Thanks very much to all the visitors and bloggers who gave this site its most readers ever yesterday—10,400 hits. If even a fraction of those readers come back today, we all have an opportunity to do something very exciting and very important to show America the true nature of Planned Parenthood.
This Sunday, August 14, is the feast of Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of two groups that one doesn't often think of together: pro-life advocates and journalists. He is also perhaps the only Catholic who is called a "saint" by the Jewish Virtual Library, which says of him, "One Christian man who died [in Auschwitz] became a martyr to the truth of evils of Nazism—a true hero for our time, a saint who lived what he preached, total love toward God and man."
Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest from the 1920s through his death in 1941, who believed in using all available media to spread his faith's message. He oversaw the publication of a daily newspaper that reached hundreds of thousands of people, as well as magazines in both Poland and Japan with a total circulation of over 800,000.
At a time when Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was touting such "racial purity" initiatives as forced sterilization for the "feeble minded"—a message very much in line with Nazi beliefs—Kolbe wrote passionately against abortion. While Sanger and her fellow eugenicists were fighting to keep Jewish refugees out of America, Kolbe sheltered thousands of Jews at his Polish monastery,
But it wasn't sheltering Jews that got Kolbe on the wrong side of the Nazi authorities. It was his writings. He was arrested after writing an article in his monastery's publications, The Knight, whose message would be radical even today. It said in part:
No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?Kolbe was sent to Auschwitz, where he died in a manner consistent with the way he lived: He gave his life for a fellow prisoner. The details of his sacrifice make for a deeply touching story, which is well told on the Christian History Institute's Web site.
Regardless of one's faith, the 64th anniversary of Maximilian Kolbe's death is a fitting day to raise people's consciousness about what what we, as taxpayers, are funding when we fund Planned Parenthood.
With that in mind, I hereby propose Project Max: an action plan with the goal of getting this Sunday's newspaper, in every major U.S. city, to tell its readers about Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's "A Superhero for Choice" cartoon, and how the shamed organization is trying to cover its tracks by removing the animation from its site. Americans should also know that Planned Parenthood Golden Gate receives 53 percent of its income from the government.
The following are five things you can do to take part in Project Max. Even if you can do only one of these, it will make a significant difference in getting the message out:
1. Today (August 11) and tomorrow, contact the largest newspaper in your area and tell them about "A Superhero for Choice."
- The best way to contact the newspaper is to first send an e-mail to the editor or to a reporter whom you believe may be interested in the story, then follow up by phone. Newspapers will usually publish a general e-mail address for news tips—you might find it shown in a box on Page 2—or their editorial page will contain an e-mail address for letters.
- If your newspaper lists reporters' or editors' e-mail addresses, it's OK to write to more than one, but send out the e-mails one at a time, personalizing each one with "Dear [Reporter's name]." This is important because people are more willing to read an e-mail that looks personal, plus newspapers' spam filters often filter out bulk e-mails.
- There are three important points to put across in your e-mail and in your phone conversations with journalists: the fact that the Planned Parenthood cartoon depicts its superhero blowing up pro-lifers; the fact that Planned Parenthood is trying to stifle the cartoon; and the fact that this animated hate-crime fantasy is a flagrant misuse of taxpayer funds. (While we don't know if taxpayer money was used directly on the cartoon, there's no question that Planned Parenthood Golden Gate's taxpayer money freed up funds to create the animation.)
- Include a link in your e-mail to my entry on where to find the cartoon online, so that the recipient will be able to see the animation for himself. Or just copy one of the links to the cartoon from that entry—but test it first to make sure it's still working.
- Follow up the e-mail by phoning the newspaper and asking to speak to the editor or reporter to whom you sent the e-mail. If he or she is not available, ask politely, "Who's working the desk right now?" or "Who's the duty editor?" When you ask that, the operator will assume you are an insider, and will likely connect you with the editor on duty. If all else fails and you can't speak to an editor or reporter, leave a detailed message, and, again, at all times, be polite.
- After you've contacted your local newspaper, leave a message in the comments section below with the name of the paper you contacted and the person you contacted there, so that others in your area may read it and reach the same person. The more people contact the same editor or reporter, the more chance there is that he or she will realize that this is an important story.
- The Associated Press is the U.S.'s largest wire service. If they pick up the story, it'll be in every major newspaper around the country. Personalize the e-mail you sent to your local paper and send it to Burl Osborne, AP Chairman, email@example.com;Tom Curley, AP President and CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Kathleen Carroll, AP SVP/Executive Editor, email@example.com.
- Stress the same three things mentioned above: the fact that the Planned Parenthood cartoon depicts its superhero blowing up pro-lifers; the fact that Planned Parenthood is trying to stifle the cartoon; and the fact that this animated hate-crime fantasy is a flagrant misuse of taxpayer funds.
- One of the defining characteristics of Maximilian Kolbe was that he would speak to anyone about his faith, regardless of their own religion. Moreover, he did so without being belittling or abusive. He shared his faith because he truly cared about people and he wanted them to know the truth.
- Likewise, we owe it to our neighbors to tell them the truth about Planned Parenthood—how the organization takes our tax dollars while openly fantasizing about blowing up its opponents. People of many faiths would be outraged if they knew about this cartoon, some even if they favor abortion rights, because it is wrong to spend government money advocating hate crimes.
- In addition to telling someone you know, you can also notify a local house of worship other than your own about the cartoon. If you know the name of another denomination's church or temple in your town, you can get their contact information from their Web site, or just send a letter. Tell them that you think their congregation should know about the cartoon because it depicts a Planned Parenthood superhero blowing up people of faith. When one group is attacked for its peaceful demonstration of faith, all people of faith are attacked.
- Several pro-life organizations have already drawn attention to "A Superhero for Choice," including the American Life League, Life Decisions International, National Right to Life, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association.
- Other groups that do important work to protect the unborn are Priests for Life, Silent No More (which increases awareness of what abortion does to women, men, and families), and Helper's of God's Precious Infants. (If anyone has a pro-life group they'd like to see added to this entry, please mention them in the comments, or e-mail me, dawn at dawneden.com.)
UPDATE: David Brandao of the American Life League recommends contacting your local TV station's news department as well:
It would be really cool to get the video on TV. Many of your suggestions about contacting the newsroom also apply to the television side, though some TV stations are rather provincial and the "it's not a local story" hurdle is a tough one to jump. The federal tax dollar angle is worth pursuing with TV newsrooms, since we're all federal taxpayers.
Calling the station and asking for the assignment desk (or the producer if the desk is unoccupied, which may be the case on weekends at small stations) will usually get one past the receptionist. Asking for a specific reporter by name (reporter, not anchor) is also a good way in the door. If the station has a Web site, check to see if the names of the assignment editors and producers are posted. Again, asking for a person by name is better than simply asking for the desk. These are the people who generally make most of the story decisions. Asking for the news director usually doesn't work.
The fact that you're aiming for a Sunday is promising, as middle-to-small market TV stations often feed their viewers a steady diet of police beat stories and features on the weekend. Working against the airing of the video, however, is the fact that it's not broadcast quality and doesn't expand to full-screen size very well. But if the station decides to go with the story, then a local pro-life leader could certainly be recruited for an interview.