Monday, June 1, 2009

Morality, the Murder of Dr. Tiller (Update - Gov. Palin's Remarks)

Art: John Brown at Harper's Ferry

Yesterday, Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country to perform late term abortions, was murdered by Scott Roeder as Mr. Tiller attended church. Late term abortions are highly controversial as they occur at a point when the foetus is or may be viable outside of the mother's womb. Most states ban them. Dr. Tiller was long controversial for performing such abortions and indeed, drew protests from numerous anti-abortion groups and public criticism from many quarters including, most notably, Bill O'Reilly.

According to reports, Mr. Roeder suffered mental illness and had previous criminal convictions, though not for abortion violence. He had become involved in abortion protests. The NYT reports that someone named Scott Roeder "posted a message on the Operation Rescue blog about Dr. Tiller that read, in part: 'Tiller is the concentration camp ‘Mengele’ of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.'"

Many on the left are using this murder as an excuse to claim that, because people expressed dismay and condemnation of Dr. Tiller, that fanned the violence that led Scott Roeder to murder him. Their goal is to cut off all speech with which they disagree. But no rational person could confuse condemnation with a call to violence. Bill O'Reilly, for example, never crossed the clear line between condemnation and the solicitation of violence. He never mused on the air "who will rid me of this turbulent late term abortion doctor." Indeed, this seems little more than projection on the part of the left - today's repositories of hate speech and vitriolic calls for death to whom they disagree with.

Our nation has the ballot box so that it need not turn to the gun to effect political change. Indeed, the reverse of that was the basis for the American Revoulution. So long as we can vote and change laws in free and fair elections, then there can rarely if ever be justification for resorting to the gun.

That said, abortion is unique. Many people consider it to be murder and thus, an abomination. Others see it differently, and no one wants a return to back alley abortions that endanger the life of women. It is clearly a moral and a social issue.

There is no language within the four corners of the Constitution that would suggest abortion is a federal Constitutional issue, nor is there any evidence that any of the drafters of our Constitution considered abortion when they were in fact drafting the Constituion. Thus, whether to allow abortion and under what restrictions are issues be decided by voters at the state level without interference from the federal government. Nonetheless, an activist Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade pulled abortion out of the states' ballot boxes. In the most devisive and destructive decision of the last century, the Supreme Court announced their policy preference that abortion be treated as a Constitutional Right.

I think that wholly wrong, and I think it clearly contributed to the violence involved in the death of Dr. Tilley. The perception that abortion is a penultimate wrong and that it is beyond the power of the individual to effect that through the ballot box will inevitably produce the frustration that, like the issue of slavery prior to 1861, is more likely to lead to violence. It is one of the reasons that Courts should stay out of the business of deciding social policy as a matter of Constitutional law for the nation.

There is an interesting exchange in the book Shogun where the protagonist, Blackthore, speaking with the daimyo Toranaga, comes out in favor of an attack on a government by its people. Toranaga responds that such an act is treason and never to be tolerated, to which the Blackthrone says, not always - its not treason if you win.

Probably no one exemplifies that truism more than Civil War era abolitionist John Brown. As James Marsden wrote in a comment on a post at Q&O:

In 1859, John Brown was castigated in the South as a murderer who tried to free the slaves at Harper’s Ferry and start an insurrection. He paid with his life. Union troops went into battle 2 years later singing “John Brown Lies a’Mouldering in His Grave.” Today, John Brown is considered a righteous hero for giving his life to end a moral horror called slavery.

So is Roetner a modern day John Brown? Slavery was ensconced in our Constitution in 1859 to the same degree that abortion is today. I would argue that even if you take the view that Roetner is the same as Brown, you have to regard what Roetner did as an evil for which he must be punished to the full extent of the law. To do otherwise, you must both excuse a moral evil - murder - and accept the consequence of a breakdown in the rule of law. You should only do that if you feel the evils so great and the ability to end them so out of reach of the ballot box that you are willing to fight an actual war over the issue. It goes without saying that the majority of us do not feel that way.

Which leads me into a segue to a fascinating post at Q&O that I mentioned briefly above. The author asks, "[h]ow big would a moral outrage have to be before you turned to violence?" The question and the comments garnered to this point are fascinating, and I highly recommend you read the post and give it some thought.

Update: From Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: "I feel sorrow for the Tiller family. I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life. This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, 'What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today's event in Kansas?' Regardless of my strong objection to Dr. Tiller's abortion practices, violence is never an answer in advancing the pro-life message."

Update: I rarely am in full agreement with Megan McCardle, but in this case, our essays on this issue are pretty much interchangable.


billm99uk said...

To be honest, this is one area where I thought the British way of doing it worked a bit better. Since 1967 it was always a free vote on conscience without a party whip and has never been the hot political issue it is the US. Although the left is generally in favour and the right against, it doesn't go along party lines, but is often influenced by the individual MP's religion. Only downside I can see is that you might be stuck in a constituency with all pro-arbortion or pro-life candidates and won't be able to reflect it in your vote.

N.B. For the record, I'd better mention that I'm largely pro-abortion, but against the late term types performed by Tiller.

Dinah Lord said...

I used to be pro-life GW, but oddly enough, the more I saw of death, the more I came to understand that abortion was very, very wrong unless the life of the mother is in grave danger.

Having said that, Roeder's actions were wrong and the act of a very troubled soul. Unfortunately, they also serve to make a martyr of Dr. Tiller and now we are going to have to listen to the moonbat chorus squawking that Janet Napolitano was right after all.

I find it interesting that the shooting of the two Army recruiters (killing one) is not getting much play in the media. Especially since it appears the shooter was a Muslim convert. (He converted in prison, no less.)

Frank said...

Truly, with God given wisdom, perseverance and strength "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" were declared by America that these were God given inalienable rights. America held these noble, lofty ideals sacred for 197 years and defended those rights against the forces of evil. Feeling content, having achieved a pinnacle of worldly success, America became lax in its guard and allowed the inviolability of the most defenseless of human life to be barbarically and brutally violated with deadly result. Criminals sought amnesty from a heinous act and America's government granted their appeal. America abandoned Almighty God when it abandoned the God given right to life of our unborn in 1973. This single act crippled the wisdom, perseverance and strength which brought America it greatness and which held at bay, those determined to destroy our nation. Denied their God given right to birth, they were violently denied their inalienable rights of "life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness".

The intervening 36 years have seen the steady erosion of all that was wisdom, perseverance and strength which prevailed against the forces determined to strip Americans of their inalienable rights. America's electorate has chosen to be led by those who believe amnesty from evil is good for America. Ashes and sackcloth have been eliminated from the American psyche through their church and state programming. The culmination and sign of the terminal end to America as the founders intended is manifest in the election of their leader, POTUS Obama. He is the commander in chief of the war against the God given rights for Unborn Americans. Prior to his election, he remained a mystery about how he would bring hope and change to America but was forthright and unequivocal about full support for abortion on demand. He would not yield! Caesar spoke and his minions roared with approval.

Yielding to Caesar what belonged to God the electorate finalized its choice of evil over good, death over life. Choosing Caesar the electorate will get more than they bargained for in a person who also demonstrated contempt for dissenters of his anti-God position on "defenseless" American human life. Couple this with his contempt for law abiding citizens who have bibles and guns (those he and his minions are truly terrified of) and the true measure of the person shines through. Caesar will determine the rights of those in his kingdom not God. His minions are at work to repeal the 22nd amendment and God-less pagan America will have what it truly desires, Caesar for life.

Americans are too self absorbed to see what is plain to the few righteous in the world who view us with sadness and the many corrupt who view America's end with true excitement. America's pitiful unrepentant pro-choice decision to embrace the death of others results in falling fatally from God's life giving grace. Failing this greatest of life's responsibilities we were ready to fail all responsibilities and we are.

History forgotten or redacted is always repeated. Always unforeseen by the immoral masses, the pagan destruction of the innocent unborn lives we created, are the wages we amass to ensure the destruction of our own inalienable rights. Caesar and his minions cannot defeat God they have simply become His instruments in removing from a rebellious and ungrateful America all the graces God had bestowed upon us. God is always in charge.

suek said...

>>I used to be pro-life GW, but oddly enough, the more I saw of death, the more I came to understand that abortion was very, very wrong unless the life of the mother is in grave danger.>>

Dinah...this statement seems contradictory. Could you possibly clarify?

cdor said...

Suek, I think Dinah meant...well I guess I don't know what she meant either.

Frank, heck of a post. I don't share your faith, but I understand and sympathize with your feeling. We live in a diverse country, however, and the bridge is already crossed for good or bad. As abhorrent as abortion is, the fact remains that two people make a baby and only one person is ultimately responsible, and such a resposibility it is! The man goes off to live his life with little or no effect, whilst the woman is irrevocably altered. Life isn't fair and this is just one more proof that is so.

As GW and many more have stated, this should have never gone to a national level, but there again, another bridge already crossed. What has yet to be destroyed and should be fought as long as we have an ounce of humanity left in our souls is the mutilation and destruction of babies still in the womb with all of the formative and fully and independently sustainable features of a human being. I am speaking, of course, of late term abortions. This is such an abhorrent act that I can express no sympathy for Tiller, his children, his wife, or any of his friends. If I were the judge, he would rot forever in hell. My biggest shock upon hearing the news of his execution (which I do not condone) was that the beast (Tiller) was in a church when it happened. He was even ushering, which indicated regular attendance.

In life, I have come to see, that timiing is critical. All of us have situations we face and decisions we must make. If we choose x, our life heads in one direction, choose y and we go another path. Even if we choose not to choose, life will move us onward. Why, as a nation, can we not come to a conclusion that a woman only has so much time to make her choice? There is no possible way to achieve perfect harmony on this most difficult issue. Therefore we must all grimmace, swallow deeply, and accept that life begins at conception, but human status begins at 20-24 weeks (or thereabout). A woman has until that time to decide to give birth or not. After that she loses the opportunity to decide and must allow nature to take its course.

There is nothing easy about this for anyone, pro life or pro choice.

Where is Solomon when we need him?

Frank said...

25 million unborn women have been denied "womens rights" from their conception to their natural birth. The "womens rights" argument is shallow and base. There is no love for women in abortion born or unborn. That simple fact is deliberately obscured and all our unborn suffer the fatal consequence. Roe v. Wade has not helped women but has crippled their independence; most assuredly those in another women's womb.

Dinah Lord said...

Hah! Sorry team, Didn't mean to be obtuse.

I meant that the more that I saw death - My younger brother and sister both died tragically and at relatively young ages. Their loss made me realize just how precious life is and made me firmly, pro-life.

Hope that clarifies things for you.


suek said...


I think there was a typo in the first half. Maybe it should have read "I used to be pro-choice..."?

But yes, that clarifies things.

And I'm in Frank's corner as well. Supposedly abortion was to "free" women from the responsibility for their choices. Remember the time? Supposedly the women's movement was to end the attitude towards women that they were "sexual objects"?

Riiight. How has that worked? What we have now is young women completely without the protection of society when it comes to having sex - whether they want to or not. Peer pressure is a terrible thing, and in the age range of 13-25 or so, most young women simply don't have the maturity to deal with the decisions of having sex and the consequences. So we've given them a get out of jail free card - and the only way a young woman can say "no" is to tell the young man that she doesn't like him. Like that's going to happen. Abortion has set up our daughters for sexual abuse - and what's more, made them more of a "sex object" than they ever were before they were "freed" from being a "sex object".

suek said...

Please add this to my above comment.

The goal is to enable and encourage all sexual proclivities and to destroy the morality of the nation. We're about there.