By now you’ve probably read that Dr. George Tiller was gunned down on Sunday as he attended church in Wichita, Kansas.Â Police have arrested a suspect named Scott Roeder.Â The picture is rapidly developing, but it appears that Roeder was known within the anti-abortion movement as well as the so-called “Freemen” movement as “obsessed with abortion” and that his motivations were religious.
I had about 15 seconds of hope on Sunday that the murder of George Tiller (who performed late-term abortions and thus became one of the men most hated by the anti-abortion crowd) would be a wake-up call for those whose rhetoric toes right up to the line of “incitement to imminent lawless action” drawn by the Supreme Court’s “Brandenburg Test.”
But no.Â Abortion opponents are more concerned that Tiller’s murder will make the movement look bad than they are that a man was murdered (while at church, no less).Â The Eye of Sauron released a statement today, saying “The Catholic League unequivocally condemns the killing of serial killer, Dr. George Tiller.”Â The despicable Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, spoke at the National Press Club on Monday.Â In the same breath he denied that the leadership of the pro-life movement bore any responsibility for Roeder’s actions, and bragged about how he taught his followers to be peaceful, but concluded that “George Tiller was a mass murderer and–horrifically–reaped what he sowed.”Â Mere seconds after delivering his statement, Terry can be heard off-camera saying “I like Guinness, for those of you who would like to have a beer somewhere.Â I prefer my chicken wings really hot and a little crispy.”Â Good to hear he’s so pro-life he can think about blowing the suds off a couple after learning about the cold-blooded murder of a fellow human being.
[I should note that Randall Terry hasn’t been associated with Operation Rescue since 1991, and that O.R. issued this statement on Sunday: “We are shocked at this morningâ€™s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tillerâ€™s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.” How nice.Â Meanwhile, former Religious Right-winger Frank Schaeffer issued a strange mea culpa at Huffington Post.]
What’s really ironic is those who are driven by “Christian charity” to condemn abortionists cannot be bothered to look into their Bibles to find what the Good Book says about it.Â The answer is nothing.Â Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament, much less that it should be punishable by death.Â There are a lot of things in the Old Testament that warrant the death penalty (some of them pretty trivial), but Jehovah is remarkably glib when it comes to punishing violence.Â Read Exodus 20.Â Killing a man, striking or even cursing your parents, or kidnapping a man for the purpose of selling him into slavery: death penalty.Â But kill your slave, you get a punishment, but not death.Â The closest the Bible gets is in talking about what happens if a woman miscarries as the result of accidental injury.Â It’s amazing that God couldn’t be bothered to issue unambiguous, unequivocal instructions on how to deal with something as important as abortion.Â So how is it His 21st century followers are so certain when God Himself wasn’t?
Nobody likes abortion.Â I don’t think it’s unfair to describe it as a necessary evil.Â Who wouldn’t like to create a society in which abortion was both unwanted and un-needed?Â But how many times can you label someone engaged in a lawful trade as a “serial killer” and a “mass murderer” before the message will finally get through to somebody whose hingers might not be screwed in too tight.Â Can you then disavow any responsibility?Â I wonder.