Blame for Dr. Tiller's murder is flying around like the sands of a Mojave dust storm. Most of it is hyperbole and unreasonable and it is begging for some legitimate balance. Is there any?
Let's start at the top of the controversy rather than working up to it. Scott Roeder is at the moment the only suspect in the shooting of Dr. Tiller. If he is found guilty then he alone will be culpable for Dr. Tiller's death. For those who like to say that Roe v. Wade is the law and we should live with it, the law that says only the one who pulled the trigger is guilty is a law they will have to live with as well.
In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.
Condemning Roeder doesn't add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ's rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn't it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don't we leave all that to Him?
The media have plenty of blame to go around but the target hit the hardest is Fox's Bill O'Reilly. While O'Reilly may have been more vociferous than others, the record shows that he concerned himself with the facts. Thousands of abortions were the facts that millions of Americans didn't care to hear about. Is this a state of national denial or statement about national indifference? If the unborn could speak they might borrow a line from a famous Sinatra song My Way, "The record shows, we took the blows."
I know a Christian Evangelist who got 300 emails the day after the shooting. All 300 emails said that the evangelist was guilty of the shooting along with the suspect. The difference between the loudest voices and the clearest voices is something of which we have obviously lost sight.
Standing up for the protection of life at any stage from conception to death is never something to be ashamed of and in spite of Roe v. Wade or the actions of an extremist vigilante, it is what our Constitution promised us, as in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"
We need not be running scared or fearing a backlash because it has never been about who's the loudest. Life and death should never be left to popular opinion or pop culture leanings or the loudest voices. There has to be a distinct or legible guide to indicate what the limits are; this is clarity.
Those who say that Roe v. Wade is just the law and we need to live with it are almost never willing to admit that what is just the law is not always a just law. In Japan no one is afforded an arraignment and a speedy trial. In Indonesia you can be jailed for chewing gum in public. In Muslim countries you can lose a hand for stealing. Are these just laws? Does it seem unreasonable to think a law that says you might lose your life just for being conceived in America is any less just?
In Massachusetts an old blue law allowed the residents of one town to shoot the residents of the neighboring town for crossing the town line on a Sunday. Another old law in Texas allowed a defendant to use the plea of "he needed killing" as a defense in a murder case. These laws are now seen as absurd and anything but just and have long since been repealed. It is not impossible to imagine a day when society will awaken to the enlightened decision to repeal Roe v. Wade.
Setting aside the issue of loudness vs. clarity let's move on to opinion vs. physical action. It is acceptable to hold the opinion that abortion is wrong but when physical action against an abortionist is taken, it turns out that society says that is also wrong. Here is an enigma that seems impossible and yet it is not. Both things happen to be right but that does little to change the truth that two wrongs don't make a right. It is wrong to harm abortionists and it is equally wrong to abort.
The balanced view is that both the shooting of Dr. Tiller and the 60,000 abortions he is complicit with are equally wrong. It must be noted that even those who hold and adhere to Christ's command not to judge; 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' (Mt. 7:1) were never asked to suspend their judgment about what is right or wrong as in 'Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.' (Jn 7:24)Â In fact to suspend our judgment about right and wrong is warned against repeatedly throughout the scriptures.
For those with a Biblical worldview it is almost impossible not to warn people of the consequences of their actions as it pertains to the judgment that follows the end of life. It is equally impossible to trust the judgment of those who claim that they don't know when life begins. Here we are forced to return to the question of what we think versus what we do.
We may think Mr. Tiller's actions are wrong but as long as it is only a thought, a voice of opinion, no laws have been breached. To harm him physically is a breach of the law. Let's expand that simple principle to cover abortion if we dare.
To debate or assert that no one knows when life really begins is an argument that harms no one. When we lay hands on the unborn and end that life we are disputing about we insist there is no culpability to the laws of nature, God or man. This double standard makes fools of us all if we accept it. We need balance. Forcing death on anyone from conception to the grave offers no balance.
A blogger who posted a reply to an article I previously wrote explaining what an unborn child might say about being aborted thought I had no business deciding what they might say. He scoffed at the idea that they ever had a voice. All parents know that they are the voice of their child as they grow, why not when they are being formed? Except in the case of people who are mentally challenged I would assert that no human being alive today would verbally assent to their own death.
Modernists are far more prone to accept the philosophy of a Hollywood actor, writer or producer than an old fashioned gospel preacher. Even at that the double standard is blatantly apparent. In the 1982 smash hit The Blade Runner, the film ends with lead actor Harrison Ford asking a female cyborg he'd been pursuing and trying to kill the question of what she really wanted. Her reply was "I only wanted what you wanted, to live."Â How dare we assume to know what a machine would say about life and death but cannot imagine what one of our own species would say? Is that balance and if so, in what world?
I can't make judgments about abortionists or pro-lifers as it pertains to their future or the final judgment. The Apostle Paul said it this way, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, which both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart." (1Cor 4:5) The judgment about the horrors of abortion isn't about some future time; it is now. I am convinced that if asked, every unborn child would answer at least as well as a fictitious sci-fi cyborg, "I only wanted what you wanted, to live."
Copyright ©2009 Rev. Michael Bresciani