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In Session Anchor
Dr. George Tiller, one of only a few doctors in the nation who performed abortions late in pregnancy, was shot and killed Sunday — at his church of all places. Whatever you think of abortion, you have to agree that to kill a man at his house of worship on the Sabbath is a cowardly act; and whatever you think of the work he did, Dr. Tiller himself was no coward. He knew this was coming. He’d been shot and nearly killed once before while his clinic had been bombed and he received death threats every day.
The fact that he was killed at church on Sunday adds a cruel irony to a debate that is all about life, death and God. Those who oppose abortion do so because they see it as murder. They are passionate precisely because it is a matter of faith. That’s why the debate can reach a fever pitch.
The bation’s foremost anti-abortion advocacy group, Operation Rescue, was quick to respond to news of the killing. Co-founder Randall Terry said this:
“I stand before you today saying about George Tiller what I said in his life. He was a mass murderer. George Tiller was a mass murderer. He killed tens of thousands of innocent human beings at his own hand…”
Dr. Tiller, however, was not a mass murderer — not under the law. The Supreme Court has said so.
More to the point, this kind of incendiary language does not lead to a healthy debate. It leads to violence.
With the murder of Dr. Tiller, the abortion issue returns to center stage. As we engage in it, please let’s remember, that our words have consequences. The truth is that our differences cannot be resolved by acts of violence.
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