Lies and Live Action.
Thomas Peters of the American Papist and now Catholic Vote has been furiously blogging about the Live Action sting on Planned Parenthood. The actions of Live Action have single-handedly changed the political landscape in America.
Some have cast doubt on the actions of Live Action and taken the view that this was nothing but lying.
So, I know I’m a bit late to the party, and everyone wants to know if Rob Bell is a universalist, but just because America’s political pulse has a short attention span doesn’t mean I have to. So, let’s look at Live Action and see what we can tease out.
I suppose the best thing to do might be to turn to the handy-dandy Catechism and see what we might find.
#2484 points out that “the gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims.” This means that at worst, Lila committed a venial sin. Which truth was being deformed? I’d say it was the truth of what goes on at planned Parenthood. The circumstances were a sting operation. A friend of my girlfriend writes at Barefoot and Pregnant and thinks we should see the actions of Lila Rose as an act of war. Read her post here.
What harm was suffered? Realistically, Planned Parenthood was voted to be defunded, and women seeking free or extremely low cost healthcare for specifically feminine problems might have to turn to insurance and other healthcare means. However, the victims were the perpetrators of murder in this case.
Canon #2483. defines lying as “the most direct offense against the truth in order to lead someone into error.” That is all true, but in terms of the entire situation, Lile Rose was working to bring planned parenthood OUT of error as my buddy Dan Lord posted on his blog.
I don’t understand all the squeamishness over an organization setting up a sting operation on another organization. Don’t people read about Rahab anymore? Don’t people know about Tamar? How these biblical women lied and it worked out for a greater good. Rahab said she had no spies in her home, and hid the Israelites. Tamar lied so that she could have a child by her father-in-law, because he had denied her one of his sons.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says “God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred.” Are we really here to pass judgment on Live Action? If so, let’s do it intelligently. At worst, Lila Rose is guilty of a practical joke. She’s misleading, but not with the intent of trying to harm the individuals she is lying to.
We see worse on television everyday in terms of lying, deceit and misleading conversation. Maybe the squeamishness of our culture shows us an altogether different reality than what I first thought. Maybe this uproar shows us that we hate when practical jokes, and the actions of a few individuals reshape our politics. We dislike when politics and pop-culture collide. We dislike when organizations we’re led to believe are here to help are shown to be what they really are. And thus, we are a culture of self-blinding children.
What we have to ask ourselves is: What kind of world do we desire to live in? Do we wish to live in a world where Planned Parenthood workers are better “trained” to more covertly handle prostitution rings? Do we want a world where our children are experts at turning a blind-eye to structural and systemic problems in organizations in their society? “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children,” says Bonhoeffer.
I think that with the de-funding of planned parenthood we can begin to build a better society, with an organization that can provide some of the same services, without the inhumanity, without the massive bankroll of abortions, without negative consequences that were part of the Planned Parenthood portfolio. We can leave a better world to our children, especially now that there will be more of them out there.