Skip to comments.Tiller's Killing: Necessary... But Unlawful
Posted on 06/03/2009 11:13:53 AM PDT by lewisglad
In a commentary today, Creighton theologian R.R. Reno parses the justifications for killing an abortion doctor like George Tiller, and finds that alleged murderer Scott Roeder came up shortthough barely. Reno says that The blanket condemnation [by Catholics bishops] of violence seems unhelpfully expansive and so he wants to explain that the reasons Tillers killer was wrong are not as simple as they seem.
Reno says that under Christian thinking, such an action would have to satisfy three conditions: It would target the guilty, not the innocent; it would have to be necessary (principally to protect others); and it would have to be an act of self-defense that does not violate the principle of legitimate authority by being premeditated and calculated violence, as Tillers killing was. Reno says the suspect got two out of three:
The emphasis on unlawful use of violence, the evocation of vigilantism, and the description of Tillers killer as a vigilante killer are all exactly right. We are all sinners, but it is painfully obvious that Dr. George Tiller acted in wanton disregard for the sanctity of life. Killing him did not violate the principle of innocence. Moreover, he gave no evidence of stopping. As a result, perhaps something like the principle of necessity can be satisfied. But it is certainly obvious that his killer was acting as the law unto himself. He arrogated to himself the roles of jury, judge, and executioner. He violated the principle of legitimate authority.
That strikes me as far too close to justification, as others would argue that unjust laws shouldnt stop us. With their redesigned site, the First Things blog now allows comments, and the first commenter on Renos thread pressed him to go further, asking how Renos argument would apply to Bonhoeffer or the Nazi resistance. Good question.
(Excerpt) Read more at commonwealmagazine.org ...
I think RR Reno is right, actually; all of the other conditions are satisfied, except that it should have been a legitimate authority that did it. And then we come up against that famous question: what happens when the laws and/or the authorities are unjust or wrong?
Theoretically, we should change the laws. But what about a situation where all legitimate and non-violent attempts to change those laws are stymied by the authorities or even by the evil person himself?
Most would agree that when man's law directly contradicts God's law, God's directives must prevail. For example, thousands of Christians were martyred because they refused to worship the Roman emperor. It is almost universally accepted that these people did the right thing; in fact, many have been canonized as saints.
Other Christians have been praised for refusing to take the lives of others, or their property, or spread anti-Christian propaganda, etc. as mandated by law.
But what about stopping a serial killer who has taken more than 60,000 lives? How do you factor in the 15-20 babies who will not be killed today by this monster -- and the same number every day now on?
Where do you draw the line between Biblically justified and unjustified under these circumstances?
1. The increased pressure (i.e., persecution) of nonviolent pro-life associations -- this killing has and will increase the oversight of pro-life groups ad anti-prolife measures because it is so easy for abortion proponents to label every member of the pro-life community nutjob-extremists!
2. The man who killed Tiller has now deprived God of the opportunity to turn Tiller around and use him for the cause. Two contrary examples where God worked his miracles would be the conversion of Dr. Bernard Nathanson to the pro-life side. Nathanson was a New York abortionist and founder of the predecessor organization of NARAL. Second example -- Norma Jean McCorvey (Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade). If God can convert these two, and St. Paul, who ordered and oversaw the martyrdom of St. Stephen, he can certainly turn a two-bit abortion doctor given the right circumstances. Now, we will never know.
3. You have deprive a man of the opportunity to repent and amend his life (not that he would, but he could.
In sum, Tiller may be gone, but at what cost?
This incident DOES “step it up a notch”...
Mayhap the pols and the docs will think twice about thwarting the political and legal means to stop their homicide?
I would go with the good ol’ Ten Commandments... thou shalt not kill
Exactly, Roeder deprived Tiller of the opportunity to repent for a lifetime of evil crimes against humanity.
I think the article has it right, non-violence/self defense is the only way. Otherise the other side wins
Exactly.I dont remember the people voting to legalize abortion on demand.Yet we are supposed to uphold laws passed by activist judges?KMA ruling class.
Suppose that Roeder had been entirely stable, lucid, sane and sober, and had been directed by a "voice" to slay Tiller. In your estimation, would that "voice" have been more likely that of God, or the devil....?
My personal suspicion would be the latter...
That is a very good question.
I would say violence would most definitely be justified against the Nazi’s in self defense.
IRC Pro-Life folks have served jail time and been hit with large fines from trying the “talk & non-violence” route. States have tried to pass laws limiting abortion, only to have them overturned by murderous judges.
If talk, protest and legislation will not stop the killing of babies, just how to you propose it be done?
They are babies and their killing must be stopped. When that killing is compounded by being mass killings and that for profit, there is an even greater imperative to stop it.
How would you do this?
Would you include German citizens in that justification? German citizens who were not targeted by the Nazis?
I was mainly thinking of American laws that give a homeowner right to shoot if his/her person is in danger or they are in their house and theatened by an intruder
So, no German citizen would have been justified in fighting the Nazi regime then?
Laws were passed, ignored, broken, and enforcement officials (ks AG) covered it up.
Another law to require enforcement of the first law was passed, and vetoed by a governor on the take.
Tiller was finally taken to court, and the prosecution bungled it, Tiller got off without penalty, and couldn’t be tried for the same offense again.
There is a continuum where people will act outside of the law when they see the law to be inadequate to stop an injustice. Some will act sooner, some at a time when the thwarting of the law becomes more egregious. Roeder was one that acted earlier.
I would go with the good ol Ten Commandments... thou shalt not kill
The actual commandment is “murder” , killing is allowed ... most bibles however have the erroneous translation.
And that my friend is the real issue and has the liberals running scared. Their real corruption (i.e. rigged system) has been exposed and they darn well know it. So they will play pin the tail on the donkey and target the pro-life organizations (or even Bill O'Reilly) as being responsible.
Meanwhile no coverage of the murder of the soldier killed by a home-grown Muslim terrorist on American soil. Doesn't fit their agenda I suppose.
A Jewish friend told me the commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Shed Innocent Blood".
Judas referred to it when he betrayed Christ.