WARNING: I am going to trust my readers, BUT I will break my own rule and delete inappropriate comments and even shut off comments on this post if they are not respectful. I invite constructive comments and even conversation. You are free to share your thoughts, but do so respectfully.
Anyway, something about this latest story on the death of Dr. George Tiller, gunned down while in church sets me off.
I've been sitting here watching CNN and tonight on AC360, I simply hit my breaking point. I can't believe what some people are saying publicly about this. The pure hatred and evil that pours from people's mouths is EXACTLY why I avoid this topic. Here's a great example on CNN, and interview by Drew Griffin with Dan Holman of Missionaries to the Preborn. Here's an excerpt:
Drew Griffin: When you heard the news over the weekend about the abortion doctor -- that I'm sure you are well aware of -- was shot and killed, what was your reaction?
Dan Holman: I was cheered by it because I knew that he wouldn't be killing any more babies. And I expect that would happen when all legal and moral -- legal ways of trying to stop it has been exhausted, as they have tried to prosecute him for giving abortions to people in violation of Kansas law.
Drew Griffin: When you say you were cheered by it, is there any inconsistency in your thought in that you are trying to protect life and at the same time here's this doctor who was shot and killed and in your own words you are cheered by that?
Dan Holman: No, because I'm protecting innocent life. I'm not -- and the doctor or the abortionist is guilty of murder as far as I'm concerned. It's no different for him to be killing a preborn child or a post-born child. The preborn child is entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as a post-born child.
Drew Griffin: So, you support this killing?
Dan Holman: I don't advocate it, I don't support it. But I don't condemn it, and I believe that what he did was justifiable.
Drew Griffin: You told me earlier that he -- meaning the shooter -- he did what the law should have done?
Dan Holman: Right, exactly. The law should have protected the preborn child; and the law is supposed to execute vengeance, you know, in protecting the child. But what the man did was not execute vengeance, as far as I'm concerned. He was protecting preborn children, ones that are slated for abortion today and the future. I don't feel that what he did is vengeance.
Drew Griffin: Do you seek this fate on all doctors performing abortions out there?
Dan Holman: I believe that all abortionists are deserving of death, and they are not the only ones. There are politicians and judges and others who support this murder that are also deserving of death.
I choose this article because it is somewhat more kind than other comments I have heard. Anti-Abortionist Randall Terry was quoted on AC360 tonight as saying that, "Dr. Tiller was a mass-murder who reaped what he sowed."
But at least these two people "say" they don't condone the murder (I think that nice little semantic dance above is a particularly interesting exchange). I don't know if their other words match that lip-service, but let's give these two the benefit of the doubt. But right after Anderson quotes Terry, a close friend of the suspect was quoted saying, "[Dr. Tiller] was a rat and he needed to be killed." And that is still one of the more kind statements I've heard!
I listen to the rhetoric of hatred on this topic and I see such hypocrisy. Not to mention that it is an "issue" and we argue the issues (both sides) as if there are not real people with real hopes, dreams, worries, struggles, families, and whatever else constitutes living this life. Never mind that everyone involved in all areas of this topic are supposedly created by God and created in the image of God. We do a fantastic job of living as if we believed this to be true!
No matter where one falls on this, like most "issues", when we remove the human element from the topic, we begin this process of distancing ourselves from our own humanity. We devoid ourselves of things like empathy, compassion, grace, love, and humility. Yet these are the very things that make us supposedly "set apart" from all other creation. It's these things in part that supposedly places us at the top of the animal kingdom... yet it is instances like this that remind me just how close to animals we are.
It's time for a new rhetoric. We need to rethink how we talk about these issues, and more importantly, how we think about these issues. We need to regain our civility; it's time to find our humanity. We need to regain our imagio dei, both in ourselves, and in how we view and treat others.
I value Frederick Buechner's thoughts on abortion, and I think they really ring true with what I have seen and heard today:
Speaking against abortion someone has said, "no one should be denied access to the great feast of life," to which the rebuttal, obviously enough, is that life isn't much of a feast for children born to people who don't want them or can't afford them or are one way or another incapable of taking care of them and will one way or another probably end up abusing or abandoning them.And yet, and yet. Who knows what treasure life may hold for even such children as those, or what treasures even such children of those may grow up and become? To bear a child even under the best of circumstances, or to abort a child even under the worst-- the risks are hair-raising either way and the results are incalculable.How would Jesus himself decide, he who is hailed as Lord of life and yet who says that is is not he ones who, like an abortionist, can kill the body we should fear, but the ones who can kill body and soul together the way the world into which they are born can kill unloved and unwanted children (Mt. 10:28)?There is perhaps no better illustration of the truth that in an imperfect world there are no perfect solutions. All we can do, as Luther said, is sin bravely, which is to say, (a) know that neither to have the child nor not to have the child is without the possibility of tragic consequences for everybody, yet (b) be brave in knowing also that not even that can put us beyond the forgiving love of God. (Beyond Words: Abortion Entry. Emphasis his)
Your thoughts are welcome, but keep it civil and respectful! I welcome honesty, but honesty with tact is expected.