Multiple evils

In Kansas, late-term abortionist George Tiller was murdered in church today.

From World Magazine (conservative, Christian):

Anti-abortion groups have denounced the killing. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said in a statement, “We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning.”

I am strongly pro-life. Abortion is evil, and I would be in favor of banning it in almost all cases.

I view acts of violence against abortionists as evil as well.

It is also evil that Tiller’s denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), tolerates, or in some cases even advocates, the right to abortion. I grew up in the ELCA, and it grieves me to see it seriously compromising on a number of moral and theological issues.

If we Christians really wanted to end abortion in this country, it would be accomplished in two years, after the next major election. It would be over, and it would have been done completely peacefully. But it seems we really don’t want it that badly. This is evil as well.

God have mercy on us, for we have all sinned.

P.S. From Stand to Reason Blog: Killing Abortionists is Wrong. Period. This is a brief statement of why violence against the abortion industry is wrong even given the depth of evil they are involved in.

Also: Cruchy Con:

I condemn this murder, full stop. I think Tiller was an evil man. I really do. He was one of the few doctors who performed late-term abortions. He was an infanticide doctor, as far as I’m concerned. Nevertheless, his murder was wrong, wrong, wrong, in an of itself. And as a practical matter, it will do more harm to the cause of protecting unborn life than it will help. We already see that despite the plain fact that the overwhelming majority of pro-life activists are peaceful, and peace-loving, people, many on the other side demonize all pro-lifers as potential abortion-clinic murderers. Whoever committed this murder is not only guilty of a heinous crime and a moral outrage, but prudentially, he or she has also done tremendous harm to the noble cause of protecting unborn life.

That said, I would hate to be George Tiller facing judgment with those grave sins to explain.

And from Al Mohler — A Wicked Deed in Wichita — A Test for the Pro-Life Movement:

Proponents of abortion rights often charge that the rhetoric of the pro-life movement leads to violence.  After all, we describe abortion as murder and point to the business of abortion as the murder of the unborn.  We make clear that abortion is the taking of innocent human life and that what goes on in abortion clinics is the business of death.

We make these arguments because we know they are true.  Abortion is murder.  What goes on in those clinics is institutionalized homicide, often for financial profit.  Abortion is a moral scandal and a national tragedy and a blight upon the American conscience.

But violence in the name of protesting abortion is immoral, unjustified, and horribly harmful to the pro-life cause.  Now, the premeditated murder of Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his church is the headline scandal — not the abortions he performed and the cause he represented.

We have no right to take the law into our own hands in an act of criminal violence.  We are not given the right to take this power into our own hands, for God has granted this power to governing authorities.  The horror of abortion cannot be rightly confronted, much less corrected, by means of violence and acts outside the law and lawful means of remedy.  This is not merely a legal technicality — it is a vital test of the morality of the pro-life movement.

From Gene Edward Veith (Cranach):

So we have not only murder but sacrilege, the violation of a church at worship. A suspect has been captured. All we need is to be identified with terrorists. No, we will have to explain, we don’t believe in homicide. (We are against homicide, which is why we are against abortion. After the pro-life movement has made some significant progress, get ready for a pro-abortion backlash.

And Uwe Siemon-Netto — Killing the Killer was a Blow to Pro-Lifers (at Cyberbrethren):

The murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller was a blow to American society in general, and to the pro-life movement in particular, for the following reasons:
  1. This crime turned one of the worst perpetrators of mass infanticide into a presumed martyr for abortion “rights” just at a time when its supporters were slipping dramatically in public esteem. While Tiller’s killer has done away with a physician who by his own admission took the lives of 100 babies every week, this crime might result in an increase of abortions in months to come. Simple minds will now see abortionists as victims, und not the innocent human babies they slaughter, innocents like the 60,000 Tiller has slaughtered just before their births. This must be a depressing thought for all those faithful Christians who peacefully pray and fast outside the Planned Parenthood slaughterhouses. In the long run, they stood a good chance of being victorious in the war against the culture of death. Let it be known that Tiller’s killer has become a soldier on the side of death in this conflict.
  2. The United States is still a democracy. In a free society, the voters are their nation’s sovereigns. They are empowered to fight evil, such as abortion, in the polling booths. This is their divine calling. On the other hand, nobody has a calling to kill except at the orders of duly instituted authorities. It is government alone that in a civilized society may instruct soldiers or policemen to use their firearms.
  3. The United States is a nation of law. The law is a gift from God to protect us against anarchy and subsequent chaos, a state that prevailed before God created the universe. Tiller’s killer has committed an act of anarchy and therefore not only violated the Fifth Commandment but also rebelled against the divine order of creation. Those who secretly cheer his dastardly act must be made aware that they are participating in a despicable revolt against the creator.

8 thoughts on “Multiple evils

  1. Kenny Johnson

    I’m an evangelical Christian who is not politically pro-life. I used to take a pro-life stance, but have found it harder and harder for me to justify Biblically and legally. I would say that today, I would only advocate banning late-term abortions.

    Here’s my reasons for not being politically pro-life. I’m open though… I’ve changed my opinion on this at least 2 times (was pro-choice, then pro-life, now nominally pro-choice).

    1) I don’t know when life begins. I don’t think the Bible or science speaks to this. When I was pro-life, an atheist I debated on the issue made a point that he believed it was brain activity that made a human life, human life. This happens at about 5-6 mos. At that point he would be pro-life. I found that more compelling than my previous ‘at conception’ stance.

    2) The Bible doesn’t really speak to abortion specifically. I imagine it existed though. I believe there is one verse in Exodus that could speak of a caused miscarriage or pre-mature birth — but from what I’ve seen there are very different interpretations based on the translations for this one.

    3) Legal logistics. If abortion is murder, then how do we punish people for breaking this law? To be consistent, we’d have to try everyone involved as either murderers or accomplises. Do we try a 15 year old girl for murder for taking blackmarket RU486 2 weeks into her pregnancy? Or for otherwise causing a termination of pregnancy?

    4) Will it (illegalization) accomplish it’s goals? To stop abortions? No. While I realize we have lots of laws that don’t prevent the breaking of them — This particular law isn’t just about justice, but about (I assume) mercy on the unborn. So if we don’t see significant reductions in abortions (I’d assume most we go to other countries or have illegal ones), then what’s the point? Especially considering #3.

    For me personally (I’m married). We wouldn’t have an abortion. My wife is much more pro-life than me, so my opinion wouldn’t matter much anyway. but even for myself, I’d err on the side of caution as to when life began — I’m just not sure I can tell everyone else that they have to agree on my rather unscientific understanding of when human life becomes human life.


  2. Matt Strid


    Forgive me, but I find it unfortunate that you have turned off your brain. To your points…

    1) You say you dont know, then you go and decide that you might. Be consistent please. Your concept of LIFE is a bit hard to swallow. You say only brainwaves make it human life. Yet science can’t accurately qualify what makes a true brainwave…is is a synapse response? Or is it something more? It appears to me that some in the scientific community have thrown a dart at the dartboard and decided that whatever it hit was a good definition. Seems far better to me to allow God to decide, and for us to quit judging for ourselves, lest we get it wrong and the most likely direction to get it wrong is to decide later rather than earlier.

    2)I so hate this argument. Because the bible doesn’t directly speak to a moral discussion (regardless of what it says indirectly) it must tacitly agree with my side of it. Its such a ludicrous statement I can’t even justify the time it took to write this paragraph.

    3)I guess I missed the point here. So because something is hard we shouldn’t do it? Is that the point?

    4)Again, what’s your point? Its hard so why try? Why try to stop theft, or drug distribution? Why try to stop ponzi schemes, or illegal book-keeping, or tax-evasion? Why try to stop racism, or sexism? Those things just keep on going, and if we are able to get a handle on them here, then people just go and do them in Costa Rica or something…lets just stop trying. Please tell me i’ve missed it, is that really your argument?

    Finally, your last paragraph…”I’d err on the side of caution as to when life began” yet in paragraph one you make a loose statement about the beginning point. Caution and looseness are opposed to each other. I am left to assume that a society’s definiton of something is the cautious side? What about the author of that society? Does He have a say?


  3. Kenny


    Why the anger and the vitriol? Why the Ad hominem attacks? Can’t we discuss this issue civilly?

    1) I don’t know when life begins, but I said that brain activity (which is measurable, as far as I know) seemed better than my previous position of conception. I’ve not heard any compelling arguments for why human life begins at conception either Biblically or scientifically. This position, at least seemed to be answering one of those (science).

    2) How do we determine that Abortion, in all circumstances, at any time during the pregnancy is immoral or evil? It seems to me that because the Bible doesn’t speak to it directly, we are left only with reasoning on our own. Correct? Which is exactly what I’m trying to do.

    3) It’s not just a matter of hard. But does it make sense. Is this what you want to see? Hurt, desperate women put in prison for the rest of their lives for terminating a pregnancy? Even if they disagree with you about the morality of that choice? Is that justice? Is that right?

    4) I specifically addressed that point. Those other laws are there to promote justice and to protect. I’m still not convinced that justice is served by imprisoning these women.
    But, it would seem that most pro-lifers are not wanting to promote justice, but are trying to prevent abortions because of the mercy they have for the unborn. So if the laws don’t actually accomplish preventing abortions… and instead we just see illegal or foreign abortions, and women put in prison for life. Have you accomplished anything? So if we have neither justice or protection, then what’s the point?

    I don’t think I understand your last point. I thought you just agreed with me that the Bible doesn’t speak directly about this, so how are you certain what God has to say in the matter?


  4. geochristian

    I haven’t seen any mainstream pro-life people advocating prison sentences for women who have abortions. Doctors who perform illegal abortions: yes.


  5. Kenny


    That may be true, but is it being consistent? If a fetus is human life and therefore, abortion is murder, then wouldn’t they have to be charged with the murder of human life? Why would the doctor be charged, but not the woman?


  6. Trey


    Is the fetus living at conception? How does a change of location change determine if the fetus is a person or not, inside versus outside the womb? Does not a sonogram a ultrasound of a fetus inside the womb not exhibit that there is a person (see pictures at of fetus at Who creates life man or God?

    The Bible is clear that God creates life and it begins in the womb. Jeremiah 1:5 states:

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

    Also, Psalm 139:15-16 states:

    My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written. The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

    The Bible as well as the moral law is clear that murder or deliberately taking a person’s life is a sin regardless of the circumstance. As far as a punishment, I think a severe punishment would curb abortion. I don’t know if life in prison would be necessary, but it would certainly act as a deterrent for those who perform them. It seems your reasoning for abortion is based on numerous logical fallacies such as an appeal to ignorance/ambiguity, concerning when life begins. An appeal to emotion/pity if women should be imprisoned or not. Along with red herrings, if women should be imprisoned for abortion or not. This is an ancillary issues. The question is does life begin at conception? Is the fetus living? If it is living then is it a person?

    In reply to your question to geochristian, I would say that since the doctor is performing the murder that he should be punished as well as the woman since she is complicit. However, once again you fail to answer the real question is the fetus living? Start there then worry about what the punishment should be.

    I look forward to your response.


  7. lightsmith

    Is the fetus living? Sure. Is it a person? When it’s a single cell, I would say no. At some point, it becomes a person, and I’d say the beginning of brain activity would be a reasonable signpost that that’s happened.

    My sperm cells are also living, but I don’t want to be tried for murder if I leave them in a condom. A woman’s egg is also living, but she shouldn’t be tried for murder if it’s eliminated with her monthly cycle, whether or not it’s been fertilized.

    Ideally, there would be no unwanted pregnancies. Fertile men and fertile women would take reliable precautions, and pregnancies would occur only when both parties wanted them to.

    Since we don’t live in an ideal world, I think a reasonable abortion policy is a good thing.

    When technology advances to the point that embryos can be kept alive outside the womb from conception to birth, there won’t be an abortion problem (though there may be an adoption problem).


  8. Kenny Johnson

    “How does a change of location change determine if the fetus is a person or not, inside versus outside the womb?”

    It doesn’t. It’s about development. In it’s first month, it’s still referred to as an embryo [consisting of two layers of cells from which all her organs and body parts will develop.]

    Is that human life? The same as you an me? That laws of murder should apply to its termination?

    “The Bible is clear that God creates life and it begins in the womb.”

    I believe life begins in the womb. I’m just convinced it begins at conception and that we should create laws that punish people for murder. Neither of your verses support the idea that life begins at conception.

    “I think a severe punishment would curb abortion. I don’t know if life in prison would be necessary, but it would certainly act as a deterrent for those who perform them.”

    If it’s murder. And pre-mediated at that, then the laws for murder must apply.

    “It seems your reasoning for abortion is based on numerous logical fallacies such as an appeal to ignorance/ambiguity, concerning when life begins. An appeal to emotion/pity if women should be imprisoned or not. Along with red herrings, if women should be imprisoned for abortion or not. This is an ancillary issues. The question is does life begin at conception? Is the fetus living? If it is living then is it a person?”

    I believe this is a very complex issue that people try to simplify and that gets us nowhere.

    And my appeal to ignorance is true. Does anyone know when life begins? You think you do. But I don’t think you do. I certainly think we as a society can come together and draw that line, but the extreme pro-life won’t budge on conception and the extreme pro-choice won’t budge on illegalization (though most late term pregnancies aren’t terminated by abortion doctors).

    My concerns for the women are real. We have to deal with these issues. I think you meant to say straw man, and not red herring. It’s not a straw man. If we are calling a 6 week old fetus and human life — then it’s purposeful termination is pre-meditated murder. That means we need to apply the laws of murder against all those who participated: Mother, doctor, heck the boyfriend who drove her there.

    “The question is does life begin at conception? Is the fetus living? If it is living then is it a person?””

    We absolutely agree on this. I have still not seen anything credible to suggest that human life begins at conception.


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