Politics & Policy

Was Brian Sims Courageous for Heckling an Elderly Pro-Life Protester?

State Rep. Brian Sims during debate in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2016. (Pennsylvania House Video/via YouTube)
How a former defensive lineman can heckle an elderly Catholic woman and walk away a self-styled hero.

Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims, who in the not-too-distant past was winning regional All-Americans for his work on Bloomsburg University’s defensive line, proudly broadcast his harassment of an elderly pro-life woman on Periscope last Thursday. A dog-bites man-story, apparently, in Pennsylvania politics.

The woman was protesting outside a Planned Parenthood office in Sims’s district, handing out cards to passersby and praying for the lives of unborn children. The defensive tackle–turned–state legislator approached the elderly protester with unwavering moral certitude, proceeding to mock her age, gender, and race using the standard left-wing schema.

“An old white lady,” the representative began, “telling people what is right to do with their bodies. Shame on you. Shame.”

“Shame” would have been the appropriate penalty for Sims, who embarrassed himself and his cause by heckling a senior citizen on the streets of his district. He continued inveighing against the protester, asking her with an insufferable conviction: “How many children have you clothed today? How about how many children have you put shoes on their feet today?”

One is not required, of course, to feed every hungry child in the nation before expressing opposition to the killing of unborn children. What’s more, if there are a significant number of children in the year 2019 running around the streets of Philadelphia without shoes, is there a more damning indictment of Sims’s work in the legislature?

“Instead,” Sims continued, “you’re out here shaming people for something they have a constitutional right to do. Who would have thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood telling people what is right for their bodies?”

Abortion is not an enumerated right in the Constitution, even as Roe’s majority contorted itself to find a “penumbra” emanating from the document to guarantee it. It is, however, remarkable to see Sims’s apparent affinity for our founding documents; he is working overtime, I’m sure, to prevent obstreperous protesters from “shaming” the owners of semi-automatic weapons as they exercise their Second Amendment rights.

This second (of many) invocations of race by Sims is strange. Who is the racist in this scenario, exactly? Is it the woman hoping to reduce the number of minority children who are aborted, or the Democratic legislator who celebrates as empowerment the fact that minority women choose to kill their unborn children?

Throughout the entirety of Sims’s eight-minute diatribe, he seemed unsure of whether Christianity itself was worthy of condemnation, or whether this particular protester (who silently prayed the Rosary as she was verbally accosted by a state official) was a bad representative of Christianity. At one point, Sims invited her to “talk about your Christian faith, about how your Christian faith believes in shaming people, about how your Christian faith believes in telling people that you know what’s right for their bodies.” That Christianity would assume all that people are created by God in the image of their Maker and are therefore morally valuable in every stage of life is repugnant, it seems, to Sims.

But later on in his churlish monologue, Sims insisted that “there is nothing Christian about what you’re doing, there is nothing loving, nothing kind; this is a racist act of judgment and you have no business being out here shaming people for something they have a right to do.” Sims now claimed that the loving, kind, and Christian thing to do would not be to protest the killing of unborn children. Instead, the truly “Christian” act would be to encourage women to stamp out the spark of creation resting in their wombs. A remarkable about-face.

Only in the upside-down world of leftist grievance politics would Sims be viewed as anything but a contemptible bully, feigning victimhood to harass those who wield far less actual power than he does. Sims happens to be gay, and from a progressive perspective, that exempts him from the scorn that would otherwise be directed at someone with his skin color and genitals. This immaterial and intimate detail about his personal life grants him membership in that informal group of Americans for whom all measure of discordant social behavior can be justified through elaborate rationalizations about “power dynamics” and “spheres of oppression.” The unborn child in the womb and the elderly rosary-wielding protester were far less vulnerable, intersectionality would insist, than a former defensive lineman with a postgraduate degree who sits in a state legislature in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.

To be oppressed in 2019.

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