In the hours following Dr. George Tiller’s assassination, the anti-choice movement sounded unusually reasonable, gathering in front of the Supreme Court this morning to denounce the murder.
But I don’t believe they mean it.
Because given their behavior, exactly what else did they expect?
For four years, Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline harassed Tiller, accusing him of protecting child rapists. Bill O’Reilly called Tiller a “baby killer,” “guilty of Nazi stuff” over two dozen times on national TV.
Mix this kind of rhetoric with the apocalyptic, millennial visions that are increasingly dominating American Christianity (more Americans believe in the Rapture than in Evolution), and exactly what should God-fearing people do?
Murder the satanic, death-loving abortionist sons of bitches.
The anti-choice movement is actively disclaiming blame for the “lone gunman” who assassinated Tiller. “We hold absolutely no responsibility for his death,” Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry said. But in the same breath, Randall also called Tiller “a mass murderer,” and referred to “child-killers.”
Does Peter Roff in U.S. News & World Report sound like he wants to prevent further assassinations? “[Tiller’s] killing is one more tragedy layered on top of the tragic deaths of untold numbers of unborn Americans,” he said.
The Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition was honest about the real problem with the murder: “Politically, this could not have happened at a worse time.”
If the anti-choice movement really wants to discourage more murders, arson and domestic terrorism, they can. Not by calmly saying “please don’t murder the baby-killers we all hate,” but by changing their rhetoric and philosophy. By conceptualizing and talking about two legitimate worldviews, rather than one moral and one immoral—which must be destroyed.
But they won’t do that, because their righteous fight is not about abortion. People have always been free to not get abortions.
No, their movement is, and has always been, about imposing their view of morality on the rest of the country. They want to take away your right to do something that they don’t think you should be allowed to do. And that’s a bigger issue than whatever thing they want to criminalize.
The anti-choice movement cannot simultaneously continue to destroy secular, pluralist democracy while claiming it deserves a seat at the public policy table. They don’t simply want to change a few of America’s rules—they want to destroy the fundamental principles of our country.
Murder is, after all, what they want.