STRENGTHENING FAITH-BASED COMMUNITIES

The church has long been the most important institution in the black community.

During slavery, black churches founded by freedmen and freedwomen established schools for black children. They fought slavery and provided shelter to many fleeing slavery. During reconstruction, black churches sent missionaries to teach former slaves how to read and write and helped them establish their own churches. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, black churches led the fight for civil rights. Today, black churches provide stability for black families that often lack it.

Currently, 67 percent of black children are raised in households with just one parent. The stability offered by churches and synagogues is needed now more than ever. In addition to providing for spiritual needs, black churches often provide food and financial assistance, nursery care, education and sponsor youth activities allowing black youth to have fun with their peers in safe environments. Churches also provide positive male role models that many children lack.

While the membership in black churches has held up better than in white churches in recent years, black churches face the same challenge as other churches.  Participation is declining, especially among youth.[i]

With government and the popular culture doing everything in their power to diminish the role of churches in our lives, this should come as no surprise.

These important organizations – black churches – deserve a better deal.

The church has consistently been a force for good in the black community and should be strengthened.

Project 21 recommends:

  • Establishing federal Tax Credit Scholarships which allow individuals and businesses to receive tax credits for donating to non-profits, including churches, that provide tuition assistance for private schools to low-income and at-risk youth. Credits should be offered not only for donations made to support K-12 education, but for nursery schools and daycare centers as well.[ii]
  • Creating a tax credit for parents and other family members who pay nursery-12 fees and tuition.
  • Repealing the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain non-profits – including churches – from expressing opinions on candidates for public office.
  • Encouraging pastors, ministers and religious leaders to participate in the activities of local schools and serve on advisory boards of federally-funded social service offices throughout the country to review federal policies that limit faith-based leaders from participating in the provisioning of social services.
  • Banning abortions performed exclusively on the basis of the ethnicity of a fetus. Similar to laws adopted by eight states that prohibit gender-selection abortions, such a law would require physicians to ascertain whether a mother wishes to abort her baby because of its ethnicity. If she does, the physician would be required to inform the mother it is illegal to have an abortion for this reason and to refuse to perform the procedure. Civil and criminal penalties would be imposed for violations of the law. This is necessitated by campaigns to promote abortions in the black community, first begun by Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger in the late 1930s. In a 1939 letter, Sanger wrote of Planned Parenthood’s Negro Project: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”[iii] Sanger’s defenders today argue that the statement was ambiguous and, put into context, tells a very different story. But context doesn’t help their case. In a 1938 article, Sanger wrote: “In a democratic society where the vote of one is as good as that of another, it is a dangerous procedure to accept a way of life where the poor [emphasis added], ignorant, diseased and mentally and socially unfit maintain the stock of the population.”[iv] Planned Parenthood continues Sanger’s project to reduce the population of the poor. A 2012 study found that 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities were located within walking distance of a black or Hispanic community. Today, 28% of abortions are performed on blacks and 25% on Hispanics – about double the groups’ portion in the overall population.[v] Planned Parenthood’s promotion of black abortions isn’t subtle. In a tweet this past October, it said, “If you’re a Black woman in America, it’s statistically safer to have an abortion than to carry a pregnancy to term…”[vi]
  • Banning the sale of fetal body parts entirely.
  • Dedicating one day in February (Black History Month) for a national proclamation honoring religious leaders and layman for their role in achieving civil rights for all Americans.

[i] “Religious Landscape Study: Racial and Ethnic Composition,” Pew Research Center – Religion and Pubic Life, Washington, D.C., available at http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/racial-and-ethnic-composition/.

[ii] “Types of School Choice: What is a Tax-Credit Scholarship,” EdChoice, Indianapolis, Indiana, available at https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/types-of-school-choice/tax-credit-scholarship/.

[iii] “Birth Control or Race Control? Sanger and the Negro Project,” The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, Newsletter #28, New York University, New York, New York, Fall 2001, available at https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/articles/bc_or_race_control.php.

[iv] Margaret Sanger, “Population and Immigration (draft of 1938 speech),” The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, New York University, New York, New York, available at https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=236464.xml.

[v] “Induced Abortion in the United States,” Guttmacher Center for Population Research Innovation and Dissemination, Guttmacher Institute, New York, New York, January 2018, available at https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states.

[vi] Tweet from Planned Parenthood Black Community, Washington, D.C., October 31, 2017, available at https://twitter.com/PPBlackComm/status/925380307242582016.