The TAC Editors
This issue just won’t die. In the ongoing debates among Catholics on the Internet over the methods of Live Action, a blog post titled “The Lila Enigma: Selective Outrage?” by Dr. Gerard M. Nadal is making the rounds. Since I am on the other side of the debate, I want to answer some of the claims he makes in his post on this controversy, and I invite him to comment here if he cares to respond. I will put his comments in block quotations, followed by my responses.
After beginning with a list of the serious damages done to Planned Parenthood as a direct or indirect result of the Live Action expose, Dr. Nadal writes,
This coupled with the most pro-life Congress since Roe v Wade who were ramping up to defund Planned Parenthood, and the Catholic blogosphere erupts in spasms of indignation at…
Not Planned Parenthood…
But Lila Rose.
In my view this is a disingenuous statement, especially when the title implies that this indignation is “selective”, as if those who are questioning Lila Rose are not also outraged at Planned Parenthood. It is really unfortunate that there may be left-wing groups falsely claiming to be Catholic that seize upon arguments against lying to bolster their utterly inhuman and anti-Christian agenda. Given their reprehensible positions on abortion, they have no credibility when they speak about the morality of lying.
But there are many of us, and I will gladly lump myself in with Mark Shea and others on this question, who have had nothing but contempt for Planned Parenthood and in our writings and other works have sought to oppose the efforts of the abortion industry. There is absolutely nothing “selective” about what I won’t even call “outrage” – since Lila’s methods do not “outrage” us. Quite the contrary, it is because we are consistent, or trying to be at any rate, in our application of moral principles and our observance of God’s law that we have raised objections, not “outrage”, in response to these deceptive methods.
John L. Allen Jr. recently posted a very provocative article – A Catholic contribution in Egypt. I encourage everyone to read and judge it. It is the basis on which I make my remarks below.
A part of me says this article and this so-called “Alliance” is naive. As a combat veteran who has served in the Middle East and as someone who looks at foreign policy and international relations with a “realist” perspective I have many questions and concerns about what is now occurring in the Middle East. As a former Muslim I also bring some insights and experiences to this topic. (Refer to my posts below on Islam.)
To be sure this is not a new topic. Dr. Peter Kreeft created quite a controversy a few years back when he published his book, Ecumenical Jihad. Dr. Robert George also for many years has focused on who or what are the problem(s) with modernity.
For me though it ultimately comes down to this question. Who do you follow? Do you follow the rhetoric of fear from Newt Gingrinch, Glenn Beck or Rep. Allen West or do you follow the Holy Father? What say you? I for one choose the Holy Father. As Mnsgr. Luigi Giussani personally told me, “we must follow the Holy Father and by doing so we will save the world.”
What can I say?
Since I have posted, twice, on the methods and actions of Live Action’s undercover sting operations, I have been confronted with the issue more and more in the Catholic publications I read and circles I frequent. I am not going to talk about the morality of lying yet again. Instead I want to talk about what I find to be an incredibly disturbing attitude among people who I normally consider good-willed and faithful Catholics. It goes something like this:
“I approve of lies if they save innocent lives. And I don’t care if it were to turn out that such lies were actually sins. I would do it anyway, and I think God would understand.”
One more extreme version of this argument was “I would gladly die a heretic“, all for the sake of maintaining their own personal position on lying.
I’m going to follow up my post on Live Action and Lila Rose with a more general post on lying, because it sparked quite a heated debate. At the outset I want to say that I don’t condemn people outright who believe it is morally acceptable to use deception to expose evil, but I do believe that they are wrong. Moreover, I believe that the ferocity of some people in defense of this position is completely unwarranted and unreasonable; there have been notable Catholic saints and thinkers on both sides of this question throughout history, and so it hardly seems right or fair to violently denounce a fellow Catholic for taking up one position or the other.
Some time ago I wrote a post expressing some of my reservations about the activities of Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action. In light of their most recent undercover sting operation, it is a good time to revisit some of the objections and debates that came up earlier. Initially I believed that Live Action’s activities were morally questionable in some cases, and definitely wrong in others.
I have to say that I stand by this assessment today, for several reasons I will state below.
First I want to make clear that I am 100% pro-life; I make no exceptions for rape, incest, or “to save the life of the mother”, for it is never permissible to kill an innocent human being to save another human being. At the legislative level I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, in which case many pre-Roe abortion bans would immediately regain their full force in many states.
But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”(12) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. — Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christanae, 14
For those of you who have been told to keep your mouths shut and the collection plates full while all around you occurs a cavalcade of impiety, sacrelige, and heresy;
For those of you who have been wrongly and falsely identified as prideful rebels for daring to challenge those who abuse their authority;
For those of you who are told to “tone down the rhetoric” lest others who are on the fence about critical issues join the fight;
For those of you who understand your duties as Christians, Catholics, and citizens in the face of errors and evils;
For those of you who have been subjected to the subtle academic propaganda that implies that any claim to truth is a form of extremism or oppression;
For those of you who have been called intolerant, insensitive, or divisive for refusing to submit to lies;
For those of you who love God more than you love the world and the opinions of men;
These words of one of the Church’s greatest popes are for you.
“Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph…” (From the same section quoted above)
Christ is in our midst!
My oldest son and I went to the March for Life in DC this year. This was the first time for both us. What an amazing experience! I had heard about it and watched the news about this event for years, but this year was the first opportunity I’ve had to actually attend it thanks to the efforts of my local bishop, Bishop Finn, and our diocesan Respect for Life office. For their leadership and hard work to make this possible for so many, my son and I are deeply grateful. I can’t thank them enough. Continue reading
I honestly can’t believe they’re doing this again. I oppose gatherings such as Assisi for many reasons that I could explain with a lengthy diatribe full of references and quotations, but I decided to go with withering sarcasm instead.
I believe these meetings are immoral and imprudent. Even if they’re called by the pope and supported by the hierarchy. And I think they would find some of the answers to their own questions about the crisis of the Church, of Christianity, and religious faith in general if they examined their personal reasons for being a part of, as well as the objective social effects, of such gatherings. It was quite disappointing to hear a man who has spoken out so many times about the dangers of relativism call for an event that practically embodies the abstract concept in the physical world.
I’m never going to be excited about major party politics. When we come to the finish line, I will hold my nose and vote for the lesser evil, since I don’t see the harm in using my vote. But I’m not going to sit around and speculate about which mainstream GOP or Democratic politician is going to be the frontrunner for 2012. I’ll let others worry about that.
I’d rather focus on the men of principle who sometimes get involved in these races, even though they have no chance of winning. Independent or “outsider” candidates and their campaigns serve a couple of vital functions: they bring viewpoints delegitimized and mocked by the main news sources on the left and right to the forefront, which in turn reminds us that we still live in a relatively free country and haven’t become a fascist dictatorship like China. They can also put some pressure on the major party candidates to take certain issues more seriously.
Recently Judge Andrew Napolitano, the only man on the major networks I can bear to listen to for more than a few minutes, invited Ron Paul and Ralph Nader on his show to discuss the issues and discover the extent to which “progressives” such as Nader and libertarians such as Paul can agree on them. I wasn’t surprised to discover that they agree on quite a bit, as you will see if you watch the video above.
Now that tempers are cooling a bit, and the slanderous narrative promulgated by far-left media sources in the wake of the Giffords shooting has largely been rejected by the American public, perhaps we should reflect upon the role of violence in our history, culture, and political disputes.
Among the many perfectly reasonable points made by Sarah Palin when she addressed the blood libel manufactured against her by the media was that there is no time in history we can compare the present one to in the vain hope of finding a more peaceful, less violent political tone. Andrew Jackson fought in 13 duels and even killed a man in one of them. He was far from the only US politician to engage in them.
Let’s make this short.
Sarah Palin uses the phrase “blood libel” in her response to the round-the-clock assertions that she was directly responsible for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.
Everyone accuses Sarah Palin of insensitivity and even in some extreme cases, anti-Semitism.
Every leftist or left-leaning publication declares – once again – that Sarah Palin’s presidential chances are ruined.
Are you bored yet?
Sarah Palin WAS the target of some kind of “blood libel”, for two reasons.
First, what else do you call it when one of the first articles to come out in a major publication is titled “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands after putting cross hair over district?” That was Michael Daly of the NY Daily News. And our old friends Krugman and Olbermann, not to mention dozens of other left-wing commentators, kept the libel going over the next few days.
No one thought that using the word “blood” while actually engaging in libel would be combined as “blood libel” because no one was thinking at all when they made these morally repugnant and shameless accusations. As everyone on the left is forced in the most begrudging manner to admit, Palin was probably only borrowing the phrase from earlier conservative commentators such as Glenn Reynolds.
Secondly, scores of leftists have expressed their desire to murder Sarah Palin in the most vicious ways, to spill her blood. This video contains graphic and vulgar language – it is a reel of tweets that display of the sort demonic rage and hate that Palin inspires in many leftists, who sound as if they really might not mind using her blood to bake a cake.
I think Palin’s response was about as rational as one can be under this sort of constant attack. The level of psychopathic dishonesty it takes to a) first make the shooting entirely about Palin and then b) criticize Palin for making her response mostly “about her” is unfathomable. It takes reserves of bad-will and malice that I am glad I wouldn’t know how to muster if I wanted to.
Whether or not I would support her as a presidential candidate, I have to say, on this matter, I am firmly with Sarah Palin. Sometimes you can just judge a person’s worth by the nature of those who hate her the most.
I will not tone down my rhetoric.
I will not apologize for my political views.
I will not give up my guns, or my right to purchase more.
I will not give up my right to free speech.
I will not take responsibility for the actions of a dope-smoking, devil-worshiping, Marx and Hitler-loving psychopath.
I will not take seriously anyone who blames an old political ad posted on Facebook for those actions.
I will reject as the contemptible hypocrites and cowards that they are those who refuse to acknowledge the hate and violence in the rhetoric of the left, including the violent phrases and metaphors used repeatedly by Barack Hussien Obama.
I will not listen to lectures on violence by anyone who supports increasing the coercive power of the state over the lives of American citizens, families, and communities.
I will not listen to lectures on violence by anyone who is a sycophantic apologist for the party that escalated the Vietnam War or cheered the bombing of Serbia.
I will not listen to lectures on violence and a “climate of hate” from people who have made the most horrible, violent, and threatening statements imaginable regarding Sarah Palin and her family. There is no hatred more intense in this country than the hate that leftists have for Sarah Palin.
I will not listen to lectures on violence by anyone who supports the “right” to violently dismember innocent unborn children in their mother’s wombs.
I will never again listen to calls not to “rush to judgment” when a Muslim fanatic murders American citizens from anyone on the left.
I will not trade God-given, constitutionally-protected liberties for a false and futile sense of security.
I will not accept the idiotic belief that more laws, more regulations, and more police can solve problems of the human soul.
I will continue to advocate for limited government, state’s rights, popular sovereignty, free markets, individual and family rights, religious liberty, and a Culture of Life.
I will not be silenced.
Who’s with me?
Michelle Malkin has done the work I wish I could do more efficiently, and provided a post that highlights dozens of examples of violent hate speech and images put out by the left.
All I will say here is that it is ironic that Sarah Palin is being blamed for a “violent” political mood when few public figures (or their families) have had more hatred, contempt, and violent/sexist insults slung at them.
One More Thing: It is hard to imagine a website more overflowing with savage hatred of political enemies than the Daily Kos. Just a few days ago, an enraged blogger at that site posted a vitriolic rant aimed at Rep. Giffords that has since been taken down but can be viewed here. Even if the idiotic theory that this gunman was “influenced” by a “violent” statement or image from the media were true, it would make more sense to blame this much more recent outburst of left-wing rhetorical violence against a conservative-leaning Democrat than it would a nearly year-old ad posted by Sarah Palin on Facebook.
Even though it has been established that Jared Lee Loughner, the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords and murdered/wounded several others on Saturday, has no easily discernible political affiliations, left-wing commentators are still using the incident to blame Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others for creating a climate of political hate.
In their warped little universe, only the right-wing is motivated to political violence. Well, I want to remind everyone of a few examples of left-wing related or inspired political terrorism, violence and insanity that have taken place within recent memory.
Remember Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer? 32 killed, 25 wounded, April 16, 2007. Violent hatred of the rich and wealthy, could have easily been inspired by far-left class warfare rhetoric. Violent hatred of God and religion, could have easily been inspired by left-wing hatred of religion.
Remember Harlan Drake? He murdered pro-life activist Jim Pouillon on September 11, 2009, while he was protesting. Violence against pro-life political activists is routine, and violence against women by the disgraced butchers we call abortionists is also a common occurrence.
Who can forget the SEIU thugs who beat up a black conservative named Kenneth Gladney at a Townhall meeting in St. Louis back in August of 2009?
Or how about the Black Panther thugs who intimidated voters on election day and ranted in the streets about “killing crackers” and their babies?
Though it didn’t take place here in the U.S., I have to give special mention once again to the eco-fascist snuff film “No Pressure”, which was released and quickly canned in the UK. This is one of the most horrific and violent propaganda films I have ever seen, and far surpasses most American television shows and movies in terms of gore. Of course there is a long history of environmental and animal-rights terrorism from the left.
I refuse to engage in dialogue with anyone who thinks political speech on either side should be silenced because of any of these incidents or any that have occurred on our side of the spectrum. Your position is unacceptable, hypocritical, and morally contemptible.