FAST, Faith and Action for Strength Together, is a progressive political coalition of local churches in Pinellas County. FAST is famous for putting elected officials on stage in their “Nehemiah Action Assembly” and demanding a “yes” or “no” answer to complex questions*. “Will you fund the Drug Courts? You may answer ONLY ‘yes’ or ‘no’”. “Will you support $10 million for ‘affordable housing’? ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ are the only acceptable answers”. But there is one difficult question you will NEVER hear at a FAST event to the directors of Planned Parenthood in Pinellas County: “‘Yes’ or ‘No’, will you stop performing abortions in Pinellas County today?” This is the question that should be asked of the Head of the St. Pete Location of Planned Parenthood on Dr. Martin Luther King Street.
FAST meets thedictionary definition of “hypocrisy” when it claims to be working for “social justice”, through the church to serve GOD, yet consciously REFUSES to work on ending abortion in Pinellas County. Does “Social Justice not extend to stopping abortion?
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.
Planned Parenthood: 8950 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street North, Suite 102, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
The Board of FAST, composed of 40 congregations in Pinellas County, have made a conscious decision to put abortion OFF THE TABLE. The catholic priests, the ministers, the Rabbis and the Imam have all decided they will NEVER, ever, under ANY circumstance address abortion. Why? The group has stated that they won’t do that because it would jeopardize the existence of FAST itself. This has been confirmed by the Executive Director of FAST, the co-founder Father Tapp of Holy Family and even Bishop Robert Lynch.
This is odd since the Bishop has made a courageous, noble and principled stand against mandating that the church finance contraception and morning after (abortion) pills. The Diocese thus seems to be in conflict of principles here. They will envision “civil disobedience” against contraception funding, but will actively participate in a group that REFUSES to use its considerable political power to fight abortion. A group that consciously decides that it must NOT address abortion. The group that won’t even allow the matter to be discussed at any meeting at any time. This seems to meet the definition of hypocrisy.
This is what happens when a group places its own well being above that of a principle or an individual life. The catholic leaders and the “lead organizer”, Haley Grossman, fears that the Jewish and protestant groups would drop out of FAST if the group even uttered a single word against or about abortion. This demonstrates they value their six figure budget and political power more than principle or life. They fear the group would be weakened if they asked Planned Parenthood up on stage and asked “Will you stop killing unborn babies in the womb?” This indicates they value themselves more than the individual lives being lost every day in Pinellas County.
By consciously deciding NOT to use their resources and power to fight for life, FAST again spreads injustice, not social justice. Social Justice requires that an individual obtain what is “their due”**. Refusing to fight to stop abortion would certainly fit the criteria of not allowing an individual to obtain “what is their due”: their very life.
**“1928 Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.”
*This has caused the event to be attended mainly by politicians who are looking for political support from FAST because they already support the political positions held by FAST. The wise elected officials have realized this is not a serious discussion. They realize that they need at least a few minutes to explain their position to the 2,500 or so in attendance so they can hope to educate them on the issue and maybe persuade them to see another solution. However, it is clear that the leadership of FAST does NOT want the large crowd to ever be confronted with any divergent points of views. The structure of FAST is designed to split people into small groups to reach pre-ordained conclusions. The groups are set up mainly to help build strength through numbers, NOT to engage in any sort of serious issue examination or policy debate. The structure of FAST is designed to promote blind faith in their leadership structure and lead people to act as a single unified body without any thought.