The slaying of George Tiller has caused an odd twist in the abortion debate. Those in favor of abortion rights are complaining about the taking of his life while some in the pro-life community have taken a more relaxed few of his murder. To be fair, those opposing abortion who accept murder are very few but their existence is highlighted by left leaning reporters and give the false impression that all of us approve of murder. Also, those who support abortion do not all support the idea of partial-birth abortion. Nevertheless, the abortion supporters are winning the media contest. What happened was terribly wrong and must not be accepted or condoned.
The Murder of George Tiller Was Wrong
We previously wrote that “…the murder of the abortion doctor was wrong. Life is sacred – yes, even his.“ There is no justification for his murder. The man charged with his death, Scott Roeder, will face the judicial consequences of his actions as he should. God will further determine his eternal fate as he will with Dr. Tiller.
Christians and activists have no right to take vengeance into their own hands (Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 94:1; Romans 12:19). The root of our argument is that life is sacred; it must be held in highest regard and carefully protected. Abortion is wrong because it fails to respect the life given all people. When those demanding sanctity for all life become the takers of life then there is confusion and division within the community. Christians must respect all life.
The well-known fringe group from Westboro Baptist church does much harm to the cause of Christ with their foolish messages such as “God Sent The Shooter.” God did not send the shooter. He grieves over the hundreds of innocent lives taken by Tiller but also over the murder of the man who now must answer for his choices and actions. The power of our message lies in the truth and character of those who speak it. This harms us all even though we do not agree with the actions.
Some will reason that Dr. Tiller, one of only three U.S. doctors known to perform partial-birth abortions, should have been arrested by the state for performing such procedures. That conclude that since partial-birth abortions are legal under both Kansas and U.S. law a citizen justifiably took the law into his own hands. This was an act, they say, of civil disobedience and was appropriate. Such thinking rests on the idea that we should obey God rather than men (Acts 4:1-20; Acts 5:29). Certainly the apostolic example demonstrates a willingness to disobey when civil government interferes with obedience to God but that is not what happened here.
Civil disobedience is often a mask for outright lawlessness. Christians should not disobey civil authority except under extreme conditions. The ancient Christians suffered reproach, shame, assault, torture and death at the hands of their Roman government but did not resist. Innumerable occassions of unrighteousness could be cited against the Roman Empire. Still, Jesus commanded men to pay their taxes and respect the laws of the land. The true battle against abortion will not be fought with guns and weapons or even with laws and legislation. The real war is fought in the hearts of the women who make the decision. While we can and should influence and pressure politicians to restrict and eliminate abortion we need to work just as actively to teach our children about their sexuality, teach women the horrible facts of abortion and provide reasonable alternatives and solutions for the birth of children not wanted.
This event has unfairly cast a long and false shadow over those who oppose abortion. Scott P. Roeder, the man charged in the murder of Tiller, is used as a picture of what all pro-lifers are like. In reality, Roeder is a mentally ill man with a long history of criminal acts. He is not typical of most pro-life activists. Some however find that they can embarrass and harm the pro-life movement by using Roeder as its poster child. This is unfair and dishonest. Abortion opponent and leader of Operation Rescue, Tony Newman says of the killing, “It was not justice, but vigilantism, which must be abhorred by a society that embraces the rule of law over anarchy.” Newman even bemoans the fact that the Tiller abortion clinic has now closed his doors. He fears unstable people may get the idea that killing abortionists is good and productive.
While pro-life supporters are being slandered, Tiller is being lionized. One writer speaks of the “assassination” of the doctor while others speak of his great support for the community and especially for women. What Dr. Tiller was doing was wrong and should have been stopped – just not like this.
We cannot and do not agree with those who perform or support abortions and we cannot compromise with them. We must not be discouraged when we are reproached for standing firm. Be strong and use your influence. You are on the side of truth!
So, what do you think of the shooting of George Tiller? Leave your comment below.