On May 31st, 2009, Dr. George Tiller, a physician from Wichita Kansas and the director of a women’s health care clinic in Wichita, was shot and killed during services at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher. My most sincere condolences go to his family and friends.
The responses of most people have been of shock and grief. Groups who oppose abortion and work to make it illegal have also expressed their sympathy. For example, Kansans for Life, a group who fought specifically against the operations of Dr. Tiller’s clinic released this statement:
Kansans for Life deplores the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and we wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to his family and friends.
Our organization has a board of directors, and a 35 year history of bringing citizens together to achieve thoughtful education and legislation on the life issues here in Kansas.
We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today.
I view this as a very appropriate response to such vile actions. Even Operation Rescue (now known as Operation Save America), a group which staged large-scale protests at Dr. Tiller’s clinic in 1991, had this to say:
We are shocked at this morning’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. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Some people, however, seem to wholeheartedly approve of murder when it fits their misguided moral imperatives. Take, for instance, Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue (though he no longer leads the group). Mr. Terry released this statement on the day of Dr. Tiller’s murder:
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.
Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.
No condemnation of the shooting. No condolences for Dr. Tiller’s friends and family. No compassion. “…peacefully protest them…”?!? Peacfully protesting does not result in a man’s death. Randall Terry is a truly abhorrent example of what people sometimes call “Christian Values”.
Mr. Terry states that “Abortion is still murder”. Under the laws of the United States, abortion is not murder; a fetus is not a human being. One of Mr. Terry’s statements bothered me for another reason: “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.” This seems to me to imply that Mr. Terry believes that murdering physicians is among pro-lifers’ most effective actions.
Randall Terry is a religious extremist. I am probably not mistaken in assuming that Dr. Tiller’s murderer is also a religious extremist. These people will not rest until they can force everyone to abide by “the Law of God”.
What else has been in the news lately regarding religious extremists and “the Law of God”?
Pakistan’s military said Saturday troops had won back control of the main town in a key northwestern district from Taliban fighters in what would be a major achievement in a month-long offensive.
“Oh, but that’s different!” you might say. The only real differences are the number of casualties and the name of the religion. The Taliban wants Sharia law to be the law of the land. Religious extremists (generally Christian) in the United States want their own particular “Law of God” to be the law of the land.
Any person out there who thinks that opposing the Taliban is the right thing to do, but that the murder of Dr. Tiller was somehow justified because he performed abortions, is either a religious extremist themselves, or is a hypocrite of the highest order. We live in a secular society, and America is not a “Christian Nation”.
Islamic extremists and Christian extremists are not freedom fighters. They fight so that they can impose their own religious bigotry on everyone else. They’re all for religious freedom, as long as it’s only their religion. Why? Because they’re right, and everyone else is wrong. God told them so. And if God tells you that you should take someone’s life because it’s “His Will”, please take this advice first: Seek professional psychiatric help immediately. Voices in your head instructing you to kill people is usually evidence of very serious mental illness.