Oh, this is depressing. A 2010 article by Jeff Sharlet (I was browsing him for background on “The Family” and the Ugandan kill-the-gays bill) on how Hillary Clinton moved to the right on abortion at the behest of (gag, choke) “Mother” Teresa and “The Family” at the 1994 (gag, gag) “National Prayer Breakfast.”
HC was at the 58th annual nationalprayerbreakfast in 2010, and there she got nostalgic about the late Albanian nun.
In her address, Clinton sentimentally recalled meeting Mother Teresa at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast. Mother Teresa had used her platform as guest speaker to chastise the Clintons (standing right beside her, smiles stretched to the breaking point) for their nominal support of abortion rights. “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want,” Mother Teresa said, and went on to suggest adoption be promoted as an alternative to abortion. “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child.”
Well, that’s the problem with having national prayer breakfasts where people in government go to be all goddy, isn’t it. They get blackmailed into forgetting all about the women who simply don’t want to be pregnant, and instead get all sentimental about “the child” who doesn’t exist yet, at the behest of a religious fanatic who thinks pain is a prezzy from Jesus.
The Clintons remained seated, yet both — particularly the ever-politic Hillary — understood how behind-the-scenes power politics work within the Christian Right, and responded to the rebuke by finding “common ground” with the nun. Although Clinton didn’t mention this in her public reminiscence last week, after C-Span stopped taping and the breakfast plates were cleared, Fellowship head Doug Coe gently brokered a peace between Hillary and Mother Teresa.
Coe left the Breakfast with one of the most powerful women in America in his debt for political services rendered. And Mother Teresa had the satisfaction of watching Hillary’s support for abortion as a fundamental right give way to an acceptance of it as a “tragedy” — one that should be made as “rare” as possible. In the long run, Hillary turned a public scolding into a highly visible friendship with a figure whose widely accepted moral bona fides came with an explicitly anti-abortion imprimatur from the Christian Right.
Read on, if you have a strong stomach.