“We cannot stand idly by and allow these subtle but seductive and secular messages to creep into the church,” he said at a press conference Wednesday across the street from the Planned Parenthood conference at the Washington Hilton.
Stopp is starting a campaign to export grass-roots activism from College Station, Texas, to communities across the country. Mr. Bereit said his efforts in College Station helped strip Planned Parenthood in 2003 of $13 million in annual state funds.
He said his group will work to build coalitions of churches who will then try to remove Planned Parenthood materials from public school sex education courses and lobby government against funding the group.
Bishop Robinson encouraged Planned Parenthood leaders to fight their opposition.
“I know, in the end, that I’m going to heaven, and so are you,” he said. “You and I can do this work no matter how hard it gets, because we know we’re going home.”
Planned Parenthood operated 849 clinics last year, down from the 866 it ran in 2003. A spokeswoman said the group consolidated some clinics and was “serving more clients” than in 2003.
Private donations to the group dropped from $230 million in fiscal 2002 to $191 million in fiscal 2003.
Gloria Feldt, the group’s president for eight years, resigned in January after Planned Parenthood’s first endorsement of a presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, and their unprecedented voter-registration efforts failed to yield results.
The Rev. Ignacio Castuera, a Methodist and Planned Parenthood’s national chaplain, said he is trying to increase the size of their clergy network, which currently has 1,400 pastors and clergy.
Working with clergy on the West and East coasts is easy, Mr. Castuera said, “but when you move further into the country it gets harder. … In the center of the country we have a lot more conservative perspectives on the Bible and sex.”