Monday, June 01, 2009

Tiller's Murder: It Is Time To Push Back

This is what it leads to. All the hateful rhetoric, the unintelligent spinning of complex issues into simple sound bites to manipulate people for their money, their vote, or their time on a picket line.

This is what it leads to. A man is murdered for no good reason. A man is murdered having commited no crime. A man is murdered by a fellow American in the lobby of his church. He is gunned down for providing medical services.

George Tiller. Yes, I am writing about Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas. Called out on the Fox News network as a baby killer comparable to nazi physicians. Haunted by terrorists, yes, terrorists, for two decades. Showing up for his work despite having been shot in both arms previously.

He was gunned down in the lobby of his church on Sunday, shot dead for performing abortions. Dr. George Tiller did not provide abortions for women who did not want their babies. He provided harrowing late-term abortions for women whose pregnancies had gone wrong, whose fetuses had died, who had conjoined twins that would not survive or live short lives filled with pain and suffering. He provided care to women whose lives were in danger, whose dream of motherhood was lost, who had had to make a choice so painful that the very decision rent their hearts.

He was one of very few doctors in the United States performing these procedures. He did not perform abortions as a form of birth control. He performed life-saving procedures to adults who were attempting to have children. He was, in other words, performing a necessary medical service for sound moral reasons.

Nazi. Baby-killer. Murderer. And those who hypocritically proclaim themselves the guardians of human life in God's name finally murdered the man in front of his fellow worshippers at the Reformation Luthern Church in Wichita, yesterday morning.

And in the wake of his death, Randall Terry, leading activist against any and all abortion procedures, declared he was more concerned about President Obama's statement of outrage over the murder, than the murder itself. The life of Dr. George Tiller meant nothing to Randall Terry.

He was murdered by a man named Scott Roeder, 51 years old, who is now under arrest and charged with murder. He is a terrorist, and those who have inspired him to do this with overblown and violent rhetoric have culpability.

Gloria Feldt wrote that she is tired of attending candelight vigils for people like Dr. George Tiller. She is quite right. There is terrorism right here in the United States and it is time to take it very seriously, and reject its rhetoric.

One may oppose elective abortions and still reject terrorism and violence as a tactic. Indeed, one must. Abortion opponents must reject Randall Terry's comments and make their own statement, collectively and in a strong, moral voice, that their position is about honoring and protecting human life, not terrorism and murder. They must do this without delay. They must reject commentators on television and radio who entertain their audiences by inciting them to hatred and violence. The rules of the game have got to change.

Dr. George Tiller saved lives. If the terrorists are successful, his murder will discourage other doctors from intervening in a pregnancy to save the life of a mother who wanted her babies but has already lost them. They had already succeeded in that aim to a point, and this will serve their cause as well. They murdered a man but it is also an act of violence against womankind, a move to deny women a right to protect their own life if their fetus dies.

It cannot be tolerated. There are a few things government can do, but this calls for a response by all the people. It must be dealt with socially as well as legally. The rhetoric, the use of words and imagery, the manipulation of history and theology, has got to change. It has to be a demand voiced loudly and repeatedly. Randall Terry must go, and I hope his organization finds a leader with a stronger moral center who can participate in a sensible and life-affirming dialogue with those who disagree.

Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Randall Terry, and others of your ilk: you must understand that, for whatever reason, people buy into your hyperbole and sometimes act on it. You must come to this understanding and consider the effects of your actions. You own some of Tiller's murder, you have gleefully made money by setting the stage for acts of terrorism, misleading and scaring people, rousing them to the very worst of deeds.

I'm sick of candelight vigils, too. It is time to push back.


Hal Johnson said...

Powerful post. Wow.

Jane R said...


Kelly said...

This is an excellent post.

Legalized abortion is a topic I have very mixed emotions about. Your statement, "One may oppose elective abortions and still reject terrorism and violence as a tactic", speaks volumes.

Algernon said...

Thanks, all. Yes, Kelly, and I believe I even share your misgivings. With terrorism, we have something that transcends the debate about abortion -- indeed, it destroys the conversation.