This straight-talker is no Humpty Dumpty:
But if the reactions to the death of Tiller mean anything, the “Christian Taliban,” as conservative religious figures are often called, isn’t living up to its namesake. If “Christianists” were anything like actual religious fascists they would applaud Tiller’s murder as a “heroic martyrdom operation” and suborn further mayhem.
Radical Islamists revel in death. Just witness the videos that suicide bombers record before they carry out their murderous task or listen to the homicidal exhortations of extremist imams. Murder — particularly of the unarmed and innocent — is a righteous deed for these people. The manifestos of Islamic militant groups are replete with paeans to killing infidels. When a suicide bomb goes off in Israel, Palestinian terrorist factions compete to claim responsibility for the carnage.
There is no appreciable number of people in this country, religious Christians or otherwise, who support the murder of abortion doctors. The same cannot be said of Muslims who support suicide bombings in the name of their religion.
Yet speak of the disproportionately violent strain in Islam to a “progressive” person and you’ll be met with sneering recitations of millennia-old Christian crusades or Jewish settlements in the West Bank. As for conservative Christians’ contemporary political endeavors, lobbying to ban the teaching of evolution in schools or forbidding same-sex marriage simply does not threaten society in quite the same way as the genital mutilation of young girls or the bombing of the London transit system.
I happen to support a legal regime that would, in Bill Clinton’s famous words, keep abortion safe, legal and rare. I hold no brief for the religious right, and its views on homosexuality in particular offend (and affect) me personally. But it’s precisely because of my identity that I consider comparisons between so-called Christianists (who seek to limit my rights via the ballot box) and Islamic fundamentalists (who seek to limit my rights via decapitation) to be fatuous.
So Pro-Life Christians are not the same as Islamic terrorists, but then again, we are living beyond the looking glass, where words mean whatever Humpty Dumpty says they do:
Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. `That seems to be done right –‘ he began.
`You’re holding it upside down!’ Alice interrupted.
`To be sure I was!’ Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. `I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven’t time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents –‘
`Certainly,’ said Alice.
`And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’
`I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’
`Would you tell me please,’ said Alice, `what that means?’
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’
`That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’
`Oh!’ said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.
It all comes down to faith really. Now there’s a word for you. What do you think of that word Alice?
Ultimately what does God want? All else is “spin”. What evidence do you have that God approves of homosexuality? Hmmmmm…. What is your logical defence of abortion? Have you had a private revelation from God that negates what His Church has revealed? No? Then accept the consequences!
It really is quite simple. And when you feel a “let me explain” moment coming on when you are challenged with something uncomfortable out of Scripture or Catholic Tradition, then you had better be scared as you are starting to smell the sulfurous odor of Hell.
What do you want your words to mean Alice? Do you want to use them for your ends, or God’s. Words mean the what you want them to mean. So what do want them to mean?
I wish I could agree that Scott Rowder’s murder of Tiller has met with universal condemnation from pro-life circles, but that is far from being the case. The blogosphere is full of endorsements of what Rowder did, albeit many of these are quickly removed by the horrified blog owners. Rowder himself seems positively smug about what he did, claiming that many people are sending him fan mail and will undertake similar action in the future.
Let’s hope he’s mistaken about the latter. If this proves to be a stand-alone incident, it will do little harm to the protection of the unborn. But if there are more murders of abortion providers, worse yet if some pro-life activist attempts to assassinate Obama or members of his family, the pro-life movement will effectively be put out of business at all levels simply by labelling it a domestic terrorist movement and applying the provisions of the Patriot Act. How then will there be any protection for unborn babies?
By your comments, I am sure that you must be familiar with the ways of the blogosphere and that, therefore, you know that extremist commenters on both sides of any issue say hateful things.
At least on pro-life sites the bloggers themselves do a pretty good job of monitoring their comboxes. I defy you to show me a pro-life organization or leader who has sanctioned the murder of Tiller. Also remember that many commenters are practically anonymous so there is really very little way of assessing the provenance of those comments.
On the other hand, those on the other side, such as Playboy, do not hesitate to advocate the rape of women they disagree with. That was not a combox extreme, but a revelation of internal policy.
You give no evidence of an organized “pro-life” terrorist organization. I would think you would want to be more careful.
I didn’t say that any pro-life leader or organization sanctioned Tiller’s murder or that I knew of any pro-life terrorist organization. Rowder, as far as we know, was a lone wolf killer, as were some in the decade of the 90s. Lone wolf killers or those with the support of only a few friends can still cause plenty of damage and could bring the full force of the government down on the pro-life movement as a whole. I think it is foolish to ignore this danger. Official DHS documents were speaking of anti-abortion terrorists BEFORE the murder of Tiller. Does anyone imagine they would just sit on their hands if there were more such incidents or that their response would be measured and just?
Yes, we have a problem there.