Monday, June 1, 2009

Tiller's Murder Goes Against the Pro-life Argument [Serge]

I couldn't agree more with Jay's post. It should be an imperative for those who claim to be pro-life to understand the grounding behind our moral reasoning. Tiller's death not only brings difficult practical issues for our movement, more importantly it was an evil act that undermines and controverts the moral basis behind our claims.

The moral logic of the pro-life position is that human beings are intrinsically valuable. We don't obtain that value when we reach a certain point in development, or when we have certain capabilities. Likewise we do not lose value when we inevitably lose our capabilities or become ill. Our intrinsic value also does not depend on our behavior. It is clear that human beings have a tremendous ability to do evil and to perform outrageous actions against others.

This intrinsic value is what we ground the concept of human rights. Let me be clear; if human beings are not intrinsically valuable, then there is no pro-life argument. A vigilante murder of an abortion doctor undermines the very basis and grounding of our argument.

As we endure the inevitable media backlash that will result from this tragedy, we must continue to strive to understand the basic pro-life argument and to work to have others correctly understand the logic of our position. This murder will not only draw attention from the truth of our position, but actually undermine it. This act deserves our strongest condemnation.


  1. I recently preached a message from Ephesians 4:26-27 on limited, righteous anger. I used the abortion issue as an example of how some people can become so angry at the evil that abortion is that they add sin to sin by bombing abortion clinics or murdering abortion doctors. I used the particular example of Paul Hill's righteous anger that led to unrighteous killing. Unfortunately, someone else has done the same thing here. This shows once again how much we need the truth of God's Word - Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger! Let's be angry at the horrible evil that abortion is, but let's let God be the avenger! Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

  2. The Tiller murder was wrong, but I think there are a few issues at play here:

    a) What should one do if an innocent life is being taken and the government does nothing about it? E.g. your neighbor is about to shoot a 3 year old and the government actually thinks that is acceptable. Do you, adhering to a higher calling (God) act and kill your neighbor (assiming you cannot physically overpower him) or do you write a petition to the govt asking them to change the law?

    b) An evil regime is murdering thousands of people. Do other nations write petitions and issue UN resolutions endlessly or take military action?

    The answer to (a) seems to be to kill the person while (b) seems to be military action. The mistake being made is in equating abortion to the (a) scenario (b is not applicable here). It is a mistake because the desired end-goal of the pro-life movement is to have the nation's laws reversed, to have the people's convictions changed.

    Even if you kill every abortion doctor in the US, you will NOT achieve that end-goal of convincing people of the value of life and changing laws. You will have an armed gang of abortion doctor killers who are in conflict with local police forces, paramilitary forces and doctors. That leads to a bloody anarchy and loss of many more innocent lives.

    The logical extension of the murder of one abortion doctor to all shows the futility and moral-bankruptcy of this route.


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