AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
As the public learns more harrowing details about pro-life activist Mark Houck’s arrest at gunpoint in front of his family last September, outrage has continued to mount over his treatment by the Biden FBI and Department of Justice. Were it not for the efforts of groups like the Thomas More Society, the Chicago-based public interest law firm that defended Houck, he and many other religious Americans could be left to fend for themselves against increasingly hostile institutions controlled by the radical left.
Last September, the FBI sent legions of armed agents to raid Houck’s home near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Houck, a Catholic pro-life activist and father of seven, was arrested and charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act stemming from an incident outside an abortion center last year. As video evidence showed, Houck was praying the rosary outside a clinic with his son when a pro-abortion activist approached and verbally harassed them. Houck described how the abortion activist hurled expletive-laced insults at his son, which prompted Houck to shove him to the ground.
For this act, Houck faced 11 years in prison and a $350,000 fine—a sentence slammed by conservatives and religious freedom advocates as more clear evidence of the Biden administration’s hostility toward Christians. The Thomas More Society, which describes itself as “dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, religious liberty, and election integrity,” rose to the occasion to defend Houck in court. “The Biden administration has filed two brazenly defective and discriminatory charges against Mark Houck under the FACE Act,” said Mark Breen, a lawyer from the group. “This case is being brought solely to intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans.”
Houck was ultimately acquitted by a Pennsylvania jury in January, ending a months-long ordeal for him and his family.
The targeting of Christians by the FBI doesn’t stop with Mr. Houck, however. According to an internal memo leaked last month, for instance, the Richmond, Virginia FBI field office was targeting “traditionalist Catholics”—defined partially by the FBI as those who attend Latin Mass—as an “extremist” threat. Though the FBI has since announced a retraction of the document, those who practice the Catholic faith—as well as other American believers—rightly remain skeptical.
Although the Biden administration claims to have no animosity toward practicing Christians or any other faith-based or conservative groups, incidents like these have provided the American people with little reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. Over the course of the last few months alone, the DOJ has deployed FBI agents to target patriotic parents, raided the homes of their political opponents, and refused to lift a finger to stop the onslaught of violent attacks against crisis pregnancy centers and Catholic parishes in the wake of the June 2022 Dobbs decision.
During a March 1st Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) channeled frustrations over these acts in his viral questioning of Attorney General Merrick Garland. “You used an unbelievable show of force with guns that I just note liberals usually decry,” Hawley said of the Houck incident. “We’re supposed to hate long guns and assault-style weapons. You’re happy to deploy them against Catholics and innocent children. Happy to. And then you haul them into court and a jury acquits him in one hour. I suggest to you that is a disgraceful performance by your Justice Department and a disgraceful use of resources.”
Hawley’s line of questioning is a welcome sign for conservatives concerned about the Biden administration’s continued attacks on the Christian faith—and signals an increasing frustration among Christians and conservatives persecuted for their beliefs. In a recent interview, Houck suggested he was prepared to press charges against the FBI agents who stormed his home, indicating that resistance to the Biden administration’s anti-Christian bias is on the upswing. And should these attacks continue, the work of organizations like the Thomas More Society—who oftentimes represent the last line of defense for Americans persecuted for their beliefs—will be as significant as ever.
“You wouldn’t be here if the Trump administration was in the White House,” Houck recalled saying to the multitude of agents who stormed his home. This realization continues to grow among Americans of every faith—and suggests that, unless the Biden team brings its political and faith-based persecutions to end, they could soon face a massive reckoning.