JACKSON, August 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The claim of a clergyman who is also a chaplain for Planned Parenthood that he is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention has been repudiated by a spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board in comments to LifeSiteNews.com
Dressed in a clerical collar, Rev. Vincent Lachina urged the crowd gathered for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Personhood Amendment Hearing last Wednesday to vote against the pro-life amendment.
He prefaced his remarks by saying, “I am an ordained Southern Baptist minister with 47 years of service to the family of God. I wish to state quite clearly that I am both an evangelical Christian and I am committed to a woman’s right to her own reproductive choices.”
“I consider myself both pro-choice and pro-life and I see no conflict in those two convictions,” he continued.
Lachina also noted that he grew up in Jackson and had a “Mississippi heritage.”
After he was finished, however, audience member Jacob Dawson of the American Family Association took to the microphone to fill in some information that Lachina had left out of his introduction.
“A quick Google search reveals a January 2006 article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stating that Mr. Lachina is from Seattle, and is a chaplain for Planned Parenthood,” Dawson announced.
Subsequent research by the pro-life group Live Action has further called into question Lachina’s claim to affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination known for its pro-life stance.
In a blog post yesterday, the organization revealed that a biography of Lachina found on the website of Planned Parenthood Votes! Northwest states that he is affiliated with the American Baptist Conference and the United Church of Christ.
The profile, which has since been removed from Planned Parenthood’s site, reads: “For seven years he served the Southern Baptist Convention as a consultant and editor for youth leadership and special ministries at the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway). He is now aligned with the more progressive American Baptist Conference and the United Church of Christ. “
Also available online is a video uploaded in July of 2007 onto Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s YouTube channel in which Lachina identifies himself as an “American Baptist clergy person from Seattle, Washington.”
William Perkins, Spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, told LifeSiteNews.com that since ordination in the Southern Baptist Convention is inherently tied to autonomous local congregations, claiming to be a Southern Baptist minister is dishonest if a person is not currently affiliated with a Southern Baptist congregation.
According to Perkins, Lachina was courting sympathy in a conservative state where Southern Baptists maintain the highest percentage of any Christian denomination.
“I would characterize it as intellectually dishonest,” he said. “He left out very important parts of his introduction when he got up to speak in Mississippi. He didn’t mention that he was affiliated with Planned Parenthood in any way, because he knows that’s a third rail in the South and in Mississippi. So, he started off by being deceptive and then progressed to being just simply intellectually dishonest.”
“I’ve never seen a Southern Baptist pastor in a collar,” Perkins added.
He also said that his attempts to locate the Southern Baptist church that had ordained Lachina were so far unsuccessful.
According to Roger Oldham, Spokesman for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Lachina’s name does not appear in any of the voluntarily submitted lists of ordained ministers that the SBC requests from its cooperating churches.
Personhood USA, a pro-life organization which is backing the Mississippi amendment, released a statement last Friday on the controversy.
“It appears that Planned Parenthood flew a man from Washington to Mississippi, put him in a clerical collar, and asked him to appeal to the voters with deep Southern Baptist roots. It’s just wrong,” said Personhood USA President Keith Mason.
“His attempts to dissuade voters from voting for Amendment 26 will not be successful. Yes on 26 is an honest campaign for a pro-life measure. No posturing or dress-up is necessary to see that all human beings are people, and that all people have a right to life,” Mason concluded.