Dr. George Tiller is dead. He was killed by some demented anti-abortionist activitist. Most of the right-to-lifer groups are trying to distance themselves. Not all, but most.
Dr. Tiller did what was and is legal in the United States of America. Agree with him or not, he was practicing medicine, as a fully licensed physician. I’ve been given to understand that Bill O’Reilly took him on as a special “cause” to be stopped. Well, he’s been stopped, killed by an assassin while ushering in his church as the congregation looked on in horror.
Why do I have something to say about this? I haven’t anything particularly news worthy to say. You can get better up to the moment information from any number of online news sites. But I’m angry, not quite beyond words, as you can see, but enough to set aside a more humorous post to speak my piece here today.
The issue is responsibility. Who is responsible here? The nut case that pulled the trigger? Certainly. But I would suggest that a whole lot of others are morally so as well.
The past couple of days, I’ve been engaged in a conversation with a gentleman on a forum, about fanaticism. He’s been defending both himself and another who are utterly rude and viciously mean to posters who don’t agree with them. It’s their “way” of “defending” the church.
I pointed out a truth to him. That in the past couple of months, three people have indicated so much disgust with the behavior of a couple of people there, that they were seriously thinking of changing their minds. In two cases, people had come to the forum to investigate Catholicism, thinking they might want to join. They were becoming convinced that if this was representative of that faith, they wanted no part of it. Another had converted to Catholicism two years ago, but was so distressed at the manner and method of some individuals, that they were considering returning to their earlier faith traditions.
One can argue of course, that people within a church shouldn’t be the prime motivator to one’s decisions like this. But the truth is they often are. In all three cases, I counseled the individuals to spend time in a local parish, talk to RCIA people and priests. I said that I doubted that they would find such people in most Catholic churches. I rather thought most priests would agree that such behavior was wrong and not supported by the institutional church.
As to the gentleman in question, I asked, would you want to be responsible for causing someone to leave your faith? He of course responded that that wasn’t his fault, their faith was weak if that’s all it took. He said categorically he wouldn’t change one single thing about how he “defended” the faith.
I have written here of my experience with a co-worker who committed suicide. We had never gotten along. No one had any idea this person was on the verge of suicide. It was hard to figure out why it had happened. I learned a lesson that I have tried to keep in the fore front of my mind when I encounter difficult people. And that is simply that I don’t want to be the final straw in someone’s life. I don’t want to be the “that’s enough, I’m ending this life,” person in anyone’s life.
I no doubt don’t do as well as I should or as I would like. But when I see evidence that someone is unbalanced, I back off. The trouble is, as I said of my coworker, there is not always evidence.
Those who are against allowing women the right to make decisions about their own bodies are entitled to their opinion. It is a severely difficult issue, and honestly no one is in favor of abortion. We all wish desperately that other answers can be found. Some of us, in the end, feel we have no right to invade this very private place and dictate to any woman how her body will be used, and how her life will be altered.
So I am not laying the blame for Dr. Tiller’s death on all those who are against Roe v. Wade. No, I reserve that place for all those who rant with increasing violent rhetoric, calling those who perform abortions “murderers,” and those who support them, the same. I reserve that place for those who show vulgar ugly pictures of fetuses, and practice the “in your face” kind of demonstration. Who scream at nurses and workers, who vilify and torment women trying to enter clinics. Who invoke their personal belief that God is going to punish and send to hell all such persons.
They have, with systematic legal knowledge spewed forth their hatred and their venom upon the public, knowing that some of that public is unstable and mentally deranged. Those folks will take that righteous indignation and turn it into a personal challenge to act for God, and become the crusader who exacts God’s justice when the government fails to act to “do what is right.”
These activists will claim they didn’t personally counsel any such violence, but in fact they did. It is legally called, having the “reasonable belief” that one’s actions and words would cause the actual result. Were those results in fact reasonable foreseeable?
All the pundits, right and left, who try to whip up the “base” on any number of issues are taking this risk. The risk that others, who are out of control emotionally, will misconstrue the remarks and think they are being told that the truly righteous must act. And act they will, and act they do. That is what is so damning about an O’Reilly and a Hannity and a Limbaugh, and a list of others that is frighteningly long.
This is madness. And I stand and point my finger and say SHAME. It is you, you self-righteous puffed up arrogant, self-styled morality definer who will stand before God and weep, “I had no idea, Lord, I had no idea. I thought I was doing your will.”