David Daleiden in Prison
You have already heard that prosecutors in Houston convinced a local grand jury to dismiss all charges against Planned Parenthood for selling baby organs — and instead won multiple indictments against the journalistic hero David Daleiden. Daleiden’s undercover video sting exposed the sick, illegal practices of Planned Parenthood, and for that he might go to prison. I’m not a lawyer, so don’t look to me for a detailed legal analysis of why this indictment is insane. Nor do I need to point out how the Houston prosecutors were biased, since one of them serves on Planned Parenthood’s board. We have seen such legal corruption before in America, back in the days when all-white juries, with a wink and a nod, set free the thugs from white lynch mobs who had hanged, shot, or castrated black Americans.
In fact such perversions of law are par for the course, wherever deep-seated evil grabs the steering wheel. When the law itself has been rewritten to deny the deepest truths of human life, it’s routine for those who administer it to cover up their own personal crimes and their System’s governing lies. Such parasites of power are haunted and goaded to prosecute truth-tellers. People whose self-serving world-views, cushy jobs and cozy lifestyles depend on a fragile complex of interconnected lies cannot stand idly by and let whistle-blowers run free in the streets, recklessly pointing out their rank deceptions, their tortured logic, their blood-caked crimes. In a world where the deeply corrupt hold power, the truthful must either be silent or else they will be silenced. That is why Southern slave owners put abolitionist writers in prison. It’s why the Nazis killed men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the Polish Communists murdered Rev. Jerzy Popiełuszko. In the 20th century, Christians imprisoned for truth right here in America included Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Joan Andrews Bell, the founder of Operation Rescue.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s, members of that pro-life civil disobedience group sat in the doors of abortion clinics, in solidarity with the helpless children who soon would die inside. And for their witness, they were beaten brutally by police in cities such as Los Angeles and West Hartford, CT. There is videotape of policemen using night sticks and nun-chucks on old ladies and teenage girls, but none of the violence played on TV. It barely got reported. It didn’t fit “the narrative.” So down it went, into the Memory Hole.
But God remembers. As Francois Mauriac wrote, if we really believe in Him, we know that no tear is ever wasted, no act of kindness or courage finally meaningless. Not one drop of blood spilt on the Cross, or by one of us while carrying it, is squandered in God’s economy. He promised us that.
One Christian who languished in Siberia for more than a decade for telling the truth was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His most famous essay was published shortly before he was once again arrested, then kicked out of his country. Its title is “Live Not By Lies,” and it speaks to his fellow Soviet citizens. In it, he doesn’t call on every Russian to step forth and boldly dissent from Communist tyranny. He knew that fathers and mothers, ordinary people, weren’t in a position to risk the Gulag, or lockup in some psychiatric hospital. Instead he begs his fellow citizens just not to participate in evil, not to repeat the lies that served the System as its cornerstone, and justified its violence. Please read his words, and think about the Planned Parenthood clinic in your neighborhood, and the smiling, well-coiffed personalities like Cecile Richards and Hillary Clinton who smoothly defend it on television:
When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me — I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally—since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies — all loyalty lies in that.
It is our choice whether or not to play the killers’ game, by believing their lies and repeating them. As Solzhenitsyn promised: “If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.”
It won’t be easy, but with God’s grace it is possible for each of us to refuse to live by lies. If Poles and Czechs and Russians could do it in the face of much more brazen violence and coercion, so can we. Our voting, our speech, and our civic activism can never ignore the truth about human life, or treat the assault on it as some secondary or optional issue.
And some of us must do more. David Daleiden heard the call and shouldered the cross, and he counted what Bonhoeffer called the “cost of discipleship.” If this ludicrous prosecution moves forward, Daleiden won’t flee the country, or beg for a pardon. He will face the music, which is really an annual funeral march for a million little Americans.
I’m no David Daleiden, but I’m doing all I can. This week I will drive alone, hundreds of miles in winter through several states, thousands of miles from my wife and seven children. I will rouse myself and speak at one pro-life event after another, each time retelling the wrenching tale of how I lost a daughter to abortion. Each time I repeat it, it feels like I’m grabbing a chunk out of my gut and holding it up for the audience. I would rather be almost anywhere else, digging ditches or draining a sewer. Some people tell me that I’m imprudent, that I’m somehow neglecting my duties to my family by being so often absent. To that, I shake my head slowly and grasp for the patience to explain: This is my duty, to make our country a more human place where my children can live. Where children are given the chance to live in the first place. I must push back against the lies.
That’s what David Daleiden did, and if more of us join him, in our own ways and as God calls us, the walls of those clinics, like the Wall in Berlin, will stun us when they tumble down.