Admittedly, I’m impressed that this is going to make it on the air–“The Assassination of Dr. Tiller.” Tiller if you don’t know was an abortionist that was absolutely hated by the pro-life fringe. Previous to his murder he was already shot by Shelley Shannon in 1993 and due to my run-ins with extremism back when I was a Christian I corresponded with this nutty woman when she was in jail and am very familiar with his first shooting.
The early 1990s was a time when justifiable homocide was being debated between peaceful anti-abortionists and militant anti-abortionists. One side adopted the philosophies of Ghandi and Martin Luther King and the other side, frankly, took the side of literalism. If killing the unborn is murder and no one is stopping the murderer then shoot the murderer, that’s the reasoning. I don’t want to agree with the fringe as an atheist but their logic based on their beliefs is not out of line. When a peaceful anti-abortionist argues murder but dresses up for church in their Sunday best and really does nothing more then maybe hold an occasional sign or vote for pro-life candidates, I don’t know…hard to take seriously. I think for most of mainsteam Christianity being pro-life is one of their issues along with creationism and prayer in school–it’s not really a baby killing holocaust as they describe it because they don’t act like it.
From that time period, I learned a lot. It was yet another reason I found the mainstream church to be hypocritical and it helped to lead me to question my own faith. Most mainstream Christians risk nothing when they sermonize on abortion but take no action. I certainly don’t want to rile any one to action because I’m no longer pro-life and see the multiple problems with making abortion illegal (even if I was pro-life, I could still not advocate it being illegal because it would not work in our society to do so). I’m simply pointing out than in many instances the fringe is considered “fringe” because they have not evolved their religion to match the modern expectations our society.
Dr. George Tiller was a huge target because he became a symbol of abortion on demand. When they killed him it was aimed at the symbol more than the man. The fringe element was making a statement.
Tiller’s executioner was Scott Roeder who finished where Shannon left off. He was shot May 31, 2009. The documentary will explore whether there was a conspiracy in place against this abortionist or if it was an isolated event. Unfortunately, as society becomes more secular (and it is painfully slow) I believe there will be more fringe shootings like this. Anti-abortionists hate having their cause drowned out by the downward economy.
Abortion and abortion shootings were sensational when they first happened but now they’re mentioned in the news just like any other shooting. The problem is that when abortionists are shot it scares the hell out of other doctors providing these services thus limiting the availability of abortion to those who need it. Abortion is not something to be promoted–no one wants to have an abortion, but somebody has to do this unpleasant job. I don’t know if Dr. Tiller was a good guy, maybe he had a bad disposition or character flaws, but there’s no justification in shooting him…unless you think God demands it. One more reason people need to question their belief in God before acting upon blind faith. This issue is filled with gray areas and cannot be treated as black and white.
Rachel Maddow’s documentary airs on October 25th on MSNBC. I can’t say I agree with all of her politics, but Maddow has done a superb job of pulling skeletons out of the closet concerning religion and government.