Forwarded to me by blog frequenter Sogn Mill-Scout:
"Abortion Provider's New Chaplain Posits Pro-Choice Jesus"
Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
A conservative Protestant activist says he is appalled but not surprised that a United Methodist minister has been hired to serve as chaplain of the nation's largest abortion provider.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has selected Pastor Ignacio Castuera to fill the newly created position and communicate "the theological justification for choice, sexuality, and contraception."
Castuera serves as pastor at St. John's United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California, and has been a member of Planned Parenthood's clergy advisory board for the past ten years. A longtime, strong supporter of abortion rights, he has worked with California Abortion Rights Action League on numerous pro-abortion campaigns, and once headed an outreach project of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a group that has honored him for his commitment to "reproductive freedom."
Castuera even promoted the Planned Parenthood's pro-death ideology in print. In a May 2003 article in the pro-abortion organization's Clergy Voices newsletter, Castuera commented that one can extrapolate" from all the other life-affirming stories about Jesus in the Bible that he "would indeed support a woman's right to choose."
The pastor has written numerous articles in professional journals and newspapers, and in his new capacity, he will continue to promote Planned Parenthood's mission and vision as an official spokesperson.
Mark Tooley is director of the Institute of Religion and Democracy's United Methodist Action steering committee. He says Planned Parenthood has for some time used its clergy advisory board and members like Castuera to provide a religious veneer for the agency's promotion of unrestricted abortion rights. But UM Action's director contends that the abortion mill's new ministerial mouthpiece does not speak for the traditional Church.
"Rev. Castuera and others who are willing to serve the cause of Planned Parenthood represent very much a limited aberration within Christianity. Certainly they don't come from the mainstream of Christianity," Tooley says.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy works to reform the social and political witness of the American churches, and Tooley's committee specifically seeks to defend Church beliefs and practices in the spirit of John Wesley, the father of Methodism.
Tooley says the hiring of Castuera comes as no surprise to him and is all part of pro-abortion activists' divisive political strategy.
"Planned Parenthood is trying to show that Christianity is divided over the issue of abortion," he says, "and that's why they have their clergy advisory board, and that's why they have the chaplain -- only for that political purpose. But in fact, for 2000 years Christianity has been almost entirely uniformly on the side of defending the sanctity of all human life, including unborn life."
Tooley believes Castuera is unlikely to be disciplined by the United Methodist Church, especially considering the fact that the denomination's leadership and national bureaucracy have supported abortion for the past 30 years. While the United Methodist Church officially opposes partial-birth abortion and the use of abortion for birth control and gender selection, it officially defends the individual's right to access abortion services.