So, it’s just after 6AM here in Manitou Springs, CO, and thanks to congestion and a sugar headache, I am wide awake. So I thought I would write a short note about some of the comments I have been reading concerning the recent murder of Dr. Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider. In particular, an article written by Ellen Goodman for the Boston Globe last week.
Let me start off by saying that though I see the economical advantage of littering a news story with gut-wrenching and emotional rhetoric, it would be nice if these feelings were coupled with sound reasoning and logic.
Goodman’s finest mistake is her hasty generalization of the pro-life community. She claims that “they [the pro-life community] forgot to disavow” pro-life fringe groups in the wake of anti-abortion violence. The examples of “fringe groups” she provides are Operation Rescue (a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending abortion through legal means; they publicly denounced Tiller’s murder), Scott Roeder (the man convicted of murdering Tiller), and the Defensive Action Statement (her only legitamate example; they praise Tiller’s murderer and condone violence against abortionists). So, out of the three, only one seems plausible as a fringe group. But still, this doesn’t excuse Goodman from making the outrageous claim that the majority of pro-life supporters in the United States do not denounce such an anti-moral and heinous position!
In the very next paragraph, Goodman continues her tirade by demanding that the pro-life community be “shocked by the everyday mainstream rhetoric that casually refers to abortion as murder”. Excuse me for maybe stating the obvious, but isn’t the platform of the pro-life community the fact that abortion is the termination of an innocent life, and therefore murder? Also, as a side note, I would love to see some stats on how “mainstream” the terms murder and abortion are in everyday rhetoric – probably not as much as they should.
Goodman returns to pulling names out of a hat by stating that the “stars” of pro-life leaders “seemed less than mournful” about Tiller’s murder. She quotes Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue as saying that Tiller was ‘”a mass murderer” who did something that “was literally demonic”‘, yet she fails to continue the quote to the next sentence when Terry clarifies that “even Mr. Tiller – like other murderers – deserved a trial of his peers, and a legal execution, not vigilante justice…”.
I could continue, but I think it is pretty clear that Goodman’s purpose was to yank on some gullible heartstrings rather than inform.
One more general comment I would like to make is that even though there exist pro-life extreme fringe groups (which I do not deny; nor do I deny the existence of pro-CHOICE extremists) with members who are willing to break the moral law in the name of “serving God”, there is a reason they are called fringe groups. This same argument imployed by Goodman is used against Christianity as well. Dissenters claim that since the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Salem Witch Trials happened, Christianity must be wrong. The existence of extremists who twist and warp the truth does not invalidate that truth. In one sense, people like Goodman are practicing a form of intolerance. We see Islamic extremists and Jihadists attacking and cursing our country, yet are told that they do not represent the true message of Islam. Can the pro-life community not get the same respect?