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Abortionist Murdered, and Why Pro-Lifers are Conflicted

Supporters of abortion rights will use the murder of George Tiller as an opportunity to demonize all pro-lifers. Case in point, within hours of the report liberal bloggers began pointing fingers at prominent Conservatives as the root of such violence. Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly are some of the early scapegoats. Look for this type of corollary to be drawn this week.

Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy. But no matter how much you want to champion Tiller’s efforts to preserve women’s rights or present him as a devoted family man, I still can’t stomach the idea of third trimester abortions. Yet neither can I condone Tiller’s murder. And therein lies the rub.

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, seemed to skirt the issue of Tiller’s murder. From his statement as quoted in the Huffington Post:

George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

It is precisely this type of rhetoric, some will say, that incites violence against abortion providers. But if Scripture is true — that human beings are created in the image of God — then however you spin it, abortion IS “murder.” Or as Damon Linker asks in A Question for Pro-Lifers in The New Republic:

If abortion truly is what the pro-life movement says it is — if it is the infliction of deadly violence against an innocent and defenseless human being — then doesn’t morality demand that pro-lifers act in any way they can to stop this violence?

Thus Christians are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, logic and Scripture force us to conclude Tiller is a murderer who should be stopped. But on the other hand, taking justice into our own hands — especially as regards the execution of another human life — is equally skewed.

Al Mohler sums it up this way in A Wicked Deed in Wichita — A Test for the Pro-Life Movement:

The horror of abortion cannot be rightly confronted, much less corrected, by means of violence and acts outside the law and lawful means of remedy. This is not merely a legal technicality – it is a vital test of the morality of the pro-life movement.

Pro-lifers who wink at the bombing of abortion clinics and the gunning down of abortionists usually try to justify it on the grounds that lives are being saved. But attempting to forcibly impose a policy that we cannot get in place through democratic means is evidence of both social / political impotence and lack of trust in God. Furthermore, real justice is rendered by God, not the gun. And claiming to be the arbiters of God’s justice is a dangerous position.

Yes, George Tiller ripped human beings from the womb, prematurely jettisoning countless souls into eternity. But as hard as it may be to swallow, Tiller’s soul is equally precious to God.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • RebeccaLuElla June 1, 2009, 8:53 PM

    Mike, I agree with everything you said.

    But this thought came to me. Recently what's his name starred in a movie about the Nazi officer who tried to assassinate Hitler. How many people thought it was wrong for those in that plot to make the attempt?

    I'm not saying they were right or justified. It's just that few, few, precious few look at that historical event without thinking something along the line of, If only … Many consider the plotters to be heroes. Martyrs.

    I bring it up to point out, once again, the double standard we hold when it comes to abortion.

    Myself? Murder is murder. And the old line from my childhood: two wrongs don't make a right.


    • Mike Duran June 1, 2009, 11:07 PM

      Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous German Lutheran pastor, was part of the German Resistance movement. He was involved in plans to assassinate Adolf Hitler, involvement that led to his arrest and eventual hanging. Was Bonhoeffer wrong in plotting to murder Hitler? After all, murder is wrong. But seen through the lens of history, it's funny how much more difficult the question becomes.

  • Dayle June 1, 2009, 11:02 PM

    I understand the murder is murder philosophy. But sometimes killing is not the same as murder. ie war, self-defense, and the like.

    This, however, was murder.

    But wait, if I saw someone killing a 2yr old and I had to kill him to stop him, then it wouldn't be murder. But that's not the case here.

    The law does have a place in this line of thought and unfortunately, abortion is legal. Killing a 2yr old is not.

    And ultimately, this hurts our cause. Exposing what he really practiced ala Bill O'rielly was the best tactic. Now he's sort of a martyr.

    Also, I really wish he would have had a road to damascus moment. What better champion for the cause than a former critic.

  • Nicole June 2, 2009, 4:06 AM

    It seems there is always someone to bring injustice and to bring justice. Not always the way it seems it should be, not the way we envision righteousness. I, too, agree with all that you and Becky and Dayle have said. The irony is that one can always "Be sure your sin will find you out."
    This man practiced evil for a living. How he could puncture the brain of a viable infant and pull it from a womb and be an usher in his church is beyond my scales of reason. He was a 60+ year old man who knew what he was doing. Justification? None.
    It's possible his murderer will die as well, knowing exactly what he was doing and determined to do it anyway.

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