Cross-posted on The Stonecipher Report
I didn’t write about this at first, because – of course – coverage of it was all over the place, everywhere you might look. I didn’t write about this at first because it seemed both so stunning and so "oh, yeah…" expected, as if these sorts of things did – or at least COULD – happen everyday in this country. I didn’t write about this at first because it made me so mad…and not confronting that anger, even for 750, a thousand, twelve-hundred words, might help me keep things controlled and bottled up and keep me from flying off the handle about a subject that has no right or wrong answer, no side with only white hats opposing only the evil black hats.
This is tough – but…a day or two didn’t calm it down in me. And I doubt it a week or two or a year or two won’t…
So…the murder of Dr. George Tiller is a clear case of domestic terrorism…and anyone connected – by deeds or words, by money or encouragement – to apprehended and accused gunman Scott Roeder’s cowardly act of killing the Kansas doctor should also be arrested and prosecuted for the cold-blooded execution.
Yes, people can oppose abortion in this country. But, yes, abortion is legal in this country. Yes, we – even those of us who strongly support a woman’s unmitigated right to choose – can wish there were fewer abortions performed in this country. But, yes, people who break laws supporting OR opposing abortion or who endanger, intimidate, or hurt those seeking to make abortions available OR those seeking to contest them (peacefully and according to legal standards) SHOULD be prevented from causing any mental or physical harm to those on the other side of this long, non-ending disagreement – those on either side.
…And, yes, as distasteful as I (and many of you) may find it, "pro-lifers" can hold beliefs that oversimplify ANY medical act of contraception or abortion as a sin, a crime, or even a murder….BUT – and here’s the main point – as long as the US laws are as they currently are (and will likely remain for the foreseeable future), to broadcast and encourage and browbeat and hypnotize those beliefs onto the smaller-minded and shorter-visioned among them, until, like Roeder (and others before him), these deluded morons strike out to harm, hurt, or even kill those on the opposite side of this matter…well, then those thoughts and beliefs and words become more than religious morality or personal philosophy – they should then be considered "hate crimes" and should be prosecuted accordingly.
This is not a country of merely black and white on any issue – there are a hundred, a thousand, a million shades of grey between nearly every point and counterpoint facing us these days. We can disagree…we can argue…we can compromise…we can even semi-politely "agree to disagree" and walk away from each other, each side certain to not change and ever-ready to keep fighting for their beliefs. But what we CANNOT do – over slave vs. free, white vs. black, Republican vs. Democrat, urban vs. rural, "choice" vs. "life," or any other strongly opposing points of view – is to lash out and try to strike down our opponents like enemy combatants in some secretly declared civil war. That way lies madness…and, eventually, a House truly divided against itself – and we all know what happens then.
Those right-wing – and even religious – voices who vigorously oppose abortion but who reacted to Tlller’s ghastly murder – as the man stood in his church on a Sunday, representing HIS own religious beliefs – with true and solemn horror and disavowal for such an act have my grateful approval and respect. For example, as much as I believe that individuals like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzales broke multiple laws over the last 8 years and drove this country to the precipice of a completely ruinous position, I would NEVER applaud or approve of some madman’s act of violence – even if allegedly "backed up" by political philosophy that matched my own – against any of them. Actions like those lead to anarchy and gulags and secret conspiracies that leave no one truly free.
Therefore, those who shrug or quietly nod approval or seek to "blame" the doctor and his chosen actions (which were – do not forget – fully legal AND were sought out voluntarily by his patients) for an insane lunatic’s "response" are despicably nearly as much to blame as any actual trigger-puller. And those media creatures – mostly ardent FOX News-ers, but others as well – who had targeted Tiller before his horrific killing or who wanted to drive home the impact to an accepting audience after the deadly act…well, they should look down at their own hands…because if their eyes were as truly open as they claim their maker has allowed them to see, they would witness blood dripping guiltily off their own digits…
…More than 20 years ago now, I had a very close female friend, named Jennie. We worked together and very much respected each other’s work and personalities – AND intelligence. She was married and I was single then…but there was no confusion of our affection for each other or the roles in our relationship – during that period of my life, she was one of perhaps the two best, most important friends I had...and I feel fairly sure that – beyond, of course, her husband and the sisters she was very close to – that she would have described me in a very similar way then. And she was a very active born-again Christian…and I was the overly cynical atheist that I pretty much still am today. Thus, we knew we were very different from each other…but we were still very close – and occasionally we explored those differences philosophically.
Once, she wanted us to "debate" our views on abortion with each other. And, as much as I believed in my side of the argument, I just knew that there would be no opening for compromise or "growing" of each other in such a verbal conflict. I told Jennie that as much as I appreciated our differences – AND as truly deeply I thought she was seeking to try and explore the topic together – that I just could not see any productive conversation we could have about the subject.
Such a "debate" might not have affected our friendship, but…it also might have destroyed it – and for what? She was not going to change her mind and neither was I – but we could still love each other and learn things from being close. She taught me that deeply religious people could integrate their beliefs into a still-interesting and "fun" life (I still laughingly recall her telling me how she hand-wrote a clause into her upcoming employment contract for a teaching position with a severely religious college, allowing her to be able to dance in public with her husband against their narrow wishes otherwise)…and she told me (touchingly, in a conversation that still means very much to me today) that I taught her that people who may not believe in God or follow any organized religion can still act morally and live a life with much in common with "the Golden Rule," whether we expect a post-death "reward" of heaven or not.
After that job change, Jennie and her husband ended up moving far away. They had at least one child (probably more), and, in that deepening complication of growing adulthood, we lost touch and haven’t talked in years. And, although I would have no doubt that her faith is as strong as ever – as, I suppose, mine remains non-existent – and we still occupy quite opposite sides of the abortion debate…I am certain that if we spoke about it tomorrow, we would BOTH decry the killing of Dr. George Tiller…as should all righteous AND right-thinking people.
…This will not go away…and it will not change. And we all yet may be worse off over it and things like it, I fear…