Journalists and Saints Together

Push back on questioning David Daleiden’s explanation of his Planned Parenthood videos got me thinking — it sometimes happens — about the ethics of journalism. One of the strongest pushes came from those who say that Daleiden is only doing what journalists do. Which is sort of like saying that journalists don’t have to tell the truth to gain a story, and why would believers argue that way? Sounds antinomian.

In point of fact, journalists have ethical standards that require honesty. Here’s part of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics:

– Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

– Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

– Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. . . .

– Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Daleiden was vigilant and courageous (though he might have been even more courageous if he had been truthful with his interviewees). But didn’t he fail on all the other measures? In which case, can anyone really say that this is par for the course with journalists?

Here are a few excerpts from NPR’s Ethics Handbook:

Honesty
Journalists who conduct themselves honestly prove themselves worthy of trust. In the course of our work, we are genuine and candid. We attribute information we receive from others, making perfectly clear to our audience what information comes from which source. We avoid hyperbole and sensational conjecture. We may sometimes construct hypotheticals to help explain issues and events, but we reveal any fabrication, and do not otherwise mix fiction with our news reporting. We edit and present information honestly, without deception, and we identify ourselves as NPR journalists when we report. Only in the rarest of instances – such as when public safety is at issue, or when lives are at stake – might we disguise our identity or intent when reporting. Before we take such a step, we engage in rigorous deliberation and consider all alternatives. Then, when we tell the story, we fully disclose what we did and why. . . .

Impartiality
Our experiences and perspectives are valuable assets to our journalism. We enjoy the right to robust personal lives, yet we accept some unique professional obligations and limitations. Because our words and actions can damage the public’s opinion of NPR, we comport ourselves in ways that honor our professional impartiality. We have opinions, like all people. But the public deserves factual reporting and informed analysis without our opinions influencing what they hear or see. So we strive to report and produce stories that transcend our biases and treat all views fairly. We aggressively challenge our own perspectives and pursue a diverse range of others, aiming always to present the truth as completely as we can tell it.

Transparency
To inspire confidence in our journalism, it is critical that we give the public the tools to evaluate our work. We reveal as much as we practically can about how we discover and verify the facts we present. We strive to make our decision-making process clear to the public, especially when we find ourselves wrestling with tough choices. We disclose any relationships, whether with partners or funders, that might appear to influence our coverage.

Christians and conservatives should be careful about snickering too much here. If we want our side not to be snickered at, . . .

And on each of NPR’s criteria you could said that Daleiden was an epic fail.

But here’s the worst part of the journalistic-ethics defense of Daleiden. If a journalist went to a Roman Catholic archbishop and presented himself as a member of the church and in need of sacramental grace as part of a way of doing an expose of clerical sexual misconduct, what would the social conservatives say? Is that the way journalists behave? How loud would the outcry be over such dishonesty?

Or how about a reporter who while doing an interview with Mitt Romney to gain better access to insider information, what if that reporter presented himself as a fellow Mormon (when he wasn’t) and a regular donor to the GOP (which he didn’t)? Would anyone possibly take that “reporter” seriously as a journalist? Would Romney or his staff?

None of this means that Daleiden doesn’t deserve some credit for exposing a truly despicable aspect of American society. But if he is going to claim either the mantle of journalistic ethics or Christian morality, can’t we/I question that?

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113 thoughts on “Journalists and Saints Together

  1. Why would the media have wanted to try to piece together even 1% of Romney’s honest practical beliefs and events in his faith?

    I was counting on at least some attempt to talk about his denomination and their distinctives during the campaign

    Hee hee haa haa haaaaaa…

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  2. – Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

    Cover up immediately for all your relatives and cronies and their relatives. Because you feel guilty about paving over the sins of those people make sure to take it out a million-times necessary on a poor person without power. Oh, I thought this was talking about church ethics…

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  3. Doesn’t CMP meet these two perfectly?

    – Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

    – Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

    To my knowledge CMP is the first to expose with PP is actually doing. The “unless” in the first is essential. “traditional, open methods” were not working.

    CMP is quintessentially “holding those with power accountable” and giving “voice to the voiceless.” I don’t think I need to defend this claim.

    As to NPR’s standards all I can hear is Charlie Brown’ teacher saying “wah, wah, wah.” NPR journalistic ethics is an oxymoron. They take tax dollars from the entire tax-paying population and consistently misrepresent 50% of those whose tax dollars they are spending. I used to be a fan of NPR/APR. I was a devoted listener to All Things Considered and This American Life but I couldn’t take it any more. Fortunately Tom & Ray generally avoid politics. Defund PP? Indeed. Defund NPR while we’re at it.

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  4. DG –
    if he is going to claim either the mantle of journalistic ethics or Christian morality, can’t we/I question that?

    I certainly think so. Primarily for moral reasons, but also for pragmatic reasons, we need to stay squeaky clean.

    Sdb pointed out on the last thread the possible backlash from employing underhanded techniques. We need to be looking out for standards of behaviour and call people to them – not damage them, which essentially undermines the social fabric.

    We should not assume we can play loose and rely on the government to be on our side when ourselves attacked.

    Homeland Security and the Department of Defense (aka War) have already identified undefined groups of Pro-Life Activitists and “extremist” Evangelicals & Catholics as potential sources of domestic terrorism (the DOD backpedaled due to complaints, FWIW – i.e., not much).

    Might Daleiden not be increasing both the desire of clever anti-Christians to expand government surveillance of “Christian extremists” (dissenters from the current system), as well as providing “evidence” that Christians can’t be trusted?

    Given increased info-sharing, I’m sticking with my prediction that we all will get assigned potential terrorist scores accessible to government entities and the financial system. Factors will include:
    -Publications (print and electronic) we subscribe to;
    -Vendors patronized via bank and charge cards;
    -the internet content we search;
    -the political parties we belong or don’t belong to (Ds&Rs fine, everything else of varying concern);
    -the level of participation in the financial industry and distribution of assets (our indebtedness to the financial system);
    -tax records;
    -phone records;
    -driving records, car registration, etc.

    It wouldn’t be hard for law enforcement to do a search of the current location of “potential terrorists” based on the phones in our pockets- pull us over for not signaling, and add a comment to our record as to whether we were cooperative or not. Hassling the non-conforming.

    Payments from the NSA or Pentagon to local enforcement to enable the data sharing could provide incentives for municipal decision makers to encourage as much hassling as the public would tolerate.

    And what’s with this airport pre-clearance now offered, by the way? The big marketing point is the privilege to not have to remove belt & shoes in security. What is the benefit to Homeland Security or related agencies?

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  5. Like Scott Clark, I’m confused as to how CMP violates this one:

    Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

    Where was it common knowledge that abortionists tailor procedures to gain more organs? Where was it common knowledge that there is no set price for these things? Etc.

    If such was common knowledge, why the outrage?

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  6. NPR’s last stand was pretending there wasn’t a blue dress in Monica’s closet. They spent so much time and energy on that.

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  7. Darryl,

    Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

    Echoing RSC, I think the ethical question hinges upon whether or not the information CMP uncovered was “vital to the public”. The kind of deception used here could only be justified on the basis of the information that was being withheld from public view (or at the very least whitewashed). I think that there is a large enough segment of the American population that would find this news important to justify such a ruse. Problem is, while Daleiden landed the story of a lifetime, he got it by opting for the nuclear option – I don’t think such tactics will work again on the abortion industry, at least for a good while.

    I can understand recoiling at these tactics, but I think it all boils down to whether the information sought validated or invalidated the means by which it was obtained. There might be other scenarios where such tactics would not be justifiable, but I think this one is big enough to be passable.

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  8. R. Scott Clark – that’s a good point about NPR, but it’s a wasted point because Darryl doesn’t actually care about ethics in journalism. Darryl is engaging in what the kids call “concern trolling.” Google it and you’ll see what I mean.

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  9. Little fingers, on a little hand, on a little arm … A leg in the bottom corner, the heart amidst the remains, but no brain—it was “blasted out with the water.”
    “Was that crack the little bits of the skull?”
    “Mmhmm … I just want to see one leg. Here’s a foot …”
    “It’s a baby.”
    And then, the now infamous declaration: “Another boy!”

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  10. Robert, it’s about observing all the ethics, right? So Daleiden met one standard (though I’m not sure that’s how the journalists meant it). As I asked Scott, would you ever believe someone was a journalist who approached you while covering you and said I support you and want what you have?

    Red flag, no?

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  11. DG,

    You argued we should be less outraged at Joe Paterno, which I can understand, but now you’re arguing we should be bothered by a guy who claims the spiritual (note, not moral) high ground for his actions in exposing an organization that sells baby parts? Sure it’s fuzzy, but if Joe gets a pass, why doesn’t Daniel?

    Daniel’s work is typical for journalism when unethical/immoral/unlawful actions are not only conducted in secret but are protected by layers of bureaucracy. Daniel’s actions could be construed as less-than-ethical, but in a war of life and death there are a lot of less-than-ethical decisions that have to be made. Joe Paterno made some less-than-ethical decisions and he got crucified for it. So should we say, “yes, but” about Daniel?

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  12. Darryl,

    I know many would make the claim that it was “Christianly” but I am not making that claim. Your comparison between journalism and warfare is a fair point. I think I hit on that on another thread.

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  13. Nate, actually what I’m trying to say is don’t be as partisan with Daleidan and the others were with Paterno. Beware outrage porn, especially when the guy responsible for generating the outrage is behaving unethically whether as a Christian or as a journalist.

    Am I outraged by PP? Yes, and have been for years.

    Is this a black-and-white situation? No. They don’t exist even though outrage porn thrives on a world divided between Hitler and Wilberforce.

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  14. Valiant nocable, someone disappeared their own right to be heard at a blog where it’s almost impossible to get yourself banned. Get over it.

    I was a journalist (and was married to one) for years. I did a little sneaky, surreptitious stuff, but I obeyed the magistrate when ordered. I also knew I could get sued and/or fired if things went over the line. It’s OK to be against abortion, baby parts trafficking, AND to raise reasonable questions about the ethics of CMP. It’s a scary movement that demands absolute fidelity to all of those who hoist the banner and that can stand no internal criticism or question raising.

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  15. Darryl,

    if war justifies this, then who are we to declare war?

    I think it’s been raging for the since the modernist/fundamentalist controversy that spilled out of the church into the broader culture. I personally want no part of it, but there are times when I sympathize with one side or another in the culture war, this happens to be the case.

    If by “we” you mean Christians as members of the church? Show up on Sunday, strive to lead godly and quiet lives. If by “we” you mean American citizens affected by the culture we live in? That question is hard enough for me to answer for myself for me to then bear the weight of trying to answer it for anyone else, it’s a tough call no matter what you decide.

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  16. Jed, all I mean is that declaring war is above your and my pay grade. But vigilanties often claim super authority to justify their less than justifiable tactics.

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  17. Darryl,

    I’m not sure where I see the breach in ethics:

    – Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

    From my understanding, CMP and related groups have been doing this for years. This isn’t the first time this specific issue has come up. The party line from PP has always been “but we’re not making any profit.” So they’ve been given the opportunity to respond.

    – Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

    Yet PP has lied through its teeth, and mainstream journalism has been happy to do aid and abet them, along with a substantial portion of the ruling class. So to get information that is truthful and vital to the public, this particular journalist decided to go undercover.

    – Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

    Obvious, as noted by others.

    – Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. . . .

    Where has CMP called for the federal judiciary to suppress PP’s right to defend itself?

    – Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

    This is perhaps the closest thing I can see to maybe being something we might possibly think for a moment that they violated. But this ethical standard is in direct conflict with the whole “avoiding deception except when vital truth is being hidden.” A person who is concerned about the truth has a conflict of interest any time he deals with someone who desperately wants to hide it. But if you disclose that conflict, you can’t get the vital information. So if anything, this code of ethics needs to be changed to actually be followable.

    Now if your point is that Christians should be more consistent and not cry foul when such tactics are used against them, then” here here.” Is there a double standard? Do evangelicals look the other way when Republicans misbehave? All too often, yes. But that’s a matter of consistency, not a matter of what CMP did in this case is justifiable, Christian, or non-Christian.

    What does an evangelical undercover cop does if he’s trying to catch a child molester or pornographer? He goes online and pretends to be a 13 year old. He’s lied about himself. Do we question whether what he has done is ethical simply because some other evangelicals were quick to cover up Denny Hastert or other Republicans with the ethical standards of a rat?

    People are inconsistent. Sometimes it can hurt their witness. We should try not to be inconsistent. Got it. I agree. But I’m not sure what that has to do with the specific ethics of this situation.

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  18. I agree as to the lack of black/white divisions. But what if PP had been suspicious of Him, and started to grill him? How far would we feel comfortable letting him continue maintaining his disguise? The clause cited above is remarkably similar to ‘by any means’, on some readings. I think the danger here is as always, judging the action after the result has found approval. A Christian can say that God must have permitted it because look at the black-eye on the abortionist. But still, while Calvin had no qualms admitting the sovereign decree that uses an assassin’so blade to depose an ungodly monarch, he still said is was not for the Christian to do the wielding…

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  19. Robert, is it in any way fair to tell PP that you support what they do and you want to buy what they have when you don’t and you are engaged in an ethical cause?

    An undercover cop has all sorts of hoops to go through. See a certain electronically broadcast show.

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  20. I’d be upset if I found out the whole thing was a hoax, that PP wasn’t really doing the things that activists have been claiming is rampant all these years.

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  21. Robert, but undercover cops are public servants who don’t frame their work in religious cause. Again, plenty of room for deceptive tactics, etc., but when you’re wanting to portray your work as an effort in religious righteousness haven’t you just painted yourself into a corner when it comes to lying and misrepresenting yourself?

    Quoth Daleiden again for good measure:

    We were there for good, out of love, and to welcome those children for the brief time that they will be in existence before they die. And to be in contact with and pray for all the abortion workers, the abortion doctors who are there. As a Christian you are part of the body of Christ. So your presence, even in those darkest of places, can bring the presence of Jesus.

    Cops don’t speak that way about their undercover stings. Indeed, if they did I daresay they’d be removed from their posts and rightly so. And I’m drawing a blank on examples of where Jesus’ presence came by way of lies and deception. Nobody here is wanting to protect PP, but some of us are interested in the good name and reputation of Jesus. Sorry if that sounds overly pious.

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  22. Darryl,

    Robert, is it in any way fair to tell PP that you support what they do and you want to buy what they have when you don’t and you are engaged in an ethical cause?

    An undercover cop has all sorts of hoops to go through. See a certain electronically broadcast show.

    How do the additional hoops make his lie more justified or more fair than CMP’s?

    Is it fair? That seems like an odd question. Is it fair for an undercover cop to engage with a suspect under false pretenses. From one perspective, I suppose the answer is no. It’s not fair to the suspect. Does that make it immoral, unethical, or illegal, I don’t think so.

    So was CMP being “fair” to PP. Maybe not. Was it immoral, unethical, or illegal? I don’t think so. Fair and ethical aren’t necessarily overlapping categories.

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  23. Robert,

    So it’s not journalistic ethics.

    It’s not Christian ethics.

    But it is “got the bastards.”

    I’m as much a sucker for that as anyone. But that doesn’t make it becoming. (And I still haven’t heard anyone respond to what the response would be if a bishop were on the other end of the video, or a Christian day school principal.)

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  24. DG-

    If a journalist went to a Roman Catholic archbishop and presented himself as a member of the church and in need of sacramental grace as part of a way of doing an expose of clerical sexual misconduct, what would the social conservatives say? Is that the way journalists behave? How loud would the outcry be over such dishonesty?

    Firstly, they’d be unlikely to get an Abp – I can’t get Dolan’s attention except for a one-time in-person joke.

    Secondly, they could certainly enter into conversations with priests, but I don’t think they’d get the story they’re looking for- what priest is going to volunteer problems to a stranger?

    The only way he’d possibly get info is making friends with knowledgeable priests willing to speak to the problems- I can imagine a path for getting the info, but it would take more shamming and knowledge of the faith than is at all likely, and he still wouldn’t get much.

    Perhaps I’m not the person to give the answer you’re looking for since I think Daleiden acted improperly.

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  25. Your questioning of the journalistic ethics involved in the videos makes perfect sense. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is one of many biblical commands that could be cited to raise a question about the licity of lying, even for a good cause.

    Augustine wrote two treatises on lying, and many of the great theologians, Protestant and Catholic, have thought it important to delve into this issue. (I most recently stumbled across John Milton’s very interesting treatment of this in bk. II, ch. 13 of his _A Treatise on Christian Doctrine_.) Protestant and Catholic Catechisms (e.g. the Heidelberg and Baltimore Catechisms) treat this matter, so it is obviously important to all believing Christians.

    It is interesting that almost no one cares about the mendacity of Woodward and Bernstein, which extended to lying about their inappropriate and even illegal contact with Watergate grand jurors!

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  26. It was OK with Woodstein and Bernward because the “right” (left) side one and that bastard Nixon lost. It is/was about sides and how you feel about them, not ethics. That is the point in raising this question. And it’s a good question. And there aren’t many of those these days.

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  27. MVDM,

    There is diversity in 2k, and how its adherents apply it. Your bigger problem is the inability to countenance dissenting viewpoints, or even probing questions into the sacramental value of political cows. I might be wrong here, but I can’t ever recall you commenting here on anything but matters where you think the church/Christians need to get on board with a political agenda.

    2k is not threatened because its adherents disagree on its application in cultural matters. Inasmuch as we keep these matters out of the affairs of the church, the better chance folks like you have in pursuing political ends that align with your conscience without making the body of Christ beholden to earthly political maneuvering.

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  28. JW: Augustine wrote two treatises on lying, and many of the great theologians, Protestant and Catholic, have thought it important to delve into this issue.

    CW: That is the point in raising this question. And it’s a good question. And there aren’t many of those these days.

    That’s about right. Hard for me to see how looking at the issue from a 2k/non2k perspective adds anything.

    Maybe DGH’s point about the hoops law enforcement has to go through to conduct an undercover investigation that will result in admissible evidence is relevant. We as a society have an inherent discomfort with this sort of tactics. They violate what one of my law school professors called the “taint rule” — ‘t ain’t right. Don’t have to be a Christian or subject to any professions code of ethics to have at least a vague sense of unease. Whether we approve of these tactics in a given case or not will probably always be idiosyncratic.

    And that bastard Nixon did have it coming. Counting the times he was running for Vice-President, my dad voted for him five times, holding his nose every time. His only regret about Watergate was that a squish like Ford succeeded him

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  29. A lot of this comes down to how you view Rahab. If her acts proceeding from faith included lying to protect the spies, as well disobeying her civil authority, then Daleiden looks good.

    If on the other hand you view Rahab’s faith as commendable, but not the lying or disobedience, then DD looks like a seriously flawed messenger.

    DGH, I think there’s a serious disconnect between stated principles of journalistic integrity and the actual practices in the wild. How do you think Romney’s “47% video” came about? It came from someone who deceived event planners. And that fact didn’t even remotely bother Mother Jones.

    http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/story-behind-47-video

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  30. If journalists & other investigators don’t use undercover methods, they become mere P.R. agents for the people on whom they are reporting.

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  31. Darryl tells me I’m not funny when I call his blog Troll Life; that’s ok, let’s consider whether I’m being accurate. Take a hypothetical: say Daleiden somehow gets the same footage of Planned Parenthood docs talking about dismembering human beings without any subterfuge whatsoever. What do people think is more likely: (a) Darryl writes a post on some other issue involving ethics in journalism (like NPR’s uncritical republication of manifestly false talking points from Planned Parenthood), or (b) Darryl writes a post that’s critical of Planned Parenthood or the Democratic Party for their complicity in abortion and fetal organ trafficking, or (c) Darryl simply finds another angle to criticize Daleiden and CMP and the people who support them?

    We know the answer isn’t (a) – until the PP videos, Darryl wasn’t very interested in journalistic ethics.

    And we all know the answer isn’t (b), unless this is somebody’s first time reading a post on Old Life – go click through some archives, and you can catch up with us later. If the answer’s not (b) does that mean Darryl supports abortion? No, we know he’s a member of the OPC and teaches at Hillsdale and we know he’s into orthodox Reformed Christian theology, and no doubt he has written clearly and directly somewhere that he believes abortion is sinful.

    So what’s the deal? Why is Darryl talking about Daleiden instead of Planned Parenthood? The answer’s in the next comment.

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  32. First, let’s look at why he’s not writing about Planned Parenthood – because that would be boring. Writing a post to say that abortion is murder is not just *stating* the obvious, it’s *repeating* the obvious because by the time he wrote this post he’s already seen dozens of other Christian bloggers and pundits decrying abortion and denouncing Planned Parenthood.

    Does that imply Daleiden is interesting to Darryl? It would seem to, but aren’t pro-life activists a dime a dozen in the OPC and Hillsdale communities? Yes, but Daleiden is a successful and therefore popular activist – and the popular part is what’s important. Darryl’s an intellectual who publishes with YUP (that’s Yale University Press for the rubes in the audience) and reads the Atlantic and enjoys on the literary references in The Wire, but because of his orthodox Reformed theological commitments, he’s a professor at an evangelical Christian college, and so day in and day out he’s stuck inside the camp of the Evangelical Tribe that subscribes to National Review and doesn’t have a subscription to HBO and buys the latest books by John Piper and Tim Keller and thinks you have to vote Republican to be a good Christian … and it all gets a little claustrophobic sometimes.

    So when he’s not giving lectures at Hillsdale, Darryl saddles up at Troll Life and lets some steam off by taking potshots at the idols of the Tribe. A crack about TKNY here and a dig at TGC there is fun in and of itself, but even better, the cracks and digs get people riled up and popping up in the comments section and responding at other blogs, and pretty soon Darryl has an internet debate on his hands. A worthy adversary, or at least a good-enough adversary. This is fun because Darryl is quick and can handle himself in a debate, and often enough will come out on top. The ruffled feathers and the combox jousting aren’t happenstance after-effects of the blog posts at Old Life, they’re the goal toward which Darryl’s concern trolling is directed.

    Part of the reason that Darryl is a successful troll is that he’s not just a troll, he also has serious things to say about W-w, to partake in the local parlance, so the serious stuff balances out the trolling, and people aren’t so quick to tune out.

    But, Gentle Reader, if you find yourself at this website reading a post about abortion or Tim Keller or some other topic of general interest to the Evangelical World, you can be sure that Troll Life is in session.

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  33. But bj,t, since we’re diagnosing and unmasking, when do we get to the soft underbelly that is your Col. Fitts?

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  34. Dan, never lonely when you’re around OL.

    Funny thing about vdm, m, he’s an attorney and is sworn to uphold the law. But now he goes all Kantian on us when the evidence supports his convictions even if the evidence was illicitly gained.

    With magistrates like that, we might as well be in the Soviet Union.

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  35. I wish you trolls and smug ones would decide whether OL is antinomian or slavishly devoted to truth-telling because it seems to change from day to day. Personally, I wouldn’t have told the lie and if you would have then I trust you less.

    But getting analytical, what was the payoff that justified the lie? If Planned Parenthood comes out of this unscathed – and I think it will (too bad) – then what was the payoff? No lives will have been saved. Then the payoff that justified lying was, what? embarrassing Planned Parenthood? Is that enough?

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  36. Jeff, right. But didn’t Republicans object to news stories like Mother Jones’?

    Frankly, I’m suspicious of politicians and journalists. Do I also need to be suspicious of Christians?

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  37. “Do I also need to be suspicious of Christians?”

    The ones who conflate the kingdom of God with political battles in the news? Yes, they must be distrusted.

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  38. John Harmon, you said I have thin skin. So how many Reformed bloggers actually leave comments open?

    You say “we know” twice. Not only do you yourself presume to know something that you don’t, but you presume to speak for everyone at OL.

    No wonder you support Daleiden.

    And if I’m not interested in journalism, why the posts on Mencken? Read much?

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  39. Romney…. Well, I just visited the Washington DC Mormon Temple. They have an amazing cut away diorama showing the interior. When we were touring the grounds, we noticed a hidden door *ajar* at he base of one of the front spires (!). I could have snuck in. I did not. But would it have been wrong? The whole temple ritual is a scam. Would it be wrong to expose a pedophile vid the confessional? I don’t know, but I do know if it said my son or daughter from abuse I would be glad. So in the case of the PP videos, I simply cannot care too much. PP needs to be exposed. Some NPR journalism standards were abused…. Um, and…? I still think you are missing the forest for the trees here.

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  40. Funny thing about vdm, m, he’s an attorney and is sworn to uphold the law. But now he goes all Kantian on us when the evidence supports his convictions even if the evidence was illicitly gained.

    Scott Clark, Meredith Kline, NPR, mvdm, and laws of the states in which the videos were taken don’t agree with you that the evidence was illicitly gained. Try again, Mr. Moral Equivalence.

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  41. Muddy, wasn’t the payoff moral preening after the preening by the other side over Obergefell?

    I thought and think that pro-lifers are superior but they lose some of that luster with pride and gloating.

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  42. Joe M., since when is a mortal sin a tree?

    I thought Sir Thomas More was a hero. Remember this exchange from A Man for All Seasons?

    Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

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  43. At the risk of making you lonely again, I still don’t agree that an analysis from a 2k perspective adds anything to the debate. Over on the other thread, you said “So the question as it often is at OL is one of selectivity. When you don’t have 2k, you wind up committing yourself to law breakers (lying) in defense of God’s law. Huh?

    There’s a better way. It’s 2k”

    This is not a case of statutory law breaking, unless some relatively obscure state law against recording was violated, and most of those laws end up being very narrowly construed. Nothing I have read (and I admit there could be more out there than I have read about) seems to say this is a live issue. And Woodward and Bernstein didn’t commit a crime by being the recipient of a federal grand jury leak. The grand juror committed a crime, but there is no “tippee” liability under that statute (actually, it is Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), violation of which is made a crime elsewhere).

    God’s law? Maybe, maybe not, as the back and forth here suggests, it is at least a very good question in these circumstances.

    But, PP operates in the public square, and a Catholic or Buddhist layman hs every right to give them a black eye, just as PP used legal means to bankrupt Randall Terry. To me, that is what 2K is all about. It should not discourage robust, vigorous, public debate, even theatrical tactics.

    Time for my warm skim milk. Hate to leave you lonely.

    .

    Like

  44. Dan, since no one else has responded, if you can claim the sixth commandment to justify violating the ninth, why not violate the sixth in order to defend the sixth? In other words, if we think that taking the law into our own hands is wrong when picking up the sword, what gives us the moral foundation for slandering a neighbor?

    Not saying that what PP does is good. As far as I know, it’s actually legal. But the 2k question is why some who gripe about 2k appeal to it when defending a questionable activity by a professing Roman Catholic.

    The other 2k angle is if we appeal to God’s law over man’s law and in doing so we deny 2k, then what kind of world would we live in. Robert Bolt’s Sir Thomas More didn’t want to live in that world. The Christian Right regularly complains about the loss of liberty in the U.S. But when tyranny is useful, bring it (on them, though).

    Like

  45. JW
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    Your questioning of the journalistic ethics involved in the videos makes perfect sense. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is one of many biblical commands that could be cited to raise a question about the licity of lying, even for a good cause.

    FTR, no false witness was borne against anyone’s neighbor. A lot of speculative theologizing going on here, that Christ would rather the law be strictly observed than abortion be battled against in the hearts and minds of men. Show us that in your Bible.

    New International Version
    “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    New Living Translation
    “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

    English Standard Version
    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    New American Standard Bible
    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    King James Bible
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    International Standard Version
    “You are not to testify falsely against your neighbor.

    NET Bible
    “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    “Never lie when you testify about your neighbor.

    Jubilee Bible 2000
    Thou shalt not give false testimony against thy neighbour.

    King James 2000 Bible
    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    American King James Version
    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    American Standard Version
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Darby Bible Translation
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    English Revised Version
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    World English Bible
    “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

    Like

  46. vd, t, and you don’t know the Larger Catechism? For shame.

    Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
    A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

    Daleiden did not preserve his own good name. And he damaged the name of Pope Francis.

    Like

  47. Darryl, I said you had thin skin for an internet troll. I will grant you that skin that’s thin for a troll is still pretty thick for a Reformed blogger.

    I said you’re not really interested in journalistic ethics, which is different than journalism. Anyway, your fondness, of which I am aware, for a single columnist who’s been dead for half a century makes a pretty weak case for a purported interest in “journalism.”

    As for what I and other readers know about you based on what you’ve written here, I’ll say this: when you’re picking stocks, past performance does not guarantee future results, but where human nature is concerned, it’s a pretty good guide. Leopards, spots.

    Like

  48. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, and you don’t know the Larger Catechism? For shame.

    Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
    A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

    Daleiden did not preserve his own good name. And he damaged the name of Pope Francis.

    That doesn’t help you make your case, Dr. Hart. You despise Catholicism.

    Neither am I going to parse a catechism you reject to show how far your sophistic head is up your butt. You didn’t make your case according to Catholicism, let alone your own religion. Your devotion to legalism over what is good for man is wrong-headed.

    1At that time Jesus went on a Sabbath day through the corn, and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
    2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath.
    3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him?
    4 How he went into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the Priests?
    5 Or have ye not read in the Law, how that on the Sabbath days the Priests in the Temple [c]break the Sabbath, and are blameless?
    6 But I say unto you, that here is one greater than the Temple.
    7 Wherefore if ye knew what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the innocents.
    8 For the son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.
    9 And he departed thence, and went into their Synagogue:
    10 And behold, there was a man which had his hand dried up. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal upon a Sabbath day? that they might accuse him.
    11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that hath a sheep, and if it fall on the Sabbath day into a pit, doth not take it and lift it out?
    12 How much more then is a man better than a sheep? therefore, it is lawful to do well on a Sabbath day.
    13 Then said he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth, and it was made whole as the other.
    14 Then the Pharisees went out, and consulted against him, how they might destroy him.

    Even if the broke the commandment about false witness [and they didn’t], here Jesus has his followers break the commandment about the Sabbath, for their own good. You just keep getting it so wrong, Darryl. The Catholic catechism is also arguing why keeping the commandment against false witness is good for us, a natural law argument, not mere and mindless Biblical legalism.

    Like

  49. DG,

    “Nate, actually what I’m trying to say is don’t be as partisan with Daleidan and the others were with Paterno.”

    Ok, I get that. Maybe I’m not seeing the partisan take you’re seeing with those reacting. Most, if not all, reactions I have seen are to the disturbing revelations these videos have unearthed, not whitewashing Daniel Daleidan’s ethics as if he’s some kind of God-ordained messenger. I understand he sees himself as some kind of God-ordained messenger, but that’s not surprising since he’s Catholic, and that’s where I would take more issue with the fact that Daleidan is trying to spiritualize his work as some kind of Christian endeavor (as if Wilberforce were on some kind of Christian endeavor in ending the slave trade too). The suspicion shouldn’t be laid primarily at the feet of his tactics, but as a consistent 2Ker, at the fact that you don’t mix politics and the kingdom of God.

    Even the radio and articles I have seen criticizing the court rulings barring the release of more videos as wrong, not because they violate accepted journalistic practices, but because the rulings violate free speech.

    I do have a secret ploy to take down your blog though. Wait, never mind, someErikone else already beat me to that one…

    Like

  50. Muddy,

    what was the payoff that justified the lie? If Planned Parenthood comes out of this unscathed – and I think it will (too bad) – then what was the payoff? No lives will have been saved. Then the payoff that justified lying was, what? embarrassing Planned Parenthood? Is that enough?

    We already knew they were murdering children, didn’t we? Is their crime significantly worse that they seek to derive additional monetary benefit beyond the initial fee?

    I think the aimed-for payoff is an eventual gov defunding of PP through reputation damage. I also doubt it will have significant long-term impact. Too many people who are influential, selfish, or confused want abortion legal and easy, and PP is important to this arrangement.

    Multiple courses of action are necessary, but I would prefer a prolife model be the quiet guy sitting outside small abortuaries we were discussing a few weeks ago. He was clearly saving lives and (to attempt explicit P&R compliance: solely through serving as an instrument – foreordained from the beginning of time – entirely subject to the will of God) likely souls.

    Lies are problematic, with potential ramifications greater than we can predict.

    Like

  51. Nate Paschall
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink
    DG,

    “Nate, actually what I’m trying to say is don’t be as partisan with Daleidan and the others were with Paterno.”

    Paterno knew there was evil happening in his locker room, Coach Sandusky diddling little boys. He said and did nothing. He faintly hoped it wasn’t true, hoped it would go away.

    The Catholic Church did the same.

    What you’re up to, Dr. Hart, I have no idea. You don’t even have the Ostrich Defense working for you. You’re attacking the anti-abortionists on dubious Biblical grounds, as though they violated the 10 Commandments.

    Not even Penn State or the Catholic Church had that much gall.

    Had someone gone undercover to expose and stop Coach Sandusky diddling little boys, would anyone here be shocked that it violated the “don’t bear false witness” commandment?

    All yours, Dr. Hart. Historian, ethicist, theologian. You too, Nate.

    Like

  52. John Harmon, “I’ll say this: when you’re picking stocks, past performance does not guarantee future results, but where human nature is concerned, it’s a pretty good guide. Leopards, spots.”

    Is that some sort of Eastern mysticism?

    Are you Christian?

    Like

  53. Nate, notice that even Tim Challies is commenting on the videos. Justin Taylor does the same.

    No one is whitewashing Daleidan. Neither is anyone questioning how he obtained the material. And don’t you think that for the sake of the cause you might want to tread carefully about something that may have been unethical. But PP’s unethicality trumps Daleidan, so we don’t need to be cautious? Is this smart?

    Like

  54. “We already knew they were murdering children, didn’t we?…the aimed-for payoff is an eventual gov defunding of PP through reputation damage. I also doubt it will have significant long-term impact.”

    ..Lies are problematic, with potential ramifications greater than we can predict.”

    Newark, yes, a very uncertain payoff and lying – besides being ethically problematic – might be breaking down the very society we are trying to preserve.

    More analysis: the classic example about lying to troops who would kill someone hiding in the attic is a response to an imminent, highly probable, and lethal threat. Despite superficial appearances, comparing this to that is apples and oranges.

    Like

  55. Darryl,

    So it’s not journalistic ethics.

    It’s not Christian ethics.

    But it is “got the bastards.”

    No. I don’t think CMP is violating Christian ethics or journalistic ethics. I am suggesting that the journalistic ethics, as listed, might be self-contradictory or impossible to follow. I think it’s just a poor wording or using speech that all would interpret as “of course this doesn’t apply when journalists are seeking the truth and have a conflict of interest with those who are hellbent on hiding the truth. If it did, there could be no journalism.”

    I’m as much a sucker for that as anyone. But that doesn’t make it becoming.

    When is what is becoming the standard of whether it is ethical or not? I realize there may be some overreaching on these parallels, but was it becoming for Jesus to cause all that ruckus in the temple? Was it becoming for Paul to call upon the Judaizers to castrate himself?

    (And I still haven’t heard anyone respond to what the response would be if a bishop were on the other end of the video, or a Christian day school principal.)

    If a pastor, bishop, or day school principal, or any believer was doing something immoral and unethical and try to hide it, they aren’t owed the truth either. So an undercover sting would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, I would welcome it.

    Now would Christians complain? Maybe or even likely, depending on the action and circumstances. Is their complaint justifiable? Almost certainly not, as long as what is published is the actual truth.

    But the fact that some Christians might whine when the same thing is done to them, doesn’t make what CMP has done unethical or immoral. All it proves is that Christians are inconsistent. Welcome to the world we live in.

    If the point is that Christians need to be consistent and not whine when their unethical dealings are revealed via journalistic subterfuge, then I agree completely. It does hurt Christian witness to have true double standards. But the answer is to teach Christians to give up double standards, not to say it is necessarily wrong for CMP to appeal to Christian principles.

    Like

  56. Robert, “If a pastor, bishop, or day school principal, or any believer was doing something immoral and unethical and try to hide it, they aren’t owed the truth either. So an undercover sting would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, I would welcome it.”

    This is troubling. What about rights to a fair trial, jury, avoidance of self-incrimination?

    If someone murders, do they deserve a justice system that assumes innocence until proven guilty? Or can the witnesses to the murderer kill the murderer?

    Like

  57. Darryl,

    This is troubling. What about rights to a fair trial, jury, avoidance of self-incrimination?

    How does this apply? There are legal standards for what kind of evidence is admissible. If the undercover sting was conducted in line with the “rules,” then it’s going to be admitted. If not, it won’t be.

    If someone murders, do they deserve a justice system that assumes innocence until proven guilty?

    Constitutionally, yes.

    Or can the witnesses to the murderer kill the murderer?

    For self-defense, yes. Otherwise capital punishment is the prerogative of the state according to Romans 13.

    Like

  58. DGH: ”
    Dan, since no one else has responded, if you can claim the sixth commandment to justify violating the ninth, why not violate the sixth in order to defend the sixth? In other words, if we think that taking the law into our own hands is wrong when picking up the sword, what gives us the moral foundation for slandering a neighbor?”

    I can agree that you have a point here without regard to whether or not I believe that 2k is correct (I do) or not, or regardless of how evil (very) I think PP is. I have never been very comfortable with situation ethics (all the rage when I was growing up) or any kind of utilitarian moral reasoning. The Bible does not tell me so. Sometimes it is the best we can do, but I am personally not going to read Scripture like W.C. Fields– looking for loopholes (Rahab) – if it is in my power to avoid the situation entirely.

    DGH:”Not saying that what PP does is good. As far as I know, it’s actually legal. But the 2k question is why some who gripe about 2k appeal to it when defending a questionable activity by a professing Roman Catholic.”

    Like

  59. Continuing my comment from 10:36

    DGH: “Not saying that what PP does is good. As far as I know, it’s actually legal. But the 2k question is why some who gripe about 2k appeal to it when defending a questionable activity by a professing Roman Catholic.”
    Since you are so publicly identified as an advocate of 2k within a particular confessional environment, I think in fairness I have to concede this point. Just because the question I would ask (would any of this, including the stances- hypocritical though they may be- taken by Daleidan’s defenders, give Roger Williams heartburn?) doesn’t mean you have to agree.

    DGH: “The other 2k angle is if we appeal to God’s law over man’s law and in doing so we deny 2k, then what kind of world would we live in. Robert Bolt’s Sir Thomas More didn’t want to live in that world. The Christian Right regularly complains about the loss of liberty in the U.S. But when tyranny is useful, bring it (on them, though).”

    I’m glad we live in a world without More (no hero to me) or Cromwell. But we do live in a world where people are free to proclaim Religious motivations for their public square actions. Others are free to question that claim or point out its dangers, as you have at significant risk of being misunderstood. The benefits of making these claims, though, are not as obvious to me as others might think. Would Daleidan have had more impact if he had claimed to be an atheist? Public square claims of the dangers of descending into tyranny have been part of the American furniture since at least the stamp act.

    But is the real issue 2k or separation? You made a comment to me on another thread that politics is evil. I don’t want to hang you with what was part of a lighthearted exchange. I think a Christian can participate in the public square, but he or she has to be ever mindful of the temptations of doing evil, and the seductive rewards of being successful. 2k does not say otherwise; separation does.

    If I had done what Daleidan did, a significant number of people I go to Church with would tell me I shouldn’t have been deceitful. Even though it wouldn’t be a majority, they are part of a body I’ve belonged to for over 40 years and I care about them. As far as Daleidan bringing disrepute to his Church, well, didn’t the RCC concede that territory post-Murray?

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  60. Here’s a hypothetical: What if Daleidan hacked into PP computers and somehow gained the same information (breaking the 8th commandment – you shall not steal)? I don’t think Daleidan will go to jail for breaking the 9th, but wasn’t he in a sense stealing information by going undercover? Would the debate change if he did obtain the information by stealing which is punishable by law and unambiguously wrong?

    Like

  61. DGH:
    “Not saying that what PP does is good. >>>>>>

    That is part of the problem, DGH. You are not saying much of anything about what Planned Parenthood is actually doing.

    You are setting up a smoke screen, in effect, saying that lying is really, really bad. Daleidan, in your opinion, broke a commandment of God and lied. If he lied, then what’s stopping him from killing abortionists?

    You know what stops pro life people from killing abortionists. The same morality that tries to stop PP from killing unborn little boys and girls and selling their body parts to the highest bidder. I am sorry that it does not make sense to you. That is a tragedy, actually.

    You have made it abundantly clear that you believe Daleidan did wrong. You also make it abundantly clear that you have a deep, seething hatred of all things Catholic. In fact, you are obsessed with Catholicism in a way that is rarely seen in our day. Good for you. You are a true son of Calvin, a true son of the Reformation. This is the fruit of Calvinism on full display here for all who care to read your posts to see.

    You are the quintessential anti-Catholic Calvinist. That is well established.

    Now, say something about Planned Parenthood. Is what they are doing sin? Is it not sin because they do not claim to be a Christian organization? Are they off the hook because for them lying, killing, trafficking in human organs is all somehow moral? It is all legal, evidently, so therefore we must bow to the emperor on this one.

    Justice Kennedy and all who are in authority in the United States are the equivalent of the emperors of the time of the Apostle Paul. Therefore we must bow the knee and let them do what God has ordained them to do.

    Is that your 2K position? I’m having trouble here figuring out in what way your position resembles Christianity. Maybe you don’t claim it does.

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  62. TVD,
    The Catholic Catechisms forbid lying, not just bearing false witness against one’s neighbor. You might also consult the commonly used examinations of conscience on this subject.

    You might be able to justify the use of deception in this case, but any Christian, Catholic or Protestant, must think very long and hard before telling blatant falsehoods.

    Like

  63. DH:
    Somehow the King’s Marriage seems to pale when considered against the sea of abortions. I am, at best, an inconsistent Catholic. And when I read Doug Wilson’s latest broadsides about culture war at his web, I confess to also being an embarrassed Catholic, almost wanting to go back to my Reformed days as I witness the Nancy boys now running ‘The’ Church in Rome and New York.
    still appreciate the blog immensely. And hope you are reading Mullarkey so are being exposed to the ‘right kind’ of Catholic!
    PS. My dues to Thomas More were paid by NOT sneaking up the LDS Temple stairs, btw!
    JM

    Like

  64. Robert, we don’t allow the police to acquire evidence of wrongdoing without observing proper rules. Now you saying that Daleiden should not have to observe the rules of journalism? If the former, why not the latter.

    Then add Christianity and the Decalogue. Equals troubling.

    Like

  65. Dan, maybe it’s not 2k. But I want to think it’s relevant. I would tend to give Woodward and Bernstein a pass in the right hand kingdom. Daleiden wants to claim the right hand and the left hand. That’s a violation.

    Like

  66. Cody, the only stealing that I know to be legal is in Major League Baseball. But at the ballpark today, the Tigers did not need to steal to get an exciting walk off win on a gorgeous Michigan summer day.

    Like

  67. Mermaid, well, you’re in communion with Justice Kennedy. How do you like your conversion now?

    Picking on PP is obvious. I don’t like obvious. Maybe that explains my objections to Rome.

    You still haven’t answered the rub ethical issue. If someone can break one commandment for a good cause, why not another? If you can lie, why not kill?

    Like

  68. DH: I don’t know. We are in Hades when we are aborting millions. Lying to uncover that or help quell that… Just does not seem like a scandal.

    Like

  69. Joe M., didn’t say it was not a scandal. Said it was unbecoming for Christians who are the moral party to look the other way and say “oh well.” Plus, if vd, t is outraged, you know something is off.

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  70. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
    Joe M., didn’t say it was a scandal. Said it was unbecoming for Christians who are the moral party to look the other way and say “oh well.” Plus, if vd, t is outraged, you know something is off.

    The outrage is at your moral inversion that unfailingly attacks the good guys instead of the evil ones.

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  71. Another issue is whether you are being involuntarily forced into having to enter unethical responses, people invading your privacy over things that are none of their business.

    Starting the unethical chain of events yourself is a completely different matter.

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  72. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 5:57 am | Permalink
    vd, t, so far, you’ve shown more outrage about OL than PP.

    Don’t you ever stop doubling down? What ever gets through your puddin’ head, D?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/10/i-don-t-know-if-i-m-pro-choice-anymore.html

    I Don’t Know If I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos
    For the last 30 years, I’ve supported abortion rights. This year may be different.
    The only thing I hate more than talking about abortion is writing about it. It’s no accident that, in 2,000 columns over a quarter-century, I have never—ever—written about abortion. I’ve avoided the topic like a root canal.

    But that is getting harder to do with the release of what are now five gruesome, albeit edited, undercover videos by The Center for Medical Progress depicting doctors and other top officials of Planned Parenthood discussing, and even laughing about, the harvesting of baby organs, as casually as some folks talk about the weather.

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  73. I don’t get the “edited” charge. Raw footage gets edited into a final production. That’s how it works.

    Just a way for people to distance themselves.

    But some good fruit may well be born of Daleiden’s action, as with Rahab or the midwives. Doesn’t mean Augustine would approve, which is no small thing to point out.

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  74. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
    I don’t get the “edited” charge. Raw footage gets edited into a final production. That’s how it works.

    Just a way for people to distance themselves.

    But some good fruit may well be born of Daleiden’s action, as with Rahab or the midwives. Doesn’t mean Augustine would approve, which is no small thing to point out.

    There’s an Augustinian/Thomistic argument to be made about lying–as opposed to deception–but Dr. Hart hasn’t done the necessary work to find it yet. Thus, his followers wallow in moral and theological confusion.

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  75. @tvd
    We’ll see if anything substantial comes of these videos. Given that 92% of kids diagnosed with Downs are aborted, I’m not too hopeful this is going to change minds on its own.

    I can’t remember if I highlighted this in another thread, so I apologize in advance if this is repetitive, but I found the following particularly noteworthy,

    The Moral Majority, Operation Rescue, and the Republican Party seemed an intolerant lot. I couldn’t imagine siding with them, so I lined up on the pro-choice side.

    I wonder how many folks fall in line with the pro-choice side simply because so many pro-life activists are shrill jerks? To be sure there are shrill jerks on the other side, but the pro-life movement runs against the grain of the American ethos. Freedom, prosperity, comfort, and security is the end all be all for a lot of people – unplanned pregnancies – (of especially of special need kids) – runs counter to all that.

    Like

  76. tvd –

    I am open to being convinced of it, but based on my readings of De mendacio, Contra mendacium, Summa 2-2-110, and the Catholic Encyclopedia article (which mentions Innocent III’s agreement with the same position as that of Augustine and Aquinas), I can’t see how telling a lie is ever without sin. It isn’t always a mortal sin – it is mitigated by good intentions – but there is always some blame in it.

    The evasion distinction is useful. Feser addresses it, but I think Raymond Peñafort provided the best example centuries ago- basically, save Jews from Nazis via puns:

    [An example from Augustine:] If a man is hid in your house, and his life is sought by murderers, and they come and ask you whether he is in the house, you may say that you know where he is, but will not tell: you may not deny that he is there. […]

    St. Raymund of Peñafort wrote on the subject in his Summa, published before the middle of the thirteenth century. He says that most doctors agree with St. Augustine, but others say that one should tell a lie in such cases. Then he gives his own opinion, speaking with hesitation and under correction.

    The owner of the house where the man lies concealed, on being asked whether he is there, should as far as possible say nothing. If silence would be equivalent to betrayal of the secret, then he should turn the question aside by asking another — How should I know? — or something of that sort.

    Or, says St. Raymund, he may make use of an expression with a double meaning, an equivocation such as: Non est hic [in Latin can mean two things: “He isn’t here” or “he doesn’t eat here = he doesn’t live here”] — or something like that.

    That said, I am with you on the danger of being hollow and heartless and entirely in agreement on the gravity of PP’s actions. I applaud the actions of those using all just means to shut them down, and the intentions of all those who are acting as best they can by their own lights (although I’d counsel many to consult with organizations like Human Life International before engaging in anything potentially questionable).

    Note that according to the article, Chrysostom and Cassian approved of lies in some cases – also names worthy of respect, whose arguments I haven’t yet checked.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09469a.htm

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  77. Advice for those harmed by Daleiden:

    There is something strikingly sad and unnerving when you discover that you have been betrayed, regardless of the severity. The bitterness intensifies when it is at the hands of another Catholic. In silent protest we wrestle with the truth: “But Catholics aren’t supposed to treat each other like that! How can this be?”

    The response to betrayal runs the gamut from plotting vengeance, deep sadness, raging anger and everything in between. Few of us can brush it off without some interior grappling. There are, however, things we can do instead of plotting perfect revenge.

    Move Beyond Incredulity

    We are fallen, and being Catholic offers no guarantee that our fallen-ness will not rear its ugly head in any given situation. Our religious affiliation does not ensure that we act in a saintly manner — which is why confession so readily available.

    Our culture has left so many of us deeply wounded and/or gravely vulnerable to vice and Catholics are not immune to these diseases. The Church and the world really are a field hospital. We shouldn’t be surprised that miserable things happen at the hands of the broken, the proud, and the vicious.

    Make a Decision

    Like any challenge in life, our response to it is what matters most. If thrown a knife, do we catch on the handle or the blade? You can let this betrayal drag you down or you can use it to help you find a deeper faith and closer relationship to Christ.

    A priest once wisely pointed out to me that the more we become like Christ, the more Christ-like experiences we have, including ignominy, slander, betrayal. Why should we expect to not have these experiences if we truly are following him?

    Work Through the Emotional Baggage

    As always, prayer is the best recourse. It is okay to go to God and tell him why you are seething. Of course, he already knows, but somehow the act of explaining it to him has a way of lightening the load.

    It is a natural human response to want to talk through your struggles, but it is not always fruitful or beneficial to do so. Be careful with whom you share information — such conversations, particularly if thrown like seeds into the wind on social media, can devolve into gossip and slander — making your situation worse, not better. As St. Ambrose said, “No one heals themself by wounding another.”

    Beyond talking to a trusted friend, writing, exercising, or going for a drive can also help work through the mental struggles, either when the poison is fresh or months later when memories may still haunt you.

    Depending on the depth of the wound, professional help is always something to consider, but even professional help needs to be wrapped in prayer. Ask others to pray with you for your intentions.

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  78. So now Daleiden is not a journalist but an activist:

    Pro-life leaders are calling upon California Attorney General Kamala Harris to resign after her office launched what they believe was a politically motivated raid on the apartment of David Daleiden, the activist who conducted last year’s controversial undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood.

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