Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My thoughts on the Tiller slaying

I know I am late to the discussion since everyone and their mother, brother and second cousin has responded to this, but I wanted to add my 2 cents.

I was so saddened to hear the news that Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed on Sunday by what can only be described as a pro-life extremist.

Tiller was one of the most controversial doctors who performed abortions because he was one of the few doctors willing to perform late term abortions. I hate the idea that late term abortions exist in the world, but they do...and Tiller was one of the few who would actually perform them.

I have been reading the internet, watching the news and reading some updates on Twitter about all of this.

A few thoughts:

1) This person who committed this horrible act does not represent the majority of pro-life people. It's no secret that I am pro-choice. I believe that abortion should be legal, safe and accessible. I long for a day when the world no longer needs abortion, but that is not the world I live in. I know many people in my life...that are pro-life. They believe that abortion is murder and should not be sanctioned by the government and paid for by insurance. I can understand and respect their opinion, even if I disagree with it. Most pro-life individuals are horrified at what Tiller chose to do for a living...and feel that it should be stopped. However...most also believe what this man did in shooting Tiller is just as wrong. This was a horrible act from an extreme individual...that in my mind does not characterize the majority of people who define themselves as "pro-life."

2) I was immediately reminded of a conversation I once had with someone when I was in college. He was a vegetarian and a radical one at that. At that point, I was not a vegetarian...but very interested in the lifestyle, especially from an animal rights point of view. I can remember being horrified leaving the conversation. He talked about how human beings are numb to the bloodshed of animals on a daily basis to feed their "thirst for flesh." He spoke about how human blood would have to be shed in order to wake them up to what they were doing. I was like..."umm, what?" He was completely serious. He said that he had to prove to the masses the value of an animal's right to life and the only real way to do that was to take the lives of humans who so mercilessly kill animals without a second thought. Scary. I think sometimes people get so wrapped into an issue that they stop seeing the totality of it. He was unable to see that if you think murder of an animal is wrong...that includes humans. I imagine it is the same for this radical pro-lifer. And, that sentiment that the murder is somehow justified because it is protecting the innocent life. The animals or the unborn babies are being murdered....so it is acceptable to murder the guilty parties who are responsible. *shakes head* Scary stuff.

3) A lot of people are taking a broad stroke and attacking religion as a result of this henious action. That just doesn't sit well with me. I am a religious person...and also pro-choice...and also would never consider murdering someone who disagreed with my world view. I think most people who define themselves as pro-life are probably also Christian. They usually go hand in hand. However, I do think this action had little if anything to do with God. One, the guy shot him while Tiller was in Church. To me, that shows his level of respect for God and the people who choose to believe and worship him/her. Religion isn't the problem. Those people in that church...I can guarantee you...do not condone what happened to George Tiller. It's not living as Christ would have wanted. That's not the example he set.

My heart breaks...and I fear the backlash on both sides. My heart and prayers also go out to Tiller's family and the community. Obama asked for people to find a common ground when it comes to abortion...but actions like this just show how much of a continental divide there truly is.