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« Daily roundup | Main | The Point Radio: Letting Go »

May 31, 2009

Breaking: Abortionist George Tiller murdered

The controversial late-term abortionist was shot to death this morning . . . in church, of all places. Details are few right now, but we'll update later when we find out more. (Thanks to Laura for the tip.)

I wanted to lose no time in emphatically denouncing the crime. This is not something that any of us here would have wished on Dr. Tiller. Despite his own acts of violence, we are not to take the law into our own hands. Better to leave his life in God's hands and let him have every chance to repent and turn from his sins before facing his Creator.

But now we can only pray, may God have mercy on his soul.

Update: A 51-year-old male suspect is in custody.

Update: The "person of interest" has been identified as Scott Roeder -- possibly the same Scott Roeder who, as a member of an anti-government group, was arrested in 1996 after being caught with a bomb-triggering device. Also, President Obama released a statement on the killing.

Update: The following people and organizations have also denounced the killing:

National Right to Life Committee

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council (scroll down)

Troy Newman, Operation Rescue

Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Kansans for Life

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life

Concerned Women for America

Jill Stanek

Gov. Sarah Palin

Shaun Kenney, American Life League

Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family

(Special thanks to Kathryn Lopez for much of this information.)

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Comments

Christina

Well said.

Randy

Agreed. I am saddened by some responses I have seen across the net.

Diane Singer

Several of my former classmates in graduate school are pro-abortion, so my Facebook board has been lit up with their outrage over Tiller's murder. What I don't get is why they are not outraged over the thousands of children HE murdered.

The other thing I'm curious about is how any church would allow him to remain a member. Whatever happened to the notion of church discipline for members who are involved in habitual, heinous sin (and, certainly, a doctor who performs abortions on viable babies in the womb falls into this category).

Yes, I condemn the person who murdered Tiller; but I also condemn all the murders he committed.

patrick

I think it is kind of sad that this man was killed, but with my family and I being ultra conservative, Roman Catholic, and pro-life, I must say that it kind of had to be done in order to prevent more abortions in his clinic. I hate to see his life end like that, but it kind of needed to be done, but not in chuch. I think the suspect could have found a better place than a church.

Gina

No, Patrick, it did not "kind of have to be done." We cannot protect innocent lives through murder. It only makes everything worse, not least because it violates our own beliefs and values.

And for heaven's sake, do you think Tiller was the only abortionist in the country? Women who want to abort will still find someone to do it.

Fred

@Gina

Your response is what all Christians should echo. Pro-life activists like ourselves condoning Tiller's murder whatever the release is as anti-Christian as Martin Luther King advocating the mass murder of White people.

Frankly, we should not only be praying for Tiller's family, but also offering any emotional and financial support they need. That is being a true Christian.

LeeQuod

Amen, Gina - thank you for posting this immediately.

I do pray for the family and friends of the doctor.

I also pray for those who witnessed a heinous murder in what was once called a "sanctuary" for good reason.

It's interesting that we would pray that a man who commits the foulest of crimes would live to continue those crimes. But such is the world of Christians that we want decisions like putting someone to death to be done (if at all) by committee after long rational deliberation and after serious emotional reflection.

Not in a moment of passion by a single individual.

Not even if the result would be to stop one individual, and to scare away others.

Because even if we could craft an "ends justify the means" argument, we Christians would have to think about whose ends. We're beholden to not pursue our own, but God's.

Fred

A blogger at WORLD magazine weighs in on the murder of George Tiller:

http://online.worldmag.com/2009/06/01/on-the-death-of-the-wicked/

This excerpt really gave me pause:

[“‘Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord God, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live’?” Perhaps more chilling, for a Bible-toting assassin, would be Christ’s promise: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Perhaps this is why George Tiller’s murderer did not stand beside his freshly fallen corpse, but fled like a coward. Perhaps as he saw firsthand what it feels like to unjustly take up the Judge’s sword, he felt the cold shadow of it cross over his own neck.]

Hence, we should fear God's wrath if we are tempted to be a vigilante or condone it.

Andy

Check out what Randall Terry is saying. I foresee him spouting his bile on Fox in 4, 3, 2...

Andy

And maybe that DHS note a few months ago had a point: "Paralleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the 1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility and recruit new members. Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage."

Early word is that the murderer has a record decades long on the edge of right-wing terror, including an arrest for bomb-parts. And make no mistake, this murder was intended to send a message.

Anne Morse

Despite the long list of Christians and religious groups denouncing the murder, I fully expect to see "Law and Order" turn this into a "ripped from the headlines" episode in which America's hypocritical Christians applaud the gunning down of a late-term abortionist....

vikingmother

1. No activist (be it a radical bomber like Bill Ayers or a radical murderer of an abortionist like possibly this accused man) should use violence as a way to make their point.

This man (if indeed he is an anti abortion person) is guilty - as are any others advocating violence as a way to make their point.

2. People who don't know how the ghastly skull crushing procedure of late term abortions work - should search the Net.

3. People should read up on the controversies surrounding the "need" for so many late term abortions!

(i.e. do we destroy the brain in the womb because it's the best procedure and the mother is near death...or do we destroy the brain in the womb---because we bEAT a murder rap by killing the only part of the child still inside the womb - as babies get legal protection once they hit outside air...!

vikingmother

Second thot - Will Ms. Napolitano's infamous memo from Homeland Security (the one listing vets and possibly some activists like pro lifers as possible terrorist types)
NOW be used as a "club" against the mostly peaceful very large pro life movement? - lest we forget, a movement with over 50% supporters.

Andy

The DHS memo simply spoke the truth, pure and simple. The fact that far-right extremists are being politically marginalized will cause some of them to commit violent acts, that is, terrorism. The guy who murdered the parishioners of the Unitarian church in Tennessee was motivated by his hatred of liberals; that is documented in his own writings. Modern violent extremism in America is right-wing extremism. If the DHS report is a club, I say use it, or more stuff like this will happen.

Gina

"Military recruiter killed in Ark. shooting"
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gQACNshVFYt6M9CDykHq6DKqPhiwD98I121O0

So, Andy, must we now compose a new memo for the likes of Solicitor General Elena Kagan? If people shoot military recruiters, it must be the fault of those who opposed military recruiters, correct?

becky

I agree this was not the way to handle Dr. Tiller. It was wrong. And it has the potential of making him a martyr. But I wonder, if we were aware of someone who was regularly murdering 3 month old babies and the authorities refused, for whatever reason, to do anything about it. What would we do?

Andy

Gna, on one called the military recruiters baby-killers for year after year after year. You might want to wait until you hear the details of this incident. We pretty much know where the Wichita shooter was coming from. Do youknow that the AR incident was politically motivated?

Jason Taylor

"Modern violent extremism in America is right-wing extremism. "

You do recall Rodney King, don't you? Presumably they were smashing cars to show their devotion to William F Buckley?

Fred

@Andy

But didn't you just leap to the conclusion that ALL pro-lifers promote are violent extremists who should be "clubbed" by the DHS?

By your logic, then the Arkansas shooting proves that anti-war protestors are potential killers who need to be clubbed by the DHS.

rbk

Jacob Sullum to pro-lifers - "how is it possible to believe that fetuses are people with a right to life yet also believe that using deadly force to defend that right is wrong?"
http://www.reason.com/blog/show/133830.html

LeeQuod

One pro-lifer back to Jacob Sullum: It's reasonable to use deadly force provided you've been authorized to do so.

Ben W

Gina, Vikingmother, LeeQuod,

What do you do when law and society protects murder? If abortion really is the "American Holocaust", is it right to sit idly by and let people be slaughtered just because the majority votes yea? Would you let someone in your neighborhood kill 1-year olds, if the police ignored it?

Gina

What did activists do when law and society protected the murderers of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers? They worked to change the law and the society, and to keep the memories of those victims and others alive until justice could be done.

Would anyone have been better off if those activists had gone around shooting people instead?

TimC

Ben W,

You ask some difficult questions. Before I respond to those questions, can I ask what you would do in your hypothetical situation?

Two Christian beliefs are foundational for answering this question.

The first is that God is the ultimate avenger of injustice. The corollary, then, is that we (humans) are not responsible to correct every injustice by any means possible. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay."

The second is that the government (national/state/local/etc) receives its authority from God. Thus we are bound by the laws ordained by that government as if they were from God himself. Now, if those human laws compel us to do something that is clearly opposed to the revealed laws of God, we are given permission to resist. However, our default position is to live in obedience to the governing authorities.

Consequently, when presented with an injustice such as you describe, our responsibility is to work to eliminate the injustice while respecting the established laws and to work to change the law if necessary. In your hypothetical case, I would petition the authorities at the appropriate level to establish or enforce protections for the children being targeted. Simultaneously, I would work to shelter and provide for those who are targeted. Not surprisingly, these actions are also what pro-life advocates do in the case of abortions.

LeeQuod

Hey, everybody! Ben W's starting to understand why we didn't want Obama elected!!

LeeQuod

So is a baby a person? Was Dr. Tiller actually murdering people?

A decision in a local case could have bearing on that:

http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_060609_news_pregnant_woman_murder.567dd486.html

See the last section, "Roberts could face more charges".

Jason Taylor

As far as "would you let someone in your neighborhood kill a 1-year old if the police ignore it goes" that is entirely possible simply because they can't be everywhere. If by that you mean an abuser, then calling the police is the right thing to do. If a random marauder does this(at a time when police are not present), I believe personally attempting to rescue the hypothetical child is certainly permited by law. Perhaps most people would refuse but that is because most people are cowardly(or rather most people are not trained to be brave), and thus the question is more should you then could you.

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