On Holy Thursday, a trio of teenage girls (accompanied by an adult woman) were praying outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia when Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims approached them, recording the interaction, and called them “pseudo-Christian protesters who have been out here shaming young girls for being here.” Rep. Sims then offered to donate $100 to Planned Parenthood for any viewers who identified the three high school girls.
This tactic of publishing private or identifying information about someone is known as “doxxing,” and is a common way of encouraging the harassment of private citizens. Many people, particularly women, who have been doxxed have experienced harassment both online and off, including death threats. In fact, in another video, Rep. Sims encourages the doxxing of an older woman and says, “If you can give me her address we’ll protest out in front of her home.”
It’s hard to imagine how you would react when confronted by this kind of harassment. Harder still to imagine how you would feel if it was your own daughter who was the target of this bullying. However, in breaking this story on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick received a call from the father of one of the teenage girls who was threatened by Rep. Sims. Mark from Philadelphia was listening to The Patrick Madrid Show and called in to give his perspective on the event.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her and these girls,” he said of his daughter. “They were out there and it was Holy Thursday. They were down there praying peacefully at the Planned Parenthood clinic. Praying the rosary, just offering up the sacrifices of the Triduum on behalf of the unborn and the moms facing these unplanned pregnancies.”
On what happened during the incident with Rep. Sims, Mark said, “He just approached them, unsolicited and began to berate them and record them on the sidewalk. They just kind of responded peacefully and walked away from the situation. He continued to berate a young man that was there praying as well.”
Patrick commended the young girls on their poise and peacefulness, telling Mark, “My hat is off to them. Please, please share that with your daughter and with the other girls. I was so grateful to see how poised and polite they were. They didn’t get angry. They didn’t, you know, do anything. They were great examples of graciousness in the face of that kind of bullying.”
During the course of the conversation, Mark shared how he first learned of this incident between his daughter and the state representative.
“I remember that day,” he said. “She came home and said, ‘Dad, you’re not gonna believe this. Some strange guy came up and started recording me.’ I kind of played it off and said, ‘You know, that happens in these situations.’ I’ve been to events before where often those on the other side of the fence are making recordings, or shouting, or harassing us. I didn’t realize that it was actually an elected state representative.”
After learning that it was a state representative that was attempting to doxx his daughter, Mark viewed the interaction as a learning experience. He told Patrick, “I think one of the things she’s learned is that here’s someone, an elected official, kind of stepping out of their bounds in this situation and shutting down free speech. And that’s a real threat. That’s a real problem that we could face as a nation if politicians begin to shut down opposing viewpoints. And I think that’s certainly a learning situation for her.”
“I’m really proud of these kids for being that witness,” he said. “For being that silent witness and praying, and I really believe it’s bringing about a wake-up call about not only defending the unborn, but also religious freedom and freedom of speech.”
One of the phrases that Rep. Sims repeated in his interactions with the teenage girls and with lone woman in front of Planned Parenthood was that these people were “pseudo-Christians” and that there was “nothing Christian, or loving, or godly about what you’re doing.” On his daughter being attacked for standing up for the beliefs of her faith, Mark said, “It made us think of the reading from just this past Sunday, where the apostles walked away, rejoicing at the fact that they were persecuted for the name of Jesus.”
And although Rep. Sims no doubt expected support for his antics, the opposite has proved true. He has issued an apology of sorts on Twitter, and has motivated those in the pro-life movement to stand against the suppression of their constitutional rights.
“I know that my daughter has been motivated,” Mark said. “She goes to a local Catholic high school here and now she wants to be involved in leadership in the pro-life club because of this. She’s seeing it as a motivation to get more involved. … So, you know, God can take what is a bad situation and turn it into a really positive thing for the unborn.”
Listen to the full conversation here: