It seems to me that anti-abortion folks have an untenable position if they hold to the idea that some killing is ok. I have debated abortion with many anti-choice folks. I have never found one yet that took the position that killing any human for any reason was wrong. Scott Roeder took the position that killing was ok in the case of self-defense or to protect “unborn children”. Most anti-abortion folks will not go along with killing someone to protect “unborn children”. However, most anti-abortion folks do believe in the concept of a “just war” and capital punishment. In both of these cases they believe that it is ok for humans to kill others.
In their view, God is good. God is served in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment. Therefore, killing in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment is the greater good – the greater good not by man’s standards but by God’s standards. Many anti-abortion folks that have been around the block tend to resist arguing their point on purely religious grounds since they have been burned too many times with that argument. They tend to take the emotional bashing, shame and pity method to make their point. Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, their beliefs are really grounded in their religion. In any case, the “greater good” argument works whether they are atheists are theists. Since they believe that a greater good is served by a “just war” or capital punishment, the question is, “Why isn’t the greater good served by murdering an abortion doctor – if you believe that a fetus is a baby?” How would you draw the line at saying killing an abortion doctor is wrong yet killing is ok in the case of a “just war” or capital punishment?
I suppose if you are a theist you could maintain that the former is not God’s will while the latter is. This argument will show itself to have more “subtleties” as in the case of Judas Iscariot cited further down. So God appears to be more interested in killing “unjust” folks whether in war or in crime. However, if you think that killing “babies” is murder, wouldn’t you also believe that it is “unjust”? I suppose that if you question why one “unjust” act justifies humans killing humans but another “unjust” act does not, the theist would proclaim that we cannot know the mind of God. But if we cannot know the mind of God how can they know the mind of God? Well, they would say “faith”. At this point nothing is left to be said since to question this “faith” means that you have no faith or at least not the “correct” faith. In any case, it appears that there are various shades of faith.
Scott Roeder’s faith told him it was ok to murder Dr. George Tiller. The anti-abortion mainstream would disavow this type of faith and wash their hands of it (remind you of Pontius Pilate). However, by intentionally slicing the kinds of faith so thin, don’t they share some complicity in this? I have heard many of them (including Rod Dreher) write that they are not heartbroken by the death of Dr. George Tiller but condemn the action of Scott Roeder. They have a very tight line to walk. Ultimately, it can only be defended by appealing to their correct “faith”. My question is. “How is this different from radical, violent Islam?” They believe that they have the correct “faith” as well. If everything boils down to the right “faith” then on the surface of it there is absolutely no difference.
Here is another point – if you believe that Iraq or Afghanistan was wrong then you are in effect saying that those wars were not “just wars” and that your vote for the Republicans and President Bush was complicit in killing unjustly – or, murder (see http://mixermuse.com/blog/2010/01/02/nearly-every-member-of-congress-voted-for-intervention-in-iraq/ ). As anti-choice, the only way to justify your vote for President Bush is to insist that both wars were just. This would also include all the post-born women and children that were killed in these wars which no one would contest are not human and that the vast majority was innocent and killed unjustly. I suppose this also would boil down to not having the correct knowledge of God. The point is, once one starts down this road the fine distinctions get finer and finer. When a person like Scott Roeder can’t get too fine with his logical prowess he just believes that he is exercising his faith by killing Dr. Tiller. He thinks he is simply braver with his faith than most Christians. He has all kinds of rationalizations about his virtuous motives. Most Christians that disavow his action would also suggest that God can use evil for his glory as in the case of Judas Iscariot.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ. Here is what the Bible says concerning Judas:
I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me’. John 13:18
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12
Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” Mathew 26:23-25
But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him. Luke 22: 21-22
Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me. Mathew 27:9-10
and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus Acts 1:16
“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, ” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, ” ‘May another take his place of leadership. Acts 1:20
Judas was condemned for betraying Jesus and yet he was fulfilling the will of God. This is how many anti-choice folks view the act of Scott Roeder.
It seems to me that at some point we have to just state that “faith” and rationality contradict each other and “faith” wins at the cost of logic. Even Kierkegaard who thought that faith was the absolute passion of pinning your eternal happiness on the contradiction of the God-Man would not pitch faith against logic. He would simply suggest that logic is irrelevant for faith. The square is not a circle in faith; it is just not relevant to that distinction. However, in the case I am making, faith must conquer rationality and deem logic illogical by the “logic” of faith so the square is a circle. Faith is another kind of logic that can contradict logic. It is sort of like saying A is not A because of B. If you have faith in B then your argument is proved correct. However, many folks do not hear the voice of God in this proposition – only the confusion of man.
Christians still kill the innocent unjustly and still condemn those that they think do the same. I believe this is the definition of a hypocrite. It also shares a nasty complicity in the evil it condemns as the prophecy of God also shares an insidious role in the betrayal of Christ. Thus, it seems to me that the violent history that marks the history of Christianity, the hatred of the inquisition, the genocide of the crusades still yells much louder in the anti-abortionists than the words of their Christ, “The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.” Luke 11:34-35