By now you may have heard that there has been a fatal shooting of a well-known late term abortionist George Tiller in the United States. Such news is tragic for many reasons. Not the least of which is the loss of yet another life to this ongoing debate. Those of us who seek to protect the life of every human being at every stage of their life, regardless of the “value” or “merit” of that life, must condemn this action and any other like it. We cannot EVER make a distinction that some lives are worth saving and some are to be done away with (even of necessity). This is the very position of those who seek the right of death over life and call it a freedom of choice. We are never free to take the life of someone else into our own hands and place our choice above their will.
As the issue of abortion continues to be pushed to the forefront, and anger and frustration mount on both sides, such terrible moments as this are bound to come along (though I pray from the bottom of my heart that they wouldn’t!). My great sadness in all this is that the central issues here have now been clouded once again, and the focus on the one question that truly matters in this debate, has now been obscured to the detriment of many hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.
As a pastor of a Lutheran Church Canada congregation I am also puzzled and dismayed. I am puzzled that someone who so unapologetically and routinely took human life not only attended, but served in a church where the Lord and Author of Life is worshiped (and His commandments like “Thou Shalt Not Kill” should be understood). Where was this man’s pastoral oversight – the call to repentance? I am also dismayed that the devil was able to cause all this to happen in the church (the icing on his diabolical cake). It blurs so many distinctions and makes the whole thing so much more tragic.
I therefore truly appreciate the both the clarity and the distinctions that the Lutherans For Life news release made in speaking to this terrible crime.
Lutherans For Life Statement on the George Tiller Murder
June 1, 2009
Lutherans For Life (LFL) joins pro-life groups across the country in extending our sympathy to the family of George Tiller, the late-term abortionist who was gunned down Sunday morning in his church. We join other pro-life groups in denouncing this action as evil. No circumstances justify the violent murder of another human being.
God’s Word tells us not to fight evil with evil but to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Based on that same Word of God, LFL believes that abortion is a great evil, the violent murder of another human being that deeply grieves the Author and Redeemer of life. But we oppose the use of evil to overcome this evil. We have the greatest “good” there is to use against it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. LFL strives to apply the Gospel to the life issues, to change hearts and minds so that people will turn to the Lord of Life and not the god of death as the solution to difficult circumstances. We want to make the killing of children in the sanctity of the womb as unthinkable and deplorable as the killing of George Tiller in the sanctity of his church.
While George Tiller was a member of a Lutheran denomination that does not officially oppose abortion, it should be noted that almost all other Lutheran denominations do take an official stance that opposes abortion and asserts the God-given value of human life from conception to natural death.
We commend the Tiller family and all affected by this tragic event into the loving arms of a crucified and risen Savior. May He be at work in all of this according to His good and gracious will.
I also appreciate the discussion of this same matter on the Issues Etc. Radio Program of June 1. In particular I found the comments of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery to be very helpful and insightful. I encourage everyone to listen.