Reflections on a year with LifeSiteNews
A little over a year ago, I was thrilled to have been hired as the Washington, D.C. correspondent for LifeSiteNews. I had long been familiar with LSN’s work – as a writer for an advocacy group in Washington, I had always trusted LSN to provide reliable reporting when it came to what was going on in the pro-life, pro-family movement.
Because of the professionalism and international scope of LSN’s reporting, I had always assumed the organization was much larger than it actually is. I was surprised upon my hiring to learn that really, it’s just a relative handful of really dedicated people working impossible hours to bring our readers high quality, well-researched content.
These people have become my family over the past twelve months. There’s a certain in-the-trenches camaraderie that naturally develops when you spend day in, day out together telling stories like the ones we have to tell. Recently, our social media coordinator wrote about a scary dream her friend had, a terrible forced-abortion scenario that left her hurting after it was over. Writing about exactly those kinds of situations every day has given me similar nightmares on numerous occasions. It’s nice to know there’s a group of people who understand completely how emotionally difficult this job can be, and support each other through the tough moments while celebrating our wins together.
Looking back on my first year at LSN, a few stories and events stand out as having really defined for me what our work is all about.
· The Elisa Bauer Case. Just a few weeks after I was hired, I was handed a story about a young disabled woman who was being pressured by a Reno judge to abort her baby. In the midst of a hundred stories about lies politicians had told, statements activists had made, and laws being debated, here was something visceral and real: A baby’s life hung in the balance, and it was up to us to tell her story. LSN’s coverage drove the national debate over that story, and in the end, our readership put such tremendous pressure on the wayward judge that he abandoned the plan to force the woman to abort. That was the first time I saw up close how powerful, how effective our reporting can really be. When the baby was born, we received a birth announcement from the family’s lawyer, who said, “You and your readers were a big part of God’s plan to save this baby. She is a beautiful little baby. I can't adequately express how seeing her face makes my heart full.”
· The March for Life. I had participated in the March several times before, but attending as part of the LifeSiteNews team made me appreciate just how difficult it is to reach the world with a message when the mainstream media are actively working to bury it. It was our job to make sure people saw and heard, through our photography and reporting, the incredibly energetic crowds of hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the U.S. who were passionately demonstrating for the abolition of abortion.
· The Kermit Gosnell Trial. This was a tough case for everyone to cover. The subject matter was horrific. Abortionist Kermit Gosnell was on trial for murder because he had repeatedly severed the spines of babies born alive after his botched late-term abortion procedures. Gosnell’s was one of those stories that gets into your brain and visits you while you sleep – nightmare fuel, I called it. At one point during the trial, I sat directly behind Gosnell, and he turned around and gave me a smile that chilled me to my bones. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night. But although the testimony in the case was exceptionally brutal, I found myself grateful for each additional atrocity exposed, for each fresh shock, because this case, like few others, truly illustrated the brutality of the abortion industry and the dark irony of late term abortion itself – if Gosnell had only been a more talented butcher, severing those babies’ spines while they were yet in the womb, he wouldn’t be facing three life sentences right now. It was only his laziness and lack of technical skill that damned him in the eyes of the law.
· The DOMA/Prop. 8 decision. I wasn’t surprised to see that supporters of natural marriage were in short supply during the ruling over DOMA/Prop. 8 in June. It seems vast swaths of people who previously supported natural marriage have simply given up the fight in the face of the seeming inevitability of marital redefinition. There is nothing we get more complaints about than our coverage of homosexuality. It’s just not popular to call the gay lifestyle abnormal or unhealthy anymore, and many people genuinely don’t understand why two people of the same sex who love each other shouldn’t be able to get “married.” All the same, we will keep reporting on this issue, because not only is there is value in defending natural marriage as the beautiful, life-giving union that it is meant to be, but someone has to defend the freedom of religious believers to hold certain actions to be sinful. That essential freedom is under constant assault today, on this issue more than any other – just witness Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty who got kicked off his own show after admitting he believes the Bible calls homosexual behavior a sin, or the cake baker in Denver who may face fines or even jail time for refusing to bake wedding cakes for a same-sex couples. It’s important to tell their stories so that everyone knows what’s at stake if we go down the road of redefining marriage.
These, of course, are just a few of the many stories we’ve covered this year. But these are the ones that stick out as illustrating the importance of the work we’re doing. They’re the ones that have stuck with me and given me a sense of purpose. I hope that you share that same sense of purpose and recognize the vitality of LSN’s role in bringing the light of truth to a darkened world.
If you agree that our work is tremendously important, now more than ever, I hope you’ll please make a much-needed generous donation to our Christmas campaign as part of your holiday giving this year.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to come, and may God bless you with abundance in 2014.
Washington, D.C. Correspondent