The “Mumford Affair,” cited by the American Humanist Association to be as important as the Scopes trial, warns of a new McCarthy styled campaign to cripple population-control leaders and institutions.
On August 12, 1983, following his refusal to resign his position as research scientist at Family Health Internation, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Dr. Stephen D. Mumford was fired by the president of FHI.
Mumford’s dismissal was said to be the result of pressure by a religious coalition. In Mumford’s case, the pressure was applied after his publication of several articles exposing the Catholic Church’s influence on population and national security.
The FHI (and Mumford) was one of five groups cited as “primary anti-life targets” in a press release issued by the U.S. Coalition for Life on January 21, 1983. Other groups cited were The Pathfinder Fund, The United Nations Fund for Population Activities, The International Planned Parenthood Federation, and The Futures Group. The release also called for the dismantling and defunding of the Office of Population Affairs of the Agency for International Development in the State Department.
Mumford believes the Coalition’s campaign may be effective because President Reagan has the “most Catholic” administration in history. Current and past members of the administration who are Catholic include Richard Allen, William Clark, William Casey, Alexander Haig, George Schultz, Margaret Heckler, and Attorney-General William French Smith.
It is suggested that because of pressure by groups like the Coalition and the Catholic Church, our government has switched from a policy of responsible assistance to internationally requested family planning endeavors to one of cooperation with the Vatican in weakening the world population growth control effort.
The decline of the world population growth control effort of the past couple of years has coincided, according to Mumford, with the activities of Pope John Paul II and his Vatican. The Pope’s “position has been well covered by the American press,” Mumford said, “It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the Vatican to intervene in our national affairs have not been equally publicized.”
The American Humanist Association said that the issues involved are much bigger than one man: “McCarthy-styled treatment of ‘dissidents’ — those committed to exposing policies detrimental to the future of the world (Mumford was not the only scientist pressured to leave); increasingly dangerous pressure from organized religion on government officials resulting in policy changes through legislative or administrative actions; and freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”
Lloyd L. Morain, editor of The Humanist, said reporters for both the Washington Post and the New York Times wanted to investigate the story but were “abruptly overruled by superiors.”
THE HUMANIST, Nov/Dec, 1983, “The Mumford Affair.”