He was murdered because among the many things he was and did, he performed abortions, a legal medical procedure in the United States.
In addition to being a physician, Dr. Tiller was a Navy veteran, husband, father, and grandfather. His murderer however focused on one small slice of his life and persona, and decided he deserved to die because of it.
Almost as if on cue, a variety of fundamentalist and evangelical Christian opponents of abortion issued statements expressing their shock and disapproval of the act…effectively washing their hands of any complicity. The fact is of course that they are complicit, very much so.
Dr. Tiller has been demonized by numerous Christian groups and media, with Operation Rescue – which also expressed its “shock” – going so far as to post a “Tiller Watch” page on its website.
Any and every Christian clergyman, politician, or lay person who ever publically compared abortion to murder and or railed against doctors who perform the procedure has blood on their hands this morning. The list would run into tens of thousands, but must include preachers like Pat Robertson, politicians such as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and laymen such as the Cristo-fascist Randal Terry.
Many Christians will of course speak out against these people, and the heinous acts their hate-spewing righteousness promulgates, but even the most liberal, open-minded brands of religion bear at least partial blame. The entire Christian religion – indeed almost all religions – have at their core the insistence that not only is there a god – an amazing and unsubstantiated claim - but that it is possible to discern the wishes of that god and, further, that as believers and followers they know beyond a doubt said god’s commandments and will.
Given the widespread acceptance among Americans of this fantasy, it is then but a short step indeed to the claim that one knows how their deity feels about abortion (or anything else) and what it is that must be done about it. In essence, it is not opposition to abortion that precipitates these wanton murders, but the very belief in the concept of revealed religion. Remove that phenomenon from the equation and acts such as we witnessed this past Sunday become far less likely to occur. Christopher Hitchens has it right, religion does indeed “poison everything”.
For that reason, every Christian, Jew, Muslim, or any other devout believer in a god who is said to actively reveal his intentions to “chosen” followers must bear the blame for these atrocities. Inquisitions, witch hunts, religious wars, and the murder of physicians are all inevitably connected, and that connection is the fantasy of revelation.
And so dear Christian, as you traipse off to your church next Sunday morning, understand this – you are complicit in murder, and will remain so until you at last permit reason and logic to replace the ignorance and superstition that now rules your life.