Outside NAACP convention, pastor calls abortion racist genocide

The Rev. Clenard Childress with a Confederate flag poster, taunting the NAACP on its abortion-rights position. (STU BYKOFSKY/DAILY NEWS STAFF)

BLACK PEOPLE using the Confederate battle flag to promote their cause - a smart attention-grabber, or out of bounds?

On a large poster outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Monday through Wednesday, smack in the face of 3,000 people attending the 106th Annual NAACP Convention, was the rebel flag, the same one recently hauled down by South Carolina.

Given what was going on inside, the poster shrieked.

The flag was the left panel of two condemning abortion. The right panel depicted a 10-week-old aborted fetus.

Under the flag were the words: "Evil done to us?" The words under the fetus were: "Evil done by us?" The imagery was powerful.

There were posters on two other corners, all brought there to be in the grill of the NAACP by the Rev. Clenard Childress, the black pastor of the New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J.

The flag was kind of a stunner, so I stopped to ask Childress about it. He smiled and said, "That's the new one.

"This connects the dots," he said, "better than the others," which are grisly photographs of aborted babies, or fetuses. Whether you use "baby" or "fetus" is a dye marker about where you stand on abortion.

Several of his supporters quietly handed out literature and civilly engaged the few people who stopped to talk. Most people entering the center paid no notice; a few got hot under the collar.

I'm not here to wave you off abortion. I have reservations about it, but it's legal. If it weren't, it would happen anyway, but not as much. The rich would continue to have safe abortions, as they always have.

The soft-spoken Rev. Childress said he's willing to dispense with the God argument in favor of a better one: "genocide."

He produced information showing that since 1973, when abortion became legal in the U.S., 13 million African-American women aborted their fetuses.

The abortion rate among African-American women is five times higher than among white women. In 2012, more black babies in New York City were aborted than carried to term, 31,328 to 24,758.

Do those black lives matter to the NAACP? Childress wanted to know. He wants the civil-rights group to oppose abortion and end what he called "genocide."

That would mean the NAACP reversing its 2004 pro-choice decision, which is unlikely.

Childress, a conservative, said he is "appalled by NAACP silence" on what he calls a "pernicious attack" on African-Americans.

I asked him the meaning of his black-and-white T-shirt that said, "Stop Funding Racism."

"Barack Obama and his administration is funding Planned Parenthood" to the tune of $545 million a year, he said. That's "very hypocritical" when so many black babies are aborted, he said.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood President Dayle Steinberg told me that most of the federal money, through Medicaid, is used for a variety of services and is prohibited from being used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the health of the mother.

The NAACP didn't respond to me before deadline.

"Democrats are perceived as facilitators of the civil-rights movement," and are generally pro-choice, but many NAACP members "who agree with us won't denounce the party" because their "political allegiance" outweighs everything else, Childress said.

That's why he chose the hated symbol to taunt the NAACP, and he has no regrets.


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