Upon learning of the tragic murder of abortionist George Tiller, about whom I have written on numerous occasions, our staff realized that I was 34,000 feet in the air. As I would have hoped, American Life League’s Executive Director, Shaun Kenney, who was on the ground, issued the following public statement on behalf of American Life League:
Leaders within the pro-life movement often discuss justice in connection with our mission to end the tragedy of abortion. Today, Dr. George Tiller's life ended in an act defying those principles.
With genuine sorrow, we reflect on today's events in prayer. Justice for all human beings includes the lives of those with whom we fundamentally disagree, as well as the victims of abortion. We firmly hope the perpetrators of this act are apprehended, that the facts be made known, and that justice according to the law is preserved and dispensed.
Today's actions were tragic and serve as another reminder that all human life is sacred. Pro-lifers by our nature and commitment to human rights reject violence as a means of resistance. Our thoughts and prayers indeed extend to the Tiller family and the community at Reformation Lutheran Church.
It is with unrestrained dedication to the principle that each human being is loved by God and is indeed His creation that our hearts go out to the Tiller family, including his surviving wife, who is the mother of his four children, and to his grandchildren. A senseless act of violence should never be answered with any words other than those extended with the love of Christ. For those reasons, I am personally proud of our executive director and pray that others who have said less prudent things will take note of what it truly means to be pro-life in America.
It is not so with all of those who have made various statements regarding this senseless loss of life. Many have lost sight of the ravages that have been wrought by the culture of death and the stranglehold it has placed on our national psyche.
For example, when I listened to the words of President Barack Obama, my heart was struck by the tragic disconnect too many Americans have accepted when it comes to such tragedies in our culture. Apparently, they honestly see a difference between killing before, versus killing after birth. The president said,
I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.
The president’s sentiments, as expressed in this statement, represent a serious disassociation between the tragic death of one man in Kansas and the equally tragic deaths of thousands of preborn children that occur on a daily basis throughout this nation. Every act of senseless killing is an outrage and should cause shock in the heart of every one of us. But this is not what I gleaned from the president’s words.
It is, in fact, so very sad that the president can treat one type of heinous crime as an “issue” while describing an equally wicked crime in the proper terms. Such contradictory language is typical of the attitude of far too many in our nation who, after more than 36 years of decriminalized killing, have come to view the born as a completely different class of people than the preborn. Too many in America have become desensitized to what abortion does to not-yet-born human beings. But at the same time, they are saddened, as they should be, by what equally horrific acts do to born persons.
Perhaps this is the perfect occasion for each of us to reexamine the culture in which we live, the attitudes we have adopted and the opinions we have formed. Such an exercise would help us sort out this dichotomy in our language, our attitudes and our behavior.
When Pope John Paul II wrote of violence against the human person in his profound encyclical Evangelium Vitae, he encapsulated many of the most fundamental principles that pertain to the life of every human being at every stage of his or her life:
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves 'the creative action of God', and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being….God proclaims that He is absolute Lord of the life of man, who is formed in His image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26-28). Human life is thus given a sacred and inviolable character, which reflects the inviolability of the Creator Himself.
The truth is that every human being’s life is sacred; every human being’s life is a gift from God; every human being belongs to God, Who is the reason that each person exists.
It is our prayer that men and women of good will can take time to reflect honestly on the sad events that occurred Sunday in Wichita and realize that not a single human being’s life is ever disposable, whether born or preborn. Judgments in matters of life and death belong to God alone.
Today we invite our fellow Americans to come together in prayer for the Tiller family, in mourning for senseless acts of violence that occur not only through abominable acts of abortion, but through hateful words, detestable acts against the unsuspecting and dreadful acts of dehumanization against our fellow human beings.
May the peace of Christ be with the Tiller family during this time of extreme sorrow.