Pro-abortionists have long characterized us as religious freaks without the capacity for reason and logic. That narrow view was fulfilled last year by the actions of one man who hardly represents us.
It took jurors in Kansas 37 minutes last Friday to convict Scott Roeder of murdering Dr. George Tiller.
The judge in the case shocked the nation when he initially agreed to consider allowing the defense to pursue a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, since Roeder believes he righteously killed a “mass murderer under protection from the state.” After all, Tiller was ending the lives of the unborn — approximately 300 a year, and even through the third trimester.
Anyone familiar with LTI knows that we repudiate such heinous violence and reject anything that would work to undermine our cause. Extremists, like Roeder, are a minority, but they sometimes unfairly become the poster children for the pro-life movement.
Roeder is a man who once considered severing Tiller’s hands with a sword. He fantasized for years about ending the doctor’s career or life. The pro-life movement doesn’t want him to be elevated to the status of an idol. He needed God’s direction just as badly as Tiller did.
In fact, pro-life apologists have nothing in common with extremists like Mr. Roeder. Our purpose is to communicate the pro-life message in a God-honoring way. We take our cues from Jesus himself, who was irresistible and charismatic. He spoke truth, and some received that truth and allowed it to change the fabric of their lives. He changed the world with love.
February’s issue of GQ magazine featured an article “Savior vs. Savior” detailing the events leading up to that fateful day when Roeder’s and Tiller’s paths crossed.
The article starts off, “Both men believed they were doing right: Dr. George Tiller was one of the last men in America willing to provide late-term abortions. Scott Roeder was convinced that killing his kind was the duty of the righteous.”
It is human nature for us to justify our behavior and actions, especially if it’s something we believe in passionately. Both Roeder and Tiller clung desperately to their dogmatic beliefs until passion led them to forsake reason.
Roeder — a Messianic Jew — had been following the actions of Operation Rescue. But they weren’t doing enough. While they protested outside Tiller’s clinic, the doctor was ending lives inside.
There had been other attempts to stop Tiller’s practices in conservative Wichita, Kansas. There was a clinic bombing in 1986 and Tiller was shot in 1993 in both arms. That day he put a sign out front his clinic that read, “Women need abortions and I’m going to provide them.”
Tiller viewed what was taking place in response to his clinic as a war. He provided combat pay for employees and would generously reward them for their loyalty.
Roeder fed his hatred of Dr. Tiller for months, maybe years, prior to marching in the doctor’s place of worship — Reformation Lutheran Church — and shooting him once in the back of the head.
Roeder thought he was doing God’s work. Tiller said he was in the business of saving people. In the end, both men murdered for their own agendas. Instead of elevating themselves, both men needed a real Savior.
Pro-lifers will continue to fight the good fight, but we will do so with our words. We will put on the armor of God and battle the real enemy here. Somewhere along the way Roeder lost sight of one of the most basic and important of Christian principles — to hate the sin and love the sinner.