Social media has brought us another viral video about abortion. Brian Sims, a state representative in Pennsylvania, broadcast a video over the weekend in which he accosted and mocked several people for “protesting” outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in his district. But instead of protesting, the people captured in Sims’ video had clearly gathered peacefully outside of the abortion clinic in order to pray. To be clear, the “protestors” involved are an elderly woman and several young girls.
Based on both the video evidence and Sims’ own description of the events, there is no indication that those outside of the clinic ever harassed or obstructed the movement of anyone seeking to enter or exit the clinic. Even so, Sims determined that the appropriate response to those who had gathered to pray was to berate and shame them. In addition to subjecting them to his offensive and demeaning tirade, Sims took the extra step of inviting those viewing the video online to doxx the young girls, whom he had targeted with his vitriol. “Doxxing” refers to exposing someone’s name and address without their consent in hopes of intimidating them with a deluge of hate.
The events are captured in two separate live stream recordings. In the first video, Sims encounters a woman whom he describes as “an old, white lady.” For nearly 10 minutes, this elected official films himself following, insulting, and harassing the woman up and down the sidewalk. Even as she essentially refuses to engage Sims’ comments, he persists in calling her “disgusting” and “racist.” Moreover, as he subjects her to this ridicule, he has the audacity to claim that although she has a legal right, she has no “moral right” to stand and pray outside of an abortion clinic. In his own words, “this isn’t Christianity.”
Sims’ harshness seems to know no limits. The state representative scurrilously scolds old women and young girls who are merely exercising their conscience and constitutional rights. Only a deranged commitment to abortion rights can explain the wickedness of Sims’ actions.
What does all of this mean?
Set aside for a moment the fact that Sims, a white man, attempts to disparage the woman by calling her “old” and “white.” In our own day, let’s compare Sims’ language with the rhetoric that moral progressivism has come to rely on in castigating its cultural opponents. A few terms come to mind that progressives have used—“War on Women” and “Toxic Masculinity”—to depict Christians and conservatives as brazen and insensitive to women or altogether anti-woman.
Do Sims’ actions resonate with these terms? Yes. They would be appalling for anyone to engage in; considering Sims’ is an elected official, they are simply discrediting.
Brian Sims is displaying gross hypocrisy and engaging in all the same sorts of intimidating tactics that moral progressives accuse Christians and conservatives of engaging in. Imagine an alternate scenario where a Republican official were to stand outside an abortion clinic treating pro-choice women the same way. The national media would be on this in an instant. A national flare-up would occur, and the official in question would likely resign. All of this means, apparently, that a “War on Women” and “Toxic Masculinity” are culturally approved totems when it comes to intimidating anyone opposed to abortion.
How is it anything other than a “War on Women” to broadcast intimidating threats to an elderly woman exercising her constitutional rights?
How is this episode anything other than an example of “Toxic Masculinity” wherein Sims verbally berates and intimidates young women, going so far as to expose them online? In an age where we should protect women, Sims’ actions intend to bring them harm.
Let’s call this what it is (which will likely not be named across our national media): An episode of unfathomable hypocrisy. Sims, a self-described LGBT activist, is engaging in the same types of behavior that his movement uses to score political points. This is not a man of high character, decent instinct, or sound judgment. The voters of his district need to examine whether a man of this temperament and lack of self-control is capable of engaging in the measured process of representing them in the halls of their state legislature.
There are three quick takeaways from this episode.
First, there is an ideological derangement syndrome when it comes to abortion. For an individual to engage in this type of fevered rhetoric demonstrates the demonic elements at play when it comes to abortion. What rationally explains the willingness of a powerful figure to use his platform to see unborn children murdered? Nothing but a worldview gripped by a carnal desire for the death of innocent children. The absurdity of what progressives mean by “social justice” is rife with every inconsistency when a so-called champion of “social justice” engages in injustice.
Second, when it comes to the issue of hypocrisy that Sims himself displays, there’s also another example of hypocrisy worth noting: The silence of our mainstream media. Recall a few months ago when the Covington Catholic boys were accused of engaging in threats and intimidation toward a Native American activist during the March for Life. The national media went wild, believing that the MAGA-hat wearing Covington students were typifying all Trump voters. It all fed into a narrative that the media was happy to confirm. Eventually, news reports later demonstrated that the camera angle only told one part of the story. When the full story emerged, the Covington Catholic boys were vindicated of their one-sided wrongdoing. We both defend the mainstream media and read it regularly. But the failure of the mainstream media to draw attention to the outlandish behavior of Brian Sims only confirms the suspicions of many that the media only covers what it considers advantageous to its own narrative and political predilections.
Third, with the displays of hypocrisy and media silence suppressing this injustice, there’s a lesson for Christians to learn: The Bible calls us to be morally consistent. Ours is not a buffet morality where you choose the morality that is best suited for you, or your movement. We are called to live a morally principled and morally consistent life. This means naming acts of unrighteousness and hypocrisy for what they are, regardless of political affiliation. Moral righteousness ought not be tribal. In Christ, we are called to love God and love neighbor, which also means being clear-eyed in naming the moral offenses that transgress both.
The story of Brian Sims’ abusive conduct in Pennsylvania is not one that the culture should gloss over. In it is a small snapshot of just how ingrained the abortion worldview is in American politics, and how politics-as-usual will not overcome this treacherous worldview. Let us be angry; let us resolve to defend the innocent as they are led to the slaughter; but let us also pray for the redemption of sinners who are held captive by the Enemy.