Death in the name of life

tiller_protest.jpg

The abortion debate is back in a big way with today’s killing in Kansas City Wichita of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions. He was killed in — of all places — his church.

The anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, was quick to separate itself from the killing. “We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning,” the BBC reports the group said on its Web site, which by afternoon was no longer available. And its founder, Randall Terry, wasn’t doing much to rachet down the passion:


“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.”

Another group, Stand True, was more direct about Tiller’s killing: it was wrong.


Stand True denounces the murder of abortionist George Tiller this morning in Wichita, KS. “We cannot kill people in the name of pro-life.” said Bryan Kemper, President of Stand True. “Answering the violence of abortion with more violence will not serve the babies or help the pro-life movement in any way.”

While Stand True is committed to ending the killing of innocent children through abortion, we are committed to non-violent, peaceful action. The pro-life movement cannot take the law into their own hands and turn to vigilantly justice.

We are praying for the family of George Tiller and those in his church while he was shot. We know that healing can come through Jesus and pray those involved in the abortion industry will turn to Christ.

Another group, the Christian Defense Coalition, also said it would condemn the killing, but not until Monday.

(File photo: Getty Images)

  • joel

    what a sad, shameful act by those who claim to be “pro-life.”

  • MNguy

    Extremists feed upon the rhetoric produced by Operation Rescue and Stand True to act out their hallucinations. No amount of self-serving denials from these organizations can obscure the provocations that motivate deranged proxies taking a gun and imposing god’s law on whomever they choose. This is a taste of life under a fundamentalist regime similar to Afghanistan. We should be grateful to the founding fathers for a clear separation of church and state.

  • Bismuth

    Clearly all pro-lifers share the guilt. /sarcasm

    And Bob, just nit-picking here, but he was shot in Wichita, not Kansas City.

  • Joanna

    And let’s call this killing by its proper name: assassination: “to murder [a prominent person] by surprise attack, as for political reasons.” Tiller had already been shot, his clinic bombed, vandalized, and he had been subjected to constant harrassment. To gun him down in his church is not only an act of terrorism against women’s health care providers but against his church as well. Nobody there is safe.

  • Tom

    Ah yes, another act by a “Good Christian.” Makes me once again remember why I am a non-believer. These religious nuts never cease to amaze me with their astounding hypocrisy. They make me sick.

  • Kim V

    Joanna-

    Let’s go one step further and use the term another blog I read is using: Terrorism. One extremist religious pro-“life” zealot using terror and fear to intimidate abortion providers and other pro-choicers.

  • kennedy

    This was a crime and is a tragedy. Tom, don’t use it as an opportunity to lump all people of faith with the criminal.

  • Jen

    This is indeed a very sad story and is directly contrary to the term “pro-life”.

    I decided to browse around on Operation Rescue’s website to see what types of campaigns they have been launching against doctors like Dr. Tiller. They may denounce his murder to the press, but they use nothing but extremely loaded terms when communicating with their followers. Terms such as “abortion mills”, “death mills”, “bloodshed of the womb”, and even refering to Dr Tiller a few months ago as “a man who is wholly owned by darkness”.

    Combine that with the continually emphasis on the urgency in the battle being waged between good and evil, and it is a very dangerous combination.

    They may not have lit this fire, but it looks to me like they’ve been the ones handing out the matches.

  • JohnnyZoom

    This is a classic tragic no-winner situation.

    We have a dead man, and his family.

    We realize (or at least get a superficial impression of) how many nutters there are out there.

    We realize (or at least get a superficial impression of) how many bigots there are out there.

    No winners. Unless, of course, lawyers somehow get involved. :/

  • GregS

    I decided to browse around on Operation Rescue’s website to see what types of campaigns they have been launching against doctors like Dr. Tiller. They may denounce his murder to the press, but they use nothing but extremely loaded terms when communicating with their followers. Terms such as “abortion mills”, “death mills”, “bloodshed of the womb”, and even refering to Dr Tiller a few months ago as “a man who is wholly owned by darkness”. Combine that with the continually emphasis on the urgency in the battle being waged between good and evil, and it is a very dangerous combination.

    Frankly, I see no difference between this rhetoric and the standard fare at MoveOn.org or the Daily Kos.

    Can we all walk away from this with the lesson that extremist speech begets extremism?

  • Samantha

    I myself am extremely “Pro-life” and at first I was little upset and confused that another “Pro-life” person would choose to take someone else’s life. Doctor George Tiller took thousands of innocent babies’ lives before they even had a chance and I’m happy that he is gone, but doesn’t this whole situation give anyone who is pro-life a negative and hypocritical connotation?

    I’m pretty sure that I could never take another person’s life, but maybe this situation should be looked at from a different point of view. Pro-life is a very straight forward term for the most part; let’s give innocent people the chance at life. The keyword here is “innocent.” Babies are innocent and serial killers, well…not so much. So if a person kills a serial killer are they going against their own beliefs or are they merely a hero in disguise who is sacrificing one bad life to save thousands of innocent ones?

    If you knew Hitler’s intentions before the Holocaust, do you think you would take his life because you were so pro-life you wanted to give other lives a chance? I would take him out in a heart-beat. I know it sounds hypocritical at first, but it’s far from. In fact it’s more pro-life than any form of protest or belief. By killing a murderer you become a prolife activist and a pro-life hero.

    Obviously killing isn’t something for everyone, but we should stop looking at all killings as being the same. Each situation is different and for this very reason we need to look deeper into the differences between each one before we misjudge someone or something.

  • Elizabeth t.

    I went to church one morning (while living in Michigan). I had to push my way through the throng of people blocking my way into my church. They weren’t trying to keep me out, per se, but I could not simply walk into the building. These people had placards and picket signs objecting to abortion. I’m Roman Catholic, and – whatever my personal opinion – the Church has always had an absolutist stance on abortion being wrong. I was very confused as to why these people were picketing a Catholic Church.

    I and many other parishioners were extremely offended at some of the signs. Words are one thing. Big color photographs of aborted fetuses are totally uncalled for where my children are going. A five year old doesn’t even comprehend pregnancy, much less death.

    Why were these people there? The governor of the state went to church there. We were equally offended for her. We believed that she has the right to have a couple hours of completely personal time to worship. Time that shouldn’t involve being governor – just being a woman worshiping God.

    Far too many people become so obsessed with their passions and convictions that they stop seeing things quite rationally. In this case, being so “pro-life” that someone is willing to commit murder.

    I personally believe abortion is wrong. I also believe it ought to be legal and safe… until society can stop having unwanted children. [Yes, there are exceptions to everything, please let’s not go down that path]

    The hypocrisy is in calling a group “Pro-Life”. Most aren’t pro-life, they are simply anti-abortion. Call a spade a spade – these groups which focus on anti-abortion should call themselves such.

    Pro-Life means the respect and support of all stages of life. My 99 year old grandmother with failing health and failing mental abilities is as equally deserving of protection as someone’s baby or the mentally retarded fellow working at the coffee shop down the street. The mother of a child should be as deserving of protection as the father or the child.

    I would give more credence to claims of being pro-life, if there were actions and lobbying on behalf of someone other than an unborn child.

  • Kim V

    Samantha: What about all the women who died during self-induced or “home” abortions before abortions were legalized? What about all the women who continue to use these practices in states or cultures where abortions are inaccessible or so heavily stigmatized that the women would be shamed for years? Particulary in Dr. Tiller’s case of providing late-term abortions, a woman would need to have the procedure in a safe, clean, controlled environment by a medical professional, not in a bedroom with a coathanger. Yes this still happens. Are these women’s lives any less important than the lives of the fetuses that the anti-abortioners are trying to protect? By keeping abortion legal, we are keeping it safe.

  • Ahmed

    Good job on not associating the murderer’s religion with his henious acts.

    I am wondering if you would have given the same courtesy, if he were a Muslim.

    Or would have called him “Radical Islam?”

    Which BTW would be equivalent to calling him: “Radical Christianity,” as Islam is the religion, and Muslims are the people.

  • Bob Collins

    No need to wonder, Ahmed, unless you’re asking the question rhetorically without checking. But I think you’ll find your answer in any number of posts over the six months subsequent to this one.