Komen, the world's leading breast cancer organization, will no longer make grants to affiliates of Planned Parenthood, this country's No. 1 abortion provider. The report of Komen's decision came about six weeks after LifeWay pulled from Walmart and other stores copies of its Here's Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Bible when the Southern Baptist entity learned Komen makes grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates. The Bible -- which was from its publishing arm, B&H, but was not sold in LifeWay stores -- provided a $1 donation to Komen for each sale.
Rainer, LifeWay's president, announced the action Dec. 14. Komen informed Planned Parenthood of its decision in December, according to the Associated Press. It is not known, though, on what date during the month that Komen-Planned Parenthood conversation took place. Baptist Press requests to Komen by phone and email for comment did not receive a response.
Rainer told Baptist Press he does not know if LifeWay's decision to stop sale of the Bibles had an impact on Komen's decision. He knew "it was an issue that was at the forefront of their consideration," he said.
He had a "very cordial" phone conversation with Komen President Elizabeth Thompson in December, Rainer said. One of his final comments, he said, was: "We certainly hope that you will reconsider your relationship with Planned Parenthood, because we would not be able to support anything even indirectly related."
Thompson "did not make a commitment, but she heard me," Rainer told BP. "So I cannot say definitively. I hope we had some positive influence."
Now, a decision has to be made about the special-edition Bibles, which have been returned to LifeWay's distribution center. LifeWay has received bids on removing the Komen information, Rainer said. He also told BP the option of giving the Bibles to a missions organization or another ministry is a possibility. Since the Komen information has not been deleted, the option of partnering with Komen again is a possibility, he said.
"I would say that reconsidering our relationship with Komen is certainly on the table," Rainer said. "In the last 24 hours, we haven't even gotten to the point where we're making a decision on that. We certainly haven't spoken to Komen about it."
In the wake of a reported onslaught of criticism of Komen, Rainer told BP he would encourage "all pro-life people who celebrate the decision of Komen to discontinue their relationship with Planned Parenthood to let them know and to affirm them in that decision by whatever means possible."
The issue is "near and dear" to him, said Rainer, whose wife is a breast cancer survivor.
"I really want to be an advocate for Komen and what they do and their mission," he told BP. "t was touch-and-go there for awhile with my wife. Now she's been cancer free for over five years. So we're celebrating it."
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email.
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