By mid-afternoon, authorities reportedly had someone in custody in connection with the murder of Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller at his church on Sunday morning.
So far, we know nothing about the suspect. Though the motive for the crime we can all surmise in light of the vitriolic campaign that has been waged against Tiller for more than two decades by anti-abortion groups.
And if we’re right about that, then we already know the identities of his accomplices.
They include every one who has ever called Tiller’s late term abortion clinic a murder mill.
Who ever called Tiller “Tiller the Killer.”
The groups who spent decades fomenting hate toward a man who simply believed that he was serving a purpose by being one of the few doctors in the country performing late-term abortions.
Hate. Not heated opposition. Not strong disagreement.
But blind hatred.
The kind of hate that would prompt some maniac to take a gun into a church and shoot a man to death in front of friends and family.
His accomplices know they have blood on their hands, which might explain why they were quick to issue statements today expressing disapproval of Tiller’s murder.
Among them, the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.
“Operation Rescue denounces the killing of abortionist Tiller,” read the headline of a new release posted on that group’s website.
Those words drip with hypocrisy.
After all, it was Operation Rescue that coined the nickname “Tiller the Killer.” It was Operation Rescue that was most responsible for ratcheting up the heated rhetoric toward Tiller over the past two decades.
The group issued the following statement today:
“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”
Shocked? Are any of us really shocked that it would come to this after the many years of demonizing one man?
Certainly the group’s founder, Randall Terry, didn’t seem shocked when he issued a statement that, I would suggest, provides a truer sense of how the anti-abortion movement saw today’s events:
”George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.”
I’d suggest that if anyone is in need of salvation right now it’s the anti-abortion movement in Kansas and across the nation.
As Terry’s statement makes clear, the same bullet that killed George Tiller also shattered the moral underpinnings of the movement that inspired its firing.