Christian Hartsock
"The Garbage of Eden"
By Christian Hartsock
February 15, 2010

In their February 9th column on, "Tricks Are For Kids," conservative Catholic writers Dawn Eden and William Doino, Jr. joined the herd of pious, tisk-tisking finger-waggers who have taken to the high ledges to point and throw rocks at James O'Keefe, a friend of ours, upon his arrest and public flaggelation at the hands of inferiority-complex-ridden mainstream journalists and junior-high-school-rate chattering pundits.

His primary targets being Planned Parenthood, ACORN, and, more recently, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), along the way James has managed to, by default, expose the deceitful nature of lying, gossiping mainstream journalists — who flocked to the New Orleans story like mosquitoes to a bugzapper — throwing them down with their own punches in the face of their knee-jerk, endless-retraction-warranting conjecture.

The MSNBC staff swarmed to the zapper the day after James' arrest in New Orleans with hasty, slanderous and sloppily-slapped-together lies — Chris Matthews opening his segment on it with one word: "Watergate"; Rachel Maddow accusing James of "aiding and abetting an attempted wiretap"; Keith Olbermann dubbing James "Worst Person in the World"; and David Shuster posting Twitter updates accusing James of attempting to "tap [Sen. Landrieu's] phones" — furthermore sniveling that James is "not a journalist," over O'Keefe's use of undercover methods reminiscent of none other than MSNBC's own Dateline program.

But even more egregious to us than the predictable lies emanating from the liberal media machine has been the small clique of pompous Pharisees in the conservative movement like Dawn Eden and William Doino, Jr. who have shown up to the public flogging of James O'Keefe with their own bull whips.

In her interview with Matt C. Abbott of, Eden blasts the work of James O'Keefe and Lila Rose of Live Action Films (his partner in the Planned Parenthood investigations): "We noted that Alinsky's tactics ran directly counter to St. Paul's dictum that we cannot do evil that good may come. Live Action's work, like O'Keefe's, uses the means of lying and deception in order to accomplish a good, which in their case is pointing out the lying and deception of Planned Parenthood."

Her piece in rambles on in a myopic haze of self-adulating piety and condescension into a wilderness of incoherently-applied theological references, spouting out phrases she heard once in a Steubenville theology course on double-effect. Applying scare quotes to "investigative journalist," Eden and Doino offer zero solutions, and zero ideas, except to throw their ideological friends and cousins under the bus to prove their piety.

And in politics, as well as religion, those who go out of their way to hurt their friends ought to be acknowledged not as the proper purity police, but as ineffective cowards who can't distinguish their friends from their foes.

She continues: "Was it really necessary to have an undergrad disguised as a scantily clad prostitute to expose the organization?" Well, it worked, didn't it? In an enveloping sigh of disdain, Eden and Doino write, "O'Keefe's contention that his adaptation of radical tactics was 'the future of activism' found an approving audience among numerous conservatives and libertarians."

Perhaps this is due to the fact that O'Keefe's "adaptation of radical tactics" has effectively defunded truly evil organizations to the tune of millions of dollars simply by using words, hidden cameras and basic principles of investigative journalism — opening taxpayers' eyes to the returns on their investments in the form of federally-funded would-be underage teen brothels and bureaucratic hornets' nests of clandestine corruption. We would like to know what Eden's morally superior tactics have achieved on such a scale.

In his undercover investigations on Planned Parenthood, James exposed the government-sponsored, liberal-championed organization as one ready-at-the-whim to accept large sums of money from white supremacist donors for the purpose of containing the African-American race, and to cover up cases of statutory rape for the sake of doing business with 13-year-old girls.

In the undercover investigation of ACORN, James, along with Hannah Giles, exposed yet another government-sponsored, liberal-championed organization as one beaming with excitement to aid and abet the importation and exploitation of 14-year-old El Savadoran sex slaves.

But Eden and Doino — whose moral priorities have apparently more in common with those of the ACLU than those of the conservative movement — would rather shake their heads at the "lying and deception" inherent in James' investigative journalism practices than the transgressions of his targets. Their advice to James is to put his head down, go back to school, get married and lead a quiet family life. Aw, gee, thanks for your advice, guys! We would like to say it will be taken to heart — but that would require more lying and deception.

We didn't want to throw the Good Book at Eden, but since she has resorted to using scripture to support her pious presumptions against James, we will play her game. Eden harbors the same instincts that compelled Peter to betray Christ upon his arrest. Citing scripture to furnish her moral opposition to O'Keefe's "lying and deception" as a willingness to "do evil that good may result," we hereby wonder if certain biblical heroes who employed subterfuge for purposes of self-preservation as well as the good interests of their communities would have merited Eden's approval.

Rahab, the prostitute in the Book of Joshua, who deceived her own people in order to protect the Israelite spies she had taken under her wing, is lauded as a "profile in faith" in Hebrews 11: "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

Perhaps despite that eyeroll-inducing puff piece awarded her in Hebrews 11, what Rahab truly needed was a lecture from Dawn Eden about the use of deception as a means to an end. (Who probably would have also criticized her scanty attire.)

Since Eden, as a pro-lifer, would rather invest her energy in scolding James O'Keefe and Lila Rose for their employment of "lying and deception" against Planned Parenthood as an evil means to an end than Planned Parenthood's condonements of eugenics and statutory rape — we wonder if, as a Jew, she would feel the same about those who deceptively housed Jews in their attics, lying to German interrogators during World War II.

This is our contention: That these theological debates are a masquerade to the obvious guilt these critics shoulder as ineffective and willing participants in a system that slaughters the unborn each day. These people cash their paychecks — perhaps they even follow Doug Scott's LDI boycott list in their daily shopping — go home and tune in to EWTN, read the latest blogs and decide what to pontificate about tonight.

They don't act, and they don't worry anymore about results, except those which will be occasionally delivered through prayer. If we could pray away abortion, however, it would have been over a long time ago.

They are the scandal of mediocrity and apathy in the face of impending crisis. Resisting the temptation to lay the dozens of major problems confronting America, they seek to attack those who do their bidding but with which they find the most trivial of objections, and prefer to dally about on finer theological points.

No act will be sufficiently perfect in order to live and operate in the political world. These are the kind who would retreat and pray in closets rather than stand in the street and deliver results. It is no surprise that warriors like James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles and Lila Rose are subjected to the pressures of our foes, but that they suffer the frustration of armchair theologians is outrageous.

Dawn Eden is a convert, a single woman who preaches about chastity in books such as The Thrill of the Chaste, no doubt because it fits her life experiences. It is too easy to point out that Catholic theology does not advocate being frigid, as though the point of femininity is to be chaste. There is no "thrill" to being chaste as much as there is a respect and dignity in waiting to be with one's husband or wife. Her entire analysis is so off that it is frankly laughable, and her analysis is obviously half-off because she is unmarried. With what experience would Dawn Eden know about marital sex? Yet she speaks on this topic, she once had a patron organization — the Cardinal Newman Society — to promote her pet topics and help her build a center-right brand for her speaking engagements on a topic she knows little about. From this experience, this fame built on a house of sand, she maligns O'Keefe, Giles and Rose.

Aghast at James' praise for G.K. Chesterton as his "intellectual backbone," Eden and Doino write, "For Chesterton, and the Church he so loved, the beginning of wisdom and maturity is the recognition of what actually protects society and effects positive social change. It is not protest, or clever politicking, or subterfuge, but a defense and promotion of the family. Without the family, he wrote, 'we are helpless before the State.' More than a half-century later, Pope John Paul II would similarly write that the family is 'the place of origin and the most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society.'"

There are two principal forces which are actively undermining the family as the cornerstone of civilization. The first is an ever-expanding government which supplants families and communities as the ordinary and normal means of support for the elderly, children, and the disadvantaged with wasteful and corrupt government programs and support for "community organizing" efforts.

The second, inextricably linked to the first, is the NOW, NARAL and Planned Parenthood "feminist" notion that a woman's most fundamental and important right is that of "reproductive freedom." James' work has focused in large measure upon combating these forces and exposing the movements and organizations acting in their support as intellectually and morally bankrupt.

It must also be acknowledged that few of Eden's critiques on James' application of Alinsky tactics are borne of an actual reading of Alinsky more than she has simply read the introduction and scanned the chapter headings. The ratio of conservative critiques about Alinsky that focuses on his tongue-in-cheek dedication to Lucifer versus anything substantive beyond that paragraph is likely to be 100:1. Eden and Doino write about a topic they know nothing about, have zero experience with, anchored on a book they have neither read nor understand.

To continue reading these types of Catholic authors is to further inculcate mediocrity into a movement that needs results. Eden has achieved a record height in snobbish conservative armchair commentary and a record low in loyalty to the true warriors of the conservative movement who have actively brought us results. Those of us who actually seek to make changes in society are wont to take risks — and are thus liable to get in trouble for them. Eden and her ilk are no help to the cause by turning their backs on the brave ones that take those risks when they get in trouble.

To those who would rather embrace the security of pompous legalism and pusillanimous do-nothing "activism," smugly raising their chins while throwing our movement's true, brave warriors under the bus for their boldness and creativity while they are already being chastised for it; to those whose contribution to the conservative movement is sitting in a safe, comfortable position while condescending to the game-changing contributions of those like James, Hannah and Lila, who have literally risked their security, lives, reputations and freedoms for the movement — on behalf of said movement — thanks, but we are no longer in need of your services.

© Christian Hartsock


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Christian Hartsock

Christian Hartsock, 24, is a director, screenwriter, producer and political columnist and activist... (more)

More by this author


Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 7: Politicized education

Pete Riehm
Often the dumbest are the most dangerous

Matt C. Abbott
Taking secrets to the grave: Father Kunz murder, 26 years unsolved

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Revelation Chapter 21: A narrative of two cities, exploring the heavenly city

Curtis Dahlgren
'Tis the season for vote buying and lying; smarty pants on fire

Madeline Crabb
The intentional takedown of America: Part two

Jerry Newcombe
The presidents and faith

Michael Bresciani
Trump says he will seek no revenge

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 6: 'An unaware and compliant citizenry'

Pete Riehm
Escape from New York before the Empire State strikes again!

Michael Bresciani
What is a prophet? Are there prophets in our world today?

Steve A. Stone
The world as I view it today
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites