It’s a good thing that a Witchita, Kan., jury found Scott
Roeder guilty of murder in the slaying of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion
provider. If they had instead found Roeder guilty of a lesser charge, the
verdict would have accelerated what is already a slow slide into anti-abortion
To recap, Roeder stalked Tiller for a period of time, then
walked into his church and shot him in the head at close range. Roeder’s
defense attorneys had hoped to see him convicted of a lesser charge of
voluntary manslaughter. In Kansas, a killer can be found guilty of voluntary
manslaughter if he acted out of an “honest but unreasonable belief” that the
use of force was necessary in defense of another.
Roeder and other anti-life, anti-abortion militants felt
this was a perfect description of the battle they hope to wage in the United
States. To save the unborn, they argue, they may have to kill.
It’s a waste of time to explain that Dr. Tiller was a
compassionate man who provided a service sought only by the most desperate
pregnant women — those whose fetuses were badly (often fatally) malformed, who
faced terrible health crises themselves or who’d been raped and would rather
die than carry their pregnancy to term.
Instead, it’s important to face head-on what is becoming an
anti-abortion terrorist movement. Tiller isn’t the first victim of this
Between 1983 and 1995, the Washington Post reported 123
cases of arson and 37 bombings at abortion clinics in 33 states. In addition,
there were more than 1,500 cases of stalking, assault, property destruction and
burglary, according to records compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Then things really got nasty.
Over a 22-month period from 1993 to 1995, two doctors, two
clinic workers and one volunteer escort were murdered. Clinics in Massachusetts
and Virginia were attacked by gunmen.
On July 27, 1996, Eric Robert Rudolph set off explosives in
the midst of the Centennial Olympic Park, killing one and wounding 111 in an
effort somehow to further his militant Christian cause which centered largely
on abortion. In 1997, he bombed an abortion clinic, killing a security guard
and badly wounding a nurse. He also bombed a lesbian night club.
In 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian was gunned down in front of his
family by James C. Kopp.
These men have not acted alone, but with the outspoken
support of men like The (not-so) Rev. Donald Spitz of Chesapeake, Va., who runs
the Army of God website, which sanctions violence against abortion providers,
and loose-knit movements such as Christian Identity and Christian Patriot.
Claiming to have the support of God and the Bible, people
like these believe they must do whatever it takes to stop abortions from
happening in the United States.
Like other terrorists — the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and so on —
they see themselves as the true champions of God’s justice and are willing to
kill, if necessary, to have their way. The only difference between the Taliban
and the Roeders of this world is the book they use as their excuse for killing
and the issue or action that prompts them to kill.
True, Islamist terror organizations kill somewhat
indiscriminately, but then again so did Rudolph. Besides, it looks as if these
crazies are just getting warmed up.
Angered that the jury found Roeder guilty of murder, Spitz
told an Associated Press reporter, “Times change. People are not as passive as
they have been. They are more assertive.”
What he means is “more violent.”
It was almost funny watching Randall Terry, the misogynist behind
Operation Rescue, try to find the words to condemn Roeder last year. He
couldn’t — at least not convincingly. He glowered after the jury’s verdict was
“The blood of the babies slain by Tiller is crying for
vengeance,” he told the AP.
If that’s not a call for further violence, what is?
Welcome to the age of homegrown Christian terrorism.