirit that Jesus gives us empowers us to speak. Often when we are expected to speak in front of people who intimidate us, we are nervous and self-conscious. But if we live in the Spirit, we don’t have to worry about what to say. We will find ourselves ready to speak when the need is there. ‘When they take you before…authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.’ (Luke 12:11-12)

“We waste much of our time in anxious preparation. Let’s claim the truth that the Spirit that Jesus gave us will speak in us and speak convincingly,” the meditation concludes.

If your speaker is a Christian,  you might want to share this with him or her.

And for your own edification, you might want to pick up some of Fr. Nouwen’s books. In our home, we have his With Open Hands, a book on bringing prayer into your life; Intimacy, essays in pastoral psychology, and Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. There are many additional ones you would enjoy.

I’m not entirely confident I know how Fr. Nouwen’s advice for speakers relates to our work as speechwriters, but I believe we always benefit from exploring and embracing the spiritual aspects of our work.

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These days, a lot is being written about Pope Francis and his straightforward way of communicating on topics ranging from the “cult of money” and greed he sees driving the world financial system, poverty and suffering, violence, and even how Jesus died to save not only Catholics, but atheists as well.   

The New York Times reports that even though the Pope has been in office only two months, he has already “changed the tone of the papacy, lifting morale and bringing a new sense of enthusiasm to the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican itself.”

As a Catholic, I second that emotion.

But what seems less clear to some is whether Pope Francis has brought a new vision to his papacy, or is simply reiterating what his predecessor had said, using language that is simpler, clearer and more direct.

“There are differences, but differences in style, not content,” the Times quotes Giovanni Maria Vian, editor in chief of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, comparing Francis with former Pope Benedict.

I would argue that those who suggest Pope Francis and Pope Benedict differ simply in style have missed the point. A speaker who uses words that are short, simple and straightforward is, in effect, delivering new content. The tone of his voice, the smiling way in which he delivers his words, and the language he chooses make him understood by many more people than understood the serious, highly intellectual and esoteric way in which Pope Benedict chose to communicate.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi is quoted in the same Times article contrasting the two Popes this way, “His (Francis’s) style is simple and direct. It’s not elaborately constructed and complex (like Pope Benedict’s).”

Rev. Lombardi continued by saying that the previous pope was a theologian who often warned of the risks facing the church and reminded Catholics of the ways “we’re on the wrong path.” That was important, he said, but sometimes a change in emphasis is good. “To be told repeatedly about how God’s love and mercy can transform the hearts of people, there was a need for that.”

I believe Pope Francis’s style and substance are one, as I believe they really are for all of us.

Here is a fun Pinterest page of Pope Francis quotes you might enjoy. See what you think.

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Lord knows I don’t like to generalize (regardless of what my husband and son say), but in my years as a freelance writer – of speeches and other communications – I’ve come to believe there are basically two types of clients. The ones who want to work with you, and the ones who drop you like a hot potato if you don’t produce perfection right out of the gate.

Let me explain.

I’ve been working with a client at a global pharmaceutical company to write a brochure on the results of a cancer study it recently completed. The study involved responses from cancer patients, their caregivers, and the general public to questions related to their understanding of a wide variety of cancer topics. These included clinical trials, costs of medication, the value of an extra year of life, what worried them most about a cancer diagnosis, and more.

My first go-round on the brochure was factual but dry and lacking “life.” I had thought the client was just looking for a streamlined version of study results themselves. I was wrong. The client and I had a good, long conversation on the personal nature of the study they were looking to infuse into the brochure – personal stories, quotes, and even images some of the cancer patients had created to portray their cancer journeys.

The second draft of the brochure was totally different from the first. It told a “story,” included personal reflections and beautiful paintings, as well as the results to key questions in the survey itself. The client was delighted.

However, a second client – a leading US health insurance provider – had an entirely different response to my first draft of a set of slides on diversity and inclusion to be used in a presentation to new employees who had just been merged with the parent company.

I handed in a first draft on Monday morning. On Monday afternoon, I received a note saying she wasn’t sure this was what she was looking for and she would like to talk the next day. But as of today, Friday – which I was told was the deadline for getting the slides to the people who would use them – I have still not heard from her.

I think I’ll send her a bill on Monday.

Some clients want to work with a good freelancer, giving her the chance to better understand or “get” what the client is really looking for. Other clients take your first attempt, figure they gave you a chance and you’re hopeless, and never contact you again.

Have you had similar experiences?  I would love to hear about them.

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The Academy of Oratory, run by Giles Abbott and Leon Conrad, offers a six-part radio series called “The Talking Shop,” at its online site.   Logo

The six shows focus on “Stories and Storytelling,” “Stories and Learning,” “Stories and Healing,” “Stories and Leaving,” “Stories and Leading,” and “Stories and Formation.”

I have not listened to the series yet, so I’d be delighted with any feedback you’d like to provide.

 

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This morning I posted a blog on how funny and enjoyable President Obama’s remarks were at last night’s White House Correspondents’ dinner.

But this afternoon I came across the keynote remarks he gave at Planned Parenthood’s annual convention on April 26, which wiped away all remnants of this morning’s laughter.

To those of us who support the “seamless garment” of life — from conception to natural death –that the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernadin described, it was a sad and dismaying speech indeed.

The President spoke glowingly of Planned Parenthood as a provider of health care to women in need, and of the importance of a “woman’s right to choose.” The word abortion never touched his lips and he never completed the thought — “a woman’s right to choose”…what? To eliminate a living, breathing, unborn human being, that’s what.

After listening to his remarks, I researched exactly how many abortions Planned Parenthood performs annually. I discovered this shocking statistic: In its 2011 annual report, Planned Parenthood states that it performed 333,964 abortions — a record for the organization that received 45 percent of its revenues from taxpayer-funded government sources — during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.  You read that right — almost 400,000 abortions in a single year. Last year, Planned Parenthood reported revenues exceeding $87 million and net assets of more than $1.2 billion.

That’s money from you and me and lots of other people who are being made, against our wills, to support an agency that cares so little for the sacredness of human life and willfully extinguishes it.

Our country was founded on the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet our very government has no qualms about lauding and supporting an organization that takes away the very first of those rights — the right to life — from so many innocents.

As a Catholic Christian, I have hope…hope the scourge of abortion will one day be no more. And I am encouraged by something Obama pointed out in his speech — something he saw as a negative, but I see as a positive. He lamented that 42 states — yes, 42 states — have introduced legislation to restrict or outlaw abortions. Amen.

A final note, it’s been interesting to me that Planned Parenthood has advertised for a speechwriter to its president for many months now. Perhaps it is also a sign of hope that they are having so much trouble filling a job that many seem loathe to take.

 

 

 

 

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