Wrongful Deaths

“We are at war, and the other side is winning!” 

I first heard this line used years ago by an individual who was attempting to justify the bombing of an abortion clinic.  I have not yet seen anything in print about the rationale that  has been given by Scott Roeder, who is the man accused of murdering abortion doctor, George Tiller, Sunday morning, but I imagine it will be something along the lines of “life for life”. 

Whether it was Scott Roeder, or someone else: who made that individual judge, jury and executioner?

It wasn’t God.

It wasn’t the courts.

It wasn’t society.

It wasn’t me.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Abortion opponents had a degree of hope during the Bush administration.  The current administration is decidedly different.  It would appear that extremists might again resort to violent measures.  This is the first act of violent opposition that I have heard about in recent years.  I sincerely hope that it is not indicative of things to come.  Acts of violence will not help the cause of the pro life movement. 

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

I believe this would be an appropriate quote for this event.  I am supportive of the pro life movement.  I believe that abortion is the taking of a human life.  I also realize that there are people who believe differently.  The difference is not in the sanctity of human life, but in the understanding of when that life begins.  This is a religious, scientific, and philosophical debate that should be carried on in churches, classrooms, papers, etc.  This debate should be carried on with words, not with guns.

The sanctity of human life applied to Dr. Tiller also.  He should not have been murdered.  This is made even more horrifying because it took place in a church.  What memories have been created for all the people who witnessed this tragedy?  What about the children that were present?  My heart goes out to the the family, friends, and all who witnessed, or have been affected by,  the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Both of these men believed they were doing the right thing.  Both of these men (I suspect) thought that they were serving God in their actions.

I believe that both of these men were wrong.

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13 Responses to “Wrongful Deaths”

  1. jonolan Says:

    You’re absolutely correct in saying two wrongs don’t make a right. On the other hand, a wrong can stop another wrong in some instances.

    In this instance one of two in America willing to regularly perform late term abortions is now dead and will never commit that atrocity again. While his murder was absolutely against the law – and may be wrong in a moral sense – it has achieved, if not a good thing, at least a diminishment of

  2. jonolan Says:

    …a greater wrong.

    (sorry typo)

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      jonolan, I would disagree with your conclusion of Dr. Tiller’s death diminishing a greater wrong. The end does not justify the means. The vast majority of the population acknowledges that murder of a human being is wrong. There is a division of opinion in our country over whether the unborn are human. The greater wrong is the one that is more universally recognized as wrong.

      • jonolan Says:

        “The greater wrong is the one that is more universally recognized as wrong.”

        Oh? Then the Abolitionists were committing the greater wrong with the underground railroad? Such behavior was, at one time, more universally recognized as wrong than slavery.

        One murder stopped or slowed down the commission rate of many, many murders of the only truly innocent people on this planet. Can you honestly say that wasn’t a net benefit?

        Would you, if you’d had the opportunity, have killed Mengele? Hitler? Mao? Pol Pot? All of them were also butchers of children and all of them operated within the laws of their lands.

        The ends justify the means when the ends are just or there are no other means.

  3. Gloria Says:

    My heart also goes out to his family and all those who witnessed this. What a tragedy.

  4. Pastor Curt Says:

    Gloria, Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your post on this issue.

  5. Pastor Curt Says:


    I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your arguments, which were well presented.

    When I stated that the murder of Dr. Tiller was the greater wrong it was an evaluation of the perception of two wrongs. The wrong choice to kill Dr. Tiller and the wrong choice to abort (kill) babies. In my perspective they are both a violation of “Do not murder.” So in my view they are equally wrong. What makes the murder of Dr. Tiller greater, is the view of society, which is divided over the abortion issue. This does not mean that I necessarily, allow society to dictate my morals, but that it provides a frame of reference for the evaluation of two wrongs.

    Your example of the Abolutionists supporting the underground railroad is not an evaluation of two wrongs, but a choice between a wrong “support slavery” and a right “oppose slavery”. Although supporting escaping slaves and the murder of Dr. Tiller were both illegal actions, attempting to bring a change in society, I think that it is evident that the nature of the actions are significantly different.

    As to the reference of one death preventing many deaths. I prefer to approach problems with the Biblical mandate of ” Repay no one evil for evil…but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 13: 17-21)

    You wrote “The ends justify the means when the ends are just or there are no other means.”

    The “end” in this case is an act of lawless murder. That is not just.

    One result is that Dr. Tiller will perform no more abortions.

    Is it not likely that someone else will rise up to take his place?

    He has been made a martyr for the cause of abortion. He was attacked previously and courageously maintained his course because he believed in what he was doing. His courageous life and brutal death may inspire people to follow his example.

    The sanctity of the church has been violated.

    All of the witnesses of his murder will have to live with the memories, including innocent children.

    There will be a degree of backlash against abortion protesters that stay within the law, but that will be guilty of association with a fellow protester.

    The lawless act of murder as a means of protest is a form of vigilantism, some would call it terrorism. It is a giant step closer to the chaos of anarchy.

    The perpetrator will spend many years in jail, a burden on society and no longer able to contribute much. The remainder of his life will be greatly diminished.

    This is not a complete list. If you are going to evaluate morality by the consequences, don’t forget to count the cost.

    The murder of Dr, Tiller was wrong.

    There is always another way.

    • jonolan Says:

      I think I see your point. It’s seems based on an extended version of Consequentialism. In your view Roeder was more wrong than Tiller because of the greater negative impact to the pro-Life cause his murder of Tiller generated.

      I’m not completely sanguine about Tiller’s courage though, or at least if it should be described as such. An unrepentant, inveterate, incorrigible baby killer isn’t courageous in my mind, just firmly committed to his evil.

      The analogy with the underground railroad was to show that legality is not a touchstone for right and wrong. That was all, though they did, on occasion, kill people in the course of their actions.

  6. Pastor Curt Says:

    My personal view is that both Roeder and Tiller are guilty of the sin of murder. Roeder’s action was also illegal. Tiller’s actions, while legal, were still a sin, and immoral in my estimation. Ultimately God will be the judge. I supported my conclusion with arguments about Roeder’s action using conventionalism and consequentialism, because not everyone accepts the Biblical “Thou shall not murder.”

    I agree that some laws are unjust and/or immoral. I believe they should be addressed utilizing the democratic process.

    • jonolan Says:

      I agree that unust laws should be dealt with through the democratic process. Sadly, the Warren Court removed that possibility from the realm of feasibility when it rendered it decision on Roe v. Wade.

      This lack of reasonable hope of redressing the situation via the proper democratic process has created a “pressure cooker” environment that will likely only get worse. 😦

      • Pastor Curt Says:

        There are actions that can be taken in opposition to abortion.
        1. Continue to promote and pursue an overturn of Roe v. Wade
        2. Promote the beauty of the choice of life including the adoption option.
        3. Make public the consequences of abortion. (By this I mean the termination of a life, the psychological scars, the physical complications, etc.)
        4. Work toward changing the public attitude and view.
        5. Perhaps the national organizations needs to rethink their stategies, raise some money, hire some consultants and good publicity firms.
        6. Influence the ones we know to choose life.
        7. Pray, and never give up hope.

  7. Gloria Says:

    courageous maybe – I do know that there are many people that if you try to tell them they can’t do something, it isn’t courage that rises up but stubborness and arrogance. I didn’t know Tiller personally so I can’t say but neither would I say it was all courage. Just a thought.

  8. Pastor Curt Says:

    The line between courage and stubborness is sometimes blurry. Interesting thought.

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