... I was told that O’Keefe had secretly recorded his conversation with Dale Ahlquist and me at the closing banquet of the Chesterton conference months earlier!
This week James O'Keefe contacted me, quite angry that I had written that and that Mark Shea had run with it on his blog.
James O'Keefe denies recording our private conversation at the Chesterton Banquet in 2011, and after sharing quite a few messages back and forth on Facebook, I must say I believe him. His explanation for how I heard what I heard makes sense, and so allow me to offer him here publicly an apology.
In addition, James pointed out that I should have contacted him when I heard from my source that he had recorded me back in 2011, to verify or at least to get his reaction to that claim.
He is quite right. It was unprofessional of me not to do that.
As I explained to James, this is the era or self-published journalism, and sometimes we self-published journalists don't do what a professional journalist should. That's no excuse, but it is an explanation.
And let me go on to say that, although I disagree with some of O'Keefe's and Live Action's tactics, I think both he and Lila Rose are brave and daunting young people who are fighting on the right side of the battle. I have said that from the beginning, and it needs reiterating here, especially after all of the theological tiffs that have ensued over Lying.
But let me also add that, beyond lying as lying, there's the question of guile. I personally think we're skating on thin ice when we compromise with guile.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him: and he saith of him: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile. (John 1:47)
As I recently wrote to a friend ...
Guile has in it all that duplicity and those machinations, mixed with a bitterness - and that's no way to win hearts for Jesus; but that's a place where many pro-lifers, in their frustrations, have found themselves.
And referring to John 1:48 & 49 ...
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
I go on ...
And Nathaniel, whom Our Lord calls an "Isrealite in whom there is no guile" immediately after Nathaniel's rather snarky comment about Nazareth - Nathaniel abandons all guile the moment he knows he was seen beneath the tree by the One who moves the breeze that moves the tree. It's that abandonment of cynicism, of second-guessing, of defensiveness, of worldly pride and regard for our damaged egos - it's that child-like acceptance of Jesus that requires us to be born again - that's what we seek.
There is something heroic about James O'Keefe and about Lila Rose - heroic, noble and lonely.
I pray that they shed any tactics that involve guile, for only then will their true heroism shine through.
Meanwhile, I'm sorry I've hurt James by reporting something I had been told that turned out to be false.
He is an upstanding young man, and he forgives me. In fact, he says he will be sending me his book, which I look forward to reading and reviewing here.