real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

who was dr. tiller?

HT:  Carol



  anika wrote @

May the Lords healing hand be on Kelly and the many girls like her, who believed a lie, and have been swallowed up in it… I was so encouraged by her strength in coming forward to talk about this on the news…Lord have mercy on this nation ….

  Annie C wrote @

Dr. Tiller may have been wrong in what he did, but he was also the victim of a terrorist act. The second in recent months. I do wonder what this country is coming to.

  shadowspring wrote @

How sad for everyone involved in every way.

How sad for the 18,000 mothers who paid Dr. Tiller to end their babies lives. How sad for their lost and damaged relationships with the living and their lost relationship with their now dead children.

How sad for the family members who in many cases pressured these mothers to abort. How sad for their relationships with the living and their lost hope of relationship with the aborted children.

And how sad for Dr. Tiller’s family and all those in church who saw him gunned down. They too have suffered great personal loss and emotional trauma.

What a messed up world in which we live. May God have mercy on us all.

  Melanie wrote @

All around this is a very sad incident and an awful legacy Tiller leaves behind. Even more grievous is that Tiller could comfortably attend and serve in a “church” without ever coming under conviction for murdering innocent children.
Shame on the man who shot him, shame on Tiller for using his trade to kill rather than preserve life, but even more shame is due to a church that parades as the bride of Christ but is in fact no church at all, just a Sunday social club.

  thatmom wrote @

“Dr. Tiller may have been wrong in what he did, but he was also the victim of a terrorist act. ”

Annie, I wholeheartedly agree. The proper channel for bringing punishment to Dr. Tiler ought to have been the state.

This morning’s paper reports that the man who did this, though claiming to be pro-life, actually was a man with a history of mental illness and family and friends had been concerned about him in the past. This was not a man who was part of any legitimate pro-life group.

  thatmom wrote @

“Even more grievous is that Tiller could comfortably attend and serve in a “church” without ever coming under conviction for murdering innocent children.”

A few years I spent some time on Dr. Tiller’s website and was amazed at the fact that not only was he a leader in his church, but his own pastor participated in the fraud being perpetrated at his so-called clinic. He would actually come on site and baptize the aborted babies. The site actually showed pictures of all the “religious services” the clinic offered the parents of their aborted children, which included memorial pictures and christening gowns. The whole thing was like something out of a horror movie.

  RichardD wrote @

I think we all need to be very careful when we decry the shooter. I personally reject the way he handled this. However, Tiller was murdering babies illegally under Kansas law. He had been prosecuted multiple times by Kansas and even served some jail time, but the pro-abortion people always circled the wagons and managed to get him off. Under Kansas law, if a person is targeting the life of another it is lawful to step in and use lethal force to protect the life of the target.

Tiller has targeted and killed staggering numbers of innocent people.

I’m not defending what the shooter did; I just think that we need to not simply follow the accepted line for pro-lifers, which is to say, “this was a terrible act and there can never be any reason to kill another person.” This particular situation needs more thought than that, even if we end up ultimately saying that the shooter was completely wrong in what he did (which is what I believe).

I do think it’s interesting that he was shot in his church. I think the shooter was trying to make a statement with his choice of venue.

And the shooter is not a terrorist. A terrorist targets random innocent victims. Tiller was not random and not innocent. And the lives of others in the area were not put in particular danger.

  mary wrote @

Richard, I too, am frustrated by the liberal use of the ‘terrorist’ label on this. This was not a terrorist act…that makes it sound as if the prolifers are terrorists and if you ask me- I think that is purposeful.

  shadowspring wrote @

All murder is wrong.

  thatmom wrote @

Here is one definition of terrorism that I think could apply to Dr. Tiller:

Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of “exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies.”

I think this states very well one of the reasons that abortionist murderers do what they do. They want to intimidate all other abortionists, thinking that will stop them. They also want to get the attention of lawmakers and politicians.

The real problem is that abortion is a sin of the heart, and the solution is for hearts to be turned from sin. I believe it is mostly a matter of supply and demand. There will no longer be abortionists or abortion clinics when people stop wanting abortions. That is why ministering to women in crisis pregnancies is so crucial. Even if all abortion was outlawed tomorrow, we would still have women seeking abortions and doctors or other medical personnel performing them. I believe the reason the abortion rates have gone down is because the number of CPC’s have gone up in the past 10 years.

We also need to remember that there are two immediate victims in an abortion, the baby and the mother. As women repent of their abortions and share their own stories, hearts are also changed and abortion is seen for what it is. One mistake pro-lifers initially, and is some instances continue to do, is to speak only of the baby rather than acknowledge the suffering that mothers and their families have also endured.

I wonder why the Wichita right to life groups didn’t have a weekly prayer vigil outside that church every Sunday morning to pray for changed hearts, especially Dr. Tiller’s?

  Annie C wrote @

Karen –

I completely, utterly agree with this:

Here is one definition of terrorism that I think could apply to Dr. Tiller:

Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of “exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies.”

And yes, I think it’s a ideology, although not a policy, as much encouraged by the Christian churches as it is by the Islamic clerics. As an example, RichardD’s post up there is clear encouragement. According to that, killing a doctor proven or perhaps even rumored to perform abortions is perfectly acceptable. Granted he’s also stating that that is not his personal beliefs, which only leaves me confused about what he wants others to do.

Yes, I’m being deliberately provocative.

For the record I’m both Pro-life and Pro-choice. I agree with you that abortion is an evil, but the phrase “turn hearts from sin” has no meaning for me. What I think we need to do in this country is respect human sexuality, including that of young people. I believe that means giving people clear, age-appropriate knowledge about their sexuality, and by age appropriateness I do mean teens. When our grandparents were young it was just not unusual for a girl to be married at 16 and have a baby at 18, and young men could raise a family on a high school education. That was what, forty years ago? Fifty? That wasn’t so long. Now we expect young people to wait until they’re 22 or better. I think it’s disrespectful, boarding on cruelty to do that to them, and then to condemn them when they fail. Far better to give them the information they need to make their own choices AND give them the skills and knowledge they need to start a family in their late teens, if they so desire.

We would have to start with a total overhaul of the school system in this country and a return of our manufacturing base. I’m not holding my breath.

But, and this is most important, this means seeing people in their late teens as people. Not helpless children that must be wrapped in wool and isolated from all knowledge, even from what’s happening in their bodies, Not objects we own and control as parents, not the perfect (and perfectly desirable) paragons of purity the Patriocentrics espouse, and not the wanton objects of lust the media encourages.* People, with their own wants and needs and dreams. Once we can see them as people we can help them make their own right choices, which works for them as individuals, And if that means being a mother, at any age, we can help them, and support them with that.

Another thing we don’t do nearly enough is encourage adoption. As someone who has looked into adoption, I’ve found adoptive parents are demonized from all sides. As someone on a liberal blog wrote:

I could have gone through with the pregnancy and put the child up for adoption, but I’d heard the horror stories, and couldn’t do that to a child.

Now that, right there, is a really huge, positive way of ending at least some of the abortions in this country, start a media campaign showing the positive side of adoptions.

(Oh, and Karen, I volunteered one year in a CPC, run by our local evangelical churches, and we weren’t allowed to even *mention* adoption. )

All that said, as long as there is a danger to the health of the mother, sadly, I see there still needing to be a need for people to perform abortions. Even late term. I, for one, believe they should only be done for the most serious of medical reasons, literally when the mother’s life is in danger. And that’s why I’m pro-choice, I believe that decision is up to the mother and her doctor, not the government.

* As a footnote, back in high school I remember hearing that in some ridiculously high number of abortions performed on women under 18, the father is over 18, but I have yet to find that statistic online. Perhaps another place to work to end the problem would be starting something along the lines of Virgina’s anti-statutory rape campaign

  Annie C wrote @

And I apologize for writing a novel there. Guess I got a little long winded. 🙂

  RichardD wrote @

ThatMom – I agree with that definition you gave and think that some of the people who choose to murder the serial murderers like Dr. Tiller succumbing to a terrorist mindset along the lines of your definition. But I also know folks who have advocated for personal involvement in saving people from being targets of those serial murderers who did not have a terrorist mindset but rather a rescuers mindset. I don’t know any who would have advocated violence, but I know quite a few who have served jail time for their civil disobedience in trying to save those lives.

Annie C – I, too, and both pro-life and pro-choice. Murder is never right – and so I am opposed to what was done to Dr. Tiller as I am opposed to what he did to the thousands of American citizens he targeted and murdered. So in that vein I am pro-life.

And I am pro-choice because I believe that everyone has the right to choose to do right or wrong and each of them must life with the consequences of their choices. So the young man who chooses to impregnate his girlfriend needs to live with the consequences of now being a father. The young woman who chooses to have sex must live with the consequences of becoming a mother, should that be the result. The guy who shot Dr. Tiller must live with the consequences of having committed a capital crime. And Dr. Tiller must live (or die) with the consequences of having convinced so many women that murdering their babies after they had made the choice to create that baby was a peachy idea.

For those few women who did not choose to have sex but had it forced upon them, their attackers must live with the consequences of what they’ve done. But victimizing another human being because they have been victimized is not an acceptable choice for those women. Society (and Christianity in particular) should establish programs that allow those woman to carry the pregnancy to full term, give birth, and then make a proper choice for the future of that child. But we simply cannot allow murder to be a potential “choice.”

  thatmom wrote @

Well stated, Richard!

  thatmom wrote @

Annie, never apologize for being long winded in this comment section! Especially in this discussion, it is really helpful for me to understand where people are coming from. I have a dear friend who believes as you do and he and I are always talking about ways to find common ground for bringing an end to at least some abortions.

Which brings me to the discussion of adoption. Most people who read here know I was adopted at 6 days of age and I have a very tender spot in my heart for those who are adopted and who make an adoption plan for their children. And parents who choose to adopt are reflecting the grace that God gives to each of His own through our spiritual adoption into His family.

I am curious about why you weren’t allowed to encourage or even introduce adoption through your CPC. Please elaborate.

I helped to start a CPC in my county and volunteered there for many years. Initially we didn’t hear much about adoption or encouraging it in our training materials. But there were so many situations where I believe adoption would have been a great decision even rather than young teens without support structures keeping their babies. That center is now 17 years old and I would be certain that they are already seeing 2nd generation moms.

Annie, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  Annie C wrote @

ThatMom – The only answer that was ever given to me was that God wanted those children with those mothers, and that those girls had to live with the consequences of their actions. I only volunteered there a fer months before getting utterly fed up with it, we even had homeless teens being encouraged to keep their babies with them while living in cars and camp grounds. While just across the street people were being told that there was an easy 3-5 year wait for adopting infants.

I finally told the director that if God wanted those babies with those mothers then they needed to stop preaching abstinence, since the only way to get those babies with those mothers was to put those mothers and those fathers in the same place at the same time with the same idea in their heads. After all, if God wanted that baby with that mother at that particular moment in time, wouldn’t saying no nine months before have been going against His will?

She didn’t like that argument.

I still, however, support our local Catholic CPC, which does strongly encourage adoption. They also provide much more support for the mothers in question, including continuing education, housing and medical care if needed. To paraphrase their attitude “Mistakes were made, everything is forgiven, now let’s do what’s best for everyone involved.”

RichardD – I can understand Dr. Tiller living with his actions, but not dying for them. At best it was the call of the legal system, and they never did decide he was breaking the law. So, at best it was an act of vigilante justice, but I still consider it an act of terrorism. Especially considering that Jill Staneck has published photos and identifying information for two more doctors, including links to a page with phone numbers, addresses, pictures of the next target, his wife, their daughter, and his employees, and maps to their homes.

And yes, she is a professing Christian.

So, yes, here is a well known, widely read Christian calling for a terror campaign. If she was an Islamic cleric we’d call it a fatwa and denounce her as a terrorist. I see no reason not to do the same just because she’s a Christian.

  Jack Brooks wrote @

A couple of thoughts:

I’m gathering from news reports that the person who shot Tiller has a long history of mental illness.

This brings up again the ethics issue of whether Christians are permitted to use violence to overthrow their own government. Because the Supreme Court said, and legally speaking continues to say, it was and is legal for women to opt for the procedures that Tiller inflicted in their unborn babies. So if this conflict was carried to its logical extreme, and if circumstances had turned out a bit differently, the hypothetical Christian with a gun would soon find himself trying to kill police officers, soldiers, or other citizens who might try to protect Tiller.

When is a Christian permitted in the eyes of God to take a human life?

  Annie C wrote @

Jack Brooks –

That you’re asking that goes quite a ways to explaining why I’m an atheist.

  shadowspring wrote @

Yes, Jill Stanek is advocating terrorism.

And no, it is not permissable for a Christian acting on their own to take another’s life. or attempt to execute any other kind of judgment or revenge.

It is permissable for governments to engage in capital punishment, and only citizens in the role of government agency can carry it out.

Clearly the Word states “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.”

It is never my place as a private citizen to punish anyone for their sins, or for their crimes for that matter. And the two are very different matters. As has been pointed out, Dr. Tiller did not commit crimes against the state that he was ever convicted for. It is my opinion that he was a notorious sinner.

And what to do with him is God’s business, not mine. I am responsible to “speak the truth in love” and “turn from evil and do good”. So I will share with anyone at any opportunity the preciousness of life, that changeability of circumstances, the permanence of abortion. And I will never seek an abortion, and yes I have been put to the test!

Are not we pro-lifers sure that every life is precious? Then in God’s eyes, Dr. Tiller’s life is precious.

Are not we pro-lifers convinced that God is the author of life? Then he is the author of Dr. Tiller’s life.

Are not we committed pro-lifers convinced that even death is in the hands of God, and that shortening our own lives through assisted suicide would be to take a privilege that is not ours, and reject the gift of life that God offers? Then how dare we decide when/where/how anyone will die!

Even soldiers liberating WWII death camps as direct agents of government action could not just shoot any prison guard they felt like (and I sure they felt like it!). And that was with full government authority behind them!

It is so plain to me, that the murder of one person is just as evil in the eyes of God as the murder of 18,000.

  thatmom wrote @

Civil disobedience is always a subject that brings about tremendously difficult questions to consider. I remember reading A Christian Manifesto and listening to Francis Schaeffer give one of his last sermons on the topic before he succumbed to cancer. That was nearly 30 years ago and so much of what he foresaw has come to pass. Where does that leave us? Just like those who protested at Notre Dame a few weeks ago, some of them crossed the legal line and suffered the consequences, which is appropriate in a nation where we have laws that must be upheld lest we have anarchy.

I have much respect for Jill Stanek. I remember, nearly 10 years ago, when she blew the whistle on the late term abortion practices in the hospital where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse. That one brave action led to a national debate on the issue, informing millions of Americans of what actually goes on in hospitals in this country. I doubt there is but a handful of people now who haven’t heard the phrase “partial birth abortion.” I believe her taking a stand began a public discourse that now requires that everyone admit it IS a baby and not a “fetus,” that choice means choice between real life and real death.

Her actions and what she encourages, ie, giving out the names of doctors who perform abortions and notifying their neighbors so they will know the truth about “the lovely doctor next door,” in my opinion, have been fairly common tactics within pro-life circles for decades. I can remember being involved with a group who picketed an abortion clinic every Saturday morning, the only day the clinic in Peoria was open at the time, and going along with the group at the end of the morning to leaflet the clinic director’s neighborhood. It was quite effective. It eventually led to the priests in the diocese denying communion to her since she was a confessing and practicing Roman Catholic.

Letting people know the identity of abortionists is not a terrorist act in and of itself. Women need to know who these doctors are so they can avoid them when it comes to their own pregnancy needs. I know that our local Right to Life group has always kept a list of doctors who do not do abortions or even refer for them. They have also made it public knowledge which hospitals in our area will perform abortions, even late term ones. And yet, in all the nearly 30 years I have been involved with pro-life work in my area, not once have I seen or heard of any violence toward abortionists, the clinic workers, or the hospital that does abortions. Knowledge does not necessarily lead mentally unstable people to do violence toward others.

shawdowspring, the analogy with the Nazi guards is accurate, I believe. Sadly, there are still Christians today who staunchly defend human life in the womb but who think it is fine and dandy to claim racial superiority or hierarchy in the name of Christ.

  Jack Brooks wrote @

Annie C: As we know from philosophy, Atheism has no rational stand against murder, since its moral opinions are built on …well, nothing. Atheism’s “morality” is merely a front for arrogance, professing ethics based on taste, with no ontological or epistomological basis behind any moral statements it makes. You can shed your ethics whenever in your way of whatever pleases you, since they exist on the same level as your taste in ice cream flavors. We’re trying not to live as worshipers of ourselves.

  shadowspring wrote @

thatmom wrote “Letting people know the identity of abortionists is not a terrorist act in and of itself.”

Annie C wrote “Especially considering that Jill Staneck has published photos and identifying information for two more doctors, including links to a page with phone numbers, addresses, pictures of the next target, his wife, their daughter, and his employees, and maps to their homes.”

It is one thing to publish that Dr X performs abortions; quite another to publish personal information and personal information on family members. That is coming too close to a “fatwah”.

Maybe there is no statement actually calling for violence, but here’s everything you need to know to ambush this doctor and/or his family, associates?

Certainly you don’t need all that info to protest at his clinic?

  RichardD wrote @

Annie C – We all react to things that impacted us in the past. I’m so sorry to hear of your CPC situation. That is truly appalling. I have been told many similar things. My wife and I adopted a crack baby who was the result of a violent rape. We have been told by many people that God intended him to be the child of his birth mother and that we should not have adopted him. These words are always spoken as “encouragement” because our son lives with severe disabilities as the result of the crack, the alcohol, the pot, and many other things his birth mother did while he was in the womb. But the things we rejoice in is the fact that she gave him the chance to live and to make my wife and me a family. We love our son dearly and he would not have had that chance if his birth mother had followed the advice of the media, Planned Parenthood, her friends, or even her pastor–all of whom advised her to kill our son.

I agree that Tiller’s murder was a terrible act and possibly domestic terrorism. But I think focusing on the single murder this possible domestic terrorist did while ignoring the thousands of murders Dr. Tiller did is irresponsible. Murder is murder and Dr. Tiller deserved to die for his crimes. It should not have happened under the had of a vigilante with psychological problems, but it should have happened under our judicial system, which currently is not doing its job.

My comments about restraint in our response was intended for other Christians, not for atheists. A discussion about abortion with an atheist is a mere distraction. The most important topic for you to focus on at this time is the reality of God and his Son’s death on the cross to pay for the penalty of the sins committed by all who believe. I pray that you will become one of those. Until that day, abortion or vigilante justice do not demand nearly as high a priority.

  thatmom wrote @

“Especially considering that Jill Staneck has published photos and identifying information for two more doctors, including links to a page with phone numbers, addresses, pictures of the next target, his wife, their daughter, and his employees, and maps to their homes.””

I looked for this and couldn’t find it on Jill’s site. Help!

  Annie C wrote @

It is one thing to publish that Dr X performs abortions; quite another to publish personal information and personal information on family members. That is coming too close to a “fatwah”.

Exactly, shadowmom. If someone wants to go down and picket, I’m not going to complain. My only thought would be that it is an effort that might be more usefully spent elsewhere to stop abortions.

On the other hand, go down there and hand out adoption literature and I might just join you. 😉

But if your goal is to get people to picket the clinic, why do you need a map to the receptionists house?

RichardD – I would find that kind of “encouragement” a discouragement myself. And that kind of “encouragement” was clearly being used to discourage the young women from choosing adoption. With no one helping them to create an adoption plan and possibly no support for a pregnancy or a family, I can see why a simple pill at the doctors office would be highly appealing. And all the picketing in the world isn’t going to solve that problem.

Now that said, you sir, are not God. Nor are you judge and jury. It is not up to you to decide who lives or dies.

And I believe you are a pastor, yes?

Based on my experience following your mythology tends to lead to such evil and bloodthirsty beliefs. You, sir, are a perfect example of why I will never consider myself a Christian.

  Annie C wrote @

ThatMom –

She didn’t host it on her site. She posted a link to another site with that info in one of her blog posts

It’s the last link at the bottom.

  thatmom wrote @

Annie, I am still trying to find this. I looked at each of the last links in each category. Can you either post the exact link here or e-mail it to me at thanks.

  Annie C wrote @

It was the very last one,, which looks to go to a site that no longer works. And thank goodness for that.

However, Google saves everything

It looks like the owner of the site took it down upon Dr. Tiller’s death, even though it had pictures and info for more than one doctor.

  RichardD wrote @

Annie C – your assumptions about me are false. And your final statement directed to me was quite strident and mean-spirited. This will not contribute toward a good exchange of ideas.

Specifically – I am not a pastor. And I do not follow “mythology.”

You did, however, say one absolutely correct thing: you sir, are not God. Nor are you judge and jury. It is not up to you to decide who lives or dies.

You’re absolutely right. I am not God and it is not up to me to decide who lives or dies. That puts me firmly in the pro-life camp where we do not choose death for innocent people, as Dr. Tiller did.

Fortunately, God has told us some very specific situations that call for a person to be put to death.

Genesis 9:6: Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

So Dr. Tiller was condemned to death for his behavior 6,000 years ago by the God you have just said has the right to determine who lives or dies.

I’m glad we’ve finally come to an agreement on this.

It should have happened through the judicial process. But either way, the outcome is exactly what God demands from the world for people such as Dr. Tiller.

  Annie C wrote @

RichardD –

As far as I’m concerned the bible is mythology, and as such it has no bearing on the case. I only referred to “god” to use terminology you might understand. And I could care less what your imaginary deity “thinks”. In fact, given what the bible has to say about his thought process, I’d rather do just the opposite more times than not.

To put simply, I could care less what the bible says. On anything. If I end up agreeing with it, it is coincidence, no more.

What does matter to me is that on March 27, 2009 Dr. Tiller was found not guilty of committing any crimes under Kansas state law. Thereby, he did not deserve to die. And even if he had been found guilty, he was accused of misdemeanors, and so would never have faced the death penalty.

We are not in agreement.

I will, however, admit to one mistake. I must have mixed you up with another Richard who is a pastor. don’t know why. Sorry about that.

  RichardD wrote @

Annie – be careful that you do not too quickly judge the mythological status of the bible. The bible has been around for more than 2,000 years and many, many people have sought ways to show that it is inaccurate or untrue (or mythology). No one has ever been able to do that. Many who have tried have ended up converting to Christianity.

It was written over a period of more than 1,500 years by dozens of different authors from different nations and even different continents – most authors having never met each other. It was written in three different languages. And yet it is completely and totally internally consistent.

We don’t doubt the veracity or authenticity of many documents for which we have way fewer early manuscripts. And yet people continue to try to call into question its integrity, consistency, authority, and veracity. And yet to no avail. But they continue to try because after all these years the truth of Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and his son Jesus Christ intimidates those who would reject the only possible thing that can save them from themselves.

  Annie C wrote @

RichardD –

Actually I’ve found just the opposite. Even with years of trying I have yet to find any source that tells me that it *is* wholly accurate, although I agree that *some* parts may have some historical merit. And I’ve found it remarkably internally inconsistent.

Oh, and saying it’s accurate just because it’s 2,000 years old would be a logical fallacy, Argument From Age.

  shadowspring wrote @

Richard D,

I honestly doubt that Annie C is unfamiliar with any of the facts about the history of Christianity, the Bible, or even the doctrines (and there are so many doctrines!) you outline in your posts.

She makes a great point. You will get nowhere in debating a non-Christian by quoting Bible verses.

You wrote: My comments about restraint in our response was intended for other Christians, not for atheists. A discussion about abortion with an atheist is a mere distraction.

I think that is “quite strident and mean-spirited”. You decide the only topic an atheist can consider is converting to Christianity? Then you go on to hound her about converting, when I thought we were commenting on the murder of Dr. Tiller?

I do get your point, though. You are advocating that since ancient Israel was told to execute murderers, than a man is right to do so- even as a private citizen?

I interpreted that scripture to mean that the justice system has the obligation to prosecute murder. I do not interpret it to mean that a private citizen can take that role on personally when the justice system declines to prosecute.

Are you saying we should govern our country on the Old Covenant laws given to Moses during the exodus?

Are you saying any private citizen can take it upon his or herself to start enforcing these laws on fellow citizens if he or she feels the government is failing in this area?

Just trying to understand, because I think you comments could be interpreted that way.

Maybe what you just mean is that “he got what’s coming to him” or “what goes around comes around”?

These are sentiments I have heard expressed many times in non-religious circles and they have nothing to do with OT law- folk wisdom, if you will.

If that’s what you mean: fair enough.

But if you really mean the shooter was justified before God for his actions, I strongly disagree with you.

  shadowspring wrote @

“I do get your point, though. ” should read “I think I get your point, though.”


  RichardD wrote @

Shadowspring – I don’t think the killer was justified at all. I do think Dr. Tiller deserved to die because of his serial killings.

God has promised that his word will not return void but that it will accomplish what it was sent to do – so I believe that I should use scripture even when others do not believe it.

I didn’t mean to hound Annie C. My original comments on this post were intended to make Christians (not athiests) think this through instead of jumping in lock-step to parrot the same things that are being thrown out there by the myriad pro-life groups. I certainly don’t believe in vigilante justice. And I don’t believe that we should seek to enforce the full Old Testament law in United States society. But those questions are every bit as much off-topic as my “trying to convert Annie to Christianity,” which I actually was not doing.

My comments regarding the uselessness of an atheist moralizing were my way of stating what Jack Brooks said about the lack of moral foundation that is endemic in the atheistic philosophy. I’m sure he stated it better than I did.

  Annie C wrote @

RichardD –

*blink blink*

“lack of moral foundation that is endemic in the atheistic philosophy”

Hmmm, now I have to ask, what morals do I not have? What am I supposed to be missing? And what does the the uselessness of an atheist moralizing mean?

  Annie C wrote @

Jack Brook –

I’m sorry, I missed your post up there or else I would have replied earlier.

As an atheist my morals and values are based on my own inner conscious and simple common sense. Yes, they can change and grow as I change and grow, but I hardly consider that a bad thing. My morality certainly does have an ontological and epistemological basis, as it is informed by a clear understanding of the world around me, and a willingness to continually learn. I don’t know where you get the idea that an atheist is amoral or does not base their morals in knowledge or reality.

What we don’t do is base our morality on 2,000 year + old mythology, or give all credit or blame on some imaginary deity. We also believe that *this* life and *these* people matter, that there is no giving responsibility for our wrongs to some imaginary being, and that claiming to believe in said being won’t automatically remove all responsibility for the wrongs we have committed. No one is going to forgive me, I have no reason to believe there’s some great reward waiting for me if only I profess belief, and I have no reason to believe that there is some greater, better life than this coming in the future. So I had better fix my own problems, right my own wrongs, and do my best to honor this life while I have it.

Now, as far as I can tell, Christians believe everyone is evil and flawed and “a sinner” from birth, and so have no reason to respect anyone once born. All responsibility is given over to an imaginary deity, similar to a dozen other imaginary deities, who “died for your sins” so you need not feel a whit of guilt or take an ounce of responsibility for any of them. And you are guaranteed a royal reward if you just “believe” and “have faith”, regardless of any evils or wrongs or “sins” you may have committed in the past or may commit in the future. It’s the ultimate Get Out Of Jail Free card. Stories abound of murders and rapists being “saved” right before death, and sent to the same reward as the holiest of saints. As a quote I favor states: “The concept of a Hitler in heaven if he was saved, and a Gandhi in hell if he wasn’t, is morally repugnant.” and yet according to your philosophy that’s perfectly acceptable.

And yet I’m the amoral one?

  Jack Brooks wrote @

Annie C, let me be straightforward with you.

First: ppbbffft on your inner conscious [sic] and common sense. If there’s no God, who are you to impose your private opinions on the rest of us? How arrogant. You have no objective basis for any of your morals. Admit it. You could cuddle your children today, molest and murder them tomorrow, and if atheism is true then both actions are equally acceptable — because there is no standard that defines acceptibility.

Second: Atheists murdered hundreds of millions of people just in the 20th century alone. Congratulations — you and Stalin belong to the same club.

Third: atheists don’t know how to reason. They only know how to brag brag about how incredibly smarter they are than everybody else, and then insult people, or make fun of them. as a substitute for saying anything of substance.

You are not allowed to use reason to prove a theory that proves the non-existence of reason. That’s ridiculous. If nothing non-physical exists, then [b]your[/b] thoughts are being randomly generated by molecules. Molecules are not sentient. therefore, [b]you[/b] are not sentient.

You are also not allowed to feel any moral outrage against evils performed by Christians. If atheism is true, then there is no right or wrong. Therefore the Crusades were fine, Jim bakker ripping off the supporters of PTL Club was fine, Charles Manson slaughtering Sharon Tate was fine, the murder of Dr. Tiller was fine, everything is neither here-nor-there. [b]Because morality is nothing more than Annie C’s meaningless private opinion, and who does Annie C think she is to tell anybody else what’s right or what’s wrong about anything?[/b]

  Annie C wrote @

Jack Brooks –

For starters, please put your tongue in.

I never said I was imposing my morals on you. However, by saying there is one set standard that everyone must follow to be moral you are imposing your morals on me. I consider that a fine example of projection, as you are accusing me of doing exactly what you are trying to do.

As an example I know murder and molestation are wrong and I would never do so. My own inner conscious tells me that, the standard expectations of our society tells me that, and the legal code we have all agreed to follow tells me that. However I could show you a list of “Men of God” who have molested children over the years. I think that they feel free to do so because they believe they are already forgiven, and as God’s chosen, that they are above both the law and society as a whole. I do not know of a single atheist who has done so, however I know that if one were found, our community would do everything in its power to bring them to justice and to help the victim. Where as in the Christian community perpetrators have been routinely shielded from the police, victims have been silenced and accused to discredit them, and parents have been misinformed so they are unable to protect their children. As examples look at the recent well-known scandals in the Catholic Church, and the decision last year by the Southern Baptist Convention to not create a database of convicted child molesters for fear of imposing on their member churches biblical autonomy.

Second, Christians have murdered hundreds of millions over the course of history, simply because those millions did not agree with their code. Everyone from the Inquisition to the settling of this continent to Dr. Tiller. Every atheist I know condemns Stalin as a monster, as do I, yet I have yet to hear a single Christian speak out against one of their own, or try to stop their crimes. Instead all I hear is them dismissing their responsibility for their fellows with “Well, he wasn’t a real Christian.” I would rather be a part of a group that takes responsibility for their own actions.

Third, I have yet to brag, or to dismiss you, or to call you stupid. I leave it to the others reading this to decide if I’m making my case clearly and reasonably. On the other hand, we were discussing morality, not the ability to reason.

You’re right, science has not yet proven why sentience exists. I’m quite comfortable saying “I don’t know, but we might someday”. To me that is much more rational than saying I was magicked up by an invisible sky god.

Lastly, you, sir, cannot tell me what I’m allowed to feel. That would be imposing your will on mine. The Crusades were evil, and I have yet to hear them condemned by any Christian, or even clearly by the Vatican. Charles Mansion’s actions were evil. I would call him evil but he may just be very, very ill The murder of Dr. Tiller was evil. Jim Bakker’s fraud was wrong, but I will not use the term “evil” since there was no violence involved. All of these actions violated the common societal norm, the maws of this country, and simple common sense. I don’t need a book to tell me that.

According to your opinion, I am amoral because I choose to give no moral weight to a book that encourages slavery, rape, mass murder, and hatred of my fellow man. Because I choose not to consider that book when making moral decisions, or any decisions. Well, you have every right to believe that. However, since I consider your opinion meaningless that’s not going to change a thing.

Oh, and by the way, the correct HTML characters are not []. And putting things in bold to make it look like you’re yelling doesn’t help make your case.

  Corrie wrote @

Wow, Jack, talk about arrogant! I know Jesus had some very strong words for the pharisees but I don’t remember Him ever mocking and ripping to shreds an atheist.

Soft answer, Mr. Brooks?

  Corrie wrote @


You are right about the hypocrisy amongst Christians. By looking at various things, it doesn’t seem like our morals are any different (and they are sometimes worse).

I am with you on the molestation thing. Churches cover that sort of thing up all the time and I have experienced it firsthand. Don’t want to make the perp feel bad or shame him but to hell with the child who he victimized. And then when you try to bring it to light in order to protect other children you get accused of “gossip”. How many people need to experience this in their very own church before we wake up and start doing something to protect the LEAST of these.

There are a LOT of millstones waiting, for sure. And those millstones are also for those who would cover up molestation and revictimize the victims.

In my case, it was the secular world- the detectives and the court appointed forensic psychologists that were the saving grace in the life of my child.

And it steams me that this was the case because the Church excused away the actions and called right wrong and vice versa, while the WORLD was disgusted and definitely knew right from wrong and wasn’t afraid to speak the truth.

  Corrie wrote @

“All murder is wrong.”

I agree.

“Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord. I will repay.”

The Bible says that God has appointed the secular rulers to wield the sword against evil-doers. That was written back when their were infant sacrifices to false gods.

Murdering Tiller was not an option no matter how evil his actions were. It was up to the civil government to prosecute/condemn him.

  Jack Brooks wrote @


If there’s no God, then there’s nothing wrong with being a hypocrite. Who are you to force your personal opinions about hypocrisy on the rest of us? Your opinion about hypocrisy is no more right or wrong than people who believe the opposit eof you.

  Jack Brooks wrote @

Corrie, if there’s no God, then there’s no right or wrong way to answer Annie C. It’s OK for me to go “pffbbbt”, since there are no rules that say I shouldn’t.

Or didn’t you think that maybe I answered Annie C the way I did on purpose…?

If there’s no God, then she has no right to be offended, since there are no rules for polite conduct that I’m obligated to follow..

  Jack Brooks wrote @

On the other hand, Annie C. the atheist believes that Stalin’s murder of hundreds of millions of his own Russian countrymen was fine for Stalin the atheist to do. Because there are no rules. The rules are nothing more than fake constructs of whatever the people with the biggest guns want, to keep the stupid sheep in line. So there are no rules. Life’s a jungle. It’s just survival of the fittest, baby.

  Jack Brooks wrote @

And Annie C, you ought to actually read the Bible before you express opinions about it.

By the way, an atheist has no right to call anything “evil”, let alone the Crusades, since there are no rules in Atheism World.

  Annie C wrote @

If there’s no God, then there are no rules, and you can do whatever you like, is that what you are saying?

So unless there is a big sky Daddy to keep you in line then you have no self-control, no restraint, cannot behave in anything resembling a socially acceptable manner, cannot come to consensus with the people around you. In short you’re nothing more than a two-year old who needs an imaginary daddy to be afraid of so he can stay in line.

Wow. Maybe that’s why I’m an atheist. I’m an adult. I don’t need a daddy to tell me right from wrong, or to punish me for misbehavior.

I’ve actually read the bible at least six times, all the way through. You, on the other hand, might try listening. And growing up.

  rogueatheist wrote @

Hey, Jack! Just a thought, how about taking a page out of your own holy book, hmm…

“But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement, and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” -Matt. 5:22
So you may want to ease up on the condescension…

Depending on how you interpret it, the Bible declares that a thing is not alive until it breathes: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” -Gen. 2:7. Notice man did not become a living soul until after the breath of life.

I’m in the same boat as Annie. I’m pro life and pro choice. I believe that a woman’s body is her own, but that other options should be available and encouraged to help reduce the amount of abortions.

I also consider the Bible to be collected mythology with little justification as a moral compass. Jesus said:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matt. 5:17-18

That to me (and to most Christians when the context justifies their argument) that Christians shouldn’t cherry pick the laws, and that all the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (as well as other OT books) are still very much in effect. I don’t see a whole lot of stoning of disobedient children going on (Deut. 21:18-21), nor do I see many Christians shunning shellfish (Lev. 11:10), and I see proud Christians everywhere, including here (check out Proverbs 16:5: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. ”

As far as atheist morality goes, the objective standard to which we hold ourselves is a social contract agreed upon by the members of a society. Since we recognize that this life is all we have and that there is none after, the moral among us do our best to improve our lives as well as the lives of those around us.

We know we aren’t going to be forgiven and that we will only live on through the memories of those whose lives we’ve touched. We know we aren’t going to be rewarded, so the only reward we expect is the good feeling of having done something to make another’s life better.

You also insist on trotting out Stalin, so I may as well trot out Hitler, who was a professed Catholic. I admit that we have our evil people, the difference is that I don’t know of any atheist who committed atrocities solely in the name of atheism, while many have committed atrocities solely in the name of Christianity, Islam, and many other faiths.

Summed up, Tiller should have been punished through the proper channels, not through vigilante justice, and there is much justification within the Bible for vigilante justice and the murder of pretty much anyone who doesn’t follow the OT laws to their very last letter, and I’ve heard many Christians say that you’re not really a Christian unless you believe the literal version of the Bible. In my opinion, it is the culture of the religion that led to this man’s demise.

  Matthew wrote @


Apparently even having the big sky-daddy doesn’t work for him, either.

Jack: How’s this for reading the bible:

“But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” – Matt. 5:22

So according to your own book, you should probably can the condescension…

You trotted out the Stalin argument, so I’ll go ahead and trot out Hitler, who was a self-described Catholic. While we do have monsters, I don’t know of any atheists who have committed atrocities simply for the sake of atheism, or for the sake of converting people to atheism. There are many, many accounts of Christians doing just that, committing atrocities for the sake of Christianity.

Taking a good long look at the Bible shows me why.

“‘“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.'” Matt 5:17-19 NKJV

To me, that means that every single law of the OT is still in force, according to Jesus.

However, I don’t see much in the way of stoning of disobedient children (Deut. 20:18-21), and those who work on Sunday (Exodus 35:2. A sentence carried out by Moses in in Numbers 15:32-36), or women who aren’t virgins when married (Deut. 22:13-21). or who get re-married to the same person (Deut. 24:4).

Those and many other passages are exactly why I don’t base my morality on the Bible.

As far as this specific case, I’m in the same boat as Annie. I’m pro-life and pro-choice, in that I believe a woman’s body is her own, and the government shouldn’t get between a woman and her doctor. However, I also think we should have more options available to help pregnant women find alternatives to abortion, as I think it’s very rarely the right choice.

But I’m also pro-all-life. Even after it’s out of the womb. As an atheist I realize that this life is all we have, and it’s my responsibility to make it as good as possible, for me, for my family, and for those around me. It’s my fault when I do things wrong, not Satan’s, it’s my accomplishment when I do good things, not god’s. I alone am responsible for my actions and behavior.

Your other question as to what right I have to impose my morality on you…what right do any of us have to impose our own individual morality on anyone? I may not agree with every single law enacted by our legislative system, but it is still my responsibility to follow them, or face the consequences. Secular morality is an integral piece of the fabric of society. Morality for us is not handed down by a desert god from 2000+ years ago. It is shaped by our experiences as human beings, and evolves as we continue our journey.

In closing, your behavior thus far on this forum has been a good indication for me of exactly why I hold the contempt of Christianity I do, so I must commend you on keeping people from your faith.

  Matthew / rogueatheist wrote @

my apologies for the double-ish post, my computer on this end was acting up.

  Annie C wrote @

This might help, although the title is unfortunate. He makes a very good point when he says that absolute, inflexible morality is for the sheltered.

There’s a whole discussion to be had in there about killing and the military, but I think that ought to be saved for another blog post. We could take it to my blog if you like.

  RichardD wrote @

I keep reading this quote: “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment” but I have not seen Jack interacting with a brother in anger – so I don’t see how this applies.

Corrie is a brother (actually a sister) but Annie has proclaimed that she is not and I’m assuming that anyone going by the nick “rogueatheist” would also decry the description of “brother.”

  Rogueatheist wrote @

My apologies, Richard. I sometimes forget the Christian’s propensity for taking bible verses out of context, and in my apparently misguided attempt to provide context, perhaps I provided too much for you.

The first verses leading up to the one I was speaking of provided a good sense of severity, each risk elevating from the last until the one who says “Thou fool” being in danger of damnation.

However, you have provided yet another problem with the evident Christian morality in your division of human beings into an “Us” and “Them.” There’s “brothers” and those who are not “brothers.” Study after study has shown that in order to enable a human being to kill another human being, an essential step is to de-humanize the other. See the writings of LTC David Grossman, specifically his book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society.”

According to LTC Grossman, many factors are necessary for a human to overcome his (or her, but I will continue to use the masculine pronoun for ease of typing) natural resistance to killing his fellow man. Historically, these have been the demands of authority, group absolution, emotional distance, physical distance, nature of the victim, and the aggressive predisposition of the killer (Grossman, “On Killing,” Section IV Chapters 1-6).

Within the framework of Christianity, you can find almost all of these factors. You have the demands of authority: God or the pastor is constantly telling the congregation week after week that these doctors deserve to die. It’s being preached in a group setting, automatically providing group absolution, since everyone in that group feels the same way. These doctors (even Annie and myself here on the forums for a more direct example) are portrayed as less than human, or “other,” providing a high degree of emotional distance.

Moving on to the nature of the victim, again, they are portrayed as less than human and deserving of their fate (even against the words of your so-called “holy” book. See John 8:1-12, or Matthew 7:1-5.). All that’s missing is the aggressive predisposition of the perpetrator and you have a perfect storm.

(Note: I left out physical distance in this solely because it is a factor during the actual killing, and has more to do with the aggressor’s preference as to how close he will let himself get to the victim, from a long range, like a rifle or even artillery and bombing, up to hand-to-hand range and even sexual range. Generally, the farther out physically an aggressor is, the harder it is to kill one’s opponent.)

All the ingredients are there, within your “moral” religion to commit murder, and to incite others to do so as well.

And as for me decrying the description of “brother…” Well, I consider every human to be in a sense, my brother until and unless they act in a way that endangers me or those I care about. As I stated before, we’ve only got this one go of it, and I try to do my part to help everyone I can have the best go of it they can.

  Rogueatheist wrote @

my apologies, this sentence:

Generally, the farther out physically an aggressor is, the harder it is to kill one’s opponent.)

should read:

Generally, the farther out physically an aggressor is, the easier it is to kill one’s opponent.)

  Annie C wrote @

Here, this might help a little too.

And taken from that article:

4 Religion isn’t essential. “Children’s understanding of morality is the same whether they’re of one religion, another religion or no religion,” says Nucci. “But if it’s simply indoctrination, it’s worse than doing nothing. It interferes with moral development.”

Why, you may ask? Because religion creates a “chosen” and an “other”. And as soon as you set up an “other”, and make up and insist upon a different set of rules for treating the “other”, you interfere with that innate sense of fairness.

Also taken from the article:

This idea, of children navigating morality independently of their parents, goes against the traditional view that knowing right from wrong is something adults “give” to children. This old theory is thought to have been derived from psychologists who have watched parents say things to their children such as “look, you just hurt your brother” and jump to the conclusion that the child wouldn’t otherwise have known that this was a bad thing to do. While it’s true that parents do play a role, this is secondary to a child’s own reasoning-out of situations.

Except Christians define “Brother” and “not-Brother” and according to their rule book, it’s perfectly okay to hurt “not-Brother”. But if every human is your “brother”, then every child already knows that it’s not okay to hurt them. Their natural conscious and good common sense tells them that.

So, now tell me again why your arbitrary rules that divide up the world and make it okay to hurt others is more moral.

  Savannah wrote @

Note to other Christians: No athiest ever came to Christ because he/she lost an argument.

I identify as pro-life (completely – all life), but have noticed something: some have referred to the fact that it was up to the civil authorities to prosecute Dr. Tiller, which I would totally agree with except that Dr. Tiller wasn’t doing anything illegal, so why would he be prosecuted? Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. You may disagree with it, you may work to change it, but to believe it is anything but law is delusional. So according to civil law, Dr. Tiller may have been immoral or evil, but he was not a criminal. Note that I say “according to civil law”. The statement has nothing to do with what I believe he was or wasn’t. I am just referring to how he was viewed through the eyes of the criminal justice system: as a non-criminal.

One can believe Dr. Tiller was evil all day long but that doesn’t change the fact that he was acting within the law. And he was murdered.

As Christians, I believe we should stop equivocating and call it what it was. No excuses, no justifications. That kind of behavior is exactly what makes non-Christians skeptical of us, as they quickly see through our hypocrisy.

  thatmom wrote @

Savannah, I am really confused about this. From what I understand of Tiller, he was performing partial birth abortions in his clinic, even though they have been outlawed. But what I don’t understand is what technicality allowed him to do to this. This is where I was coming from regarding the state’s responsibility to punish him.

  Savannah wrote @

I’m not saying that he didn’t perform partial birth abortions – he clearly did – but there are exceptions in the law convering partial birth abortion in Kansas:

See subsection (a). Partial birth abortion has not been “outlawed” in Kansas, but rather severely restricted.

There have been attempts to prosecute Dr. Tiller under this statute, but a Kansas grand jury refused to indict him.

We are in agreement that it was the state’s responsibility to dole out punishment to Dr. Tiller, but its citizens had declined to do so through the criminal justice system. So according to the criminal justice system, operating under civil and criminal law, did not view him as a criminal.

  Annie C wrote @

Thatmom –

According to Wikipedia:

Kansas law prohibits aborting viable fetuses, which is generally midway through the second trimester, unless two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy would cause the woman “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”[27] Tiller went on trial in March 2009, charged with 19 misdemeanors for allegedly consulting a second physician in late-term abortion cases who was not truly “independent” as required by Kansas state law.[28][29]

The case became a cause célèbre for both supporters and opponents of abortion. Columnist Jack Cashill compared the trial to the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals,[30] while NYU Professor Jacob Appel described Tiller as “a genuine hero who ranks alongside Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. in the pantheon of defenders of human liberty.”[31]

On March 27, 2009, Tiller was found not guilty of all 19 misdemeanor charges stemming from some abortions he performed at his Wichita clinic in 2003. Kansas’ Board of Healing Arts continued to investigate charges of ethical violations that mirrored the prosecutors’ criminal allegations.[32]

  Annie C wrote @

Hit enter before I finished. Sorry about that. 🙂

Based on this and a few other sources I’d need to dig out, he was only doing late-term abortions based on medical necessity. I did notice a quote somewhere on….uh, I think it was today…that he and his family would shelter pregnant women if they were “too far along”, past 24 weeks, there was no medical necessity for an abortion, and they had no other support.

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