Damn, that's a good feeling

The Susan G. Komen Foundation which recently was willing to cede ground to breast cancer to slake conservatives has changed its mind again.  They’re going to continue to give grant money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening.  w00t!

Let’s review what happened here.  Conservatives bullied the Komen Foundation into a decision.  Up until recently, that would’ve been the end of it.  However, this time the secularists (and presumably the religious people who haven’t let faith supplant compassion) pushed back.  Hard.

We saw it with State Sen. Beth Moura in Rhode Island who had to shut down her twitter account due to atheists going feral when she sniped at Jessica Ahlquist.  The time is passing when throwing their weight around will work for the religious.  The secularists are becoming organized, and if the deeply faithful swing, odds are we’re going to be able to swing back harder.  And if the Komen Foundation doesn’t follow through on their apology by continuing to fund those grants in the future, you can bet we’ll be right back on them.

It’s a damn good feeling.  It’s great to see so many caring and so many willing to fight rather than just sitting around and waiting for the faithful to stop being silly because we’re so friendly.


About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Randomfactor

    Don’t get to feeling too good.

    They’re lying. And you fell for it.

    All they’re saying now is that the current contracts will be honored (because they HAVE to) and Planned Parenthood can come around to ask next time. When Komen says they’ll EXTEND the current level of funding to Planned Parenthood after the current grants expire, at the same level, and COMMITS to it now, I’ll cut them about a micrometer of slack.

    Until then, they’re lying, and they’ll lie about lying to cover up the lie.

  • Randomfactor

    As to your note about Komen not following through–all they want is for this to go away.

    You’re going to get people this angry and this active at some vague time in the future over something that they DIDN’T do? Good luck with that…

  • ashleybone

    Don’t be fooled! This is just their attempt to weasel out of the controversy. They haven’t changed anything of substance.

  • San Ban

    More obfuscation, more attempts at damage control, nothing’s changed. PP is exactly where they were the day Komen announced the defunding, except some people have learnt a bit more about PP’s actual work! This is well-worded BS with a not-pology. I’m with Randomfactor – SGK deserves no slack until they commit to funding the PP grants and graciously beg PP to take them back. That’s not going to happen, though.

  • ash

    “waiting for the faithful to stop being silly because we’re so friendly.”

    You know…That’s it really, isn’t it? They call us violent, strident, and rude, then totally take advantage of our generally kinder reasonable natures to steamroller us into shutting up. The tenor of atheism has changed over the last few years, thankfully. It really is starting to feel “over” for the religious bullies

  • alexandra14c

    I think that SGK will keep funding grants to PP because if they deny them funding, PP is going to make some noise about it and this whole scenario will blow up again. Besides, they don’t actually give PP that much money. It’s easier to just keep giving it to them instead of becoming a PR mess.

  • Rory

    Regardless of what SGK does now, two things have happened. #1, a ton of new donors have given money to PP, and hopefully that will maintain and make up for the money they’ll no longer be receiving from SGK. #2, SGK has demonstrated how utterly repulsive they’re capable of being, which will hopefully make people take a closer look at them and maybe find an alternative charity which doesn’t kowtow to bigots. Win win, in my book.

  • Parse

    The best way I’ve heard the whole fiasco described is as a turd in the punchbowl. Though they’ve scooped it out, it’s still left a noticeable flavor, and unless they get rid of the people behind it, it’s only a matter of time before they pull this shit again.

  • otrame

    The main point is that secular people have gotten better organized. The “organization” is pretty disorganized, consisting of everything from formal organizations to a bunch of people who read blog posts a lot, but it works. Organizations can no longer count on a few “voices crying in the wilderness” in opposition to the far right wing. The secular voices are loud and getting louder. Organizations like charities are going to have to be a great deal more careful. They are not going to be able to afford to make too many mistakes like Komen did. It will probably be years before Komen regains their prestige, if ever.

    We need to keep calling them on it when they break the law and when they use religion as an excuse to discriminate, and when they hurt people with their “biblical teachings”. We have to keep saying “What kind of people are you that would do that to other people?”

    In the mean time, the kids are leaving them in droves and the more they act like this, the more they will lose.

  • penn

    I think making this about secularists misses the point to some degree. This time was different because Planned Parenthood is giant billion dollar organization themselves that has been surviving rightwing attacks for decades. There is literally no left-leaning organization that is more capable of pushing back against something like this than Planned Parenthood. $700,000 was little more than a drop in the bucket. This was about values, and we did win in a knockout.

    Amanda Marcotte has a nice post about why this is a win at Pandagon

    The reason that emotions were high around Komen is they position themselves as an organization that exists to save women’s lives. Claiming to be pro-woman while objectifying and dehumanizing women is a common tactic on the right. By making Komen squeal for mercy on this, we won a major moral victory.

  • penn

    I’d also like to implore those focusing on the SGK’s message and probable future actions (e.g., RandomFactor and ashleybone) to stop and act like winners. PP more than made up for SGK’s measly $700,000 through this affair and SGK was shown to be more concerned with pushing rightwing ideology than protecting women’s health. They’re reputation has been tarnished and they will lose donations. The next organization to consider such a move will think twice. It’s a win. Enjoy it.

  • Jenn

    I’m glad the grant eligibility language was changed, don’t get me wrong. That is a major victory. Other than that, however, nothing has changed. The original statement made it clear that existing grants were not affected. The “apology” language says nothing more than existing grants are not affected. It is more of a modification than a reversal.

    I whole heartedly agree with penn, enjoy the victory. But be a gracious winner, the fight is far from over. The next thing to watch out for is stem cell research. It’s on Komen’s radar…

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Jenn @ # 12: … stem cell research. It’s on Komen’s radar…

    Nope, it’s in their crosshairs.