Monday, June 1, 2009

Tiller's Murder Sad on Many Levels

It saddened me to hear about George Tiller. It did not surprise me however. I met Dr. Tiller once a few years ago when he visited the church I belonged to in Lawrence, Kansas. He did not wear a sign saying "I perform late term abortions." He was a visitor like any other in our little church. At that point, his clinic had been bombed. A short time later, we all talked about his visit when we heard he'd been shot in both arms. I don't know if I approve of late term abortions, but I do not think my approval or disapproval is important. I know I believe that each of us must make a decision for our own lives and that none of us has a right to judge another's choice in their lives. Judgment is God's, not mine or yours.
That same little Lutheran Church that Dr. Tiller visited some years ago was torn apart because the ELCA took the stance that abortion was regrettable, but a personal decision developed by a women in conjunction with her pastor and doctor. People left the church because they wanted a firm statement that abortion was a sin. It seems that there are always folks who think they know God's will and choose to pass what they view as God's judgment on other people. The murder of George Tiller yesterday was such a case taken to the extreme. Ironically, someone who felt Tiller's abortions were murder became himself a murderer.
There is additional poignancy that Dr. Tiller was murdered at his church. Last fall, just before the election, some volunteer from the Randall Terry "Operation Rescue" group stuck in our cars brochures calling Barack Obama a murderer because of his pro-choice stance. Many of us felt violated that the violent brochures appeared on our cars while we were in church. That someone advocating such hatred was in our parking lot offended us. How much worse that the hatred entered Reformation Lutheran Church with a gun and murderous intent!
Apparently the man arrested for the murder is active in Operation Rescue which leads me to wonder if the seed of this murder was planted from a pulpit somewhere, nurtured by the hate literature so common today and further fomented by cable "news." What a sad commentary on modern culture!

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