So, “Tiller the Baby Killer” has met his demise – assassinated this morning during church services. I can only groan over the anticipated avalanche of righteous indignation cascading from the heights of the pro-abortion ranks. Like the proverbial mandatory pinch of incense for Caesar, everyone who is publicly pro-life will be required to preface any and all remarks on the matter by condemning the assassination. I am not an advocate of violence – assassination or otherwise – so I have no personal problem with condemning the act, but I do have a problem with the screwball notion that apologists for the legal and shameless murder of literally millions of “unwanted” innocents can somehow paint as morally irredeemable anyone who fails to sufficiently condemn the extra-judicial killing of a mass murderer. That is simply perverse. I’m sorely tempted to say “I’ll condemn his murder as soon as you condemn his daily murders-for-profit.”
There is no doubt, however, that abortion proponents will quickly and loudly hoist the flag, charging hypocrisy against not simply the man who carried out this act, but the pro-life movement as a whole. This is an absurd assertion, for even if the entire pro-life movement endorsed assassinating notorious abortionists (as opposed to just the tiny fringe who do see their way clear to such lethal vigilantism), it is surely faulty logic to assert that it is hypocritical to resort to murdering a mass murderer in order to protect countless further innocent victims.
Bonhoeffer, for example, is not considered a hypocrite for his involvement in the attempt to assassinate Hitler, but is rather admired for his courage and conviction – regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the act itself. Furthermore, history hardly finds fault with him, despite the gross violation of legal and moral norms his actions represented from the perspective of the Nazi system of thought. He (rightly) saw Hitler as a mass murderer and lethal threat to civilization, and (rightly or wrongly) determined that the best way to deal with him, under the circumstances, was to assassinate him. Was he right?
There is a vicious war being waged against the innocent unborn, and it should come as no surprise that some folks are tired of talking about it; tired of waiting for a political solution that never seems to really get any closer, but often seems to be permanently hardening into the kind of legal insanity that turned Bonhoeffer’s Germany into the textbook example of evil that it serves as today. Frankly, given what is at stake, I think it is a real testimony to the moral quality of the pro-life movement that this sort of thing is not much more commonplace.
This killing may not have been righteous, it may not have been wise, it may not have been prudent, it may not have been faithful to the spirit of the pro-life movement, it may have been an instance of despair triumphing over hope, but it sure isn’t a sign of hypocrisy. The basic pro-life principle is that human life is sacred, and must be defended from exploitation and destruction. That means that exploiters and destroyers must somehow be stopped. The ends cannot justify the means, but we should not be conned into believing (let alone declaring) that the killer has violated the core principles of the movement – therein confusing the guilty and the innocent. It is sufficient to say that there is a better way.
Hypocrisy? …The murder of unborn babies is a “personal choice” matter that we should all be able to disagree over amicably, while the murder of a notorious abortionist is beyond the pale? I don’t think so… talk about hypocrisy!