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 (; ; ). 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 (; ). 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.
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35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.’ (ESV)
94:1 O Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth! (ESV)
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (ESV)
4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (ESV)
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. (ESV)