On Sunday, George Tiller, the late-term Kansas abortionist, was killed in the lobby of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita while serving as an usher.
The man who reportedly took his life was 51-year-old Scott Roeder. What do Tiller and his assassin have in common? On the surface, nothing; below the surface, everything.
Roeder, was a man of modest means and few accomplishments. His victim was a rich and powerful figure in the battle over abortion rights. In short, Tiller was as famous as Roeder was obscure.
But examine the similarities: Both men were “driven.” A friend described Roeder as “smart” and said he could have “done anything he wanted.” In recent years, Roeder had become obsessed with ending abortion. Tiller, on the other hand, had done everything an abortionist could possibly do. He ran one of the few free standing clinics in this country that perform grisly late-term abortions. He had more money than he could ever spend. At 67 he was past retirement age but still working.
Hated by some and revered by others, Tiller was the target of protests; his clinic had been bombed; he had been shot in both arms and received numerous awards from abortion rights groups.
So, what kept Tiller going – ego, the high one gets from living on the edge?
Very likely every abortion Tiller performed was an attempt to justify what he was doing to himself, to those around him and even God.
Many were surprised to learn that a man like Tiller went to a Christian church where he was a member in good standing and was allowed to serve in a prominent position. What kind of church is the Reformation Lutheran? It’s a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
The common definition of evangelical in this country is believing in the sole authority and inerrancy of the Bible and in salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, resulting in a spiritually transformed personal life. However, in the ELCA, the definition springs from its historic German roots, which simply means Protestant.
In short, the ELCA is just another liberal mainline denomination that places great emphasis on achieving “social justice.”
The church’s statement on abortion is lengthy but contains mostly rhetoric. It affirms life but says, “A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy.”
The church considers abortion morally responsible with the pregnancy presents “a clear threat to the physical life of the woman” or when “the pregnancy occurs when both parties do not participate willing in sexual intercourse.”
However, the church opposes ending intrauterine life “when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology” unless “there are lethal abnormalities indicating that the prospective newborn will die very soon.”
Clearly, as statics has shown, Tiller’s practice violated the church’s position on late-term abortions each and every day.
But here’s the rub. In laying out these moral parameters the church states, “Human beings live in community, with responsibility and accountability to God, self, and others. Women faced with unintended pregnancies, are called to be good stewards of life by making responsible decisions in light of these relationships.”
Did you get that?
God is only one member of this equation and the great I AM is on equal footing with “self” and “others.” Therefore, if you say it’s OK, it’s OK.
Regardless of a parishioner decision on abortion, an ELCA pastor’s response “must be a gracious affirmation of the value of women’s lives” and “assistance in dealing with ongoing implications of their decisions for their own well-being and their relationships.”
In other words, regardless of the moral absolutes in God’s word that prevent the taking of an innocent human life, a pastor is not free to call sin, “sin” or to lead a person to true repentance that leads to a changed life.
Tiller’s alleged killer also considers himself to be a Christian and had a fish decal with the word “Jesus” prominently displayed on the rear window of his car.
“Thou shall not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments of God. The Bible prohibits individuals from punishing another for wrongdoing, no matter how grave. However, it supports using the judicial system to punish those who commit crimes.
Clearly, both Roeder and Tiller felt free to violate the absolutes in God’s word when it suited their purposes.
Here’s where the similarity ends. Roeder will have a chance to truly repent and seek forgiveness. Sadly, Tillers life has come to a tragic end.