The Murder of Dr. George Tiller

If you’ve been following the news, you already know that Dr. George Tiller, one of only a handful of doctors left in the United States who perform late-term abortions, was murdered this week. A suspect, Scott Roeder, is already in custody.

Since the election of Barack Obama, there’s been a noticeable upsurge in right-wing terrorism. This frightening trend tracks the evolution of the American right in general, which is becoming smaller, more insular, and more ideologically rigid, and its language more violent and more extreme. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that their recent string of political defeats have caused some among the fringes to believe that the only way to achieve their goals is through violence.

Late-term abortion is never performed on a whim. The only time such abortions are performed is when the fetus has severe abnormalities incompatible with life, or when the woman develops a life-threatening complication, such as preeclampsia, and terminating the pregnancy is the only way to save her. But even these limited exceptions are too much for anti-choice Christian terrorists. It was for these acts – for his compassion in saving the lives of women – that Dr. Tiller was murdered.

Although there’s no evidence that the alleged killer wasn’t acting alone, there’s abundant evidence that the crime was inspired by the hateful, poisonous, and inflammatory language that pours in a steady stream from the anti-choice religious right. Exhibit A is Bill O’Reilly, who repeatedly denounced Dr. Tiller on his show as “Tiller the Baby Killer” and said he “destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000″ (source). If this were true, Dr. Tiller would have been breaking the law in Kansas, which, like other states, bans abortion past the point of viability except in the case of severe fetal deformity or to save the life of the mother. In other words, O’Reilly was accusing Tiller of committing a crime, which meets the legal definition of defamation if he cannot prove his claim to be true.

Even if Dr. Tiller’s murderer acted alone, he isn’t the only one who’s been inspired to do so by right-wing rhetoric. In addition to those in the link on Christian terrorism cited earlier, there’s also Paul Evans, who was sentenced to forty years in prison for leaving a nail bomb in the parking lot of the Austin Women’s Health Center, and Cheryl Sullenger, who served two years in prison in the 1980s for planning to bomb a California clinic. Significantly, Sullenger is now Operation Rescue’s senior policy advisor, and her phone number was found in Roeder’s car – suggesting that the mainstream anti-choice movement, even if it does not openly call for violence, is quite willing to associate with and embrace those who have committed violent acts in the past.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this pattern, and it won’t be the last: right-wing pundits continually spew hate rhetoric against their political adversaries, and then piously wash their hands of blood when the inevitable occurs and some violent lunatic decides to take those words to their logical conclusion. It’s vital for atheists and progressives to realize that we are all potential targets of this bloodthirsty madness. If the murder of Dr. Tiller has any lesson, it’s that we must stand up to defend the human rights that are still under siege from fanatics. One way to begin is to make a donation to Planned Parenthood today in Dr. Tiller’s memory.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Maynard

    I think that anyone who stands up for “pro-life” (seems so oxymoronic after events like these) should have to first announce the number of unwanted children they have adopted – being that individual is of age, financial stability, and sound mind. If that number is less than one, any and all comments be bluntly disregarded.

  • barnetto

    Where do you get that those abortions are only done for mother/baby health reasons? This is the only source I know of:
    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf

    And it said for >=13 weeks ~20% are for baby health and ~10% for mother health (there might be overlap between the two groups). Guttmacher has some other surveys, but nothing comes close to even 50%. And the abortion foes would likely argue that a bunch of health risks are fake/temporary anyways and the numbers are inflated.

  • Stacey Melissa

    Some of my friends from the Wichita atheist meetup were volunteer clinic escorts at Dr. Tiller’s clinic for years. They protected the patients from the Operation Rescue nutjobs, including president Troy Newman, who were always there to harass. Those clinic escorts and Dr. Tiller himself were heroes to me, not for what they did, but for what they had to deal with, day in and day out. Newman and the Operation Rescue people may be polite on TV now, but they weren’t like that at their protests, and in their other rhetoric. Two-faced people is what they were. Unlike them, Dr. Tiller only ever had one face for both the media and for behind closed doors.

  • Wednesday

    Barnetto – assuming you asked that question in good faith and are not a troll or anti-choice apologist, re-read the original post. Ebon clearly states that Dr. Tiller practiced medicine in a state where abortion after 22 weeks was not permitted in Kansas for any reasons other than life or fetal deformity. He was legally harassed by petitions and a state official over adherence to that law and others, and was acquitted by a grand jury every time it was taken that far. (This can be confirmed from many mainstream news articles about Dr. Tiller’s assassination.) So unless you’re going to say those grand juries were illegally biased, bribed, or incompetent on the basis of hearsay…

    There is a HUGE difference between “all abortions after 13 weeks” and “all abortions after 22 weeks”. Many women who have abortions earlier in the second trimester (ie, between 13 and, say, 20 weeks) are those who wanted an abortion in the first trimester but were unable to obtain one because of financial or other barriers. Third trimester abortions (ie, late-term) are rare rare rare, hugely legally restricted, and only performed in this country by a handful of doctors. The only people claiming that they’re done for “frivolous” reasons are members of the anti-legal-abortion movement. Because they – including Bill O’Reilly – are making the claim that third-trimester abortions are being performed in violation of the law, the burden of proof lies on them.

    Why the hell would a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant wait six months to terminate if she _could_ do so before then? Why the hell would people like Dr. Tiller risk legal repercussions, not to mention their lives and the lives of their staff performing illegal third-trimester abortions without a tremendously compelling reason? Let alone on a regular basis for just $5000? Abortion clinics are terrorist targets, and have been for decades. Dr. Tiller himself was previously shot, and has seen his clinic bombed.

  • Alex Weaver

    This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this pattern, and it won’t be the last: right-wing pundits continually spew hate rhetoric against their political adversaries, and then piously wash their hands of blood when the inevitable occurs and some violent lunatic decides to take those words to their logical conclusion.

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, Julius Streicher was not acquitted…

  • Erika

    Thank you Wednesday for making the point I was going to make and will here emphasize and reiterate — 13 weeks does not make an abortion late term. It makes it after the first trimester.

  • Leum

    Where do you get that those abortions are only done for mother/baby health reasons?

    Roe v. Wade did not legalize third-trimester abortions. Those remain illegal unless there is a compelling mother/baby health reason. Common misconception.

  • barnetto

    @leum, roe v wade said states could *choose* to restrict abortions in the 3rd trimester unless the mother’s health is in danger. It is not illegal unless the state exercises its right to pass such a law. Planned parenthood vs Casey got rid of the trimesters and said that viability had moved from 28 weeks to 22 weeks.

    @ wednesday, yes I am asking these questions in good faith. I would have searched for more information on my own but I was occupied. Where do some go about making the claim that ~80% of (late?) abortions are elective? Their own private practice? I also saw this: http://www.holysmoke.org/fem/fem0543.htm Its old data, but if laws like Kansas has were not in effect then maybe we’d see the same thing. From the link, only 20% at most were due to mother/baby health.

    http://www.kdheks.gov/hci/absumm.html
    That link is to the information Kansas collects on abortions performed. 1999 includes information about whether it was for the mother’s mental health or physical health, 2008 the mental requirement seems to have disappeared (except in the case of partial birth abortion, of which there were none that year).

    Thank you for clarifying Kansas law. I did not follow the link ebon posted and had assumed they had a mental health as well as physical health exception due to things I had previously heard. It appears that at some point they changed their laws.

    @Erika, wiki says “late-term” has no biological/medical meaning and has sources showing it has been defined from anywhere between 12 weeks to 28 weeks.

  • Alex Weaver

    When people say “late term” they generally mean “third trimester,” wherever that falls in the “weeks” pattern.

  • Alex Weaver

    …especially when they’re talking about the percentage of abortions performed for medical reasons.

  • barnetto

    It makes more intuitive sense (to my intuition) to describe late-term as being the point in time when viability exists. Planned parenthood vs Casey set that at 22 weeks.

  • barnetto

    (third trimester is 28 weeks)

  • http://www.FairAndUNbalanced.com Burr Deming

    Dr. Tiller was killed by idealism. He met the most dangerous creature on earth: the man who knows that God is on his side.

  • abusedbypenguins

    All the right-wingers would have been right at home wearing brown shirts in Germany 70 years ago or if they spoke Farsi or Arabic, right at home in nut-job muslim countries. Killing those whom they disapprove of or personally object to for any reason. They have yet to figure out what it means to be an American citizen. I am an American citizen because I can think what I want to think, do what I want to do , go where I want to go, etc. as long (And this is the most important part) I do not impose myself upon nor interfere with other American citizens thinking what they want to think, do what they want to do, etc.

  • rennis

    The cold blooded murder of Dr. Tiller was a heinous crime and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Our sympathy is extended to his family, friends, and colleagues. Regardless of what he did, no one has the right to murder someone. As a conservative Christian I condemn any violence as well as any illegal actions.

    It is interesting to read the insults and hate that is directed in the comments in this section and willingness to group all those with “right wing” views into the same category. Are you not afraid of having a Bill O’Reilly effect also? Listen to yourselves. Condemn the shooter, not all who oppose abortion.

    Many of the writers in these comments support killing innocent unborn babies due to physical handicaps that are diagnosed in the womb.

    In order to meet Maynard’s criteria to be worthy of a comment here I will disclose that I do support a 10 year old girl in Rwanda.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Rennis,

    It is interesting to read the insults and hate that is directed in the comments in this section and willingness to group all those with “right wing” views into the same category.

    The only comment that has even come close to this is the one just above your comment. What hate is there here? What insults? What grouping is being done? Yout tendency to continually complain about phantoms is rather perplexing.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    rennis: “innocent unborn babies

    Innocent? Most Christians believe we all suffer from original sin. Or does that only go into effect at the time of birth? That would be weird if the soul is applied at the time of conception, but original sin only at time of birth.

  • rennis

    Innocent? Most Christians believe we all suffer from original sin.–

    This is true Reginald. However, from an atheist point of view wouldn’t unborn babies be considered as innocent?

    Question for OMFG: Have there been reports that Scott Roeder claimed to be a Christian? I have not read any reports which have alluded to such an alignment. If not then the original post is possibly unfair as well. I apologize if I have missed a direct link. The

    That being said, those who claim Christianity yet participate in intimidation, vandalism, assualt, or murder, etc are not living or conveying the precepts of Christianity. Same for those anti-abortionists who have made stupid comments about this murder.

    I realize my entries here generally are not going to be well recieved but I do like to visit the site because in general it is one of the highest level discussions that challenge my beliefs. I just wish we could do so while painting with a more narrow brush and without being insulting.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    rennis,

    Question for OMFG: Have there been reports that Scott Roeder claimed to be a Christian?

    Yes. He has posted on the Operation Rescue site before:

    [May 19th, 2007 at 4:34 pm] Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp. Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.

    Which is a good indicator that he was in fact Xian.

    That being said, those who claim Christianity yet participate in intimidation, vandalism, assualt, or murder, etc are not living or conveying the precepts of Christianity. Same for those anti-abortionists who have made stupid comments about this murder.

    I’m sure none of them are true Scotsmen either? This is logically fallacious.

    I realize my entries here generally are not going to be well recieved…

    Because invariably those entries consist of you complaining about how unfair, mean, angry, etc. we atheists are when it is entirely uncalled for for you to make those accusations. For example,

    I just wish we could do so while painting with a more narrow brush and without being insulting.

    You have yet to point out the broad brush strokes or the insults. If you are going to be sensitive to anything that anyone says, you can hardly expect us to take you seriously.

  • Wednesday

    Reginald: Once upon a time, some Abrahamic theologians held that original sin was transmitted during birth, while passing through the cervix. This was obviously before c-sections. (I’m not really sure what their basis was, when they thought ensoulment happened, or whether they were in the majority or minority.)

    barnetto:
    (1) “Partial birth abortion” is not a medical term. Please use “intact D&E” if you mean the procedure that many people refer to as “partial birth”, or something else more specific if you meant something else.

    (2) I don’t know, where _do_ some people get the figure that 80% of late abortions are elective? Maybe you should ask the people making those claims. My experience is that when it’s someone who’s opposed to legal abortion claiming that a high percent post-viability or third-trimester abortions are elective, they’re just repeating a number that someone along the line made up.

    (3) Again, there’s a MASSIVE difference between claiming that 80% of all abortions at any gestational age are elective and claiming that 80% of third term/post-viability/post-22-weeks, etc abortions being elective. Your link of data from the late 80′s doesn’t give data by gestational age, and only discusses “late” abortions (while not defining the term). This data is from 20 years ago, so I can’t be sure, but based on the types of responses (needed time to raise money, misjudged gestational age), I’m guessing they probably mean second trimester abortions, or maybe even just “later than the woman would’ve wanted”.

    If you continue to disregard this distinction which is fundamental to the discussion, I’m not going to bother answering you any more. If you want to find out more about why people think abortion in general should be legal, etc, this is not the place for it – do some research, wait until Ebon makes a post on that issue, or ask people at a reproductive rights-focused blog or forum.

    (3.5) And I’m not sure why it’s relevant to discuss whether or not 80% of all abortions (the vast majority of which are performed in the first trimester) are for reasons other than health of mother or embryo/fetus. Ebon wasn’t claiming anything about abortions performed before the 22-week mark.

    (3.6) If you didn’t believe Ebon had correctly characterized Kansas law regarding mental health exceptions post-viability in his post above, why didn’t you just follow the link he provided and confirm it for yourself? Why did you ask us? If Ebon misunderstood the law or was being deliberately dishonest, why would J. Random Commenter be any more accurate or honest?

    (4) Why would a mental health exception to the Kansas law mean that suddenly 80% of abortions after 22 weeks were elective? Mental illness is very real – and if pregnancy is making you unable to function or even suicidal, it’s endangering you just as surely as physical risks do. If you’re concerned that mental illnesses are overdiagnosed or that psychologists are too easily bribed, then you should try to get involved in the discussions of the upcoming revisions to the DSM, or gather evidence and push for ethics investigations.

    (Heck, the anti-legal-abortion movement even tries to argue that we should ban abortion because there’s a (disproven) causal link between abortion and depression. If simply the possible risk of depression is serious enough to justify forcing pregnant women to carry to term against their will (and all the mental health and physical health risks that will entail, including the harm done by illegal abortions and the risk of depression in mothers who give their babies up for adoption), then surely a single instance of diagnosed, already-existing mental illnesses should be sufficient to justify that woman’s abortion after 22 weeks.)

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    An update:

    Roeder apparently kept track of the state prosecution against Tiller through a senior member of Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion organization.

    At the time of Roeder’s arrest Sunday afternoon along Interstate 35 in Johnson County, a television station captured the vehicle on video. There on the dashboard was a note that read “Cheryl” and “Op Rescue” with a phone number.

    Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue out of Wichita, said Tuesday that she has spoken to Roeder in the past, but she said he would initiate the contact. She said she hasn’t had any recent contact with him.

    Sullenger served about two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in California in 1988. She has since renounced violent action.

    She said Roeder’s interest was in court hearings involving Tiller.

    “He would call and say, ‘When does court start? When’s the next hearing?’ ” Sullenger said. “I was polite enough to give him the information. I had no reason not to. Who knew? Who knew, you know what I mean?”

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Heck, the anti-legal-abortion movement even tries to argue that we should ban abortion because there’s a (disproven) causal link between abortion and depression.

    Wednesday, they made the same claim regarding breast cancer too.

  • Wednesday

    Tommykey – Yeah, I know. But the “post-abortion syndrome” argument makes me angrier, because at the same time they’re often arguing against mental health exceptions to bans or restrictions. Basically, “Possible risk of depression means we should force women to carry to term, but if she says she has actual depression while pregnant she’s just a lying slut who wants to murder her baby.” At least when they argue against letting cancer patients get abortions (which to be fair, many do not), they generally use “it’s not really dangerous” as their primary argument, rather than engaging in dehumanization and victim-blaming.

  • Wayne Essel

    Sad. Very sad. There is no justification for murder. Condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family and friends.

  • barnetto

    @ wednesday

    1) “Partial birth” was the term used in the Kansas questionnaire. I made a statement of fact without passing judgment on it and I am entirely unconcerned with the procedure. It only caught my attention because it was the only part of the form that still mentioned mental health.

    2-3-3.5) Ebon made a claim that late term abortions are never performed on a “whim” (and he did not, in that statement, say he was only talking about kansas) and I did my mediocre best to investigate it myself. He made a blanket assertion about *all* late-term abortion that can’t be extrapolated from the data point of just Kansas which has strict laws on when abortions can be performed. Everything else in the article is sourced and linked except that assertion.

    3.6) I didn’t mean to erroneously imply Ebon mischaracterized abortions in Kansas. I said I didn’t read closely, missed his link, and had assumed that the mental health clause I had previously heard about was still in effect. I thanked you for pointing it out to me and that should be the end of that.

    4) If you re-read what I wrote, I did *not* make that argument. You’ll find no disagreement with me that mental illness is real.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “As a conservative Christian I condemn any violence as well as any illegal actions.”– rennis

    And yet you continue to espouse the beliefs that led to this murder. There is no doubt at all that christianity is a causal link in this chain. No matter the pious distancing going on right now across that country, this murder is a direct outgrowth of faith. Whether the intent of christianity is benificent of baleful, it must be judged by its effects — the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • rennis

    “And yet you continue to espouse the beliefs that led to this murder. There is no doubt at all that christianity is a causal link in this chain. No matter the pious distancing going on right now across that country, this murder is a direct outgrowth of faith. Whether the intent of christianity is benificent of baleful, it must be judged by its effects — the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Comment #26 by: Thumpalumpacus”

    To Thumpalumpacus: Your assumptions and conclusions do not follow the arguments you present. There are no Biblically based beliefs that led to this murder. To say that Christianity is even a common link is without support. This murder may be the outgrowth of some warped belief that this criminal had, it is not one that is based on Biblical teachings. In fact, it has not been established that he even claimed to be a Christian. That, in fact, is an assumption being made on this web site based on the fact that he had posted on the Operation Resuce website.

    “this murder is a direct outgrowth of faith.” If this premise is accepted then you must also accept the argument presented by some that Hitler and the Holocost were a direct outgrowth of Darwinism, a position that most atheists seem to readily reject.

    Scott Roeder was a dispicable criminal, period.

    The beliefs I espouse are that they lives of unborn babies are worthy of protection and that I support legal efforts to democratically change the laws of our country to protect those lives.

  • Justin

    To Thumpalumpacus: Your assumptions and conclusions do not follow the arguments you present. There are no Biblically based beliefs that led to this murder. To say that Christianity is even a common link is without support. This murder may be the outgrowth of some warped belief that this criminal had, it is not one that is based on Biblical teachings. In fact, it has not been established that he even claimed to be a Christian. That, in fact, is an assumption being made on this web site based on the fact that he had posted on the Operation Resuce website.

    I have to agree that it’s unfair to blame Christianity for this murder. However, the Bible does have that whole “an eye for an eye” Old Testament idea of justice. It may be the case that Tiller got his motivation from violent passages contained therein. If so, then it would be fair to blame Christian fundamentalism, but not the whole religion.

    “this murder is a direct outgrowth of faith.” If this premise is accepted then you must also accept the argument presented by some that Hitler and the Holocost were a direct outgrowth of Darwinism, a position that most atheists seem to readily reject.

    Hitler argued for creationism in Mein Kampf and Darwin’s writings were banned in Nazi Germany. Considering that, I fail to see how evolution could have been used to justify the Holocaust.

  • Alex Weaver

    Rennis, you’re not going to get anywhere in this conversation until you acknowledge and engage with the view that a fetus is not equivalent to a born child.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    That, in fact, is an assumption being made on this web site based on the fact that he had posted on the Operation Resuce website.

    Yes, I’m sure that the fact that he was tied in with a Xian organization and talked about praying and blessings and even had some of their higher-up’s phone numbers is all a clever ruse by Scott Roeder, the not true Xian, in order to perpetrate a murder and make people think a Xian did it. And, if you believe that, I’ve got some property to sell you.

    I mean, c’mon Rennis. Are you really going to argue that? Deal with it. Sometimes Xians do bad things. It’s one of most Xians’ core beliefs anyway, so why try to disavow it when it actually happens?

    There are no Biblically based beliefs that led to this murder.

    I’m sorry but this is just plain wrong. Roeder could believe that he’s been told by god to do this, which trumps anything and everything else, according to the Bible. Roeder could be basing this on the punishment for what he deems to be murder, which is in the Bible. And on and on. If I want to find justification for anything, I can pretty much do it in the Bible.

    Of course, the Bible is also muddled on whether abortion itself is murder or illegal or immoral, but hey, let’s not let that stop you from claiming that your interpretation is the correct one.

    The beliefs I espouse are that they lives of unborn babies are worthy of protection and that I support legal efforts to democratically change the laws of our country to protect those lives.

    2 questions:
    1. How do you Biblically support your position that “unborn babies are worthy of protection?”
    2. If abortion is made illegal, what should the punishment be for women who obtain abortions?

  • Wednesday

    barnetto: Oh, I see. That you wanted to know about third-trimester abortion in all of the US vs. just in Kansas wasn’t clear to me at all – and so it kept looking like you were ignoring the third-trimester abortions vs. all abortions distinction, rather than trying to take the discussion out of Kansas. I’ll give you a better response in light of that in a day or two – offline responsibilities rear their ugly heads at the moment.

    Justin – I think you mean “It may be the case that Roeder got his motivation from violent passages contained therein”? At least, I hope you do.

  • Justin

    Justin – I think you mean “It may be the case that Roeder got his motivation from violent passages contained therein”? At least, I hope you do.

    Yes. I accidentally mixed up the names. Thanks for the catch.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Rennis:

    Please forgive the length of the following reply.

    You wrote: ” In fact, it has not been established that he even claimed to be a Christian.” However, on the rear of his car was a Christian fish symbol with the word “Jesus” inside. [http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/why-its-religious-terrorism.html] That sounds like he claimed to be Christian, to me. Additionally, Roeder’s wife asserts that in the 1990s he became “very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way” [source: http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2009/06/03/1005605/roeders-religion. Thus, not only are you incorrect about his religiosity, but Justin’s comment receives indirect support.

    While the Bible doesn’t specifically reference abortion, it explicitly urges intolerance in many passages, and the killing of murderers — thank you, OMGF, for this answer. In that sense, and remembering that anti-choicers regard a fetus as human, it does indeed sanction the killing of these doctors, in a manner.

    Furthermore, to deny that Christianity is a common link in anti-choice criminal activity is naive at best, or disingenuous at worst. While we can agree that abortion is repugnant, the fact of the matter in this issue is that it is fundamentalist Christians who exercise violence to enforce its viewpoint. The connections between Roeder and Operation Rescue are beyond dispute, beyond just posting on its website. Did he not have Operation Resuce’s senior policy advisor’s phone number in his car at his arrest? (This is Cheryl Sullenger, who served 2 years in prison for conspiring herself to bomb, you guessed it, an abortion clinic). For good background on the connection between the radical anti-choice movement and its connections with fundamentalist Christianity and militia movements, see this Southern Poverty Law Center report: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=410.

    As far as this being a “direct outgrowth of faith”, I stand corrected. It is a direct outgrowth of faith-based intolerance. And while mainstream Christians no doubt decry Roeder’s action, I must point out that the many gleeful comments on Christian blogs show that this intolerance is widespread.

    Your refusal to admit these facts only undermines your credibility.

  • rennis

    “you’re not going to get anywhere in this conversation until you acknowledge and engage with the view that a fetus is not equivalent to a born child.”Comment #29 by: Alex Weaver

    It is my belief that a beating heart represents a living creature. If that beating heart is in a human “fetus” then to intentionally stop the beating of that heart and the development of that fetus is to “kill” it. You may defone the stopping of a beating heart differently. The heartbeat develops at 4-6 weeks. If all that is needed from 0-4 weeks is nourishment then I would postulate that this early fetus is also that of a human.

    “2 questions:
    1. How do you Biblically support your position that “unborn babies are worthy of protection?”
    2. If abortion is made illegal, what should the punishment be for women who obtain abortions? Comment #30 by: OMGF”

    From Exodus 21 we read (verse 22): “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life….” If God would take a serious view of accidently injuring a fetus, then it might be a safe extrapolation that He would take a more serious view of one who intentionally kills an unborn child. I share this simply to answer a question you posed and not as an attempt to get you to accept this view since as an athiest I understand that you begin with an assumption of no god whereas the Bible begins with an assumption of God. As far as what the penalty should be, that would be the same as any other infraction, it would be determined through the legal system.

    As a point of clarification, I want to also stress that this passage in no way justifies what Roeder did. He may have in a warped way used that but that is not a function of the Bible..it is a function of his evil mind.

    “Roeder could believe that he’s been told by god to do this, which trumps anything and everything else, according to the Bible. Roeder could be basing this on the punishment for what he deems to be murder, which is in the Bible.”

    Notice that in your speculation the “coulds” refer to Roeder, not the Bible. If the specualtion is true, it is he not the Bible that is doing the evil. Individuals have personal responsibility for their choices and actions.

    Also, OMGF you are absolutely right..I readily acknowledge many Christians do bad things just as do athiests, agnostics and those from other religions. When Christians do this they hurt all Christians and their credibility as is evidenced here. My point is that it is not Biblical teachings that are responsible for this. It is the individual who is responsible.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Rennis:

    You wrote above, “There are no Biblically based beliefs that led to this murder,” and then cite Exodus in:re injuring a fetus: “But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life.”

    Would you mind explicating this apparent contradiction?

  • rennis

    “Rennis: Please forgive the length of the following reply. Comment #33 by: Thumpalumpacus”

    Thank you for providing this information. Seems clear that he did claim to be a Christian.

    “Thus, not only are you incorrect about his religiosity, but Justin’s comment receives indirect support.”

    If you reread my comments, I made no claim about his religosity, just posed a question as to whether he claimed to be a Christian.

    You are correct though and I apologize. Thanks for the additional web sites.

  • rennis

    “Would you mind explicating this apparent contradiction? Comment #35 by: Thumpalumpacus’

    It is no contradiction at all. The citation from Exodus was in response to a question posed by OMGF; “1. How do you Biblically support your position that “unborn babies are worthy of protection?” As I explained, this passage as well as others such as Psalm 139:13: ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ cause me to value the life of the unborn.

    Roeder had no right or authority to do what he did. Neither do any of the other anti abortion people who vandalize, assault, intimidate, or kill. It is for the authority; ie govt to do or for God to punish.

    I don’t like abortion but am grieved by this sensless murder. It was not however my faith that was responsible for this. Roeder should have been working to try to being about a legal change and also providing support to pregnancy assistant centers to provide other options.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Rennis –

    And what inferences do you draw about a “good” book that may be so misinterpreted as to produce this evil?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Rennis,
    Exodus 21:22 is most often translated to mean that if the woman miscarries, then a fine is to be paid, and if the woman dies because of the injury, then eye for an eye becomes applicable. And, I do see this as a contradiction. When you claim that this supports your anti-choice views but then also claim that Roeder should not seek an eye for an eye, I find that to be contradictory (thanks Thump for pointing that out).

    It is my belief that a beating heart represents a living creature.

    No one is saying that fetuses are not alive, just that they don’t merit personhood.

    As far as what the penalty should be, that would be the same as any other infraction, it would be determined through the legal system.

    Shouldn’t it be considered murder though? Shouldn’t women who obtain abortions be tried for murder according to you?

    Notice that in your speculation the “coulds” refer to Roeder, not the Bible. If the specualtion is true, it is he not the Bible that is doing the evil. Individuals have personal responsibility for their choices and actions.

    Books don’t kill people, people kill people, right? Although I sympathize with this to some degree, beliefs do lead people to kill other people. I don’t think anyone can disagree on that point. And, if the belief is that this book is holy, the unerring word of god, and that if god speaks to you that you must obey, well then what? Yes, Roeder bears responsibility, but so does the culture and the religion that brought him to the state where he would kill another human.

    Also, OMGF you are absolutely right..I readily acknowledge many Christians do bad things just as do athiests, agnostics and those from other religions.

    Thank you for that frank admission. I find that atheists are on the whole no better or worse than Xians, and vice versa.

    My point is that it is not Biblical teachings that are responsible for this. It is the individual who is responsible.

    I would say that it’s an individual who has been brought up to believe in inhumane and ghastly beliefs is responsible for this, as are the inhumane and ghastly beliefs themselves.

    Lastly a nit:

    …since as an athiest I understand that you begin with an assumption of no god whereas the Bible begins with an assumption of God.

    Please be careful…not sharing your assumption of god does not mean that I’m making an assumption of my own.

  • rennis

    “Rennis –And what inferences do you draw about a “good” book that may be so misinterpreted as to produce this evil?” Comment #38 by: Thumpalumpacus

    I’m sorry but the “good” book does not misinterpret itself. “Misterpretation” is a malfunction of the person not the book (since it is the person who is interpreting). I’m sure you’re not implying that the indiviual is not responsible for his/her choices are you? Does the person who commits the murder or wrongdoing have any responsibility or not?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I think the point, rennis, is that the book lends itself to interpretation that can vary from someone like you who seems to abhor the acts committed by Roeder, to Roeder himself and other like-minded individuals that do kill abortion providers. I’m glad that you seem to be someone who does not condone violence, but I think it’s actually easier to find passages to support Roeder’s actions than your beliefs.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Rennis:

    Individuals are indeed responsible for their own interpretations of the Bible. My intent is to point out that the Word of a perfect deity ought, by definition of “perfection”, be immune to imperfect interpretation. Otherwise, how can God claim to be good when his word inspires evil?

  • rennis

    To OMGF and Thumpalumpacus:

    Thank you for the exchange of ideas and for challenging my beliefs. I will end my entries on this by saying that it is the “imperfection” of men that cause the Bible to be misinterpreted, misquoted, and misapplied. It is the fallibility of men, of which I am one.

    However, this is the danger of taking anything out of context or incomplete. the following passage from Ephesians is hard to misinterpret. All Christians would do well just to focus here and maybe the world would listen to the other things we have to say. From Ephesians:

    22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26″In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

    29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
    If we (Christians) would only follow this…..

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    rennis “Many of the writers in these comments support killing innocent unborn babies due to physical handicaps that are diagnosed in the womb.”
    Like this? (warning: graphic and sad). With or without abortion, anencephaly (and any number of other horrible possibilities) has no happy ending.

    Wednesday “Reginald: Once upon a time, some Abrahamic theologians held that original sin was transmitted during birth, while passing through the cervix.”
    That’s because The Fall was the chick’s fault. Luckily, Jesus was immune. He must’ve got that from His father.

    Tommykey “Wednesday, they made the same claim regarding breast cancer too.”
    Well, it’s technically true.
    1. A woman who has an abortion does not have a baby.
    2. A woman who doesn’t not have a baby does not breastfeed.
    3. A woman who does not breastfeed has a statistically higher chance of getting breast cancer than one who does.
    They simply leave out the inconvenient facts, leading to an iffy conclusion which they don’t really believe (if they did, they’d be for mandatory breastfeeding, even for women who can’t reproduce).

    Justin “Hitler argued for creationism in Mein Kampf and Darwin’s writings were banned in Nazi Germany. Considering that, I fail to see how evolution could have been used to justify the Holocaust.”
    That’s because he was hiding his “Darwinism”, but if you read between the lines you’ll see the truth. Didn’t you notice that if you pour lemon juice in your eyes, turn out the lights and squint, the Nazi-era version of the Iron Cross looks just like a Darwin fish? I rest my case.

    OMGF “Shouldn’t it be considered murder though? Shouldn’t women who obtain abortions be tried for murder according to you?”
    It gets worse than that. If that’s murder, then coffee, breastfeeding and exercise all lead to manslaughter!

  • Domyan

    Rennis,
    You keep saying that we shouldn’t blame Christianity for the actions of a clearly deranged individual. I agree but only if:

    1) Christians thought their children that if they think that God has spoken to them and commanded that they break the ‘human’ law, that they should visit a psychologist immediately. They do not though, do they? Children are thought that God really speaks to people and that ‘God’s law’ is the one they really should obey. What could possibly go wrong with teaching like that?

    2) If each call to violence that right-wing ‘minority’ makes is quickly met by extremely stern accusations from good, peace loving Christian majority that sends a clear message to all that this is not a Christian way and that those nuts are not Christians and are in fact on a fast road to hell. I am not talking about after someone is ‘completely unexpectedly’ killed but even on a smallest hint of advocating violence. Again, this is clearly not the case.

    Christians, here I specially mean main-stream majority, are directly responsible for these kinds of events.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Regarding the frequency of late-term abortions, here’s a data set from Planned Parenthood and the National Center for Health Statistics, which estimates that only about 100 abortions per year, or about 0.01%, are performed in the third trimester.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Rennis (if you are still reading),
    It’s actually rather easy to interpret that passage in a different way from you. One can interpret it to mean that one is being righteous when one carries out god’s will and kills someone who is violating god’s law (as god’s law calls for!) And, surely, if one believes that a murderer is in their midst, it is kind and compassionate to save the poor, little babies from murder.

    Take a look at Xianity from a historical perspective, and you’ll find that this kinder, gentler Xianity of which you speak is a relatively new phenomena, yet the source material has not changed. For most of the lifetime of Xianity, its adherents have interpretted the same book to be mostly an excuse for killing, etc. You’re contending that they were all wrong, and maybe they were, but you can’t very well point to the same source material they used to claim such when it’s all a matter of interpretation.

  • Wednesday

    Modusoperandi – actually, a large percentage of women who have abortions either already have children, or go on to have children. (I want to say 60% already have kids, but don’t quote me on that.) So it’s not even technically true that abortion = loss of protection via breastfeeding.

    Also, re: Mary transmitting original sin to Jesus, good point. And that’s what the “immaculate conception” is about. Once it came out that mothers made a contribution to offspring beyond just providing incubation, Catholicism decided that Mary was conceived without sin, so she couldn’t pass it on to Jesus.

    Rennis – “It is my belief that a beating heart represents a living creature.”

    You may want to rethink that belief, then, because reality doesn’t quite agree with you. Live heart cells can and do beat on their own, even just sitting in a dish or test tube. (I am not making this up. You can even see it on YouTube, if you like. It is my belief that this is really fracking awesome, but if someone shows me that reality disagrees I’ll change it.)

  • rennis

    Re: Comment #44 by: Modusoperandi “anencephaly (and any number of other horrible possibilities) has no happy ending.”

    Tragedies no doubt. Are there other birth defects for which you would advocate the killing of the fetus?

    Re: “…when it’s all a matter of interpretation.” Comment #47 by: OMGF

    I think that you have pinpointed a large part of the problem. Let me pose this question: When you write a comment on this site, does it have a specific meaning or is it something that you wrote with a specific meaning? Is it alright for readers to interpret the things you write and then talk about what your comments mean to them? My point is this, you probably have a specific meaning in mind and people should read what you have written and take your comments in the context that they are written. Your comments convey ideas for which you have a specific meaning. The problem with extremists is that they bend and take things out of context to justify a position they already have decided on. Again the evil is a function of the person and not the Bible.

    “One can interpret it to mean that one is being righteous when one carries out god’s will and kills someone who is violating god’s law”

    Again some sicko might use such a passage to justify what they already have decided to do but that is not what the Bible would call for. In 1 Peter we find:

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

    Every authority instituted includes governments, leaders, and laws that one disagrees with. that’s why in earlier posts I condemn all such action of people like this. Since we live in a country which allows its citizens to work to change laws then tyring to overturn abortion is acceptable as long as legal mean are followed which clearly Roeder and others like him do not.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Are there other birth defects for which you would advocate the killing of the fetus?

    We’re not advocating killing anyone. We are saying that it us up to the pregnant woman in such a situation to determine whether or not she wants to bring the pregnancy to term. If she wants to have the baby, then we respect her choice to do so just as much as if she decided she did not want to. In other words, it is her choice, not ours, or yours.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Rennis,

    I think that you have pinpointed a large part of the problem. Let me pose this question: When you write a comment on this site, does it have a specific meaning or is it something that you wrote with a specific meaning? Is it alright for readers to interpret the things you write and then talk about what your comments mean to them? My point is this, you probably have a specific meaning in mind and people should read what you have written and take your comments in the context that they are written. Your comments convey ideas for which you have a specific meaning.

    I don’t disagree with what you are saying here. What I write is open to interpretation. But, that still leaves a couple problems:

    1. If god is perfect, why can’t god write something that is unambiguous.
    2. If it is a matter of interpretation, and we can’t simply ask the person who wrote it (if something I write is unclear, you can ask me directly) then how do we decide which is the correct interpretation?

    The problem with extremists is that they bend and take things out of context to justify a position they already have decided on. Again the evil is a function of the person and not the Bible.

    Why can’t I say the same thing about your approach? Isn’t the good a function of the person and not the Bible? If so, then what use is the Bible at all?

    Implicit in your statement is that you’re assuming your conclusion – that the Bible leads to good, so anyone who doesn’t share your interpretation must be wrong. The point I was making earlier is that throughout history, people have not shared your interpretation and I have no way of judging whether their interpretation is better than yours or not other than going to the same source where the conflict came from and forming my own interpretation. When I do that, I find that the recent idea of peaceful Xianity does not adhere as closely to the Bible as the bloodthirsty Xianity of even the recent past.

    Again some sicko might use such a passage to justify what they already have decided to do but that is not what the Bible would call for.

    The point is that they do think that’s what the Bible “would call for” as do others. How can you make the claim that your interpretation is more correct than their interpretation?

    Finally, I find your quote of 1 Peter to be rather contradictory and not a good guideline at all. It says to obey authority, but shouldn’t one obey god above all (which he commands many times)? Secondly, it says to not let freedom be a cover-up for evil and to live as servants of god, not as servants of the government. I can easily see how one could interpret this to mean, “Kill abortionists.”

  • Polly

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men:

    In NAZI Germany, they submitted to authority and we tried them as war criminals for crimes against humanity.

    I would guess that your response to the above would be that believers should only obey authority up to the point where the authorities command evil, and then should “follow god rather than man.”

    But, there’s the problem. If a believer believes that abortion doctors are the moral equivalent of NAZI’s, killing millions of innocent, pre-born human beings each year, then he is quite justified in disobeying the law. Frankly, if I thought abortion was EXACTLY THE SAME as murder of an adult, I might be capable of being talked into violence, myself (just as I would in Germany in the 30s). It’s not only logically consistent, but morally imperative given certain beliefs that flow from the Bible and the presumptions of the religious Pro-Life movement about the soul of the fetus.

    Given what he and others believe, Tiller’s killer was more consistent, more faithful if you will. By his reckoning he didn’t kill an innocent man, but a mass murderer who was going to kill again. The only counterargument that the religious Pro-Life movement can make against him is anti-vigilantism, which is a pragmatists argument. Because, there’s nothing unjust from their POV about what he did. He simply lacked governmental authority. Although not “higher” authority, perhaps.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Wednesday “Modusoperandi – actually, a large percentage of women who have abortions either already have children, or go on to have children. (I want to say 60% already have kids, but don’t quote me on that.) So it’s not even technically true that abortion = loss of protection via breastfeeding.”
    Yes, but I was assuming that they were stating it as an absolute, as in 1 abortion = never ever having kids. They aren’t much for the shades of grey that humanity is so famous for. (The world must be much simpler as b&w, which must be part of the appeal of the fundamentalist/literalist/etc mindset. It’s too bad that for them that the world isn’t like that. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” sounds simple, but it’s complicated by the fact that the choice is moot if both sides of the dichotomy are wrong)

    “Also, re: Mary transmitting original sin to Jesus, good point. And that’s what the “immaculate conception” is about. Once it came out that mothers made a contribution to offspring beyond just providing incubation, Catholicism decided that Mary was conceived without sin, so she couldn’t pass it on to Jesus.”
    Heresy! (I wonder how Protestants get around it…)

    rennis “Tragedies no doubt. Are there other birth defects for which you would advocate the killing of the fetus?”
    Probably. That’s just the one that sticks in my head. You’d be better off talking to a, what do you call them…doctor. They tend to know things about stuff like that.
    Also, and this is a pretty important thing, I’m not advocating abortion for anybody but me. If you should, hypothetically, find out that you’re carrying a fetus so afflicted, it’s not my choice whether you carry it to term or not. That’s between you and your doctor.

  • Andrew

    I honstly think late term abortions are murder, and that ones prior to that point are dangerously close to it. But even so, thats NO EXCUSE for killing another human being. Period.

  • Andrew

    I wonder how Protestants get around it…)

    I cant speak for all Protestants, but I’v long held that ‘origianl sin’ isnt about us magicaly inhereting Adam and Eve’s sin/sinfullness.

  • rennis

    Re: OMFG…”What I write is open to interpretation.”

    People may interpret what you write but when you write it isn’t there a specific meaning you’re attempting to convey?

    ” Why can’t I say the same thing about your approach? Isn’t the good a function of the person and not the Bible? If so, then what use is the Bible at all?”

    You could say the same thing and should if you find that I’m using scripture out of context. The good isn’t necessarily a function of the Bible. I have a number of non Christian friends are kind, generous, wonderful people. As far as what use the Bible is would actually be crossing into a belief system you do not hold but essentially the Old Testament points to the coming of Christ and the need for a savior and the New Testament details the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the precepts for Christian living and eternal salvation. I realize that you may reject those beliefs but I include them to answer your question.

    “Implicit in your statement is that you’re assuming your conclusion – that the Bible leads to good, so anyone who doesn’t share your interpretation must be wrong.”

    As you graciously pointed out in an earlier comment cautioning me to please be careful; I will echo that here. I’ve never made the statement that the Bible leads to good. I merely hold that Christians who truly live their lives according to the precipts set forth in the Bible are not the ones who are responsible for this ghastly crime. If you read the comments in this blog in total you’ll seem that there are some….certainly not all….who will make drastic generalizations about Christians. These are however their opinions which they are free to have.

    Finally in regard to your question as to how I can consider my interpretation to be better than theirs…..difficult to answer but I try to respond from my study of scripture in total and not selective points. Many Christian extremists will obsess on only a part of a scripture often to support something they want rather than study in its entirity.

    You could say the same thing about my approach if when examined in light of scripture you find that I have taken something out of context.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Rennis,

    People may interpret what you write but when you write it isn’t there a specific meaning you’re attempting to convey?

    Yes. But, then again I’m not an omni-max writer, so it’s expected that people will misinterpret from time to time. Of course, if I were omni-max, I would be able to be clear all the time, because I could anticipate every false interpretation and specifically head it off at the pass.

    You could say the same thing and should if you find that I’m using scripture out of context.

    You’re not getting it. The whole issue revolves around this question: How do we figure out what the scripture absolutely means? You can continue to quote verses that you think support your views and I can continue to show how they can be interpreted differently or find other verses that support the opposite view…so what? The underlying problem is that it’s all based on interpretation, and we have no way of divining what the correct interpretation is.

    As far as what use the Bible is would actually be crossing into a belief system you do not hold but essentially the Old Testament points to the coming of Christ and the need for a savior and the New Testament details the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the precepts for Christian living and eternal salvation. I realize that you may reject those beliefs but I include them to answer your question.

    If it’s just a book that talks about what happened, OK. But, we’ve certainly put to rest the idea that it’s a worthwhile book when it comes to moral teachings.

    As you graciously pointed out in an earlier comment cautioning me to please be careful; I will echo that here. I’ve never made the statement that the Bible leads to good. I merely hold that Christians who truly live their lives according to the precipts set forth in the Bible are not the ones who are responsible for this ghastly crime.

    You deny you are doing it, and then you turn around and affirm that you are doing it. Curious. It’s right there in your words.

    That said, it is true, Xians who share your interpretation (or a reasonable facsimile of) did not commit this crime. How you will convince us or prove that they are the ones “who truly live their lives according to the precepts set forth in the Bible” is what is at issue, and you’ve so far failed, because everything you have put forth can be interpreted to support Roeder’s actions. Also, you seem to be ignoring the fact that the vast majority of Xians throughout history have disagreed with you and your interpretation seems to be a late development in the lifetime of Xianity.

    If you read the comments in this blog in total you’ll seem that there are some….certainly not all….who will make drastic generalizations about Christians.

    This accusation started our whole entire discussion, and I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence that it is, in fact, true.

    Finally in regard to your question as to how I can consider my interpretation to be better than theirs…..difficult to answer but I try to respond from my study of scripture in total and not selective points. Many Christian extremists will obsess on only a part of a scripture often to support something they want rather than study in its entirity.

    You could say the same thing about my approach if when examined in light of scripture you find that I have taken something out of context.

    Funny, you did anticipate what I was going to say. But, it’s more than simply cherry picking parts of scripture that you like (in my experience, all Xians do it) – it’s also the interpretations of the scriptures that aren’t cherry picked.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Rennis:

    You write: “I merely hold that Christians who truly live their lives according to the precipts set forth in the Bible are not the ones who are responsible for this ghastly crime.”

    This is a No True Scotsman argument. You also seem to have much insight on how Roeder lived his life. Would you kindly provide source material?

    “Many Christian extremists will obsess on only a part of a scripture often to support something they want rather than study in its entirity.”

    Indeed. And many Christian extremists know the Bible thoroughly. Having said that, I should add that simply because a fanatic “obsesses” on a passage doen’t impugn that fanatic’s interpretation. In fact, it seems to me that if he has mulled it over more than you, he might have a better insight into the passage’s “true” interpretation.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    rennis said:

    Again some sicko might use such a passage to justify what they already have decided to do but that is not what the Bible would call for. In 1 Peter we find:

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right…

    The Bible also says: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). If a Christian believes that God hates abortion and wants it to stop, it won’t be difficult for him to find justification in the Bible for the belief that God has personally commanded him to carry out his will.

  • Bill

    There is no doubt that there are religious roots to the cause of Doctor Tiller’s murder, but to assume that all problems are caused soley by religious fanatics is untrue. An example of a secular group that springs to mind are the Tamil Tigers. They are completely secular in nature and there is some historical evidence that Muslim suicide bombers learned from their methods.

  • Andrew

    And if I may add, most of the grivences Muslim extremists have with the west are not about religion, but about percieved mistreatment by the Western world in general and America in particular.

    Most Muslims(including many ‘insurgents’) like American ideals such as Democracy, the freedom to criticise the government, modern ‘westernized’ technology(its amazing how many people in Iraq have X-boxes and Play Stations), and a surprisingly high number even like the idea of religious freedom. Their problems are not with these things, but with American policies, such as what is percieved as ‘occupiing’ forces in places like Saudi Arabia and more recently Iraq, a percived favorable treatment of Isreal in diplomacy, and related to that refusing to recognize Palastine as an actual nation. The list goes on, but my point is that most ‘terrorists’ or ‘insurgents’ arent as religiously motivated as the media paints it.

    To be honest though, I myself am painting with a broad brush. its not appropiate to speak of ‘muslims’ or ‘the Muslim world’ any more than its appropiate to speak of ‘Asians’ or ‘The Asian world.’ There are differences within Muslim nations as vast as the differences between Japan and North Korea, and there will always be a tiny group of fanatics who will hate us no matter what we do, but if we try to listen to, and address these issues, I think we’ll see just how tiny this group really is.

    On a(mostly unrelated) note, thats one thing I like about Obama, he seems willing to really listen to these people’s grivences, whether he’ll actually DO something about it or not remains to be seen.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    There is no doubt that there are religious roots to the cause of Doctor Tiller’s murder, but to assume that all problems are caused soley by religious fanatics is untrue.

    Who said that “all problems are caused solely by religious fanatics?”

  • Andrew

    While they might not come right out and say so, reading Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens would give you that impression.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    It might give you that impression. Does that say something about you or about them?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Bill wrote: “There is no doubt that there are religious roots to the cause of Doctor Tiller’s murder, but to assume that all problems are caused soley by religious fanatics is untrue.”

    To whom are you responding, sir?

  • Andrew

    It might give you that impression. Does that say something about you or about them?

    Both actually.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    You keep telling yourself that.

  • Andrew

    I will.

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