Monday, June 01, 2009

Tiller: Bad man, bad end, bad deed

George Tiller chose to make his mark on this planet, and in history, by killing babies. He embraced abortion as ardently as President Obama. The distinction is that Tiller actually killed babies, while Obama and his enablers are simply there making sure that Tiller and his kind have the protection and respectable veneer of law to do so.

Tiller viewed himself as a heroic figure. He was not.

The abortionist was murdered in church yesterday, by a gunman. Not much is known about the man who has been taken into custody.

My thoughts are brief.
  1. There is no excuse for elective abortion.
  2. What Tiller did was wrong.
  3. There is no excuse for murder.
  4. What the murderer did was wrong, and he should be put to death.
  5. What Tiller did should have been illegal, but wasn't.
  6. Tiller needed the Gospel, not a gun.
  7. The forces of death will capitalize on this, no matter who or what the murderer was.
As one would expect, thoughtful and ardent pro-lifer Justin Taylor has a fine array of links to helpful essays touching on this event. Al Mohler also adds solid commentary.

So the man who had no respect for human life is murdered by a person who had no respect for his life. While one can see a Biblical irony to it, that fact does not provide moral "cover" for the murderer.

Mohler asks: "will we condemn this murder in unqualified terms?"

I do.
NOTE: I will exercise an unusually heavy hand of censorship in the meta, and will close it down if necessary. Most of you — all my regulars — don't need to hear that. This is for anyone who does need to hear it.
UPDATE: I have not yet found a fuller reporting of it, but Tiller was excommunicated by his former church for refusing to repent of his sin. Unsurprisingly, that was a Missouri Synod church; his most recent church was the more liberal ELCA.


Everyday Mommy© said...

I used to work in an office across the street from Tiller's clinic in Wichita, KS. I remember the protests. I remember the smoke rising when they ran the medical incinerator. I remember praying for George Tiller's salvation.

VcdeChagn said...

I honestly think you said it better than Mohler, though he did a good job as well.

And that IS a compliment, btw ;)

I've spent more time in prayer about this than I do most of these types of events.

I think it affects me deeply because I am the sort, like Peter (but without all the good stuff) to lash out at injustice rather than waiting on God.

Robert said...

Without trying to downplay this situation in any way, I want to take a moment to express utter and abiding contempt for the "church" that accepted Dr. Tiller into its company and fellowship while allowing him to continue his murder for profit lifestyle. Truly our prophets have become dumb dogs that will not bark.

DJP said...

Robert: yep.

Mesa Mike said...

I haven't heard yet what the motive was for the shooting.

Do we even know whether this had anything to do with Dr. Tiller's being an abortionist?

I note there's lotsa talk on the internet and elsewhere so far based on nothing but assumptions.

Andy Dollahite said...

Cogent and succinct. Thanks for the helpful links as well.

Chris Hobeck said...

Ironically, part of the passage my pastor yesterday preached on yesterday was about this very subject: Luke 9:51-56, where when a Samaritan town rejects Jesus, James and John want to call down fire and destroy them. Jesus, of course, rebukes them.

If that Scripture isn't applicable to this situation, I don't know what is.

Doug Hibbard said...

It's probably a safe assumption that Tiller's high profile in the abortion industry was a factor.

I'll agree that you can't fight evil with evil. You can't stop the slaughter of the unborn by killing one man, it's going to take a change in our society. And now, the media will make him out, as one article already has, to be a hero of women's rights, assassinated by the right-wing extremists. Which means the murderer, on top of being a murderer, has also set back the efforts to stop abortion.

And he's probably set forward efforts to control 'hate speech' in our country. Anybody going to be surprised when an attempt is made to charge someone for 'inciting' this guy to commit murder? Perhaps the preacher he heard condemn abortion last week?

Totally and completely a senseless act of violence that will accomplish.

Trinian said...

I remember the smoke rising when they ran the medical incinerator.I... don't know if I could handle that. 1000 degrees C, 5% ash by volume. Thinking of myself with my hand on the timer makes me sick to my stomach.

Frank Turk said...

What if I told you I agreed with everything in your post here, Dan, but cannot make sense of your points #5 and #6 in the context of our larger discussion about the role of the church and society?

That is to say, if you saw a man in the street, DJP, being murdered, would you not use all force necessary to stop the murderer and not merely preach the Gospel to him?

This is not to score cheap points on a tragic day like today: this is to underscore how the church works in a society as tragic as ours.

DJP said...

Well, I started to say I don't have a simple answer for your question, Frank. But actually I do.

The law recognizes my right and responsibility to intervene in one such circumstance. I would be operating within the law.

In the other, the law is currently on the side of the attacker. I would have to break the law to intervene with violence.

"Simple" is not, in this case, a synonym for "deep" or "comprehensive" or "completely satisfying."

I think Koukl gets at it when he says that actions such as this, in addition to being immoral, are counter-productive to the larger goal of eliminating the gas-ovens.

The case I was arguing, from which you lift a sentence or two, was involving ourselves as Christians in politics and laws. It was an analogy. I was opposing the thought that it is a better alternative for us to sit in churches, pray, and sing hymns, while remaining silent and absent from the public arena and the political and legislative process, pretending we have nothing distinctive or necessary to say or do.

Murdering a law-abiding murderer (that insane phrase brought to you thanks in part to generations of somnolent, compromised, detached Christians letting their culture go to Hell faster, or speeding the process by rationalizing support for people like Obama) is not Christian intervention, and is far from anything I advocated, considered, or endorse.

Frank Turk said...

You're such a smart guy. I enjoy this part of our friendship most. :-)

So given that there's no way that vigilantism is Christian behavior, what does "involving ourselves as Christians in politics and laws" look like after and above praying, worshipping, preaching, and evangelizing?

Let me ask that more pointedly: how do we avoid winding up as either Hugh Hewitt or Fred Phelps?

DJP said...

It looks exactly like my blog!


CR said...

Frank Turk: That is to say, if you saw a man in the street, DJP, being murdered, would you not use all force necessary to stop the murderer and not merely preach the Gospel to him?

This is not to score cheap points on a tragic day like today: this is to underscore how the church works in a society as tragic as ours.

How the church operates in our society when it comes to the state failing to be the state is simple: recognizing that the government is a holy institution not a mere secular institution we are to remind the state of its duty to defend life. When it fails to be the state (e.g., failing to defend life), the church must remind it of its duty to defend life and punish evil. Given that we are in a constitutional republic, we should do whatever we can in public arena to achieve the goal of defending human life, in particular, I'm thinking of the ballot box. This is not the chief function of the church. But in as far as where the state fails to be the state, who else, but the church will remind the state of its obligation to defend life?

RT said...

As in most matters, Dan, I see this issue with less clarity than you do. Stauffenberg and Bonhoeffer tried to kill Hitler and are by many deemed justified - so is this a matter of principle or merely one of degree? I couldn't possibly countenance deliberate murder on the face of things, but 3 late-term abortion clinics have now been effectively reduced to two, which result, despite the method of achieving it, must be deemed a good result. I suppose I am like the theoretical post-Hitler Jew, presuming Stauffenberg had succeeded, condemning the means but profiting from the result. Is this mere hypocracy or something worse? The fact that the law happens to be on the side of only one of the murderers in the present case is philosophically irrelevant albeit utterly persuasive as a practical matter.

CR said...

Frank: So given that there's no way that vigilantism is Christian behavior, what does "involving ourselves as Christians in politics and laws" look like after and above praying, worshipping, preaching, and evangelizing? l

It would look something like people like Sarah Palin running for political office and it would look like professing Christians voting for Palin and not for Obama.

It would also look like this.

Michelle said...

My sinful nature wants to say "yes!!!", "the abortionist got what he deserved". Then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that, but for the grace of God, I would get what I deserved too.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.
Romans 12:17

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

My consolation is that the day is fast coming when every injustice will be righted, every murdered baby avenged. He said He will repay, and I believe Him. In the meantime we live and preach the gospel.

John said...

We are supposed to be a civilized country, abiding under the rule of law. But when the law is as confusing and messed up as ours has become, and then not even enforced most of the time, it is to be expected that lawlessness will break out. I am in no way condoning this lawlessness, just saying that we shoud expect it as part of the judgement that God is bringing on our nation.
There are so many evils in this story -- that Tiller was able to continue his slaughter of the innocent; that even though his former church excommunicated him for unrepentant sin, his current "church" welcomed him with open arms; and finally, that hsi life was finally snuffed out by an idolatrous man who thought he was God -- that I weep for our country.
I have been reading in Isaiah and Jeremiah recently, and I see so many parallels, so many things we need to repent of.

Rhology said...

#6 is true, but the man lived in Wichita, KS. You think he really never heard it before?

Not defending the late-term abortion of Tiller by this unknown gunman. I'm just urging us all to remember that one late-term abortion of an abortician is a lesser crime (and sin) than late-term abortion of many thousands of babies.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

It's just sad all around. Like Doug, I find it likely that ultimately Tiller's murder will advance the pro-abortion camp.

My very cynical side thinks that they know this and, if they're not actually behind it, are rejoicing.


threegirldad said...

Mesa Mike,

There are a handful of extremely militant anti-government types around here, and there have been for many years. It sounds as if this guy was one of them.

Not too long ago, a long-running legal case against Dr. Tiller, one that was supposedly overwhelmingly against him, ended in his acquittal. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that this happened. Some people (not many) who claim the label "Pro-life" consider vigilantism both honorable and necessary. Of course, bear in mind that I'm speaking of here, and not other parts of the country.

My errand plans kept going haywire on me Sunday morning, and I ended up about an hour late coming to visit my wife. I ended up driving past the Reformation Lutheran parking lot about an hour after Dr. Tiller had been shot, although I didn't realize it at the time (the hospital where my wife is staying is about three blocks down the street). The first thing that came to mind when I saw all the police cars was that we were going to be on the national news because someone had walked in to the church and started shooting. But I had forgotten that this was where Dr. Tiller attended.

My first daughter, who was born with a birth defect, was what Dr. Tiller considered a "freak of nature" (a phrase he used in a notorious local newspaper article published about 20 years ago). I'll never forget that phrase: "freak of nature." Whenever I've heard his name since then, that phrase is what immediately came to mind. It's the last thing that would have been thought by anyone who met my daughter, but it testifies perfectly to how warped and perverse Dr. Tiller had become in his thinking about unborn babies.

What happened yesterday was every bit as detestable as what Dr. Tiller spent his life doing as an abortionist. I appreciate everything said in this post.

Daryl said...

It reminds me of God raising up Babylon to bring Israel to justice.

What Babylon did was wrong, evil and heinous.
What Israel was doing was wrong, evil and heinous.

God's will was done ( always is) but that didn't mean that Babylon was to be praised or appreciated, or frowned at in public and winked at behind closed doors.

Same situation I think.

The murderer (as you said) needs to be brought to justice by all legal means possible. And executed.

In both cases, God will not be mocked. You cannot kill babies and not be judged. You cannot take vengeance on another citizen and not be judged.

Sir Aaron said...


Your points are ones that have been brought up over and over with respect to this debate. I've had some heathen tell me that if I think abortion is murder, then I should not be against violence against abortionists. The links Dan provided grapple, quite ineffectively IMHO, with these issues. Read through them. You'll probably be left with a little haze just like I was.

If you look at the places where the early churches were in the New Testament, you'll see that most of them were places of great evil. Having been to a couple, I have no doubt that those places practiced things such as abortion, homosexuality, human sacrifices, and the sort. But we don't see any Scripture directing those Christians to stop the heathen through any possible means.

I'll offer three last points:

Was the killer's act one of prevention or vengeance? Was Stauffenberg's situation at all similar to ours? (ironic that I just watched the movie last night). Have we done every other thing in our power to stop abortion?

Al said...

I am a ball of emotional conflict as I read about this man's death. On one hand I am joyful that a murderer has been stopped and pray that no one takes his place.

On the other hand I abhor the vigilante justice that ended his life. I wish the Kansas government had exercised its God given responsibility to protect the innocent.

As far as Tiller's church membership goes, I read that he was excommunicated from the LCMS and found an accepting home in the ELCA. While the ELCA has no bark, the LCMS still has bite. Thank God for that.

al sends

Al said...

Let me follow up with this...

The righteous should rejoice when wicked Babylon destroyed wicked Jerusalem. We should then rejoice when wicked Babylon is also destroyed. The wicked killing the wicked is part of God's judgment.

Unless the murderer repents, he will likewise perish.

al sends

CR said...

Yes, the Missouri Synod is very committed to the Bible. I'm not surprised either they excommunicated him.

Mesa Mike said...

The Missouri Synod isn't without it's problems too, what with the BRTFSSG, and many congregations thinking that they need to be more like Rick Warren's church, and all. Won't be surprised to see a schism down the road if things keep going the way they are.

Solameanie said...

Look for the media to exploit and highlight the differences in the pro-life camp. They do it every time something like this happens.

It isn't helped when you have the more radical of abortion protesters picketing other pro-life ministries because they aren't seen as pro-life enough. In other words, if you don't fully support their manner of protesting abortion -- no matter how counter-productive it is -- then you are lumped in with the pro-aborts in their view.

When I was still in Christian radio, we did not support the tactics of one pro-life group who stood outside the home of a local abortionist and screamed at his very young children (plus some rather graphic signs). It was one thing to do it at a clinic, but to target someone's pre-adolescent children is another thing. I did an editorial about it and our station was then the recipient of a picket, despite us having a strong pro-life editorial platform.

Rhology said...


Was it the picket itself outside the house or specifically the screaming at the young children that you object to?

On the one hand, it would seem that it could be a not bad way to make your displeasure known.
On the other, upsetting the children like that will probably hurt their spirits a lot and lead them away from the love of God...?

Rachael Starke said...

Solameanie has just hit on one of my biggest frustrations with determining how to live out the gospel in American political or civic life. All too often, others who want us to join with them in fighting for an important secondary cause(such as defending the unborn, preserving the rule of law, etc.) end up doing tremendous damage to our most important primary cause, which is calling the world to repentance and faith in Christ.

I have some friends from my Christian college days who are doing verbally on Facebook something similar to what Solameanie describes as happening in person - screaming at one another about the evils of the Obama administration, and using really unwholesome speech to do it, all while having passages like Psalm 62 as their "theme verse" and taling about being warriors for Christ.

And yes, it does make me want to just rock back and forth under a pew somewhere and not come out until Jesus comes back and cleans house.

DJP said...

Banned stalkertroll OSO literally glanced at the headline, didn't take the time to read even such a brief post, and spurted an inanity — which was his way of asking me to tell you this on his behalf.

People who supported Obama have got to come to grips with the fact that their hands are bloodied, too. In addition to all the thoughts worked out in the post and this meta, it is the Obama, ignore-the-child mindset that has made such a ghastly holocaust possible. Such moral obtuseness is jaw-dropping even in an unsaved man.

But that professed Christians would give Obama the power to tell the George Tillers of the world, "Go get 'em, Doc! I've got your back!"?


So OSO asked me again to plead with such folks to face their throbbing, guilty conscience, and deal with it in the way God calls us to deal with guilt: confession, and forsaking (Proverbs 28:13).

And he authorized me to tell you he agreed wholeheartedly with everything in the post.

Stan McCullars said...

Example of hypocrisy:

An Obama supporter speaking out against the murder of Tiller the Baby Killer.

CR said...


Maybe have a sidebar with your Facebook girlfriends.

Nothing that a secular pro-life group does can damage our primary objective, because it is the Lord's objective.

Now, there are some people (not you) will say it's another reason why the church should not participate in telling the state be the state because the forces of death will capitalize on this or because it blurs what the church should be doing. It doesn't. What prevents people embracing the gospel is that they really hate the Lord and are blinded.

So, you continue to pray and meditate what you think you can do live out the gospel in the American political and civic arena in addition to the other areas of life and leave things we have no control over to the Lord.

Rachael Starke said...

CR - Just wasted an hour of my life on a really busy day trying to do just that.

Cue the "you're so self-righteous and I was really, really offended, then I prayed and all my friends emailed about how thankful they am that I'm so passionate" rhetoric.

CR said...

Hmmm, that is unfortunate, Rachael. Well, you know what Proverbs says about those who do not receive warrented correction. Don't waste your time if they habitually ignore your correction.

But even they cannot damage the Lord's primary objective. If some unbelievers came along said, geesh, Rachael, your Facebook girl friends are pretty mean and you say, yeah, I agree and you try to share the gospel, if the Lord is not working on them, they'll reject the gospel messsage as passionately if they didn't have the excuse of bad examples.

Solameanie said...


Yes, it was the screaming at the children that bothered me. Given the level of anti-Christian propaganda they were already likely being fed, it didn't help any to have shrieking, angry people as the image of Christians that will stick in their young minds.

I should also say that I was offended by the idea that anyone who didn't join them on the picket line shrieking was somehow not pro-life enough.

Susan said...

Michelle said: "My sinful nature wants to say 'yes!!!', 'the abortionist got what he deserved'. Then the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that, but for the grace of God, I would get what I deserved too."

Al said: "Unless the murderer repents, he will likewise perish."

On my way home from work today, I set my iPod to a discussion between John Duncan and RC Sproul, Sr., titled God of the Storm. It was recorded after the East Asian tsunami disaster on 12/26/2004, and the sentiment that stuck with me is that which is being expressed by Michelle and Al here (especially Al's--Sproul Sr. referred to the account in Luke 13:1-5). I saw how applicable it was to my own life--and then I get home only to read this post!

It is truly a comfort to remember that nothing, absolutely nothing can thwart the Lord's plan in this world. All evil must and will come to an end--all the more reason for one to abandon his sins and come to the Lord for repentance and cleansing!

(Hosea 14, Joel 2:12-14)

Debra J.M. Smith said...

Obama said, "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence." --If Obama only cared that much about the countless babies who died at the hands of that abortionist...

A family member said, "Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace." Wow, how about the wombs that all of those babies were in? The womb is supposed to be a safe place of peace for a baby. But that monster would intrude and kill each one of them, with no remorse.

And I do not feel sorry for a family who loved a murderer. And I sure do NOT feel sorry for a church that had no problem allowing a murderer to attend.

Debra J.M. Smith

candy said...

We know that the mainstream media will really play on the fact that Tiller attended "church". The language in the media is relevant. Tiller attended to women who "had no hope" according to NPR, and he was so "compassionate". So on and so on.

On another note. Yep. The guy who killed Tiller had issues, but RT brings up a good point. Would we condemn Bonhoffer, who believed that getting rid of Hitler, who adhered to the most evil philosophies and recognized no sanctity of life, be totally wrong in his approach to his interpretation of the solution of the problem? He did what he believed was the right thing to do. God will hold him accountable for his lack of trust, like a son of thunder, or perhaps he was obedient to what he thought God wanted him to do. What is the right answer? Some Christians think we should be pacifistic and some Christians think we should fight to uphold our freedoms. What is the right thing to do? It is an interesting question. BTW, I do not condone the recent killing of course. I just think that, once again, life is life, and who determines to what degree we uphold life.

Sir Aaron said...

I don't think we can compare Bonhoffer with the pro-life movement. There are some parallels, certainly, but there are more stark differences.

Sir Aaron said...

CR is right. Nothing thwarts God's plans (which is why I'm a Calvinist).

CR said...

Got thinking about your point 5 Dan on Tiller needing the gospel. Especially if he went to Missouri Synod Lutheran church, he would have heard the gospel but he obviously never embraced it.

Real travesty, I, like the Lord, do not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Real, real, travesty.

CR said...


The teaching of Scripture, in particular, Romans 12:15 doesn't appear to agree with part of what you said. We should feel sorry for the Tiller family and weep with them and pray for them.

DJP said...

I said it was what he needed. Didn't say he'd never heard it, nor that he wanted it.

Stan McCullars said...

Being that the wife and kids supported the dismemberment of babies I will not be weeping with them.

Sir Aaron said...

You guys have to check out Frank Schaeffer's article. This guy...well, let me say nothing more.

Mesa Mike said...

Oh, someone else read it please!
I'm not subjecting myself to the HuffPo until I'm at home near a shower.

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

I read it. I commented. I need antacids.

BTW, my word verification was Mater. My two-year-old would freak.

Stan McCullars said...

I read it. Pathetic.

The article empowered me to clearly express some of my views:

President Obama is a socialist, a racist, anti-American, an abortionist, not a real American, and someone who is weakening America's defenses and making us less safe. Obama is also an Antichrist.

Abortionists are murderers of the worst sort. In fact, abortionists are murderers like Hitler. The only good abortionist is a former one or a dead one. In a perfect world there would be no abortionists or supporters of baby dismemberment. In a less than perfect world, but one better than the one in which we live, abortionists would be executed by the state.

Supporters of baby dismemberment, including "Christians" who voted for Obama are complicit in this modern day holocaust.

Michelle said...

Yesterday I received John MacArthur's message "When Believers Stop Believing: Portrait of an Apostate" in the mail. Today I read Schaeffer's article (thanks, Sir Aaron).

Last night I watched, feeling physically ill, an abortionist/baby butcherer on CNN predictably paint all pro-lifers as hateful and complicit for calling abortion "murder". Thankfully Isaiah 5:20a came to mind:

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light, and light for darkness ..."

CR, when I think of the Tiller family and their ilk I feel like throwing up, so I'm really struggling with Romans 12:15 right now!

Jay said...

Lately I've begun to take the view that over the last 30-40 years if more "Christians" had actually been followers of Jesus Christ and made a real effort to reach the lost..there would have been a whole lot less abortions.

Abortion is murder, the end result of lust, adultery and general immoral living in disobediance to God's Word.

We'll never stop or reduce abortion standing on corners waving signs like the others who stand on corners waving signs in support of their favorite cause. We'll never get abortion ended by legislation-you can't legislate morality.

Too much time has been wasted protesting, politicizing and pursuing the wrong agendas. Christians must Repent, Fast, Pray, Repent some more, live God-pleasing lives according to Scripture - not the world - and go make disciples of Jesus.

While the loss of 30 million babies is an unimaginable many other humans have died without Jesus and will spend eternity in hell because we were all busy trying to stop abortion instead of trying to bring people to Christ?

Go ahead blast me...I know this is an extremely controversial position I've taken.

Sir Aaron said...

I've come to a similar position. If those people who protested worked a job during those hours instead and then donated the money to a crisis pregnancy center, they might actually save some children. That isn't too say there is no value in protesting (although in some cases there may be).

threegirldad said...


Will you find people here who only protest? I suppose that you will. But you'll find far more people who do that plus what you've suggested. In fact, this organization was founded soon after the 1991 "Summer of Mercy" protests precisely because people realized that much more was necessary. And as you'll see on the "About Us -- History" page, they've gone far beyond being simply a crisis pregnancy center. It's a wonderful organization.

Sir Aaron said...


I have no idea about the people "here." I don't even know if the people "here" protest. I would say that I have known a lot of people who protest that do not monetarily support crisis centers.

threegirldad said...


Sorry. "Here" was a reference to Wichita; didn't mean to be vague. And I don't really have a quarrel with your larger point. I was guilty of it myself at one time. All I really intended was to show that some people have recognized the truth of what you are saying, and have reformed as a result.

Sir Aaron said...

Ahh...ok. Then united we are.