I am appalled by how some of the mainstream media has covered the assassination of Dr. George Tiller this past week. The New York Times blog asked "Is It a Moral Murder?" The Religious News Service blog asked, "Is there Biblical evidence for murdering someone to potentially save others from death?" I heard TV commentators expressing surprise that Dr. Tiller was a long term member and lay leader in a Lutheran church, as if Christian abortion provider or pro-choice Christian were oxymorons.
Some anti-choice leaders have expressed concern that the fact that the murder was in a church will hurt their movement. But, I believe that the location of the shooting was deliberately chosen to shatter the entire Church community that embraced Dr. Tiller and his family as members. This unspeakable tragedy is further magnified because it took place in a sacred community worshiping God together. The fact that this past Sunday was Pentecost, a day celebrating full inclusion of all people, is not lost on those of us who are people of faith.
Scripture neither condemns nor prohibits abortion, but the Ten Commandments couldn't be more direct on murder. But the very next chapter after the Ten Commandments are introduced directly addresses the difference between the value of fetal life and the life of the mother. The "penalty ...life for life" does not apply to fetal loss. (Exodus 21:22).
Abortion is always a serious moral decision. To those who think women have late term abortions otherwise, please read their stories of the devastating life situations that bring them to doctors like Dr. Tiller. Religious leaders from around the country have raised their voices to condemn this murder and to uphold the safety and rights of women and medical providers.
And to my colleagues in the press, murder is never morally justified. Your Bible tells you so.