"Are we here conflating acts of hostility against churches to acts of violence against these pregnancy centers that you all talk about? Is that what we’re conflating today?" Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) (above, left) unhappily asked witness Arielle Del Turco during her testimony Tuesday in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
“No, these are both covered in the FACE Act," Del Turco, of the Family Research Council, attempted to explain between Johnson’s constant interruptions.
The congressman, however, claimed that Republicans invited her as a witness to “confuse the public” about the attacks.
Del Turco’s stated purpose before the House Judiciary Committee was to point out how the DOJ could – but is not – using that same federal law to find and prosecute people attacking churches and pregnancy centers, too. A report she read from shows the number of attacks in the last five years which have increased dramatically.
“We noted a recognizable increase in frequency over the course of that reporting period,” Del Turco testified. “These acts include vandalism, arson, bomb threats, gun-related incidents, and interruption of worship services. All of these are punishable by the FACE Act.”
Pro-life activists are now well aware the FACE Act was used by the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute Catholic leader Mark Houck, an attempt a federal jury disagreed when it acquitted him.
'Case has not been made'
The reason Rep. Johnson objected to her testimony was unclear but he appeared to be complaining Del Turco was suggesting the FACE Act protects pregnancy centers, which are openly despised by Democrats, as well as houses of worship.
Despite hundreds of recorded incidents at this point, Johnson suggested “the case has not been made that there have been acts of violence against these centers.”
Not only have those acts of violence been happening across the country but the fire bombings, vandalism, and spray-painted threats qualify as acts of domestic terrorism under federal law.
At one point in his confrontation, Johnson asked if any “bombings” have been reported against churches.
“Yes,” Del Turco replied.
“Bombings?” Johnson, sounding surprised, asked.
When the witness went on to describe a pipe bomb incident, the congressman downplayed that example.
“But no bomb? No bombing? Correct?” the congressman insisted.
“I guess not,” Del Turco, somehow smiling at the congressman’s comments, replied.
Rep. Johnson then went on to claim there have not been any physical assaults at churches, which is not true. AFN reported in an April story an employee at a Catholic church in Washington state was spray-painted in the face by a vandal (pictured at right) who threw a rock through the church’s glass doors.
Reacting to her treatment by the Democrat, Del Turco summarized their confrontation in a Twitter post.
“It’s a shame @RepHankJohnson doesn’t understand the FACE Act,” she wrote. “Had he given me the chance, I would have loved to explain it to him.”