Friday, February 18, 2011

Was Live Action Wrong to Set Up Planned Parenthood?

Is telling a lie the same as practicing deception?

How do we justify what law enforcement agencies do when they arrange to infiltrate a crime organize, even a terror organization, by using false identities and personal histories?

These questions can't even be discussed until one determines the morality of telling a falsehood.

Did Live Action do something immoral by creating a contrived scenario in order to expose Planned Parenthood?

Over at The Catholic Thing, Francis Beckwith offers his perspective on the Planned Parenthood "sting" by Live Action. I think he makes an excellent point about the moral use of falsehoods in Scripture. Read the story and let me know what you think.


Sarah said...

Hmmm very interesting article. You could say that the two examples are different because the women were lying in response to an intrusive question, not purporting an imaginary scenario.

I'm not quite on the LiveAction bandwagon because of their essentially phony scenarios. It also bugs me a little how their founder's made-up mug is on EVERY press release - seems a little vain. She also was not very articulate in her Fox News interview - just kept repeating her soundbite and not actually answering questions.

Kathy said...

You know, I am just speculating, but outside of crafting the plan, I really think there was very little discussion of the morality of what they [Life Action] were about to undertake. What do you think based on the interviews and coverage?

Regardless, I think what they did was perfectly moral, but what Beckwith is discussing is the rudiments -- the moral permissibility of telling a falsehood. I think he gives excellent Scriptural examples to prove that there are moral precedents for telling falsehoods to protect and preserve life.

Mary said...

The commandment says not to bear false witness against one's neighbor. Despite some of the pro's and con's of Live Action's activities, it looks like Planned Parenthood quite ably set themselves up and by their own words and actions reveal themselves. I found it interesting in the article that it represented this:
"According to Tollefsen, this tactic, even though it exposed corruption, is itself immoral because it depends on a lie and lying is always wrong."
Ok, I'm a bit incredulous.
Mr. Tollefsen can't possibly be that ... oblique, can he?
If the SS is at your door and Ann Frank is in your attic hiding, I think the moral thing is to lie, lie, and lie. Does that make me a bad person? Not if you happen to be Ann Frank.

Kathy said...


Thank you for your comments. I'm with you -- and Anne Frank is an excellent example. You would not be a bad person at all -- you would be meritorious and heroic.

Catherine Liberatore said...

Great link, Kathy! Thank you.

Kathy said...

Thanks, Catherine! Hope you are doing well!!!