UPDATE 2/16, 7:25a: There is more commentary out on this topic. Interestingly, it appears Live Action’s investigative sting of Planned Parenthood is a moral dilemma primarily for Catholics.

Dr. Monica Miller has written an exhaustive commentary supporting Live Action here, while Dr. Robert George has staked out the opposite position here. Steve Kellmeyer can see both views but lands theologically on the side of Live Action. He brought up an excellent point:

The example Stanek should have brought forward, for it is the closest to being on point, is that of Nathan before David [II Samuel 12]…

Here we have a prophet of God who tells a story that is literally false – there is no sheep, there is no traveler. Nathan tells the story in a way designed to make David believe it is true, and designed to provoke David’s anger. David falls for the lie and condemns the man.

2/12, 3:35p: I’m going to step my foot in it this time, but I think this is a conversation that needs to be had.

Christian commentators have written a couple columns (here and here) maintaining the investigative stings Lila Rose and Live Action conducted were morally wrong. In a nutshell, according to my friend Dawn Eden and co-author William Doino, Jr.:

The Catechism is crystal clear about where lies originate: “The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: ‘You are of your father the devil … there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’” (2482). Catholics and others have a right to remain silent, and protect privileged information (2488-2492), but never to directly speak “a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.” (2482)

Yet, despite the clarity of Catholic teaching against lying under any circumstances (without even an exception for undercover lawmen to deny their true identities), many pro-lifers are reluctant to give up what they see as a highly effective tactic.

Taken at face value, this teaching would seem to contradict Scripture.

Exodus 1:15-21 states God “was good” to the Hebrew midwives and blessed them with families of their own not only for disobeying but also lying to Pharaoh when he ordered them to kill Israelite baby boys.

Rahab the prostitute was given the honor of being in Jesus Christ’s lineage (Matthew 1:5) and listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of our faith for helping the Israelite spies hide and escape from Jericho, as told in Joshua 2. In the process she lied to searchers to throw them off the trail.

I Samuel 19 and 20 describe Michal and Jonathan spying on, sabotaging, and lying to Saul, who was not only their king but also their father, to save young David’s life, which turned out to be a good thing.

And Matthew 2:1-17 tells of God warning the Wise Men to directly disobey King Herod’s order to tell him where the infant Jesus was.  God Himself gave instructions for humans to defy governmental authority to save Jesus’ life (even though as a result many other babies were killed).

Eden and Doino, Jr.’s post would also seem to me to disallow Christians from becoming FBI agents or law enforcement officers, who are sometimes called to conduct investigative stings not unlike Lila’s.

The teaching would also have stopped Christians from participating in the Underground Railroad, which was built on lies and deception to save the lives of slaves.

It would also render Corrie ten Boom and Oskar Schindler not heroes of the Nazi resistance, which was also built on lies and deception to save the lives of Jews, but villains.

So, what are your thoughts? What do you think are our limits?

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