In other words, Komen first made a decision that it said was not about Planned Parenthood and then faced a whiplash from Planned Parenthood and its friends, only to reverse itself on the policy and offer a groveling public apology … while still insisting that the controversy was not really about Planned Parenthood at all.
Komen has just learned the hard way a lesson that we must all take to heart—there is no neutral moral ground. Genesis 3 tells the story, and this controversy is just the latest reminder to come our way. It will not be the last.
All this is enough to make an evangelical lean into Reinhold Niebuhr's insistence that moral ambiguity is not moral innocence. There is no innocence here. In a sinful world, innocence is not to be found.
Fighting the scourge of breast cancer is a brave and urgent cause, unquestionably on the side of the angels.
But fighting that fight with Planned Parenthood as a partner? That means complicity with the dark side, and in a big way. It isn't just that Planned Parenthood is involved in abortion. That is a moral evasion. Planned Parenthood is the major engine of abortion in America, an organization that makes millions upon millions of dollars by ripping unborn babies apart. Its operation is vast, and it is inseparable from the involvement of its founder, Margaret Sanger, in the cause of eugenics. Planned Parenthood not only performs and profits by abortion, it openly celebrates abortion as it extends its reach.
The Susan Komen Foundation for the Cure tried its best to change a policy without taking a stand. Within just one week, it made itself into a national spectacle of moral confusion and political cowardice. What a pity, for Komen's mission is so truly important and worthy.
But when Planned Parenthood became the issue, Komen ran away from principle, only to find no refuge in policy. It refused to make a principled break with Planned Parenthood, and then made an equally unprincipled retreat.
The group is grasping at straws as it tries to land in a position of moral neutrality. There is no such place. There is no policy that will allow Komen to be neutral when it comes to Planned Parenthood and all that it represents.
Komen has made a mess from which it may never recover. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, never had anything to lose.
The whole disaster should serve as a warning to those who may be tempted to try to avoid taking moral responsibility even as they take actions with deep and inescapable moral consequences. If honest, we all know that temptation first hand.
It isn't easy being pink. You cannot hide behind even the noblest of causes, if you intend to do business with the most ignoble of partners.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Other articles on the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood include:
The Pink Ribbon and the Dollar Sign | The wrong lessons to draw from the Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle. By Russell D. Moore (Feb. 3, 2012)
Komen Reverses Course, Will Not Ban Planned Parenthood from Applying for Funding | The breast cancer awareness foundation had earlier said it would not fund the nation's largest abortion provider. (Feb. 3, 2012)
The Komen Fiasco's Silver Lining | Small comforts (and other sizes) emerge from Planned Parenthood's bullying tactics. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway (Feb. 3, 2012)
The Politics of Breast Cancer | Why the Komen Foundation's desire not to be "political" is understandable, but impossible. Matthew Lee Anderson (Feb. 3, 2012)
After Komen, the Next Big Planned Parenthood Fight | Pro-life groups target $487 million in taxpayer funding for the nation's largest abortion provider. (Feb. 1, 2012)
Pink Stink: Komen Drops Planned Parenthood Support | Move comes after Bible spat, debate on breast-cancer activism. (Jan. 31, 2012)