There are so many shocks to this story (“Abortion Provider shot dead in church”) that one hardly knows where to start.
Let’s start where the newspapers don’t start. The first and greatest shock (or so it would be to anyone except the hardened heart that has gotten used to this) is that there exist upon the face of this earth people like Dr George Tiller who (legally) kill babies in their mother’s wombs and call what they do “a service” to women. Only when that fact no longer shocks us will we be diverted by the other “shocks” in this story.
Shock number two is what makes this a news story. Dr Tiller was shot dead by an anti-abortion campaigner. That there exist upon the face of this earth people who think that it is acceptable to use violence and murder to stop people committing violence and murder is part of the problem. This is not an option for those who oppose the holocaust of abortion.
Shock number three is that the murder took place in a church foyer, where Dr Tiller was attending church. No, he wasn’t attending a wedding or a funeral. It was Sunday morning. And he wasn’t dragged along by his wife, he is a long term member with a distinguished record of service to the church community who was serving as usher handing out bulletins when he was murdered.
Shock number four – for me at least – is the fact that the church in which Dr Tiller was shot was Reformation Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. On its website, this church has the following statement about Dr Tiller’s death:
The Reformation Lutheran Church family is shocked and deeply saddened by the violent murder of Dr. George Tiller, a longtime member of our congregation, that occurred in our church home May 31.
Our congregation strives to be a safe place for all people. We deplore the violence that took place within the walls of our church. Further, we reject any notion that violence against another human being is an acceptable way to resolve differences over any issue. We must always strive to engage in peaceful discussion. Our faith calls us to this. Our humanity demands it.
In the early Church, there were some jobs that simply barred one from being baptised and received into the Church. Being a soldier was such a job, since it involved “violence against another human being”.
What I find simply beyond comprehension is the fact that a man who was a known provider of abortions – including late term abortions – was an active member of a Christian Church.
I know that there is an argument in the Catholic Church about whether or not politicians who vote for legalisation of abortion should be given holy communion, but can you imagine a known abortion provider being a member in good standing in ANY Catholic parish?
This story speaks volumes about the utter inability of some mainline liberal protestant Churches to even begin to address the ethics of abortion. I mean, what were the pastors of this church preaching on Sunday mornings that left Dr Tiller feeling not only “safe” but “comfortable” sitting in the pews every Sunday and going to work in his baby killing clinic every Monday morning? It surely makes a laughing stock of this particular congregation’s claim to be “a safe place for all people”. A “safe place” for everyone – except children in the womb?
There is an old saying from St Leo the Great that puts these to ideas together: the Church as a “safe place for all people”, and the sanctity of the womb. He wrote:
“By the Spirit, Christ is born from the body of his unsullied Mother; by the same Spirit, the Christian is reborn from the womb of holy Church . . . “
My question is: is the “Womb of the Church” any place for someone who unrepentedly makes a living out of killing children who are still in the womb?