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June 3, 2009

Blaming Pro-lifers for Tiller's Death

As activists and journalists try to make sense of George Tiller's murder, some are trying to link the pro-life movement with the killing while others are trying to separate the two.

"People have a right to disagree about abortion, but it's impossible to separate today's tragedy from the violent language that has been directed for years at doctors like George Tiller," a statement from People for the American Way states. "Those who have inflamed emotions and dehumanized their opponents around the issue of abortion should take pause before they continue such dangerous rhetoric."

The L.A. Times responds by saying that Tiller's killing should not be exploited for political gain.

"It's unfair to ask antiabortion activists to muffle their message because it might inspire an unbalanced individual to commit an atrocity," the editorial concludes.

Claremont McKenna College professor Jon Shields wrote a piece for Christianity Today's site on the relationship the pro-life movement with its radical fringe.

Both the radical and moderate wings of movements strangely drive one another in a cycle that is simultaneously vicious and virtuous. We can only hope that imprisoning Tiller's killer will put an end to abortion-related murders, and that Tiller's death will encourage the pro-life mainstream to redouble its commitment to civility and public reason once again.

On a slightly separate note, James Kirchick argues in The Wall Street Journal why the Religious Right can't be compared to Islamist extremists.

As for conservative Christians' contemporary political endeavors, lobbying to ban the teaching of evolution in schools or forbidding same-sex marriage simply does not threaten society in quite the same way as the genital mutilation of young girls or the bombing of the London transit system.
...the Christian right's responsible reaction to the death of George Tiller should put to rest the lie that Judeo-Christian extremists are anywhere near as numerous or dangerous as those of the Muslim variety.


People for the American Way - whose very name insidiously implies all who disagree with them are being "un-American" - has once again gone overboard, linking all strong pro-life rhetoric with a vicious murder by a deranged individual.
Curiously, in the same breath they say pro-lifers have "dehumanized their opponents." Pot, meet kettle.

I found the Shields article a bit weak. Do we lack the conviction to condemn the radical (and dishonest) rhetoric that the more vocal pro-life activists use? Apparently we do. It is hypocritical to condemn Roeder's actions if tomorrow we send out fundraising letters that employ rhetoric that may suggest that Roeder's actions are justified.

The cynicism here is unbelievable to me. "The quaint notion" that the Religious Right isn't as bad as Bin Laden? So now preaching that homosexuality is a sin (which could be as simple as reading any one of several Bible passages which explicitly state that) is the same thing as flying a plane full of innoncent people into an office tower? Please tell you me you don't resort to that kind of logic in court. I'm sure if you tried hard enough you could pin every evil thing in the world from poverty to hangnails on the awful, terrible, smelly, rotten monstrosity that is the Religious Right.

Did you even bother to read the Shields piece? Operation Rescue as an organization has virtually no members. Why? Because most evangelicals don't like what they do. I'm one of those. But heaven forbid there be people in the world who don't look like the straw man that makes you so angry. Just keep hating on Operation Rescue and the extremists that the media loves to cover (Fred Phelps, etc, etc), and the rest of us will keep trying to make the world a more just place as civilly and faithfully as we know how.

"Kill a queer for Christ" sported on a car bumber bar.
Not too far to jump to a real killing of a doctor whose actions that are hated for illogical reasons. Two differnt issues - same mentality. In the UK it is not all that long ago that a paedaedrician's house was wrecked by a bonehaeded vigialante crowd, who could not spell pedophile. It is clear that Dawkins main theis of the vile dangers of religion is well made.

I am really sadden by all that is going on in this world... some people who say they are followers of Christ and they are willing to kill a doctor who performs abotions...its so sad. And kill a Queer for Christ.... WOW... I can tell you that none of these actions were a reflection of Jesus when he walked this earth

Uh, People for the American Way is not conservative or right ring, It is liberal and left wing so who cares what it says. And the title of this magazine site says it is a evangelical magazine meaning it has an evangelical leaning. The Presbyterian Magazine for Presbyterians means it leans towards Presbyterian viewpoints so be aware. You know like if you want to read about dogs you go to a dog magazine and if you want to read about cats you go to a cat magazine. It doesn't imply it disagrees with anyone anymore than a dog magazine implies it hates cats. The fact that non evangelicals are posting on this site and aren't being deleted tells all except apparently some this Evangelical magazine is more freer than magazines of other "beliefs". I'm not evangelical but I love this site and all of or some of the back and forth between posters without CT interference of any kind. My parents always told us kids never be surprised at what any human does or says because people are unfortunately people. Post On, Everybody.


Thanks for pointing this out to me. I honestly didn't see that it said evangelical. Truly all I noticed was Christianity Today. I thought it was a place for Christians who loved the Lord and sought to grow in a deeper knowledge of HIM to gather. I didn't realized the particular focus.

My apologies to everyone for my postings. Had I known this was an evangelical site I would not have made any comments here.

Christian Lawyer,

"the American Way" refers to a single ("the") American way, explicitly stating that there is no other. It's like Superman fighting for "truth, justice and the American way," as opposed to the un-American way (in cultural context, Soviet Communism). While those black and white Superman shows were coming out, the House Committee on Un-American Activities was busy stopping Reds into the 1960s, well after McCarthy was disgraced. So whenever I hear "the (singular) American way," I think that's a good reason to suspect an intent to suppress dissenting views as un-American.

"Christianity Today, A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction" simply means that it's an Evangelical magazine focusing on Christian topics. Does the title "Newsweek" imply it contains all the news of that week? No. It just means it deal with news, weekly. Obviously, magazines titles have room for artistic license. But I think our culture should not stand for anyone, right or left, who thinks they corner the market on what it means to be an American - and the name "People for the American Way" clearly implies market-cornering. As one fellow put it, the American eagle needs the right and left wing to fly; neither wing is less or more American than the other.

Pertaining more to this topic, let's be honest about who we are, whether pro-life or pro-choice, but let's condemn the murder of Dr. Tiller together. Rather than viewing people as the enemy, let's focus on the issues and try to see the "bad guys" as precious, human beings made in God's image - yes, even the Religious Right, even People for the American Way.

don't stop posting! We need you to keep things interesting!

James Kirchick clearly closes his eyes to the whole violent history of christianity, as well as the current violence of language, pointed out by Brendon. Of course let us not to overlook the strong conviction that women should submit to the authority of their husbands. There is much bubbling violence within the christain right, that is barely hidden, let alone the perverse male dominated structures - so much for family values.

If the killer was not driven by the issues of the Religious Right, what was he driven by?

I think it is time Americans starting taking responsibility for their words. Where is the guilt over the thousands of dead women and children in Iraq by the churches that vigorously supported the invasion?

Whether it be someone on Fox News or an activist organization (wait, I think those two are the same), when we couple access to millions of people with inflammatory rhetoric we end up with mob behavior.

Let us compare the number of liberals killed by conservatives in churches to the number of conservatives killed by liberals in churches.

Christian Lawyer,
now you're making sense to me. You said I "deny People for the American Way's right to claim that they speak for what they believe to be THE American Way. This is precisely what Focus on the Family does" through words like "family values" etc.

I agree that some RR language morally equivalent to PFTAW. Now I have no problem with pro-life/-choice language; it points out the real distinction that one side supports a choice, the other defends a life form. But "Family values" is equivalent to "the American Way." So when you suggest PFTAW and the RR are morally equivalent in some ways - You know what, I'm going to have to agree with you there.

But I still have a couple objections.

First, you're furious about the Religious Right (RR) using the same language as PFTAW, but defend PFTAW - that's a double standard. Ditto for your language about the RR being cowardly and afraid of the marketplace of ideas - um, and PFTAW borrowing McCarthyite language isn't? Either condemn both or defend both, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Second, I don't deny PFTAW's rights to say anything, I just say their language is reprehensible. Indeed, saying that I'm denying somebody's right by stating my opinion is firebrand language. It's that kind of language that shuts down the conversation and drowns your own words in others' ears.

Brendan, Christian Lawyer

After listening to what you both said and giving it some thought you are right. Thank you for your perspectives.

I now have quite a bit to catch up on.

Brendan: The word Christianity encompasses all Christianity not a particular Christianity or part of Christianity, that's probably why the founder of this magazine added the evangelical aspect. Even within my denomination, there are evangelical, union, Catholic, etc. aspects/churches of the denomination but all of these arms and legs believe in the basic tenets of the denomination but each Church can be more liberal or more conservative/stricter or even practice some of the ways Catholics might do a part of a service.
Going from one denominational Church to another will show little nuances but the basic belief will be there. I believe Christianity Today was founded by Baptists which can also have nuances from Church to Church but still be Baptist. Unlike the Catholic Church which is the same no matter the Church. Mass is Mass and the beliefs are Catholic period. That's my point. I don't get your point. I still like the freedom of this site, no interference from its editors. They put a story on line and let everybody go at it. You can't even do that in the local newspaper without the chance of the editor not condoning your viewpoint in its editorial section and I've seen that happen. The power of the press is left up to its editor not the readers or the locals reading the newspaper. Posting here is left up to whoever wants to post and why can't all of us enjoy this freedom when given. Isn't that what this Republic was born on, all religious viewpoints allowed. Yes, this site doesn't have to accept all but it does, so lets enjoy it instead of criticizing it. Let's discuss the articles instead of critiquing the editors for giving us an article and letting us go after it.

Hey "Christian" Lawyer: Tiller boasted of aborting 60,000 babies. Let's see, how many abortion doc's have been killed since Roe v. Wade? Five? How many babies have been aborted? 49,000,000 plus or minus several million. No further commentary needed here.

Hey Dan,

So Tiller's violent death was well deserved. His famiy could not even be left to grieve at his funereal, with bone head christians like you demonstrating there. The more I hear and see christians behave in this manner, the more weight is given to the obvious - religion is the source of much violence.


Oh my goodness, sounds like someone is just a little cranky, today. By the way Christian Lawyer (if that is your real name) and David (if that is your real name) you both have assumed an awful lot about what I believe. All I said was Tiller boasted (one man's boast is another man's statement of fact, Christian Lawyer) of aborting 60,000 babies and only 5 abortion doc's have been killed since Roe v. Wade. Those are facts, Christian Lawyer. Shame on you for libeling me as you did and with no "proof". As you can easily see, I said nothing else other than the facts. But I accept your apology, and I forgive you. (And I hope those who know Christian Lawyer will not hold his/her jumping to conclusions against him/her - I don't.) As for you David, I never said his death was well deserved. Perhaps you were subconsciously thinking it was well deserved. (Dr. Freud would like to speak with you, in that case). But I didn't say it was well-deserved. God will decide his end. But you may be on to something when you said that "religion is the source of much violence." Dr. Tiller simply stated as fact (are you happy now Christian Lawyer) that he did kill - okay, aborted - 60,000 babies. And Christian Lawyer did say Dr. Tiller was a very religious man. So, you may be very correct when you say "religion" is the source of much violence. Your turn.

If I knew any folks like Dan I would indeed be turning them in.

I just can't understand these idiots paranoia! Shouldn't they be in an assylum somewhere getting medication?

Hey Dan -- If you had any proof that Dr. Tiller ever "boasted" about any of the abortions he performed I assume you would have cited it. In fact, all of the news in the last week has shown that he was a deeply religious and moral man however much it is possible to disagree with what he did. Your unabashed support for assassination puts you beyond the pale of civilized society.

Given today's shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC, on top of the assassination of Dr. Tiller, I would hope that anyone who personally knows folks like Dan would refuse to have anything to do with them, would exclude anyone who espouses violent action from any organization of which they seek to be a part, and would notify law enforcement should they both espouse violent action and appear to be emotionally or mentally unstable or talk about taking the next step toward violence. Just as students were taught after Columbine to take such talk seriously, we all need to take threats and incitement to violence seriously.

religion is very dangerous and evil...something has to be done...we have to start taxing churches

Well, well Dan - I have lost count of the number of cranky christians who have told me that Freud was evil and statanic (whatever that means) and rely on him as a respected authority on human behaviour, when it suits them, to make bone headed attempts at insults. You go even further and suggest the use of a medium to speak with him. As I said the more christians like you open there mouths the more you prove your perverse thinking. This is not surprising when your delusion about something called "god" instructed the sure and certain death of men women and children to be slaughtered when they lived on lands that "god" had promised the Jews. I wonder, for example, how many children were killed when Joshua and his merry men blew their horns? - now there is a Freudian slip if ever I saw one.

Now David, you’re ranting and you’re off topic, too. Stop for a moment, take a breath, and read what I actually said. Then connect the dots to the title of the blog, “Blaming Pro-lifers for Tiller’s Death.” I wrote that Tiller aborted 60,000 babies. (Whether or not he boasted of this, I won’t say, because I don’t want Christian Lawyer to yell at me again. I’ve already been banished beyond the pale of civilized society, been shunned by all my friends, been reported to law enforcement for my unabashed support of assassination, etc. What else is left? I guess I could use evil, Satanic Freud in a joke, naaah.) But that Tiller aborted 60,000 babies is a fact. Then I said 49,000,000 babies had been aborted since Roe v. Wade was enacted. Is this not accurate? Then I pointed out that only five abortion docs have been killed since Roe v. Wade. What is not true here? My point that you were suppose to infer is this: you can’t blame the pro-life movement for the deaths of those five docs and still be taken seriously? [If the truth were known, probably more abortion docs have been killed by just bad life style choices (smoking, drinking, infidelity, eating too much transfatty food, etc.)] than by antiabortion murderers. Then I tried to inject a little humor – the Freud thing – into what you said, and you get all sensitive. David, don’t be such a girl. Oooops! I immediately apologize to all of the female girls out there for my blatantly sexist comment. I’m working on being sensitive and politically correct (not working hard enough, apparently). And as for the rest of your last post, all perverse thinking aside, I can only say, “Dude, sounds like you have some serious bitterness issues going on there.”

What really cracked my funny bone Dan is that you fell right into the trap that I set many a person who called themselves christians. Show them some reality about their own behaviour and/or the irratonal and contrdictory basis of their arguements they then accuse of you of all kinds of things that are not there - lack of humour (see my last comment on my last post) and having serious bitterness issues, when I show you an example of the lack of concern for life of that thing you call "god". Incidentally, your behaviour is a classic example of "projection". That is a psychoanalytic term by the way - look it up by attempting to read a book. I find those people who demonstrated at Tiller's funeral are simpley puttting the finishing touches to their perverse feelings by "stamping on his grave" - and you think I have serious issues with bitterness. You and your hate filled friends obviously do. Is there something about being aware of the mote in your eye relevant here? You clearly do not read your bible properly. Or do you attempt to stretch your brain and read at all? As`for your attempts to become more respectful of women, well I have never yet met any anti-abortion chrsitian to be respectful of women. Again, I really must refer you back to your bible ( I know, I know I take the risk risk of being accused of having some "serious bitterness issues") I am told that the Old Testament is under the old law, when I point out some of the violence and family strive enouraged and created by this thing call god. So, I look in the New Testament and see that this "great and good man" called Saul/Paul says that women should put themselves under the authority of their husbands, take a back seat, keep silent and keep their heads covered (just like a burka?). Well I can well understand where this lack of respect for the female kind comes from. Danny boy you are of course in good companay on this score. I am sure that the Taliban would welcome you with open arms - sorry another Freudeon slip - that is a joke by the way, in case you think it is bitterness.

Ahh Ha! So it was your cleverly devised trap that I fell into. I knew I fell – more like “stepped” - into something. Boy, David, you really got me with that last post. I must admit, your scintillating logic has overpowered me. Your breadth of learning leaves me in awe, speechless. Your acerbic wit leaves me quivering on the floor curled in a fetal position. You have me in a chokehold of reason from which I cannot possibly extricate myself. And when you used that psychological term, well, at that point I just knew I had met my match. But then you accused me of being unlearned. Well, that just hurt my feelings (to accuse an English major of not reading, harrumph!) – but since I’m no girl, I won’t cry. (At least not until I post this.) And so David, I concede, I tap out, I give up, I cry “Uncle”! One last thing:
• 4000 babies are aborted every day
• 1.5 million babies aborted every year
• 49 million babies aborted since 1973
Those are facts.

I knew it would not be long before you boasted your supposed qualifications, as a last ditch stand to show what a clever boy you are. The education system in the USA, like anywhere else has its failures. I do not know why you keep spouting numbers of feotuses aborted per day, per month etc. I am more concerned with each and every one of the human story behind them and certainly not wanting to crush women with guilt, on top of the already dire situation. But, of course, chrsitians are told by the bible to keep women well hidden and under the control of men. I wonder how many thousends, maybe millions of deaths the christian church has perpetrated, not forgetting the abuse of children (sorry is that me being bitter or is it being realistic sbout the facts, that you seem to like?). I suppose you enjoy revelling in knowing the figures - something every one who has a major in English should know. It must be very exciting for you reel off the figures. No, it was not a cleverly devised trap. You do not need to be clever to trap people like yourself. When someone is full of their own importance (a major in English no less) they never look where they are going and are easily tripped up. Something about motes and beams here again. In short put your own behavioiur and house in order before before abusing the individual situations in every abortion and committting violence against them and those who provide compassion and help for these women. You make no secret of the fact that do not like women, considereing they way that you insult them. As I said in my last post, you would be more at home with the Taliban - Oh! I forget, if you pretend to be a girl you would not be allowed to get any education, even something as lowly as a major in English.

David – YOU ARE THE MAN!! David, do you realize you may have stumbled upon the single greatest pick-up line ever – “I am more concerned with each and every one of the human story behind them and certainly not wanting to crush women with guilt, on top of the already dire situation.” (My old pick up line – I couldn’t help noticing you noticing me noticing you – just sucks by comparison.) But David, your empathy for all those millions of women and their stories is…well, impressive. Believe me, David, use your line and you will have needy chicks flocking to you en masse. And it’s suitable for posting on Craig’s List, too. Now, since this is my last post in responding to you, I want you to do this: if your parents are still living, drop by or call them and thank them for not aborting you. Well, like I said, this is my last post with you on this subject. Maybe we’ll meet again on another topic.

If nothing else this exchange has allowd you to display your flipant arrogance and lack of depth of understanding, which, thankfully, I have met only rarely in students I have taught. They, like you, have been unable to grasp the difference between intellectual understanding and wisdom. Wisdom, of course requires humility and compassion.

David - You misspelled flippant. You spelled it with one "p". It is spelled with two "p's". Just thought you like to know.

So, Danny boy, you noticed only one of my deliberate mistakes, to test whether you could not resist having the last word(despite saying that you would not be posting again), and wishing to attempt to correct me. Keep looking for the others, if that is what excites you. Flippant or otherwise, I knew that well known arrogance of fixed grin christians, could not resist having the last word. While you are checking my posting, and no doubt other people's as well, have a look at my posting for 4 June and there you will find my more succinct view of people who call themselves christians. Having exposed the ignorance and arrogance of yet another noisy christian, I do not need to post again. Any further postings you attempt to make for me, you will be talking to yourself - you deserve each other.

4ooo babies a day are aborted
1.5 million babies a year are aborted
49,000,000 babies aborted since 1972
5 abortion doc's dead during that time.

Draw your own conclusion, conclusion drawers.

For more interesting statistics see www.markcrutcherblog.com

Well, Danny boy, I see that you found only one of my deliberate mistakes, to test whether or not you could resist having the last word(despite your saying that were no longer posting on the subject) to correct me. Flippant, or otherwise, I knew that your arrogance would let you down. See if you can find the other mistakes, while you no doubt will be checking other people's postings - whatever excites you. While you are doing that check out my posting for 4 June, where you will see my more succinct view of people who call themselves christians. By the way, this will be my last posting on the subject, having now succeeded in exposing the ignorance and arrogance of another of those fixed grin christians. So, if you post again you will be talking to yourself- you deserve each other.

I think this "horse" has just about been beaten to death. (Oooops! Now PETA will probably blame me for causing any outbreak of horse beatings.) But check out www.AnnCoulter.com, checker outers. Now I know that someone whose name kind of rhymes with "rabid" will think that I'm writing this to him. But I promise I'm not writing this to that guy. This post is for the other pro-aborts out there. Let's see if there is any good ole' liberal tolerance out there for a conservative opinion. Here's a short quote from Coulter’s article, “49 Million to Five”: “The official Web page of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) instructs: "A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born." As long as we're deciding who does and doesn't have an "absolute right to be born," who's to say late-term abortionists have an "absolute right" to live?
I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?

Following the moral precepts of liberals, I believe the correct position is: If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one.”

So true. So true.

Nobody has posted since the 14th so probably nobody will read this. Tiller may have been attending Church and proclaiming his Christianity, but I don't think Jesus will be welcoming that man into heaven with him because he didn't stop his killing. Like any other group that has deceivers among it, Churches have people like Tiller among its members, usually secret sinners, though. No longer sinners are of course acceptable and out in the open generally because the point of sinning is that they stop sinning. He wouldn't have been allowed in my Church because he was killing human DNA, not bugs or animal DNA. The unborn is in the present, babies are in the future just like seniors are. Human DNA grows into Human DNA, nothing else. If a pregnant woman is killed or its baby is killed, the killer is up for murdering both the woman and the baby. Oddly enough our laws discriminate in this case against the killer usually men not against the woman murdering her young/unborn. Jesus accepted women as equals in his Church and as his followers. Men changed the rules through the century. In Islam, Mohammed himself set the ownership of women by men. He had many wives and owned many slaves and used them for sex. Jesus did neither even in a time where both were accepted. As a woman, I'll take Jesus over any other religion if I'm going to follow a religion, believe me. Why, because being married to a true Christian is a heck of a lot better than being married to a man of any other religion. Or, I can stay single according to Jesus if I wish.

I did not think it would be long before another christian came along, whose syntax I can barely disentangle, let alone having no sense of christian church history. On top of that, like many more "holier than thou" christians, she knows the mind of her god, and who he/she/it will allow and not allow into heaven, whatever place that is. Judging by the state of minds and judgemental attitudes of some of you, I am glad I will not be there, wherever it is. "Men changed the rules through the century". Which "century"? Be more specific and not so slippery. To help you on your way, it is clearly stated in the New Testament that women, should have their heads covered(just like a burka?), keep quiet, and be under the authority of their husbands. No different to Muslims then? Incidentally, what about the cluster of cells that kills the mother, if it is not removed. A woman who has these cells attached to her should have the choice over what happens to her own body. Do not forget, on far too many occasions, that cluster of cells occurred against her will when raped and assaulted, sometimes by catholic priests and the like. How many wives did god fearing men have in the old testament? - these so called men of god, from which the Jewish and christian church originated.