A man in Dallas, Texas is facing charges after explicitly stating (by filing papers in a federal court) that he will use deadly force to stop an abortion. In the filing, he asked for a restraining order against law enforcement, asking that “officers not be allowed to harm him if he had to harm someone else.” He went so far as to name the specific clinic along with the date and the time when he would pay his visit.
From the MSNBC article:
Erlyndon Joseph “Joey” Lo, 27, of Plano, filed documents there Friday saying his religious beliefs entitled him to use deadly force to prevent an abortion. He listed the name of a clinic, its address and the time he was going to show up â€” noon that day.
“I plan on saving at least one human life in Dallas, Texas,” Lo wrote.
Fortunately, the FBI takes these kinds of threats pretty seriously, especially one that includes such detailed specifics, and Lo is now facing two charges, one for using interstate commerce to communicate a threat to injure and another for threatening force to “intimidate and interfere” with clients and employees of a reproductive health clinic.
Twenty-seven year old Lo, a Southern Methodist University law school graduate who lives with his parents, is serving as his own attorney, which may explain the absurd nature of the class-action lawsuit that he’s filing, seeking “more than $999 trillion in damages.” He’s also asking the court to pay him $1,000 per hour in attorney fees. He has also filed suit against the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to outlaw abortion.
Like almost all abortion rights opponents, Lo’s stance is based on religious belief.
From the Dallas News article:
He says he has been a Christian since he was in fourth grade.
“I accepted Christ into my life when watching TV. Some guys were really strong and breaking ice. They invited me to accept Jesus into my life and ask him to forgive me for the ways I sinned. I did so, and I was changed,” according to his site.
After doing “a lot of research on Wikipedia and the Internet,” he “decided to become a Catholic. Today I am a good Catholic, and I’ve never been better.”
And from the MSNBC article (emphasis mine):
“My religious beliefs include the beliefs that an individual is alive at the moment of conception, abortion is murder and is the worst murder of all murders possible because these babies are completely defenseless, and I am entitled under my religious beliefs to use deadly force if necessary to save the innocent life of another,” Lo wrote.
Where Lo differs (outwardly, anyway) from many others who oppose abortion rights is in his belief that he is entitled to use deadly force. Whether he thinks this makes him a sort of “holy warrior” is unclear, but what is clear is that religious belief is the root cause of his self-righteous, extremist stance. Not rational thinking, not reasoned morality, not scientific fact, not biology… religion.
This isn’t some radical form of Islam, either. Lo is Catholic. Not only is he Catholic, but he considers himself a “good Catholic.” There are, of course, those who will say that he’s not a “real” Catholic, but for every person who says that, there are plenty more who will make identical counter claims. It’s the “No True Scotsman” fallacy and doesn’t hold water. He’s a true Catholic… a true Christian… as much as any other Catholic Christian. Obviously he holds some varying beliefs from some other Christians, but that doesn’t make him less of one.
Religion encourages fuzzy thinking and superstition. It encourages unquestioning acceptance without supporting evidence. It encourages blind obedience in (questionable) authority. It encourages a self-righteous, unwavering belief that it, alone, reveals truth, defines morality, and creates meaning.
It creates a self-perpetuating fantasy world… where people like Joseph Lo thrive.