The murder of George Tiller has brought some vile people creeping out from under the woodwork…especially the kinds of nasty minds that like to dress up in clerical collars. Looking for a good emetic? Look no further than this sermon by a Presbyterian minister for a great example of deploring a murder while praising the murderer’s motives.
A notorious murderer met what is certain to become a notorious end. By the goodness of God the witness of the Church was not entirely silenced in Dr. Tiller’s life. He had been excommunicated by his previous congregation, a church of the Missouri Synod Lutheran denomination. And so the judgment of God had been declared; not every watchman was silent, not every shepherd proved a hireling.
But the point was reached where a man despaired of change through government and took matters into his own hand. I do not view the actions of Dr. Tiller’s killer as defensible, but not for many of the easy and often self-serving reasons advanced with alarm and indignation even by many Christians in recent days.
Violence is not always wrong. Killing is not always forbidden. Opposition to abortion does not obligate us to oppose all forms of killing. In saying this I make a biblically defensible statement. God has given the power of the sword to the state so that it may judge and execute judgment. This is true internationally and locally. Condemnation of the vile sin of abortion, the murder of an infant, an innocent, in its mother’s womb is not the same as the death penalty, properly applied.
Nor do I believe that Dr. Tiller’s killer necessarily acted inappropriately as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner. Like the couple who boldly went into the tent before the congregation at Peor and were immediately killed by Phinehas, Dr. Tiller’s bold practice of the indefensible, his brazen boasting of his practice rendered judge and jury superfluous. He was self-accused and self-convicted.
But what Dr. Tiller’s killer did which Phinehas did not do was to kill against the will of the nation’s civil authority. It was an act of rebellion posing as an act of justice. The killer was an assassin who lacked the courage to attack the root of abortion, our national leaders, and so attacked the branch. His was not an act of saving babies or of executing justice. Other men will continue Dr. Tiller’s practice. A bucket of water taken from the sea will not create a hole in the ocean. Others will fill where Dr. Tiller left off. Abortion will proceed because, and this is vital to say, abortion is blessed by the law of the land. The logic of Dr. Tiller’s killer is the logic of John Brown, of Absalom, of Ehud.
Get that? It’s OK for anti-choicers to kill, and it is appropriate for them to execute abortion doctors, we just need to wait until the civil authorities declare it’s time to line them up against the wall. And Tiller’s murderer’s mistake was being insufficiently brave enough to attack the nation’s leaders.
I read the whole thing. Now I need to take a shower.