what should a pro-life Christian think about abortionist George Tiller's murder?

It’s a sad story.

Late-term abortionist George Tiller was gunned down and killed at his church on Sunday.

It shouldn’t have happened.

But what’s a Christian to think about such an event?  We fight for saving the lives of those George Tiller killed: the unborn.  Now he will kill them no more.  How should we be feeling?  Should we put that all aside and pretend he was a normal guy?

No, Christian, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that he was a baby-killer and feign outrage because you sense that if you don’t, the pro-life movement will be doomed (although you’d be right, it would be doomed if we weren’t truly outraged).  

Christians should be outraged, for many reasons.  And we shouldn’t ignore any of the outrageous parts of this story.

Here’s a look at how things should have gone, or put another way, things to be (rightly) outraged about:

1) George Tiller should have been forced to stop practicing abortion, or killing babies, long ago, by the gov’t., whose primary job it is to protect and defend the people (especially the littlest and weakest ones) of our country.

2) If George Tiller had refused the gov’t’s demands and continued to kill innocent human life, he should have been put in prison or even faced capital punishment, where the law deemed that the correct course.

If that had been done, hundreds (thousands?) of babies would then have been spared his murdering, profit-hungry hand.  

3) A Kansas man should not have taken the law into his own hands in order to try and right this unspeakable wrong.  George Tiller was a law-abiding citizen, even though I believe he was a murderer.  And Tiller’s wrongs have not been righted by the Kansas man’s murderous act.  

The wrong has simply been added to.

It is a sad story indeed.

So, Christian, don’t pretend that because George Tiller was murdered that he was not a murderer himself.  And don’t think for one second his being a murderer in anyway justifies or mitigates his own unjust death.

 It doesn’t.  

His was a death wrought by a murderer apart from law or sanction.  Laws matter.  Laws matter to Christians.  We obey the law.  There is only one thing that would keep a Christian from obeying the law and that would be a law that would keep us from our worship of the Lord.  

We are not there yet, by God’s grace.

We walk a fine line, Christian pro-lifer.  We must cling to all we know of Christ.  We must do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.  

We must heartily condemn the murdering of George Tiller, even while we acknowledge his murderous ways and pray that those like him will become outlawed in our land.

abortion: complex or painstakingly simple?

Our President recently said at his address to the graduating class at Notre Dame,

“Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions.  

So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let’s reduce unintended pregnancies.  Let’s make adoption more available.  Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.”

So let me get this straight.

We’re agreeing that the decision to abort a baby is not one to be made casually.  Why not?  And is a decision that has moral and spiritual dimensions.  What would those be?  I’d really really like to know what the President thinks the moral and spiritual dimensions of abortion are.  

Is part of the “moral dimension” that a woman is making a decision to kill?  Is it that a doctor is complicit and profiting from this decision to kill?  

And is the “spiritual dimension” that an eternal soul is being put to death?  And that there’s no one standing in the gap for this eternal being, created in the image of God?

If there’s nothing wrong with abortion, then why make it rare?  Why not have one casually?

As President Obama acknowledges the “moral and spiritual dimensions” of abortion and asks us to work at making it rare, pro-lifers can take heart.  In his desire to be all things to all voters, he is conceding important ground in the abortion “conversation.” (I really hate don’t like that term.  When it’s babies dying, having a “conversation” is not exactly high on my priority list, but rather, saving babies.  I digress).

After all, there’s nothing conversational or civil or calm or reasoned when a baby is killed.  It’s violent.  It’s brutal.  It’s painful.  It’s very very ugly. 

The new (or old and re-used) M.O. of abortion advocates or “pr0-choicers” as they prefer to be called, is to throw out words like, “complex” or “complicated” when describing the situation surrounding a woman choosing abortion.  As though trying to navigate a difficult (abusive even) relationship with a boyfriend or figuring out career and college and baby make killing understandable and “complex.”

Yes, real life is always complex.  Situations are always multi-faceted.  Abuse is real.  Relationships are hard.  And killing a baby is still always evil.  

Often when discussing the Civil War, someone will throw out the assertion that the Civil War wasn’t really about slavery, it was about state’s rights.  As though it was just some crazy coincidence that all the states concerned about state’s rights were also the ones who wanted to keep their slaves.

I support state’s rights, but the truth is that the Southern states were using “state’s rights” as a cover for doing something so wicked and immoral that it dwarfed the issue they were covering it up with.  It couldn’t be covered up.  

Neither can abortion be covered up by saying it is complex or pointing to the sad stories of the women getting them.  The evil being perpetrated so dwarfs the difficult circumstance surrounding it to make it null.  And I fear for and pity those who so strongly advocate for the “rights” of these women.  I do not speak with winsome softness towards them.  To do that would be to dishonor those sacrificed on the hard altar of convenience.

The cop-out, “I call myself pro-life, but I’m not comfortable with making abortion illegal,” just doesn’t work for me.  Slavery didn’t end because of people saying, “I’m anti-slavery, but I’m just not comfortable making it illegal.  Let’s just work to make slavery rare.”

One day, history will look at pro-choicers with the same disdainful wonderment that it now gazes at those who fought for slavery.  And to them I say, it’s not too late to change your mind.  And I pray that you will.  For your own sake and the sake of those dying.

the designer baby boondoggle

A fertility clinic in LA has finally gone all the way.  

They are now offering “designer babies,” meaning their clients can request certain traits for their babies like dark skin or blue eyes.  The clinic has not yet delivered on this promise, but is offering it nonetheless. 

I get the feeling that when people hear the term “designer babies” they think that the scientists are somehow doing the designing.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  There is one Designer and He has no rival.  

Scientists can no more cause a baby to have green eyes than the man on the moon.  They are not creating or giving babies certain genes, they’re not even modifying genes, they’re simply killing off the embryos that have the unwanted genes.

They used to limit this killing to “extra” babies; for instance the couple who makes 10 embryos, but doesn’t want 10 babies, so they only implant 2.  The rest would be killed.  This has  also involved killing off the embryos that had “defects.”  Like the ones with downs syndrome or a likely hood of disease.  

Now scientists search through embryos for the couples (or singles, to be sure) until they get the combination of eyes, nose and health that is desirable for them.  The scientists aren’t designing the baby with the desired traits, they simply screen the embryos until the desired result is found, then kill off the rest.

The BBC reports:

The science is based on a lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.  This involves testing a cell taken from a very early embryo before it is put into the mother’s womb.

Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes – or in this case an embryo with the desired physical traits such as blonde hair and blue eyes – to continue the pregnancy, and discard any others.

The Wall Street Journal seems to misunderstand what is actually being done in PGD.  They say:

While PGD has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly progressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies.

Let’s be clear.  PGD is not used to “avert life-threatening diseases in children.”  It is the life-threatening disease.  PGD kills the embryos that show any proclivity to imperfection.  So it is not protecting children.  It is protecting parents from the “hardship” of having a child with imperfection.  

Not only that, PGD doesn’t “create” anything.  It eliminates (scientists like to use the word “selects” cause it sounds better).  I can’t believe the way this is being reported.  As though the slippery slope is just beginning with designer babies.  

Wake up!  We already slid down the slope when we started eliminating the embryos with potential “problems.”  I’m riled up.  Can you tell?

younger brother prodigals, older brother judgment and the third way

At Between Two Worlds, Justin Taylor points to this great article by Marvin Olasky from World magazine.

Olasky has some great insights into the younger brother/older brother phenomena, as it touches the Christian and secular world.  He says “We all know of the younger brother’s libertine living.”  But he describes the older brother’s problem as more subtle, “He is self-righteous and lacks joy.”  He goes on:

Part of the evangelical political problem in contemporary America is that much of the press and public sees us as elder brothers..  

In the realm of “social justice,” younger brothers want governmental redistribution so that everyone, regardless of conduct, gets part of the national inheritance. Some recipients of Washington’s largesse are widows and orphans, but others are younger brothers or sisters who should go home but do not because government checks allow them to keep destroying themselves. Elder brothers, though, wax sarcastic about wastrels while they overlook the needy. “Social justice” turns into either social universalism or Social Darwinism.

He analyzes journalism, higher education, and more with the younger/older brother lens.  I found it helpful.  The first time I recall reading the parable of the prodigal was as a grade school kid and I thought “What! Why wouldn’t the dad give the older brother a party too?”  I didn’t get it.

He goes on to say:

Younger brothers who perceive self-righteousness or joylessness in their elders head toward mockery. On the Comedy Network, Jon Stewart is a snarky younger brother and Stephen Colbert pretends to be an elder as he parodies FOX’s tut-tutting Bill O’Reilly. Elder brothers tend to forget that truth without love is like sodium without chloride: Poison, not salt.

What’s rare on television and in life are third brothers who, because they know deeply that the Father loves them, have love for and patience with both elder and younger brothers. Third brothers, knowing they have been forgiven, are not prideful. 

He concludes with this:

Third brothers ask pointed questions, and here are ones for each of us to answer: Am I a younger, elder, or third brother? Can we, through God’s grace, leave behind elder- and younger-brotherism?

I’ve fought against the elder brother attitude. God has ways of dealing with us “elder-brother” types.  It’s not always pretty.  But it is always loving.

So, are you an older, younger or third way-er?

abortion, race and the deceit of intentions

I ran across this article from 2006 that sheds a lot of light on our human “intentions” to do good.  We delude ourselves with claims for good intentions, even when evil results from them.  

In this story, the Dutch PM got his nose out of joint after a high European official likened the Dutch policy of killing ill or disabled babies to Nazi practices.  It was a true observation.  Of course, the Dutch PM wasn’t embarrassed by the killing of the babies, only of being compared to a Nazi.  Sad.

Here’s what the author,Wesley J. Smith says,

But they [Dutch officials] claim that the Netherlands’ infant euthanasia program is substantially different: Dutch doctors are motivated by compassion whereas the Germans’ were motivated by the bigotry of racial hygiene. Of course it is the act of killing disabled and dying babies that is wrong, not the motivation.

I can’t help but think of the racism of abortion when I read this.  A highly disproportionate number of African American babies are killed by abortion each year.  If we were told that African American babies were being killed because of racial genocide we would be outraged.

But when we hear that African Americans represent only 12% of the population of the United States, yet they account for 35% of the abortions performed in this country (according to the Center for Disease Control), no one seems to care.

Abortion is wrong no matter what the race of the baby.  But, if you’re pro-choice (or just apathetic), doesn’t it make your skin crawl just a little to think that by not opposing abortion you are giving tacit endorsement to the disproportionate killing of a race of people?  If the killing of babies doesn’t make you shudder, how about the lopsided killing of a race?  

Having something in common with Hitler should make us uneasy.  But abortion itself should be the real shame-producer.

Even when we believe our intentions to be good (ie I don’t want a young African American woman to have to have a baby, with no father and no money if she doesn’t want to), it doesn’t make the results any less horrific (ie the unequal killing of a particular race).  

It’s like China’s abortion policy: it results in the killing of baby girls in much greater numbers than boys.  I’ve heard pro-abortionists bemoan this fact.  They like the “one-child policy,” but think that there should be no discrimination in aborting.  What kind of perverse thinking is this?  The answer isn’t to become an equal opportunity killer.  The answer is to stop killing.  

If it’s wrong to abort more girls than boys, then it’s wrong to abort at all.  If it’s wrong to abort more African American babies than white babies, then it’s wrong to abort babies.  

Pro-abortionists’ intentions may appear to be good.  We hear things like, “Let’s make abortion rare.”  The intent behind a statement like this seems good, but the ugly practical reality goes like this: “Let’s keep abortion legal.  Let’s fund abortion with tax-payer dollars. Let’s give young kids condoms and hope they don’t get pregnant.  Let’s get rid of any and all restrictions to abortion.”  

In other words, pro-choicers who intend to make abortion rare, end up making it common.

Proverbs 8:36 “..all who hate me love death.”  Proverbs 12:10 “..the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

an organic confession

There’s something you should know about me.  

I’m not an organic person.  I mean, I am organic, in the true sense of the word (read: I am derived from living things).  But, I’m not an organic mom (read: one who buys “organic” food, uses cloth diapers, green cleaning supplies, and won’t let anything labeled trans-fat touch her lips).

I may have just lost a chunk of my readers, but I’ll plunge ahead, assuming you are all still hanging with me and give the reasons:

1) Health isn’t my top priority. *gasp*.  I know it sounds weird to write down.  Maybe it’s wrong to feel this way? I’d rather spend the extra time it takes preparing uber-healthy organic food, doing something that is uber-healthy for my soul.  

2) The evidence about food is always changing anyway.  Low-fat used to be the sure-fire way to avoid heart disease, now it’s low-carb.  What if, in a couple years, they discover that all the chemicals organic farmers aren’t putting on the food, really were needed to keep diseased food off the shelves?

3) For me, food isn’t moral, it’s fuel.  I eat food so that I can walk around during the day.  I don’t eat food so that I can achieve perfect health.  (Similarly, I don’t think the earth is “moral.“)

4) It’s expensive.  I think it should be named “big organic,” the same way people say, “big oil.”

5) I don’t believe that eating organic is really going to keep me healthier.  I don’t think I have that kind of control over my health.  If God decides I’m getting cancer, he may use aspartame to do it, or he may use faulty genes, or he may just zap me.  But, either way, when he decides it, it’s happening.  

I have a friend who didn’t breast-feed her kids… on purpose. *double gasp*.  

It’s not because she’s unable.  It’s just a personal choice.  Her three older children are believers who passionately love God and others (her youngest is only 5, so I’m not sure about him:).  One time she told me, with a smile, “No, I didn’t breast-feed them, but they seem to have turned out ok.”  Now, that’s somebody with her priorities straight!

So, now you know.  I’m organically reluctant.  Can we still be friends?

Note: I feel a strong inclination to say that, yes, we do eat a (usually) balanced diet with veggies, etc. My kids don’t drink soda-pop and eat potato chips for supper.

 And for Mr. TommyD’s (my husband) sake, I should also note that he does not share my aversion to all-things organic.

pro-life reading for the youngest among us

I just read Dr. Suess’s Horton Hears a Who! for the first time last week.  The kids got it for Christmas and it’s one of the Dr. Suess books that I’ve never read.  I was really missing out!  

This now replaces Green Eggs and Ham as my favorite Dr. Suess book.

Most surprising of all, was the amazing pro-life message it offers.  Horton, a large elephant, discovers a voice coming from a speck of dust.  He comes to find out that it’s not just a voice, but a whole town called Whoville that lives on the speck.

So Horton, lovingly and protectively, guards the speck, now lodged on a clover.  Carrying the clover everywhere he goes, his motto repeats, “Because, after all, a person’s  a person, no matter how small.”  

He faces persecution from a kangaroo and a pack of monkeys, who are set on boiling the clover in beezle-nut oil, in order to get Horton to give up his obsession of protecting the clover.  They don’t believe that there are any people on the speck.  They think Horton is crazy and don’t care about the supposed Who’s of Whoville.  

Finally, after Horton as been mauled and beaten, the Who’s of Whoville shout as loud as they can, all together, with even the smallest Who doing their best, and the monkeys and kangaroo hear the Who’s at last.  

The town is saved and the elephant smiles saying, “They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.  And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All.”  

The book ends with the conversion of the kangaroo.  He says, “From sun in the summer.  From rain when it’s fall-ish, I’m going to protect them.  No matter how small-ish.”

Some make subjective the issue of aborting babies, saying, “Is this really life?”  But we know that babies in the womb are alive; they certainly aren’t dead.  Or, “Is it viable?”  The time of viability keeps getting younger and younger. Or, “Is it a human?”  Well, it definitely isn’t a monkey or an elephant.  

The question is, will our society protect the smallest among us?  Those who, like the Who’s of Whoville, have no way to protect themselves from the bigger people around them.  

I want to be more like Horton.  Even beaten and mauled, he protected those who could not protect themselves.  He made converts out of people that had boiling beezle-nut oil.  

Horton had guts and love.  We could all use a little more of those.

inalienable rights and the doctrine of total depravity

I’ve been thinking about our country. I love it.

I love the constitution and all the freedom-loving ideals that founded it. When I hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud it gives me chills. But a couple phrases in it are quite opposed to Christian ideology. Jefferson writes, “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Rights. This is the word that gives me trouble. Do we really have God-given rights? As Christians, don’t we believe that we are entitled to nothing…that life itself is a gift? Every breath I take is evidence of God’s mercy; every moment it is his right to crush me, if he choose, for the unbelievable audacity I have shown by sinning against a holy God.

And if we do believe that we have rights, what does this mean for salvation? God’s sacrifice of His only Son on the cross looks small, trite, perhaps even unnecessary, to one filled with their own self-important rights. Our depravity and our need for a Savior diminish as our rights increase.

Yet, depravity is a reality. We are utterly depraved. In desperate need of a Savior.

And because God has shown his outrageous grace to us by sending His Son to die for us, to reconcile us to Himself, we are then indebted to protect the life that He lovingly creates. No, it is not the right of the unborn to live, it is pure grace that they have been created. But it is our duty to protect and defend that life. Life has supreme value because it was created in His image, not because it was endowed with His rights.

Do you think this understanding of rights has had an effect on the Gospel in America? My hand has been tipped, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.