On May 31, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down while serving as an usher at the Reformation Lutheran Church he attended in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller, who ran an abortion clinic that performed late term abortions, had been the target of violent extremists for many years. On August 19, 1993, he was shot in both arms by Shelley Shannon. She received an eleven year prison sentence for the crime. This past Sunday he was killed.
Frank Schaeffer, along with his father (the late Francis Schaeffer), Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, and Dr. C. Evert Koop (Surgeon-General in the Reagan Administration) helped found the Religious Right. One of the hallmarks of this movement became the radicalization of speech.
In 1982, Frank’s father (Francis Schaeffer) wrote a book called A Christian Manifesto in which he called for the use of force if all other means of stopping abortion failed. He compared the United States and its practice of legalized abortion to Hitler’s Germany and argued that whatever means might have removed Hitler could be used to stop abortion here. In 1984, Frank Schaeffer wrote A Time for Anger in which he argued the same point. His book became a national best seller with the help of the evangelical movement. Dr. James Dobson alone gave away 100,000 copies.In an interview with Rachael Maddow on June 1, Mr. Schaeffer discusses the radicalization of language in the culture wars and the part it played in the pro-life movement. “Words have consequences,” he says. As language becomes more extreme, consequences become more extreme.
Schaeffer admits his own culpability in the death of Dr. Tiller and urges other leaders in the Religious Right to come forth and do so too. His comments follow: