Terminating Tiller’s Life is Worse than Tiller Terminating Lives

Posted in christian thought, politics, social justice by Nathan Creitz on June 1, 2009

art.tiller.kakeCNN reported Obama’s statements following Dr. George Tiller’s murder: “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.”


The senseless murder of an abortion doctor or of an unborn baby will not resolve our differences. Recently, Obama said we must find a common ground on this issue of abortion. Maybe our common ground should be that proponents on both sides of the issue would cease the heinous acts of violence.

Let me be clear, I believe most abortions are not justified and it is a huge problem in our country. I am pro-life with the understanding that a small percentage of abortions might be justifiable! Even Obama believes we should work to lower the abortion rate. Convenience should never be a motivation for an abortion (not saying that’s the only motivation, don’t misunderstand me).

On the other hand, as one who finds school and church shootings especially deplorable, and as one who thinks advocates for the unborn should be especially peace-loving and life-loving, and as one who sees martyring an abortion doctor as particularly unraveling to the anti-abortion cause: I am more outraged by the murder of George Tiller than I am of all the crimes against humanity Tiller has performed in the past 40 years of performing late-term abortions.

I am joining with the President, Planned Parenthood and other Pro-Choice activists as well as fellow peace-loving Pro-Life activists in condemning this act of violence. On the issue of abortion, this may be the first (and perhaps last?) time I will be in such whole-hearted agreement with these groups.

My heart goes out to Tiller’s family, to his church, and to his friends and community. You are in my prayers!


10 Responses

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  1. Jeremy Hoover said, on June 1, 2009 at 9.14 am

    Hi Nathan,

    This is a bold, courage post. Thanks for making it. I agree with you, and it’s this kind of stuff that undermines the pro-life position.

    I always encourage Christians who are pro-life and feel like they don’t have a say to get out and active and connected: volunteer for a pro-life agency, befriend women considering abortions, work with young women in troubled areas, etc. But not to resort to violence.

    Thanks again.

  2. Chuck Kuehn said, on June 1, 2009 at 7.16 pm


    On Facebook you start with the comment: “Pro-life cannot be pro-death.” FYI: I don’t see it here on your blog. That comment trips me up at the start, because I wouldn’t say that: Pro-life cannot be pro-death. I think there is room for the death penalty. But I would gladly give up the death penalty if pro-choice would give up abortions. I doubt they would agree.

    I am also tripped up that some abortions are OK. I can’t think of one. Every situation has its own concerns, but no life threatening situation to the mom, gives any hint of expectation for the doctors that they will cease from doing everything they can to save both mom and baby even while literally on the operating table. As for rape, wow it is tough to say, but carry the baby to term and give up for adoption, but don’t abort. What are other tough situations, none deserving abortion?

    I guess you can categorize me as staunch Pro-Life. While I can’t say I’ve stood on street corners lately, I did as a young man and with just my Pastor or alone; we affected a Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. I am glad we did. Other activities are too seldom and too few to feel good: money here, a stance against abortion there, but life goes on without enough involvement.

    The thing about killing for a cause (not that I’m that type), I can see why some religious groups read their doctrine and find killing of infidels commanded. Which is why I believe they are seriously dangerous and not an aberration of that religious movement, they would gladly take a life by common folk … nine eleven is the easy one and likely group, radical Muslims, to include.

    For me: stick with Capital Punishment of severe criminals by government and common folk killing by God. What do you think happens at the end of life?

    • Nathan Creitz said, on June 1, 2009 at 9.56 pm

      Hey Chuck,

      I appreciate your comment. I think you must be responding to my friend Jon Reid who probably posted a link to this blog on his facebook page. You don’t find that phrase on this post because I’m the author of this blog 🙂

      Personally, I’ve heard a lot of stories first-hand from women who decided not to abort (though there might be ‘complications’, or in instances of rape) and each of them is grateful they chose life. I have friends and family and church family who have told me their parents had considered abortion for various reasons. I don’t know of any instances (again, from personal conversations with mom’s) where the mother’s life was in danger, though I’m sure that happens occasionally.

      Having said all of that, I REFUSE to say that ALL abortions are wrong. I hate abortion just as much as the next pro-lifer and wish it never happened, but it’s that kind of bull-headedness that completely shuts people off from hearing what ANY pro-lifer has to say.

      Let me give you an example. I don’t hate George Bush, but the reason most people hated him was because of his stubborn attitude. In some instances he made good decisions and in others he made bad ones, but because he did it with such a cowboy, lone-ranger attitude, people were offended. If Bush came out of hiding with THE solution to all of our nation’s problems and wanted to give it to Obama. It wouldn’t matter if it WAS a genius plan, it would not be implemented. Bush has no voice because of his attitude.

      Growing up, I saw how the fundamentalist movement drove people away. The very things fundamentalists took a hard stand for are the very things that are rapidly gaining momentum today BECAUSE the fundamentalists stood against them. Rather than knowing what Christians were for, fundamentalists were loudly displaying what they were against. Rather than hearing the Gospel and seeing it on display, our society saw anger and judgment and bitterness and intolerance.

      This post is my reaction against the Pharisaical methods of some who take the issue of abortion and make it their pet project as if the Bible was about abortion and not about Jesus. Jesus saved his harshest words for the religious leaders who were so legalistic and arrogant that they actually thought they were righteous. Then, he spent the rest of the time partying with unbelievers.

      Abortion is an important topic and it needs to be talked about, but as long as “we” are polarizing “them” with anti-abortion rhetoric there won’t be any space for talking about Jesus. The only answer to abortion or to any other issue is to share our lives with people, love them, share Jesus with them and let him do the transforming work that we all need! Chances are, it’s not going to happen through legislation or boycotts.

  3. Lynn said, on June 2, 2009 at 12.12 am

    “Terminating Tiller’s Life is Worse than Tiller Terminating Lives”

    It seems that any termination of life is a sad situation.
    In Tiller’s case, there are family and friends that mourn the loss of their loved one.
    Who mourns the loss of one that had no family or friends yet?

    It saddens me that you would say one is worse than the other.
    I know that people have been offended by this comment or that comment.
    Lets skip the commentary, and get to the business of forgiving those who commit murder, on both sides.

    • Nathan Creitz said, on June 16, 2009 at 11.34 am

      Hey Lynn, I appreciate your thoughts and I hope I can clarify that I never said it isn’t sad when someone is asked to end life support or make some other difficult decision. I just want to recognize that there are some situations that I have never faced that may be more complicated than a simple black and white response. Tiller’s murder provides ammunition for the pro-choice movement that will likely influence future legislation toward a more radical pro-abortion agenda. I don’t know how many lives Tiller took but I can’t fathom how many MORE lives will be terminated as a result of Tiller’s martyrdom. That’s why I say it’s worse. 10,000 lives lost is always going to be worse than 1,000 lives lost. I tried to make that clear in the post, I hope you will forgive any lack of clarity on my part.

  4. Don said, on June 5, 2009 at 3.08 pm

    Hi, Nathan. Are your absolutes crumbling? You say,
    “Having said all of that, I REFUSE to say that ALL abortions are wrong. I hate abortion just as much as the next pro-lifer and wish it never happened, but it’s that kind of bull-headedness that completely shuts people off from hearing what ANY pro-lifer has to say. ”

    You could just as easily say, “Having said all of that, I REFUSE to say that ALL adultery is wrong. I hate adultery just as much as the next pro-family advocate and wish it never happened, but it’s that kind of bull-headedness that completely shuts people off from hearing what ANY pro-family advocate has to say.”

    or “Having said all of that, I REFUSE to say that ALL taking of God’s name in vain is wrong. I hate taking God’s name in vain just as much as the next anti-cusser and wish it never happened, but it’s that kind of bull-headedness that completely shuts people off from hearing what ANY anti-cusser has to say. ”

    or fill in the blanks with anything that we KNOW to violate God’s standards: bestiality, pedophilia, murder, etc… then equate opposition to those activities as fundamentalist.

    Lastly, I would never categorize Jesus’ activity with unbelievers as “partying”. Though his presence never caused “guilt”, it consistently produced “conviction”. His activity was consistent with His character and never wandered into the realm of those things that unbelievers find fun about their parties.

    I agree with your accessment that condemnation rarely creates conviction. Nevertheless, I would disagree that fundamentalism is the cause for the ills of our society. The reprobation that is increasingly becoming dominant among us comes far more from the habitual practice of those sins by those who love them than can be blamed on the condemnatory preaching of a few.

    • Jeremy Hoover said, on June 5, 2009 at 7.31 pm

      Hi Don,

      Abortion is a social-moral issue, not a theological/biblical one. The Bible does not anticipate abortion, nor does it give us an answer for the biblical/social/theological/philosophical/medical/scientific issues and questions surrounding abortion.

      To me, it’s not the same as saying “Not all adultery (or your other examples) is wrong.” Jesus (and the Bible) taught that adultery was wrong, and it is consistent teaching. What adultery was was clearly understood and accepted by the Jews and then the Christians. Despite what we would like, abortion does not have the same common acceptance in this culture. So I think Nathan’s right when he says “most” abortions are not justified.

      I also understand your hesitation to describe Jesus as “partying” with unbelievers. But based on Matthew 11:19, if Jesus was here today, I think he’d be described both positively (by the “partyers”) and negatively (by many Christians) as one who “partied” with people.

      I appreciate the response to Nathan’s post.

    • Nathan Creitz said, on June 16, 2009 at 8.37 am

      Hey Don, I appreciate your passion and your perspective. You gave a few suggestions for things I could’ve said but the fact is, I didn’t. This isn’t a post on adultery and adultery is always sin. This isn’t a post on taking God’s name in vain and doing so would always be a slap in God’s face. You didn’t bring this issue up but what about divorce? This isn’t a post on divorce, but it’s a similar concept in my mind. God said, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16). I admit, divorce means a failed human relationship but there are times when divorce is better than physical abuse or marital unfaithfulness. Divorce is unfortunate EVERY time it happens. But this is an issue that shows we live in a fallen world. I will ALWAYS fight for marriage and reconciliation but I recognize that there will be times when there is no other option. I hate when it happens and I grieve for the death of a marriage but I believe there are some issues that justify a divorce.

      Now, the same thing goes for abortion. If God had spoken to the issue of abortion more emphatically I believe He would’ve said, “I hate abortion.” I think abortion is ALWAYS a cause for grief and concern. Don, I believe a lot, and I mean A LOT, of people choose abortion as a matter of convenience (just like with the issue of divorce). I hate that. I believe that is murder. But there are a small number of instances where doctors are making a decision just like a fireman would make a decision on who to save. There are also times when there is a grossly abnormal birth defect that is not sustainable. In those cases, I want the doctors to fight for life and for people to pray for life vigorously and faithfully, but there comes a time when both doctors and patients realize the viability of the unborn child is non-existent. In those sorts of cases, I don’t pass judgment on someone who chooses an abortion (whether or not I would do the same thing in their place is not what I’m talking about here, and neither am I talking about a defect that still allows the child to be viable outside the womb: cases of down’s syndrome come to mind).

      What I advocate for is viewing the baby in the womb as 100% the same as a baby outside the womb or a 10 year old or a 50 year old. We fight for life but there are times when a doctor gives the family a decision to terminate life support and I think that’s the perspective we should have with the unborn. They are humans and have the right to life that all of us have. When we sit in judgment over those who have had to make tough decisions about their children we are being Pharisees and are not showing our love and concern for people who find themselves in such difficult situations. I encourage you that for every comment you want to make about abortion that you find at least one person who has had to make a tough decision and hear them out first.

      To suggest that a woman should go through the trauma of carrying an nonviable child to term, delivering that child that was on his or her death bed to begin with, and watching that baby die in her arms, when her doctor could’ve saved her from that added trauma is heartless and cruel. I don’t believe that kind of attitude reflects any kind of concern for women or accurately conveys the love of Christ to a world that is already suspicious of Christians. Despite all our advances, giving birth is still dangerous at times and it is physically traumatic. Let’s not force women to needlessly go through all of that trauma when a doctor has advised against it. Let me reiterate, EVERYTHING should be done to protect and provide for the unborn. They are the MOST vulnerable but when it comes to a judgment call that is made between a doctor, a husband and an expecting mother, let’s not be so dogmatic that we can’t show our concern and our love for people who find themselves in an already stressful situation.

      My absolutes aren’t crumbling. I believe in absolute truth. But abortion is not an absolute and all those who believe it is are damaging their own reputation with a damaged world that need to know you love them, that God loves them, and that God is healing our damaged world.

  5. Kelly Brown said, on June 12, 2009 at 12.56 pm

    Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder’n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

  6. Siby said, on August 8, 2009 at 4.42 pm

    I am NOT willing to find any common ground with anti-choicers. I am not willing to give away any of my basic human rights to abortion for the sake of “common ground”. That is not common ground. I’m simply NOT going to compromise any of my rights just to make you idiotic misogynists happy.

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