The murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller was a blow to American society in general, and to the pro-life movement in particular, for the following reasons:
This crime turned one of the worst perpetrators of mass infanticide into a presumed martyr for abortion “rights” just at a time when its supporters were slipping dramatically in public esteem. While Tiller’s killer has done away with a physician who by his own admission took the lives of 100 babies every week, this crime might result in an increase of abortions in months to come. Simple minds will now see abortionists as victims, und not the innocent human babies they slaughter, innocents like the 60,000 Tiller has slaughtered just before their births. This must be a depressing thought for all those faithful Christians who peacefully pray and fast outside the Planned Parenthood slaughterhouses. In the long run, they stood a good chance of being victorious in the war against the culture of death. Let it be known that Tiller’s killer has become a soldier on the side of death in this conflict.
The United States is still a democracy. In a free society, the voters are their nation’s sovereigns. They are empowered to fight evil, such as abortion, in the polling booths. This is their divine calling. On the other hand, nobody has a calling to kill except at the orders of duly instituted authorities. It is government alone that in a civilized society may instruct soldiers or policemen to use their firearms.
The United States is a nation of law. The law is a gift from God to protect us against anarchy and subsequent chaos, a state that prevailed before God created the universe. Tiller’s killer has committed an act of anarchy and therefore not only violated the Fifth Commandment but also rebelled against the divine order of creation. Those who secretly cheer his dastardly act must be made aware that they are participating in a despicable revolt against the creator.
But we can’t leave matters there. A man has taken the law in his hand because, like many of us, he believed that politics and the courts have warped The Law beyond recognition. Following the French Revolution, many Western democracies, including the United States, have turned against Natural Law, which God himself has written upon every human heart, and replaced it with man-made “positive law.” In this context it is well to remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s assessment that the French Revolution “was the laying bare of the emancipated man in his tremendous power and his most terrible perversity.” He was convinced that “the liberation of man as an absolute ideal leads only to man’s self-destruction.”
The abortion issue is a case in point. Natural law, the universal moral code, must surely tell us that sucking the brains out of a baby’s skull in his or her mother’s womb is simply wrong, regardless whether you are a Christian or not. Only “man in his most terrible perversity,” to cite Bonhoeffer, can conceive of such an act as a human right. To make this point, though, does not call for a killer’s gun. All that’s needed is the voters’ soul-searching reflection about their duties as sovereigns of their own land.
Note what Siemon-Netto does with Natural Law, a recent topic of our discussion. Its opposition is “positive law”; that is, the notion that we can just make up the law we want.