Broadman & Holman, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has recalled an unknown number of pink study Bibles. If this were The Onion, I'd follow the lede with this: "an unidentified spokesperson for the denomination said the color is too gay." Unfortunately, this ain't The Onion, and their reason for the recall isn't funny. The Bibles were a fundraising effort to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the formerly well-known breast cancer organization known as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Excursus: Did anyone notice when it stopped being Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation? Now it really is Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Were they opposed to the cure before, or just clarifying their raison d'etre? This is an organization I very much support (at least in principle), but that name is just bad. Maybe a simple shift to Komen Foundation would have been good. I'm pretty sure people assume they're opposed to breast cancer, not promoting it.
Back to the Baptists. A dollar from the sale of each Bible went to Komen through the merchandising arm of the SBC, LifeWay stores, which is part of LifeWay Christian Resources. (Anyone else think it odd that the SBC is starting to resemble Kali, the Hindu goddess?)
According to a spokesperson from Komen, LifeWay had pledged $25,000. That was before someone informed B&H that Komen has a partnership with Planned Parenthood. Oh shit. Here we go. Thomas Rainer, the president of LifeWay, but not the SBC, released a very helpful statement about the process. Two statements stood out:
As this project has developed, we realized it was a mistake. (Grammar counts, even for a president, sir. Two point deduction for tense switching.)
When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen's affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market.
A mistake to fund breast cancer screening and education? Nicely done, Mr. President. You didn't think it was a mistake until you received angry letters, emails, and calls from irritated fundamentalists who believe the transitive property precludes you working with "enemies" for a good cause. Here's a simple formula for readers in case you're confused about the transitive property: B&H helps Komen, Komen works with PP, therefore B&H helps PP. It's absurd, of course. Komen guaranteed the money wasn't going to any causes other than the stated ones, but Rainer said it goes against LifeWay's core values to have "even an indirect relationship" with PP. I find it an extremely dubious claim to say that funding breast cancer screening and awareness is in conflict with your core values, Mr. Rainer. If I'm funding a good cause, why do I give two shits about other partners that are funding the same good cause? This is, of course, only an issue because the SBC believes PP is only in the abortion referral business. You can disagree about abortion all you like, but withholding funding from a breast cancer organization because they use PP for screenings is absurd inasmuch as PP is also doing a good thing at that point. Ought it not be the business of Christian organizations to support mitzvahs from wherever they originate?
As to the arduous process...ugh. We're so sorry that this has inconvenienced your company, sir. I'm sure the women and men who struggle with breast cancer are sympathetic about all the boxing and shipping and paperwork required. And what will be done with those pink Bibles now? Can you just send Komen a check for the 25K you promised? I am hopeful that the SBC will realize that it's far better to keep their word on a pledge than to take the opportunity to grandstand and demonize, but I'm not sure which way they'll go. I mean, the Bible says nothing at all about keeping your word, right? It's not as if the relationship between Komen and PP was a hidden one. You used the research arm of the SBC to vette your new partnership, right? Ridiculous. Just give them the money and burn the damn Bibles. It's hard to take all that hell and wrath talk seriously when it's bound in pink anyway.