The FBI Is Sending a Message to Pro-Life Catholics

The swatting and arrest of a pro-life activist on Friday sent shockwaves throughout the pro-life community…which is exactly what the FBI intended by their gestapo tactics.

When a swarm of fully-armed FBI agents attack the rural home of a father of seven who runs a Catholic anti-pornography ministry over a charge that was already dropped in the local courts, it’s not a mistake—it’s a message. You will be silent, you will comply—or you will be next.

Mark Houck is the founder of The King’s Men, a ministry that strives to help men to live virtuously and free from pornography. Each week he also prays in front of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, sometimes bringing his 12-year-old son with him. On numerous occasions, one of the pro-abortion “escorts” directed vile and vulgar comments at the boy and came very close to him in doing so. Houck, after repeated warnings to the man, eventually pushed him away, which led to a lawsuit that was thrown out in the district court of Philadelphia.

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That should have been the end of the story. However, the Department of Justice got involved, charging Houck with violations against the FACE Act, one of the most evil (and tragically, most effective) pieces of legislation in American history. FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) was enacted in 1994 in response to the growing—and effective—rescue movement. 

I was deeply involved in rescue at that time, and I remember well the impact of FACE. It essentially shut down all rescues across the country—rescues that were responsible for countless babies saved and for unsanitizing abortion in the eyes of the public. It was now a federal crime punishable up to 10 years in prison to peacefully and nonviolently block abortion clinic doors. Overnight, rescue was dead.

But of course pro-lifers did not give up. We continued to work for the end of abortion and the saving of babies, and those efforts eventually led to the Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade. Needless to say, the pro-abortion forces of darkness did not take that lightly, and here is their response: full-scale persecution of pro-life activists, given a legal veneer by the FACE Act.

Some pro-lifers are arguing that Mr. Houck should not have pushed the pro-abortion attacker down, or should not even have been there, but that misses the point completely. First, a father has a right and a duty to protect his children. If you move this exact same situation to another location, say, at a ballgame with a drunk fan harassing your child, then everyone would agree (and the law would support) that a father can take this action. 

Further, if pro-lifers simply stop praying and counseling at abortion clinics because of the potential for such encounters, then the pro-aborts will have already won. They purposefully instigate these scenarios to make us afraid to come. But if we give in to our fear, then the babies will have no one to speak for them.

The real story here is the overheated response of the federal government. This arrest is another step on the path to full-scale persecution of Catholics and pro-lifers. History shows that the persecution of a class of people doesn’t appear in a vacuum; it usually takes decades or even longer of priming the society to look down on a group of people or way of life. And what has the past few decades in America been if not a growing delegitimization of Catholicism and its teachings? 

We see it all around us. Big families are ridiculed, priests are mocked, and traditional sexuality is reviled. Anyone who dares to resist this trend is progressively ostracized from society and the culture at large. It begins at the level of the major media and Hollywood until it seeps into dinner conversations and neighborhood picnics. Eventually it gets to the point that a family man can be arrested and many will just say, “Well, he probably deserved it—after all, look at the way he lives.”

The forces of evil know how to take advantage of this attitudinal shift. They push a little at a time, progressively ramping up their attacks to see what is acceptable and what is not (yet) acceptable. An arrest like this, then, serves a dual purpose: first, it sends a message to the pro-life community, and second, it checks the pulse of the culture to gauge the reaction. If this arrest is allowed to stand, then expect more in the future. 

It also must be noted the role of the FBI in all this. The arrest of Houck, along with the raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and other recent egregious actions, should make clear that the FBI is not our friend. Sadly, conservatives have long supported the growing militarization of all law enforcement, and now we are seeing the consequences. A militarized law enforcement is an army ready to attack its own citizens.

Although we might have an instinctive reaction to “back the blue,” we need to understand that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are being weaponized against practicing Catholics. I’d go so far as to argue that any practicing Catholics working at the FBI need to rethink their career and consider the possibility they work for a fundamentally immoral organization.

Fortunately, not everything is bleak. The growing persecution of Catholicism and traditional values has not been met without resistance. We see it in what might at first appear to be an unrelated news story from this weekend: the election of a new Italian prime minister who is boldly and unapologetically Catholic and pro-life (which makes her “far-right” in media parlance, of course). 

The increasing insanity of the Left has one positive element: it reveals to a growing number of “normal” people that a world ruled by the Left isn’t one they want to live in. And so we will likely see more and more victories by the Right, which is really just more victories for sanity.

In the case of the Houck arrest, we must do all we can to resist this Nazi-style attack on a family man. If you are able, donate to his legal fund. Be sure to continue to pray and protest at your local abortion clinic. Attend pro-life and other Catholic marches. Pray for the Houcks, all pro-life activists, and for their persecutors. 

But most of all: Do not be silent. Do not back down. Resist.

  • Eric Sammons

    Eric Sammons is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine.

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