Dr George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider, was murdered at the beginning of a religious service in his Lutheran church Sunday morning. He served there as an usher, and his wife sang in the choir. A suspect was said to be in custody in Wichita, where the killing occurred. He is a 51-yr-old man named Scott Roeder, who had a previous criminal record and had blogged on the Operation Rescue website in 2007 about his plans to disrupt Dr Tiller's church.
Leaders of several abortion organizations put out statements condemning the violence. Among them was Fr Frank Pavone, a conservative political activist who had a high profile during the recent controversy at Notre Dame. He said, "We at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem."
Fr Pavone might have stopped there. But in an email circulated to his supporters, he listed a series of similar murders that occurred during the 1980s, and said, "The point should not be missed that the killings of other abortionists and their staff ... occurred in an environment in which there was a lot of frustration over the pro-abortion initiatives of President Clinton. Now, there is similar frustration regarding the Obama Presidency and its support of abortion. This is not to blame our Presidents for someone's misguided actions. But neither should we miss what may be emerging as a pattern: when hope diminishes that the government is going to do something to protect the vulnerable, the temptation to take the law into one's own hands increases."
More to the point is the culpability that people like Fr Pavone himself have for this kind of violence, and the fury provoked among conservatives toward President Obama by the extreme language about Democrats and abortion. Despite the expressed intent of President Obama to work collaboratively to decrease the numbers of abortions, Fr Pavone and many other activists with Republican sympathies have condemned the President using the most insulting imaginable terms.
Fr Pavone has also joined conservative political writers like George Weigel and Deal Hudson in a campaign to have the editor of the Vatican newspaper, Giovanni Maria Vian, fired from L'Osservatore Romano because he expressed support for the abortion reduction message President Obama issued week before last at the Notre Dame Commencement.
"It is not enough to denounce violence," said Dr Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. "Any Catholic public figure who insults someone else with the 'pro-abortion' label is actually hurting the anti-abortion cause by obstructing common ground solutions, sowing division within our Church, and contributing to the penchant toward violence that was on display again today. There is nothing Catholic about the kind of angry language that falsely blames abortion on our elected officials, when it is our job as people of faith to work constructively toward a society in which no one chooses to have an abortion."